Program logo of the letter W and a drop of water inside a blue triangleWe are committed to creating an inclusive and equitable water industry, reflective of the diverse communities in which we live and work. The Insight program acts on this commitment by elevating the visibility of women leaders and the continued investment in a pipeline of leader-ready women within the water sector.

It is a program for women at executive level or women who have been identified, through succession planning, as future executives.  The program’s strength lies in building confident, collaborative executives who are well placed to meet sector-wide challenges through legacy-minded collective leadership.

The program aims to create a critical mass of engaged, informed leaders - both men and women - who are committed to elevating the sector’s performance towards a sustainable future.  With this in mind, the women on the program will be asked to invite an executive male peer from their organisation to partner with them in a parallel initiative as part of the Insight program.

At its core, the program is designed to build a powerful, supportive network of peers who are highly visible and can facilitate across-sector collaboration and catalyse change.

This program has been designed to elevate the visibility of women in their leadership roles. It offers a deliberate balance between insightful self-development and learning from others, as well as the opportunity to explore real challenges affecting the sector. I want to again encourage smaller regional and rural organisations to put forward a nominee to drive diversity and inclusion as well as support women in making a difference in the communities in which they live and work.
The Hon Lisa Neville, Minister for Water

Insight is a highly personalised program focused on insightful self-development, experiential learning and learning from others. The water sector will partner with an executive leadership services provider to deliver a multi-faceted program that will enhance participants’ understanding of themselves and their ability to resist stress, deal with complexity, and experience what it takes to lead without rank through disruption and complexity.

Experiential learning begins as part of pre-selection with nominees invited to participate in a real-world executive-type interview.

2022 Selection process

To be considered for the program, women must be nominated by a Water Corporation’s Managing Director, or the Chief Executive Officer of a Catchment Management Authority. Endorsement of the nomination by the Board Chair completes this part of the pre-selection process.

Nominations for the 2022 Insight program are now open.

Only one woman can be nominated by each water sector organisation.

To submit a nomination, complete this form (DOCX, 121.5 KB) and email it to SHK Asia Pacific, the independent executive recruitment firm managing the application and pre-selection process. The lodgement date for the Nomination and Endorsement forms has been extended to 22 November 2021.

Email to Penny Wilson – Partner, SHK Asia Pacific

Prospectus (PDF, 901.4 KB)
Nomination & Endorsement form (DOCX, 121.5 KB)

All nominees will be:

  • invited to complete an application form,
  • participate in an executive-style recruitment interview and complete behavioural insights testing, and
  • a debriefing interview and a personalised development report.

All nominees, regardless of whether they are selected to join the program, will receive this behavioural insight and a personalised development report to support them in continuing their self-development inside and/or outside the program.

This pre-selection process will result in a short-list for consideration by the Insight Leadership Oversight Committee.

All short-listed nominees will prepare a short video presentation to support their application. The Leadership Oversight Committee will make the final selection based on the video and pre-selection process.

Two women in office talking while holding documents.

About the program

This transformative program is anchored in the way women want to work rather than the paradigm they find themselves working in.

It is a structured program over 12-months. It is highly iterative and challenging. At its core are up to five, 2-day residential learning modules, each at a different venue in and around regional Victoria. These are supported by online interactive sessions in between the modules that vary from a full-day to 2 hours in length.

In addition, the women will meet outside the formal part of the program to progress or complete aspects covered in the modules and set time aside for coaching sessions.

The program will challenge the thinking of participants by having them engage in conversations that explore future trends and emerging challenges. Sector specific leadership challenges will be highlighted as participants work on structured problem solving to support real issues facing the water sector.

2020 Insight participants

The women on the inaugural Insight program’s assignment was to elevate the influence, visibility and participation of women in water. Here is what they had to say.

  • Lara Caplygin – Executive Manager Strategy, East Gippsland Water
  • Lisa Caldwell – General Manager Corporate and People, Westernport Water
  • Tanya Finnen – Manager Information Communication Technology, North East Water
  • Natalie Foeng – Chief Financial Officer, Yarra Valley Water
  • Joanna Giannini – General Manager People, Safety and Culture, Southern Rural Water
  • Sarah Heath – Chief Financial Officer, Gippsland Water
  • Bec Hemming – Delivery Manager, East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (CMA)
  • Brooke Hermans – Executive Manager Leadership and Strategy, North East CMA
  • Sarah Holland-Clift – General Manager, Community and Catchment Services, Corangamite CMA
  • Claire Hunter – Manager, Technology Operations, Barwon Water
  • Maree Lang – Managing Director, City West Water
  • Sarah Thomson – General Manager Digital, Governance and Finance, Goulburn Murray Water

Insight participants pose at their first meeting

(left to right) Joanna Giannini (Southern Rural Water), Sarah Thomson (Goulburn Valley Water), Lisa Caldwell (Westernport Water), Sarah Heath (Gippsland Water), Brooke Hermans (North East CMA), Natalie Foeng (Yarra Valley Water), Lara Caplygin (East Gippsland Water), Tanya Finnen (North East Water),
Maree Lang (City West Water), Claire Hunter (Barwon Water), Bec Hemming (East Gippsland CMA), Jacqui O’Neill (Central Gippsland Water), Sarah Holland-Clift (Corangamite CMA).

2020 Insight graduation

The Graduation for the 2020 Insight Participants was held in March 2021.

Insight began in 2019 as an in-person program but quickly transitioned to an online experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This presented some challenges, but also created opportunities for conversations about work-life balance and resilience.

One of the significant deliverables of the program has been the introduction of Bridging the Gap - a program where Insight women invited male executive peers to join them in ‘Elevating the influence, visibility and participation of women in water’.

Together they came up with a shared leadership capability model that forms part of the ongoing selection process criteria for the program.

A group image of the 2020 Insight participants at their graduation.On Tuesday, 30 March our first cohort graduated from the program. It is a very diverse group, with nine of the graduates from water corporations and three from catchment management

The graduates are (in alphabetical order):

  • Lara Caplygin, Executive Manager Strategy, East Gippsland Water
  • Lisa Caldwell, General Manager Corporate and People, Westernport Water
  • Sarah Holland Clift, General manager Community and Catchment Services at Corangamite CMA
  • Tanya Finnen, Manager Information Communication Technology, North East Water
  • Natalie Foeng, Chief Financial Officer, Yarra Valley Water
  • Joanna Giannini, General Manager People, Safety and Culture, Southern Rural Water
  • Sara Health, Chief Financial Officer, Gippsland Water
  • Rebecca Hemming, Delivery Manager, East Gippsland CMA
  • Brooke Hermans, Acting Executive Manager Business, Strategy and Partnerships, North East CMA
  • Claire Hunter, Manager Technology Operations, Barwon Water
  • Maree Lang, Managing Director, City West Water
  • Sarah Thomson, General Manager Digital, Governance and Finance (CFO), Goulburn Valley Water
  • Leadership Oversight Committee

    The Leadership Oversight Committee who made the final decision of Insight participants was made up of the following water sector individuals:

  • Helen Vaughan (Chair) – Deputy Secretary of Water and Catchments Group, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Sue O’Connor – Chair of Yarra Valley Water
  • Jenny Paradiso – Managing Director Suntrix, a multi-million-dollar solar panel business founded by Jenny in South Australia in 2009.
  • Georgina Gubbins – Chair Great South Coast Food and Fibre, former Non-Executive Director at Glenelg Hopkins CMA
  • Pat McCafferty – Managing Director Yarra Valley Water
  • Sarah Cumming – Managing Director Gippsland Water

More information

To find out more about the Insight program, please contact:

Julie Ann Ashley

Tel: 0436 636 587


Page last updated: 15/11/21