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.

Two women in office talking while holding documents.

2022 Insight participants join the program

A group of 14 senior executive women, selected to join the 2022 Insight: Executive Leadership for Women in Water program, were welcomed at a dinner hosted by the program’s Leadership Oversight Committee.

Joining the participants at the welcome event were their respective Managing Directors and Chief Executive Officers, who nominated them to complete the program’s rigorous application process.

In welcoming invited guests, Helen Vaughan, Water and Catchments Group Deputy Secretary and chair of the committee said ‘The 2022 Program is a little different to the 2020 Insight program as we extended the program to allied organisations. We did this as we wanted to collaborate and draw on skills and resources that will help the sector navigate our shared challenges of climate change, population growth and changing community expectations.’

The 2022 Insight women include eleven women from within the water sector plus the Chief Executive Officer from the Australian Land Conservation Alliance (ALCA), the Associate Professor and Director from the Monash Sustainable Development Institute – Water and the Chief Executive from Water Aid.

Back row (L – R): Corinne Mays (Melbourne Water), Rosie Wheen (Water Aid), Rebecca Hanley (Coliban Water), Anna Stow (Wannon Water), Rachel Murphy (North Central CMA), Jody Gunn (ALCA).

Front Row (L – R): Amanda Smith (Greater Western Water), Deb Fankhauser (Lower Murray Water), Amy Singe (Yarra Valley Water), Briony Rogers (MSDI), Sally Marshall (Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water), Melissa Stephens (Barwon Water)

Absent: Marni Jones (North East Water) and Christina Bassani (Goulburn Valley Water)

Also attending the dinner were the alumni of the 2020 Insight program. These executive women and the male executive peers, who partnered them for the ‘give back to the sector’ component of the program, will be continuing the leadership journey to shape a community of highly visible and impactful leaders. The alumni will focus on fostering a pipeline of leader ready women in the sector and continuing to drive systemic change within their own organisations.

The Leadership Oversight Committee strategically guides the Insight program, which is an initiative sponsored by Minister for Water Lisa Neville to deliver one of the Victorian Government’s contributions in Water for Victoria that aims to improve diversity across water sector executive teams.

The welcome dinner at Williamstown on Monday 4 April was followed by the first of a year-long series of workshops and masterclasses for the 2022 Insight women. The program intent is to achieve ‘within three programs, a critical mass of engaged, informed leaders - both men and women – who are committed to elevating the sector’s performance towards a sustainable future.’

Chair of the Insight Leadership Oversight Committee, Helen Vaughan, Deputy Secretary Water and Catchments Group welcomes the 2022 Insight participants to the program.

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.

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

All nominees are:

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

All nominees, regardless of whether they are selected to join the program, 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 results in a short-list for consideration by the Insight Leadership Oversight Committee.

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

Nominations for the 2022 Insight program closed in late 2021; applications details for future programs will be updated on this page.

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.

Page last updated: 29/04/22