| Transformative Water Leadership Academy launches second cohort
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Transformative Water Leadership Academy launches second cohort

Building on last year’s successful introduction, the Transformative Water Leadership Academy (TWLA) has launched its second year of programming for an enthusiastic new cohort of 49 emerging water leaders from the United States and Canada.

TWLA participants tour Atlanta's National Center for Civil and Human RightsThe 10-month leadership program is offered jointly by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and WaterNow Alliance to provide training for water professionals to support sustainable communities. 

The first virtual session met in January, followed by an in-person workshop in Atlanta Feb. 28-March 1 (see video). Participants (pictured right at Atlanta’s National Center for Civil and Human Rights) represent regions across North America and work with drinking water, wastewater, stormwater management, and water reuse. 

“The TWLA and similar water programs are important in that they bring together water professionals to capacity build,” said Haley Williams, training and workforce development lead with Charlotte Water in North Carolina, who participated on a panel at the TWLA workshop in Atlanta.

“These programs create a larger networking opportunity to learn from and with peers ingrained in water across the nation and tackle both current and future water priorities,” she added. “If we are truly going to embrace the One Water philosophy, then we are all in this together and our greatest strength is collaboration.”

Haley WilliamsDiversity is a key attribute of TWLA. Nearly a third of this year’s participants are from small water systems, 44% are female and 44% are people of color. Most members of the cohort have three-to-ten years of experience in the water sector in a variety of areas including administration, conservation, public affairs, engineering, and operations.

“Water systems are only as strong as their leadership and workforce,” Williams said. “Diverse people bring their unique experiences, ideas, and approaches with them that improve problem solving ability and innovation within the industry.”

Over the course of the training, participants will collaborate and learn through 10 additional virtual sessions and several virtual small group meetings. In September, each member will present a capstone project at their final small group meeting, followed by an in-person graduation in October.

Financial support for one participant is being provided through a Water Equation (WE) One Operator scholarship. WE also provided travel scholarships for four participants to attend the first workshop.

The 2025 cohort application period opens Aug. 1, 2024. The program is also seeking sponsors and volunteers to mentor and coach emerging leaders. More information is available on the TWLA resource page.