Women’s Network

We have established a Women’s Network to:

  • Attract women in the water sector to become members of the Institute of Water and, through our engagement with them, retain them in the sector
  • Support women’s careers in the water sector
  • Promote good practice and inclusivity for all across the sector

Our guiding principle is to ensure this programme does not act as a barrier and is inclusive to all.
There is no need to join – all IWater members will be able to access the Women’s Network – but if you have any ideas for activities then please email cdunn2@anglianwater.co.uk

IWater Inspire

The Women’s Network has launched IWater Inspire, aimed at inspiring personal and professional development through exploring the books that have influenced the IWater community. Open to all, IWater Inspire addresses the community need for a personal development platform that allows for as much or as little engagement as you have time for, making it accessible to the busiest of professionals!

IWater Inspire offers multiple ways of engaging and learning:

  • Online and in-person events, such as talks from industry leaders on the books that influenced their career, Speed Book Review events and workshops based on some of the most inspiring books out there.
  • A ‘Book of the Quarter’ where, in every issue of the Institute of Water Magazine, a community member shares a personal development book that inspired their career.
  • An online community where members can discuss books of interest, make recommendations, keep track of events, share ideas for future events and, most importantly, check out the Book of the Quarter.

IWater Inspire successfully launched in June with an interactive and informative inaugural event. Attendees shared why they were interested in joining the community:

“I want to find out which books inspired others…so that I can borrow the best ideas!”

“To create more diversity in my thought processes by reading and hearing new material.”

“To network across the UK!”

Now with a second event under its belt, the Strengths Workshop, the IWater Inspire community is rapidly growing and inspiring more and more water professionals. The workshop was designed and delivered by Natasha Giroux, consultant at Isle and IWater Inspire Founder, and was based on exercises from her recommended read, The Squiggly Career by Sarah Ellis and Helen Tupper.

The workshop took attendees through a series of exercises to develop an understanding of their professional strengths, ending in a ‘Super Strengths Speed Networking’ session. Attendees contributed throughout with insightful reflections and a key takeaway was that it’s easy to reflect on our weaknesses, but development is also about building an understanding of your key strengths. In fact, the ’80:20 rule’ suggests that we should spend only 20% of our time addressing our weaknesses and the other 80% working on our strengths. Attendees left the workshop with a shortlist of ‘Super Strengths’ and a worksheet full of strength-exploring exercises for use in their own time.

Join our online Goodreads community

Be an active member of the IWater Inspire community and join our Goodreads group! Goodreads is a website and app where you can track what you want to read, what you’re reading and what you’ve read, as well as letting you read millions of book reviews and join reading groups. The IWater Inspire reading group is a place for discussing books of interest, sharing book recommendations, keeping track of events, sharing ideas for future events and, most importantly, checking out our Book of the Quarter.

Joining our Goodreads group is very easy: create an account here and search for ‘IWater Inspire’ in Groups to join. We have a how-to video here to guide you.

SDG6 and the Climate Emergency – Contributions from Women Engineers, Tuesday 14th September 12.00-13.00

You are invited to hear what women engineers working in the water industry are doing to address climate change, whilst meeting the challenges of the UN SDG 6 – the strategic development goal which aims to give access to clean water for all.
The Women’s Engineering Society launched their Climate Emergency Group earlier this year led by Sally Sudworth, Global Head of Sustainability & Climate Change for Mott MacDonald. Different teams are looking at different aspects of the climate emergency and the strategic development goals and the water team, led by IWater Vice President and one of the top women engineers in sustainability Jo Parker, will talk about their personal contributions covering carbon reduction in the UK water industry and the environment agency, as well as supporting overseas developments.

Visit https://www.instituteofwater.org.uk/events-info/?id=1449 to book your place.

Ethical Business Regulation (EBR)

On 27th July, Michelle Ashford, Chief Operating Officer at the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) and Claire Phelan, Regulatory Transformation Manager at Scottish Water discussed EBR and what it means for the water industry in Scotland.

If you missed the event or attended and would like a copy of the presentation you can download a copy here.

Womens Utilities Network (WUN) Events

WUN, started in 2018, is a community of women across all utilities who can connect, support, develop and encourage one another. WUN provides a variety events which you can view at https://thewun.co.uk/wun-events/

Member Blogs

Earlier this year we ran a two-day Supporting Women in Water event.

You can read about two of our speakers here:

Shaunna Berendsen, Head of Innovation Engagement at Anglian Water, discusses resilience, work/life balance and the authenticity that has driven her in her continuing successful career.

Angela Nilson, Operations Director at Z-Tech talks about her career, gives top tips on personal resilience and managing that work/life balance.

The Women’s Network is led by a steering group comprising:

Clair Dunn – Chair

Anglian Water

I am a Chartered Scientist and have over 20 years experience in the water industry which is so vital to public health and the environment.  There have been huge steps forward in the representation of women in roles across our industry since I joined but there is still more to be done and so I am really keen to work with the Institute of Water on supporting and encouraging women in their careers in this great industry.

Kara Sadler

Z Tech

I am a Chartered Scientist with 11 years’ experience within the Water Industry. Having worked within varying disciplines during my career, I am eager to help build support networks for women and help them succeed at any role and level within this exciting industry. I am a strong advocate and supporter of the Institute of Water and currently sit as Vice Chair on the Eastern Area Committee.

Natasha Giroux

Isle Utilities

I work with utilities and innovative technology companies to accelerate innovation and foster collaboration. My key passion is bringing people together to deliver meaningful change. As the coordinator of European TAG, an innovation acceleration programme, I facilitate the adoption of innovative technologies within water utilities. Outside of Isle, I enjoy facilitating networking and career development for young professionals through my position on the committee of the IWA YWP Conference and my involvement with the Institute of Water.

Sarah Murray

Affinity Water

I am a Chartered Scientist and work as an Operations Scientist for Affinity Water. I am an Institute of Water Board member where I am the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Champion and jointly lead the Young Persons Network. I have been a member of the South East Area Committee since 2017 and currently hold the role of Secretary. Outside of work, I am a keen netball player.

Lynn Cooper

Institute of Water

I am Chief Executive at the Institute of Water, supported by a small team of four staff and an army of volunteers. I have been with the Institute since leaving Northumbrian Water in 1997, having spent the first 14 years of my career as an accountant. In my spare time I coach athletics where I love helping athletes to be the best they can and to get something from athletics – very similar to what we do at the Institute of Water.

Jo Parker

Independent Consultant

I am a Chartered Civil Engineer and have worked in the water industry for over 40 years. When I first considered engineering as a career in the early 1970s I was told by one contractor that ‘they didn’t employ female engineers’ which was perfectly legal then. That lit in me a burning desire not only to succeed as an engineer myself but also to help other women to take up engineering, which I have maintained throughout my career.

Carmen Snowden


I am a Chartered Environmentalist and Director of Commercial Services at WRc where I work across the business matching client and industry needs with technical expertise, whilst overseeing all the processes that keep the business running smoothly and efficiently! I am an active member of the South West Area committee of the Institute of Water and delighted to be a member of the women’s network promoting an inclusive programme of activities and events that appeal to all our members.

Rachael Picken

Scottish Water

I am a Chartered water industry professional with 9 years’ experience working for Scottish Water and previous experience working within a professional membership body. My current role is as the Investment Appraisal Transformation Manager, working to ensure we make smarter investment choices to generate value for our customers. Outside of work I am a Non-Exec Director for a local community leisure centre and sit on the Scottish Area Committee.