directors program

Directors Program

Water Leaders Forum

Courageous leadership in challenging times – Navigating AI and the Gender Pay Gap

The world is changing, and the water sector with it. We now face increased expectations to not only provide water and wastewater services and care for the environment and the well-being of the communities they serve, but to reduce carbon emissions and ensure services are resilient to disruptions. Innovation will be critical to adapting and growing. As the water sector embraces digital transformation and the integration of artificial intelligence to enhance efficiency and productivity, new challenges will come with these advancements. 
 While we know that diversity and new ways of thinking can help us solve the challenges of tomorrow, the recent publication of gender pay gaps by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency demonstrates that the Australian water sector must collectively continue to work towards fostering a more equitable and inclusive future.

At this year’s Water Leaders Forum our panel of experts will focus on how to be courageous as leaders, truly accelerate action on gender pay equity, adapt to embrace new technologies, and how we can position the water sector as the epitome of industry excellence. This discussion promises to be enlightening and relevant in navigating the challenges and opportunities that face our leaders in this ever-evolving landscape.

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Meet Your Water Leaders Forum Panelists


Corinne Cheeseman (Panel Co-Facilitator)
Chief Executive, AWA
 Corinne is the CEO of the Australian Water Association. With more than 20 years’ experience in the water industry she has held a variety of roles at Sydney Water and the Australian Water Association in water quality analysis; operational and compliance reporting; community engagement; industry programs; and data and analytics.

She is a strategic leader who has successfully championed change and led data and analytics solutions that have reduced risk, increased productivity and improved customer experience. Previously Corinne worked in PwC’s Data Consulting practice with C-suite clients defining and implementing data strategies and transformation programs.

Corinne has postgraduate degrees in environmental science; leadership and management; and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt


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Lindsey Brown (Panel Co-Facilitator)
Australian Market Leader - Water, GHD

Lindsey Brown is a well-known water sector leader and influencer. With a background in public policy and Masters in water regulation, she has contributed to the direction and development of water strategy and policy across Australia since moving here from Canada in 2008.

She has worked in public and private sectors, across three continents, owned and operated her own business, and is now the shepherd of the largest team of water engineers in Australia, as Australian Market Leader – Water at GHD.

Lindsey is an in-demand speaker and commentator on a range of industry issues from diversity and inclusion to innovation and change and can be found appearing in both industry publications and mainstream media. She is a past AWA branch President, founding committee member of WaterAble, and a WaterAid Ambassador. 

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Alex Blauensteiner
Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience Mission, CSIRO

Alex has worked across industry, government and research sectors globally, focused on supporting businesses and governments to harness innovations and technological advances to deliver positive economic and public outcomes. He has held a variety of senior leadership and non-executive director positions in public, private and not-for-profit organisations. Alex is currently assisting two CSIRO-led national collaborative initiatives that seek to 1) build resilience of Australia’s critical infrastructure and essential services and 2) support Australian industries to responsibly leverage opportunities that new technologies such as AI present.


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Claire Braund
Co-founder & Executive Director Women on Boards

Claire is a social entrepreneur and businesswoman based on the NSW Central Coast. She co-founded Women on Boards in Australia in 2006 and then in the UK in 2012 as a result of her 2011 Churchill Fellowship, researching gender balance on boards in Norway, France and the UK. She is a highly respected advocate, facilitator and speaker in the areas of equity and diversity and related board governance matters.

Claire is also a graduate of the former Sydney Social Leadership Program which led to a lifelong interest in affordable housing and related social issues, particularly those impacting women and children.  She uses her expertise in the areas of directorship to large Not For Profit organisations in her region, and is currently Chair of the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music, which is the largest regional provider of musical education in NSW with more than 1,000 students.

Directors Forum

From Mandates to Commitments: Accelerating the Australian Water Sector Towards Resilience  

In an era where ESG principles and SDGs are steering global agendas, the Australian water sector stands poised to accelerate its commitment to responsible practices. 

Continuing on from our Directors Program session on decarbonisation and increasing social value in 2023, our panel of experts will look at how the new climate reporting mandates can not only be met but leveraged as catalysts for positive environmental impact. Nature has emerged as a critical environmental risk for organisations, prompting considerations of corporate impact on ecosystems and 'just transition' social aspects. 

We’ll explore biodiversity as a material risk, uncovering strategies to preserve and enhance the rich ecosystems crucial to our industry's resilience as part of a movement that propels the Australian water industry towards a future where social and environmental responsibility is not just a goal but a shared commitment. 

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Meet Your Directors Program Panelists

Peter Dennis-Landscape

Peter Dennis (Panel Co-Facilitator)
President, AWA

Peter is one of the leading water industry strategists with over 30 years’ water industry experience both in Australia and Internationally. He is an experienced Chief Executive Officer having led Seqwater (Bulk Water Utility for South East Queensland with 940 people) and Armidale Regional Council through major mergers and significant business transformations. He is also an experienced Board Member, being on several utility, industry, and Local Government Boards.

Having extensive experience in utility operations over this period means Peter is ideally placed to provide informed advice on utility strategic planning and execution, adaptive planning approaches, capital decision making, climate change and adaptation, future workforce, managing regulation to secure balanced outcomes and enterprise risk management.

As President and Chair of the Australian Water Association, Peter is seen as a contemporary thought leader in key issues facing the Australian water sector.  He has recently delivered keynote presentations on utility decarbonisation, sustainable decision making for utilities and water resilience to meet climate challenges.

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Mary Kanavoutsos (Panel Co-Facilitator)
ANZ Executive Market Director - Water, Jacobs

Mary is is Jacobs’ Executive Market Director for Water across Australia and New Zealand and is a Non Executive Director of Yarra Valley Water.

Over the last 28 years, Mary has worked in the water sector in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East. She is a recognised and accomplished strategic and business leader who has lead the development and delivery of significant water infrastructure solutions, focused on sustainability and community outcomes.

Mary has worked across both the public and private sector, and has held executive level technical, business and commercial roles, delivering sustainable water solutions for water utilities, the power sector and the mining and resources market.

Mary has a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) Honors degree from University of Melbourne in Australia and is a Graduate Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

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Lucia Cade
Board Member, Urban Utilities

Lucia is an experienced non-executive director and chair with professional engineering and commercial executive experience. She has been involved in the Australian water industry for over 30 years, as a director, executive and specialist engineer working across the sector in water utilities, construction, engineering and professional services and research.

As a non executive director as well as water her portfolio interests include high technology manufacturing, circular economy and recycling, energy transition and engineering. Her leadership focus is creating an environment for business success through encouraging a performance culture, investment in innovative technical solutions and a rigorous focus on customer service

She is a Fellow of the AICD, Fellow of Engineers Australia and Honorary Life Member of the Australian Water Association.

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Ian Hamm MAICD
Board Member, Australian Institute of Company Directors

A Yorta Yorta man, Ian has extensive government and community sector experience, particularly at executive and governance levels. Ian has overseen major policy and strategic reforms for government and community organisations. He works with people from a vast array of backgrounds, managing complex and sensitive relationships to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

Ian chairs and is a member of a number of boards, including the Indigenous Land & Sea Corporation, the Community Broadcast Foundation, Connecting Home, The Healing Foundation, Holmesglen TAFE and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is also devoting himself to improving the representation of Aboriginal people on boards and other high-level governance, through strategic action, advocacy and mentoring.

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Liza Maimone 
Managing Partner, PwC Australia

Liza is a partner of PwC Australia and has been the firm’s Chief Operating Officer for the past four years including finance, workplaces, people, technology and sustainability functions. Liza leads the firm’s sustainability services to clients across all industry sectors and has provided sustainability advisory and assurance services to clients for more than 28 years. Liza is a member of PwC’s Global Strategy Board and was recently the Chair of PwC ASEANZ Consulting, the firm’s regional consulting business.

Liza is a Member of the Australian Accounting Standards Board, Chair of ESG Working Group for the Australian Public Policy Commission, and a Director of Engineers Australia. Liza holds a BEng(Chem)(Hons) and Grad Dip (Energy and Resources) Law. She is a CPEng EngExec and FIEAust, and a Member of Chief Executive Women.