The Water Environment Federation (WEF) maintains diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) as core principles of our organization’s mission. Our members, Board of Trustees (BOT), volunteer leaders and staff together and individually share responsibility to uphold these principles.

We are committed to creating an organization that acknowledges and celebrates our unique differences including education, career background, age, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability status, accent, socioeconomic status, cultural heritage and religion, parental status, marital status, veteran, personality type, political perspective, and all other characteristics of DE&I.

How We Started  DE&I Definitions  What We Are Doing    DE&I Leaders  DE&I MA Resource

How We Started

In August 2019, the BOT established the WEF Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Task Force with a charge to provide recommendations on where WEF should best focus efforts related to the development of a more diverse water workforce. The charter for this group initially was broad but following hours of brave and uncomfortable conversations and research, the Task Force provided the board with over 50 recommendations on how WEF can make a positive impact on the water industry. More importantly, the Task Force recommended that to help the water industry, WEF needed to take a critical look internally first.

In 2020, WEF established a DE&I BOT Subcommittee and House of Delegates DE&I Work Group to consider our organizational strategy, in addition to  a Staff Working Group on Racial Equity for internal efforts. In 2021, the BOT and HOD groups became permanent committees. We are in the initial phases of planning and understand that realizing a more diverse, inclusive and equitable culture is an ongoing journey that will require strong communication and dialogue to create change. We invite you to visit this page often to learn and engage with our DE&I work.

Also in 2020, WEF reviewed and reaffirmed its official Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy.

CEO Action Pledge.pngAdditionally, WEF's Executive Director Walt Marlowe became a signatory to CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™. The CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ aims to rally the business community to advance diversity & inclusion within the workplace by working collectively across organizations and sectors. It outlines a specific set of actions the undersigned companies will take to cultivate a trusting environment where all ideas are welcomed and employees feel comfortable and empowered to discuss diversity & inclusion.

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DE&I Definitions

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not mutually exclusive and the success of one is dependent on the other two. Therefore, these three are intentionally connected. We believe that starting with shared and clear definitions for these topics will enable us to better understand each other and make progress toward our goals.

Read WEF's Policy on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity encompasses the varying experiences, strengths, skills, perspectives, personal characteristics, cultures, and backgrounds represented by and within the WEF community.

A commitment to equity means an environment where everyone has the opportunity and access to realize their full potential, and no-one is disadvantaged because of their group identity or other socially determined circumstance.

The act of inclusion embraces and celebrates the perspectives, voices, values, and needs of each individual to generate a culture where all feel heard, respected, valued, and included in the broader WEF purpose.

WEF has created a series of downloads to help frame the DEI conversation and provide additional context and insights into different aspects of DEI.

DEI Fundamentals   Bias   LGBTQ   Microaggressions   Racism    Inclusive Leadership   Inclusive Moderator Guide   Inclusive Leadership Behaviors     Intergenerational Networking   WHICH COMMUNITY IS RIGHT FOR ME    WEFTEC Exhibitors

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What We Are Doing

Awareness and action on diversity, equity, and inclusion needs to be present in the activities and communications of every organization. WEF seeks to regularly discuss these topics, share our stories, and make progress toward a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizational culture. Below are some selected resources and perspectives on this topic.

InFLOW panoramaThe WEF InFLOW Scholarship Program
The WEF InFLOW (Introducing Future Leaders to Opportunities in Water) program aims to enhance diversity and inclusion in the water workforce.

donate to the InFlow Scholarship

Consider Supporting Two WEF Programs That Engage Young People In Water Science and Occupations
It is critically important that we expose more young people to careers in the water sector, particularly as a large portion of the current workforce is eligible to retire and diversity needs to be dramatically increased to better reflect the communities we serve.

WEF Members Share Thoughts on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Earlier this summer, we surveyed WEF members as part of our critical work to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion both at WEF and across the water sector. Here are the key messages we heard.

Why Does WEF Need Inclusive Leadership?
The act of inclusion embraces and celebrates the perspectives, voices, values, and needs of each individual to generate a culture where all feel heard, respected, valued, and included in the broader WEF purpose.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – Not a Quick Fix at WEF and in Water

Having diversity, equity, and inclusion in all levels of the workforce is vital to innovation and growth in the water sector. We are excited to update you on the work of the WEF Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

Taking a Step Toward Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Within WEF

Workforce development remains one of WEF’s top priorities. We are also working to make sure that the water workforce of the future is one that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.

WEF First Examining How To Build Equity Within

In summer 2020, our nation exploded with outrage at the senseless killings of George Floyd and other Black Americans, calling tremendous attention to the systemic racism and lack of equity that continues to exist.

  Cathy Bailey, Randy Hayman, and Tony Parrot collage Jackie Jarrell, Nikita Lingenfelter, and Stephen Sanders collage   

Conversations on Equity With Cathy Bailey, Randy Hayman, and Tony Parrott
🎧 Cathy Bailey, Randy Hayman and Tony Parrott talk candidly about their experiences as Black Americans working in the water sector and reaching the level of utility executive.

Conversations On Equity With Jackie Jarrell, Nikita Lingenfelter, and Stephen Sanders
🎧 Jackie Jarrell, Nikita Lingenfelter and Stephen Sanders discuss how WEF has responded to the calls for equity for Black Americans and the work of WEF’s Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

Rigos Discusses Disruption, Diversity, and the Water Sector
🎧 Angeliki Rigos, executive director of the Tata Center for Technology and Design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, shared her perspective on advancing disruptive technologies, the role of scientists, and water sector diversity with WEF.

Megan Yoo-Schneider and Donnell Duncan on Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
🎧 Megan Yoo-Schneider, Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Municipal Water District of Orange County and President of Seven Management and Consulting, and Donnell Duncan, Associate Vice President at Arcadis, discuss WEF's efforts to address diversity, equity, and inclusion issues within the organization, among its membership, and across the water sector.

You also can explore a full listing of all news items in the WEF News Hub that are tagged with Diversity & Inclusion. 

Read more about DE&I

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DE&I Leaders

Board of Trustees DE&I Committee

  • Chair: Jackie Jarrell, Charlotte Water
  • Vice Chair: Steve Hamai, Seattle Public Utilities
  • Melissa Baker, South Coast Water District
  • Ralph Exton, Grundfos
  • Anthony Giovannone, Google
  • Melody Gonzalez, Black & Veatch
  • Andrea Hall, Brown and Caldwell
  • Amber Lefers, AE2S
  • ValaRae Partee, Brown and Caldwell
  • Maria Claudia Reed, Multnomah County Drainage District
  • Elaine Samuel, Toronto Water
  • Hugh Sinclair, Arcadis
  • Walt Walker, Greeley and Hansen
  • Stephen Sanders, WEF Board of Trustees
  • Corey Williams, WEF Board of Trustees
  • Laura Herman, WEF staff
  • Jazmin Goines, WEF staff

House of Delegates DE&I Committee

  • ValaRae Partee, Chair/Delegate-at-Large
  • Bill Davis, Speaker-Elect/WEA of South Carolina
  • Ellen Frketic, Chesapeake WEA
  • Peter Garvey, Delegate-at-Large
  • Amy Baker, AZ Water Association
  • Virgil Lloyd, New England WEA
  • Rosaleen Nogle, New York WEA
  • Kelsey Hurst, WEF staff