Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) maintains diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) 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.

WEF Commits to Valuing Unique Identities

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.

DEI Resources  DEI Leaders  WEF Demographic
  How We Began  DEI News  DEI at WEFTEC

WEF InFlow

This program aims to enhance diversity and inclusion in the water workforce.

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More about WEF InFlow Program

WEF's DEI Leaders

Board of Trustees DEI Committee

  • Chair: Jackie Jarrell, Raftellis
  • Vice Chair: Andrea Hall, Brown and Caldwell
  • Melissa Baker, South Coast Water District
  • Kari Fitzmorris Brisolara, Louisiana State University
  • Ralph Exton, Grundfos
  • Anthony Giovannone, Google
  • Melody Gonzalez, Black & Veatch
  • 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
  • Steve Hamai, WEF staff
  • Laura Herman, WEF staff
Contact WEF President Aimeé R. Killeen

House of Delegates DEI 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
Contact Steve Hamai, WEF Senior Director, Culture and Belonging

WEF Demographic Dashboard

From this point forward WEF will share selected demographic information on the Board of Trustees, Community Leadership Council, and staff with a future goal to include the House of Delegates.

Tracking and sharing this data regarding our leadership is a noted best practice among many sectors and companies, including government organizations. We will add to and update this dashboard in the first quarter of every calendar year.

For questions, please contact Steve Hamai, WEF Senior Director of Culture & Belonging (shamai@wef.org).


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Dashboard data was obtained from the US Census (2020), WEF’s Member Database (2023) and WEF’s Human Resources Office (2023).

DEI 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.


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.

How We Began

In August 2019, WEF initiated its DEI work through the formation of the Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. This task force provided over 50 recommendations for improving diversity in the water sector and stressed the importance of internal reflection.

In 2020, WEF took further steps by establishing a DEI Board of Trustees Subcommittee, a House of Delegates DE&I Work Group, and a Staff Working Group on Racial Equity. In 2021, these groups were made permanent committees, solidifying the organization's long-term commitment to DEI.

In 2020, WEF also reviewed and reaffirmed its Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy to ensure an inclusive environment.

DEI News

Awareness and action on diversity, equity, and inclusion need 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.

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Words on Water #243: What Does DE&I Really Look Like And How Can The Water Sector Support Everyone

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