After five months of hard work, dedication, and commitment to growth, the 2021 class graduated from Water Education Colorado’s Water Leaders Program. These 16 water professionals (click here to read their bios) from across Colorado completed the program on Sept. 24, 2021, bringing the total number of graduates to 205 since the program started in 2006.
WEco’s Water Leaders Program is the premier professional development program for the water community in Colorado and aims to positively impact the Colorado water profession by creating a pipeline of dedicated, effective water leaders across diverse fields who exemplify the four quadrants of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social management. This year Water Education Colorado contracted with leadership development consultant Ashley Seeley of Excellence Advantage to help deliver the program, which proved to be a very successful partnership.
The 2021 Water Leaders class first convened in April, with participants experiencing the first two sessions virtually. In these sessions, the class learned about how self-awareness is key to being an effective leader. The program has a heavy focus on self-awareness, though numerous personality and other self-assessments. It was so rewarding to experience moments of spark as each of our Water Leaders discovered both little and big things about themselves, crafted a leadership development plan, and then began to put their plan into action to become more effective leaders.
The third session was hosted in-person in Salida, where class growth really took off. We took our participants to the next level by shifting the focus to being aware of and managing others. In Salida the class learned skills like constructive approaches to conflict, communicating for impact, and effectively managing those around them. Our Water Leaders began to understand their role in building relationships with everyone from supervisors to employees to friends, family and project partners.
In the final session the class met in Denver where the curriculum came full circle and we started developing a continued path of growth and leadership for each individual post-graduation. This final session focused on how to build high-performing teams, how to be a more inclusive leader, and how to be intentional about their personal and professional growth beyond the program. Our Water Leaders walked away with a map of their existing network, a plan to grow their support structure around them, and a commitment to continuing their growth both as individuals and as a class.
We would like to extend a very big, warm CONGRATULATIONS to all of our 2021 Water Leaders Program graduates! We are inspired by all of the work they are doing to better manage our water resources here in Colorado. The Colorado water community is once again strengthened by another class of Water Leaders, and this class in particular has so much passion and drive to really put in the work after their graduation. We cannot wait to see all of the positive impacts our 16 graduates will make in this world!
It’s important to note that this program wouldn’t be possible without the support of our 2021 Title Sponsor, Molson Coors. They have supported the program financially, providing scholarships for those in need who wouldn’t be able to participate otherwise, and through interacting with the class in a meaningful and impactful way. Hear from Kayla Garcia, Community Affairs, on why Molson Coors supports this program:
“It was a great experience for Molson Coors to sponsor the Water Leaders program. The individuals in the program bring experience from all different backgrounds and regions. It was great to see the representation from around the state of Colorado and hear from the different individuals on how they got started in the field and how this program will continue to advance them in the water industry. We believe is important to support and invest in our Water Leaders as they are our current and future leaders protecting our greatest resource. Water Education Colorado brings together private, public and nonprofit sector to join together to support our Water Leaders during such a critical time for water in the West and continuing to conserve and protect our resources in Colorado.”
For anyone interested in applying for the 2022 Water Leaders Program, be sure to sign up for notifications here to be the first to know when applications are open and to receive other important program updates. Applications will be open from November 15, 2021 to January 17, 2022. The program will run from April through September next year. Official program dates will be announced when applications open.
For questions about the program please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep being awesome!
Stephanie Scott, Leadership Programs Manager
Stephanie Scott is the Leadership Programs Manager for Water Education Colorado. In this capacity she manages the Water Leaders Program and the Water Fluency Program. She has been with WEco for five years.