HCWA Leadership Academy Focused on Diversity and Inclusion
With an internal mission to cultivate future leaders within the utility and community, while fostering diversity and inclusion at every level of the organization, the HCWA established a Leadership Academy and graduated its first class at the end of this past year.
The first HCWA Leadership Academy had six graduates from different departments throughout the organization. That inaugural class consisted of Waymon Cody, Travis Jackson, Matt Jenkins, Nikeva Silverton, Chris Walker, and John Wilson. This year, the HCWA Leadership Academy 2023 class has doubled, with 12 Authority employees taking part in the program.
During the year, the Leadership Academy class spends one day each month in a different HCWA department learning how everyone in that department operates. That experience includes a “Lunch & Leadership” session where participants hear from guest speakers about various leadership topics. The Leadership Academy schedule runs from January through October, with a graduation held at the end of the year.
HCWA staff taking part in the Leadership Academy are nominated by their respective Division Managers, and then the Authority’s Effective Utility Management (EUM) Employee Leadership and Development Committee votes to select the top applicants to participate. In addition to reviewing nominees from Division Managers, the Committee also considers those who self-nominate.
The 2023 HCWA Leadership Academy participants include Hunter Parker, Adam Waits, Adam Barham, Michael Bell, Beverly Smith, Michael Dodson, Akilah Herring, Keith Hyde, Sherell Washington, Zach Knudsen, Brandon Dubbs, and Brenda MacDonald.
The purpose of the HCWA Leadership Academy is to identify and develop leaders at the Authority, while expanding communication and cross-training among departments. HCWA Leadership Academy participants discover a wide perspective of all aspects of the Authority and its operations, learn about growth opportunities, and participate in a mentorship program to share their increased knowledge with others.
“Our Leadership Academy is a great learning tool for everyone involved,” says Lindsey Sanders, HCWA Communications and Regulatory Coordinator who organizes the program for the Authority. “The Academy invests in our staff and provides a unique experience for each participant to grow as a water professional.”
HCWA General Manager Tony Carnell notes that the Leadership Academy is an ideal means for cultivating future leaders and managers at the Authority, while encouraging diversity among those nominated and chosen to participate. In addition, “Employee and Leadership Development” is one of the four key focus areas of the Authority’s goals for this year.
“The participants in the Leadership Academy are a manifestation of the work of our management team to identify young professionals in our organization who are performing well and showing signs of growth, maturity, and leadership potential to handle additional responsibilities in the future,” says Carnell. “From the success of our inaugural class last year to the momentum we’ve gained and enthusiasm we’ve seen with this year’s class, the future of the Authority is bright, indeed.”
Captions for photos (top to bottom):
(L to R) Graduates of the first HCWA Leadership Academy Class included Travis Jackson, Chris Walker, and John Wilson, who are pictured with Lindsey Sanders, HCWA Communications and Regulatory Coordinator and Leadership Academy Administrator, and Tony Carnell, HCWA General Manager. Not pictured: Leadership Academy graduates Waymon Cody, Matt Jenkins, and Nikeva Silverton.
The 2023 HCWA Leadership Academy participants include (left to right): Hunter Parker, Adam Waits, Adam Barham, Michael Bell, Beverly Smith, Michael Dodson, Akilah Herring, Keith Hyde, Sherell Washington, Zach Knudsen, Brandon Dubbs, and Brenda MacDonald.
Some of this year’s HCWA Leadership Academy participants take part in a team building exercise.
HCWA Laboratory Analyst Tabby Lee (left) provides an overview of her work at the Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant to Waymon Cody (center) and Chris Walker (right) during their participation in the HCWA Leadership Academy last year.
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