Anna and Rose: Women in water paying it forward


Mentor: Anna Parker – North Central CMA
Mentee: Rose Jackson – Corangamite CMA

Rose Jackson (mentee) and Anna Parker (mentor) participated in the 2023 Waterway Management Emerging Leaders Program. Here are some of their reflections from their mentoring journey.

Emerging Leaders Rose Anna 2

Why did you sign up to the Waterway Management Emerging Leaders Program?  

Anna – I’ve been very fortunate to have had some wonderful female managers that have demonstrated different styles of leading throughout my career. I’ve been guided by them and mentored by them and learnt from the example they set. Part of my why for taking part in the Program has been to ‘pay it forward’ to Rose. I want to help smart, passionate women in natural resource management find their voice in a room where water politics and those that may think they know more or have a loud voice can dominate.

As Simon Sinek says, “leadership is a practice, it is ongoing”. The Program has given me the opportunity to learn new tools for leading, to practice my leadership skills and gain confidence in myself as a leader.

Rose — This year I took on a new role at the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) that involved delivery of water for the environment to the Upper Barwon River. I have a background in citizen science, science communication and volunteer management so this was a new area of work for me, and I was keen to learn more from someone who had experience in the field. I’m also someone who loves trying new things and meeting new people, so The Program was very appealing to me.

Anna mentoring Rose by getting her to pull the boat! Just kidding, Rose offered.
Anna mentoring Rose by getting her to pull the boat! Just kidding, Rose offered.

What did your mentoring partnership look like?

Anna — Rose was working on the Upper Barwon River, managing the environmental water entitlement. There were a few issues with managing the water entitlement which Rose was needing some help and advice on.

Rose — We had online catch ups every couple of weeks. Some days we talked about the Upper Barwon River, other days we talked about the daily workings of a CMA and other days we just talked about life outside of work. A highlight was taking a trip up to North Central CMA and spending the day with Anna and her colleagues exploring the Ramsar listed Gunbower Forest. A day in the job I will never forget.

What impact did the mentoring partnership have on you and the project you were working on?

Rose — Throughout this program I’ve felt like I have had my very own coach. Anna isn’t on the field playing the game with me every day, but she has been there to reassure me from the sidelines. I’ve been able to share stories of when things don’t go to plan and stories of when I’ve kicked some goals. Often after a catch up with Anna, I felt very reassured. Anna has been a great sounding board for ideas I had and was able to give me a lot of direction when thinking about what I need to prioritise when making every drop count in the Upper Barwon River. This has been particularly valuable when planning ahead and thinking about funding applications.

Rose and Anna graduating from the Program in 2023.

What is next for you two?

Rose — At the beginning of this program we were all asked to share why we do what we do.  At the first workshop I said, “love of nature from a young age”, “adventure” and “I enjoy problem solving”.  After working with Anna and reflecting a bit more, I would like to add one more, “connection”. I really enjoy meeting new people, hearing their story and building good relationships to get good outcomes for people and the environment.  Now that I have realised this about myself, I am now trying to find ways to build connection into the work that I do. This includes face to face meetings where possible, dedicating time to get to know people that I work with and finding out their “Why”.  Connecting with people is something that I enjoy, so if I can build this into my job and get good outcomes for the environment, I’m more likely to have a career that is sustainable.

I’m also looking for ways that I can pay it forward both within the CMA I work for and within the network I now have in the water sector. With time, I hope to be able to share the wisdom I have gained with someone who is looking for some guidance.

Anna — Keep our partnership going!

Apply Now for 2024!

Applications are now open for The Waterway Management Emerging Leaders Program in 2024. The Program is a structured mentoring program focusing on improving the on-ground delivery of current Victorian riparian restoration projects. This Program provides an opportunity for the most effective approaches to be shared and adopted between all those working in waterway management across the State.

Apply Now