Brendan Moore has been awarded the Water Services of Australia Association’s inaugural Ross Young scholarship for his leadership in promoting diversity in the water sector.
The Yarra Valley Water engineer was also recognised for establishing a Pride in Water Network across Australia’s water industry.
Pride in Water is an initiative that seeks to create a more inclusive water industry specifically for LGBTIQ+ staff, contractors and customers so that all LGBTIQ+ staff feel safe, included and valued.
Currently all 19 Victorian water corporations, together with VicWater and the Department of Environment of Land, Water and Planning, have shown their support for Pride in Water, with a number of interstate water bodies keen to become involved.
Mr Moore said that his drive to co-create the Pride in Water Network together with fellow Yarra Valley Water employee, Jacquie Moon, came from his own experience working in the engineering sector and the lack of formal support networks for LGBTIQ+ staff.
“I love my job and the exciting challenges it offers, however throughout my career at different organisations, I have felt the need hide my sexuality or tolerate homophobic remarks for fear of limiting my career or ruining my reputation,” Mr Moore said.
“I registered with a national program to get an LGBTIQ+ engineering mentor and was told that at 29 I was the most experienced engineer they had, and they asked if I could mentor younger engineers. I then realised how important it is for LGBTIQ+ role models to be visible and how an initiative like Pride in Water could really benefit other people like me in the water industry.”
Mr Moore will use the $5,000 grant from the Ross Young Scholarship to further hone his leadership skills and to build Pride in Water’s reach in the engineering and water industries across Australia.
Yarra Valley Water Managing Director, Pat McCafferty, said that the Pride in Water initiative goes to the heart of Yarra Valley Water’s values as a diverse, accepting and supportive workplace.
“Building a positive culture where everyone feels accepted and valued no matter what their race, gender or sexuality is the cornerstone of a successful workplace,” Mr McCafferty said.
“Brendan’s achievement and drive in growing the Pride in Water Network across Australia is inspirational and something that I hope more industries and businesses get on board with.”
To find out more about Pride in Water, visit prideinwater.com.au.