About the WPLA Program

The Water Professionals Leadership Academy is a yearlong class that starts and ends at the annual KY/TN Water Professionals Conference. Through a rigorous application and selection process, a group of sixteen cohorts are chosen to participate in six two-day sessions to learn about themselves, the water sector, and to challenge each other to excel in leadership, communications, and other industry-leading topics. 

The program began in 2017 as a way for the Kentucky/Tennessee American Water Works Association (KY/TN AWWA) and the Clean Water Professionals of Kentucky & Tennessee (CWP-KT)  to help new leaders expand their network and, in turn, expand the industry we all love.

Cost of enrollment is $850 per participant, which includes full conference registration at WPC. Participants and their home organizations are responsible for all transportation and lodging costs for the six sessions and WPC.

WPLA Session Descriptions

Session 1: Intro/Self Reflection
October 17-18, 2024 | Bowling Green, KY

You must know yourself before you can change the world. In Session 1, cohorts learn about their personality type and how they work with other types. Each participant is challenged individually and in groups with hands-on obstacles and team building activities.

Session 2: Leadership Styles
November 14-15, 2024 | Chattanooga, TN

We’ve all experienced natural leaders who often know the right thing to say, or we’ve worked with leaders who seem more forced or performed. In this session we explore the various leadership styles to help each cohort understand their style and how they can thrive alongside the various styles, generations, and backgrounds. Leadership styles and personality types are brought to the surface with problem-solving activities. 

Session 3: Industry Perspectives
February 20-21, 2025 | Louisville, KY
The Water Sector is constantly changing and challenges all of us to flex and grow as new generations of eager professionals put their stamp on the world. In this session, we invite some of the best and brightest minds in the industry to share their perspectives and experiences with the class. 

Session 4: External Communications
March 20-21, 2025 | Nashville, TN

It’s not what you say, but how you say it. This session is all about how we, as professionals in the Water Sector, communicate with our family, friends, clients, and members of the public. Regardless of a person’s role in their organization, everyone has a story to tell.

Session 5 Internal Communications
April 17-18, 2025 | Lexington, KY

In multiple studies, communication, or vision, is often noted as the greatest individual attribute of leaders. How we communicate with others in our industry can set the tone for the work produced and future professional relationships. This session explores the softer skills of communicating with others in the workplace, as well as recruitment challenges and workforce retention that we face in our industry.

Session 6: Finance
May 15-16, 2025 | Knoxville, TN

Water is a valuable commodity that many people take for granted. Regardless of a person’s role in the water sector, finances play an important part in what we do. This session focuses on the value of water, budgeting for projects and operations, and how to apply these tools to real-world case studies.

WPLA Informational Webinar

Are you interested in applying for the 2025 class of the KY/TN Water Professionals Leadership Academy but want to know more?

View the webinar (was live May 23), it provides an overview of the program as well as detailed information regarding the application process.