You are the first appointed external advisor to the Water Europe board. Could you tell us what drives you personally to have this role at Water Europe? What do you want to achieve?
My driver is the wish to support Water Europe to innovate and create value for the society in line with its “Water Vision”. This role is an unmissable opportunity: take stock of experience and knowledge to provide advice on strategic matters and help solving a range of complex challenges Water Europe may face, with a fresh open mind.
There is evidence that diverse boards perform better. I will bring a part of diversity due to my profile that is different from the WE Board of Directors.
I believe that being an ‘external’ advisor is a privilege and the ‘first’ appointed, is a challenge. I hope to pave the way for other external advisors and demonstrate that together we can make a difference.
Given that you are bringing 25+ years of experience in the EU arena, which specific areas of your experience and expertise do you consider the most important in your current role at Water Europe?
My last 28 years were dedicated to policy making and implementation of research, innovation, and legislation across a wide range of sectors, creating innovation ecosystems with all players. I covered advanced manufacturing, materials and nanotechnologies, transport, marine and maritime, space and security, science in society, environment, circular economy, water, bioeconomy, chemicals, and plastics.
However, when I see myself in, WE, I feel that my value results from a global view of policies, holistic approaches but also a systemic view of innovation, of tradeoffs, impacts and interconnections and the capacity to create bridges between sectors, initiatives and stakeholders.
I also have also a solid track record on gender, integrating gender dimension in policies and developing programmes for women entrepreneurship. This gender expertise is a major asset for the board.
Water Europe aims to build a Water Smart Society. From your point of view, which actions shall we put forward to make this happen and how do see yourself contributing to the implementation of this vision?
The concept of building a Water Smart Society is excellent. It may be accelerated by digital and green tech, and it deserves to be followed, ‘measured’ and communicated. It has all the necessary ingredients to succeed. However, success is not only a result of technologies, but it is mainly created and owned by people. To me, reaching and engaging people is key. All initiatives aiming at improving the awareness of the value of water and its impacts, involving younger people, showing cases and stories are useful. Are people aware of the’ hidden’ water in materials, textile, food, chemicals etc?
I am already impressed with the existing Living Labs. These are activities with a purpose that I cherish and support.