DENVER – The 2023 recipients of the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) Diversity & Inclusion Award are Nicole Brown (individual winner) from Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, and Toho Water Authority (organizational winner) in Kissimmee, Florida.

The award recognizes an individual, group or organization that has created and maintained diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) by establishing an environment that recognizes and effectively utilizes individual talents.

Brown, client development manager at Suburban Consulting Engineers, has held DE&I positions within companies, non-profits and professional organizations as well as leading community outreach efforts and speaking to children in schools and spiritual spaces. She advocates for DE&I, communicates the need for more people of color to join the water industry, and explains how people of color can actively engage in the policies and programs that impact their environment.

She created a casual network for women of color in the water industry called “SISTEM.” The name plays off the word “system,” which is by definition “a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole,” but focuses on women of color (SIS) in the STEM field.

As an organization, Toho Water Authority is committed to creating, promoting and sustaining a diversity and inclusion program that ensures its workplace is an environment where all customers, community members and employees feel they belong. This includes creating safe and timely opportunities for honest dialogue, using effective communication strategies, and expanding policies and practices that reach all employees and ensure all feel welcome.

AWWA supports diversity and inclusion as being essential to the growth, structure and continued success of any organization.

The awards will be presented during AWWA’s Annual Conference & Exposition.