Ned Breslin has been a nonprofit leader for over three decades and has a distinguished career of implementing impactful programs across the globe. Starting in 1987, he has worked on water and sanitation development throughout Africa where he helped organizations grow, improve and measure their results.
A former CEO of Water for People, a water and sanitation nonprofit that implements and tests unique implementation models in 11 countries around the world, Ned was best known for “Everyone Forever” which led to scaled full coverage models in multiple districts, in multiple countries across three continents, and the monitoring work he pioneered that led to the understanding long-term impact in new ways.
He strongly believes that new approaches are needed, thoughtful risks need to be taken and sector practice needs to be brought into greater light so that good work can be better understood; and work that does not transform lives highlighted as well so that mistakes and poor programming are not scaled.
Ned is a prolific writer and advocate, who contributes regularly to several publications and journals including Forbes, Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Huffington Post, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy. He has spoken at several high-profile events including TEDx; PopTech; Social Innovation Summit; South by Southwest (SXSW); and social Good Summit, among others. Ned is a 2011 winner of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.
Ned received a bachelor's degree in government from St. Lawrence University and a masters from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.
Jo is a natural scientist with a PhD in environmental biotechnology and a Master of Research in innovative manufacturing, both from Cranfield University in the UK. She has 20 years of experience in research, development, and deployment of new technology and know-how in the area of sustainability, especially water and energy efficiency and resource recovery, and has spent 17 years of her career working in South Africa.
Jo joined Isle Utilities in 2019 where she heads up their South African business. She is responsible for assessing, selecting and championing new tools and know-how to enable the water sector to adapt to the changing climatic and regulatory circumstances.
Prior to joining Isle, Jo worked at the South African Water Research Commission for ten years and managed approximately 140 research and demonstration projects in three portfolios during that time: Drinking Water Treatment Technologies, Sustainable and Integrated Industrial Water Management, and Mine Water Treatment and Management. Her role included providing strategic direction in these areas by harnessing the assistance of the necessary expertise and experience to build consensus regarding needs-driven research, development and deployment of new know-how and technologies, and involving technology developers, technology users, and the regulators in co-creating innovations that worked in the real world.
Jo is a member of the International Water Association (IWA), a member of the Royal Society (South Africa) and a Senior Fellow and past Board member of the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA), where she served two terms as Chairman of the Board. Jo was also one of four members of the institutional review panel to the Australian federal government regarding the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence in 2016. Jo was the founding president of the joint IWA / WISA South African Young Water Professionals, and a representative on the IWA Young Water Professionals Communication program. The SA YWP is now an established professional association which is 12 years old, and its members number in the thousands.
A full time academic for almost a decade, Jo is still an active member of the research community. She is associate editor of the journals npj Clean Water (Nature Partner Journals), Water Science and Technology (IWA Publishing) and Environmental Technology Reviews (Taylor & Francis).
She is an external examiner and grant reviewer for universities and science councils in South Africa, the UK, the USA, Australia, Botswana, and Mexico.
Jo’s research has received nine professional awards from organisations such as the Royal Academy of Engineers, Society of Chemical Industry and Institute of Chemical Engineers, and she has published over 100 journal articles, books, conference proceedings and research reports
Chris has three decades of experience in global health and development, he began his career as a US Peace Corps volunteer, assisting women’s groups in Kenya to establish small businesses. Afterwards, he worked with CARE for 10-years, designing and managing livelihood security relief and development programs in Bangladesh, Sudan and Madagascar.
Over the next 15-years, he honed his entrepreneurial skills in Madagascar, starting and operating businesses focused on public health research, municipal governance, water service delivery and specialty coffee. Through these ventures, Chris managed a clinical trial for the treatment and diagnosis of human plague for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and established several public-private partnerships with Municipal governments for water resource management and service delivery.
Chris also founded and operated a business that produced and marketed specialty grade coffees through a direct farmer-to-market relationship with clients in Japan and the US.
Most recently (2013-2020) Chris led the Safe Water Strategy at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which aims to accelerate the coverage of reliable access to safe and affordable water for communities, healthcare facilities and schools in six sub-Saharan African countries – Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, and Uganda. In practice, it incentivizes development partners – government, private sector and civil society – to collaborate more effectively with one another to design, test and implement different approaches for systems strengthening and water service delivery to all residents at the district level.
Chris holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina and a Masters of Public Health in Economics and Health Systems Management from Tulane University.
Sophia has held numerous senior management positions in her long and distinguished career. This includes the Lesotho National Development Corporation as the CEO, Deputy Chief Executive of the multi-million-dollar Lesotho Highlands Water Project of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority and CEO of the Millennium Challenge Account-Lesotho where she managed a US$362.55 million contract between the Government of Lesotho and the US government (MCC). She was also instrumental in the initiation and formulation of the Lesotho contract with MCC where she served as the Project Coordinator under the Ministry of Finance. Following Lesotho’s eligibility for a second contract with MCC, the Government of Lesotho appointed her as a Coordinator for the development process.
Sophia has won numerous awards including the prestigious MCC Country Ownership Award and the Lesotho Institute of Accountants’ Presidential Award for excellent service. Lesotho’s King Letsie III also appointed her to be Commander of the Most Loyal Order of Ramats’eatsana.
She has a strong financial background including serving as the chairperson of Nedbank Lesotho Board of Directors, as Director of the Central Bank of Lesotho Board of Directors where she also serves as a member of the Bank’s Audit Committee and, besides being on the Board, she serves on the Finance Commission of the Christian Council of Lesotho.
She holds a Bachelor of Commerce Honors Degree from the University of Manitoba, Canada (1980). In 1984, she joined the Center for Accounting Studies where she lectured in Financial Accounting, Business Mathematics and Data Processing. She was appointed to the position of Deputy Director from 1987 to 1989.
Dennis has an extraordinary career working with utilities in the developing world and for multiple high-profile stakeholders from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the World Bank. He has also led numerous ground-breaking projects in the sector. Currently, he’s the Chief of Party of the USAID funded e-WASH project assisting water utilities in Nigeria. Prior to that, and his work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he was Chief of Party of USAID’s SUWASA (Sustainable Water and Sanitation for Africa) program based in Nairobi, Kenya, which was aimed at promoting sustainable water sector reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Before joining SUWASA, Dennis was a Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist and the urban team leader of the Water and Sanitation Programme -Africa (WSP of the World Bank) where he worked on the different approaches to serve the urban poor whether by utilities (i.e. establishment of pro-poor units, water re-selling, delegated management approaches, and social connections) or other sustainable mechanisms.
Dennis is the former Managing Director of the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company, Zambia. He also previously held the post of Managing Director of the Water Utility Partnership for capacity building in Africa (WUP).
Dennis has a PhD on economic regulation of water and sanitation services in Africa, an M.Sc. in Civil Engineering and a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering.
Winnie is a Civil Engineer with a Masters’ Degree in Water Services Management from UNESCO-IHE in Delft, The Netherlands. She is also a Certified Project Management Professional.
She has over 14 years of experience in water utility advisory services. Prior to engaging in consulting work, Winnie worked as a full-time advisor to urban water utilities in Uganda. Her work involved elaborating reform policy recommendations, developing strategic approaches for small towns’ water services management including pro-poor service delivery. She was fundamental in developing policy frameworks on water utility asset management and small towns’ performance management.
Winnie has experience in monitoring and evaluating performance of donor funded programs, regulation of utility services, technical aspects of water services provision including water loss reduction methods, management information systems, and vocational training for artisans.
For most of her career, Winnie has been involved in water sector reform processes. Most recently, she was the Deputy Team Leader for a comprehensive investigation into the most effective way of reorganizing water services’ delivery in Uganda.
She has also worked on assignments in other countries including Rwanda, Somali-Land, South Africa, Netherlands; and she has received regulatory training at the Public Utility Research Center in Florida, USA.
Richard Noth has over 40 years’ global experience as a management and financial advisor. He specializes in institutional development, finance and public private partnerships of utilities and infrastructure in developing and transition countries, in the fields of water, wastewater and sanitation. He directed 22 development projects and advised governments in 25 countries on the range of management and other factors supporting sustainable water utilities.
He offers extensive experience in developing strategies, designing activities and financing infrastructure development programs, water projects, sanitation programs, including notably determining tariff systems and structures and investment implementation strategy for pro-poor service delivery.
Richard has developed and strengthened regulatory frameworks, such as developing the framework South Africa implemented for the monitoring of its Water Boards and that Saudi Arabia adopted for regulating its water utilities. His proven experience in determining utility restructuring and privatization options includes analyzing options for Public Private Partnerships as well as build-operate-transfer schemes for water and sanitation services. He evaluated the economic feasibility of infrastructure capital expenditures and investment projects, including financial due diligence assessment and identification of investments, always founded on the requirements for their sustainability. He has authored and co-authored over 40 publications and speaks three languages.
Richard has a Master of Public Administration, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1973 and a BA, Labor Management Relations with concentration in Industrial Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, 1968.
Karen is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer and Registered Professional Engineer with a Master’s Degree in Business Management from Texas A & M University. She holds a Class 1 Wastewater License and is a Water Environment Federation (WEF) Fellow. She has 30 years of experience in the water industry, having started her water career at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality as a senior environmental engineer.
For the past 25 years, Karen has worked at Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew), the water resource recovery facility serving the City of Alexandria, Virginia and parts of Fairfax County. Since 2005, she has served as chief executive officer.
During Karen’s tenure as CEO, she led a repositioning of AlexRenew from passive treater of water to sustainable utility and enthusiastic community problem solver, ensuring AlexRenew engages with its community in innovative and meaningful ways. For instance, as part of a capital program to address enhanced Chesapeake Bay regulations, AlexRenew created a neighborhood destination from an industrial area by incorporating amenities such as a regulation-size multipurpose field and LEED Platinum Certified Environmental Center with educational lobby into the planned wastewater infrastructure.
Karen is currently overseeing a significant program to address Alexandria’s combined sewer overflows. The program involves construction of a network of deep tunnels and sewers that will capture almost all of the overflows and send them to AlexRenew for treatment. It will also incorporate stream restoration, a public art program, and extensive community outreach.
Throughout her career, Karen has been devoted to mentoring women in the water industry, workforce development, and industry leadership. Karen founded and leads the Women’s Water Network for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) and continues to develop and mentor a number of existing and future women water leaders.
To support the water workforce of the future, she oversaw the creation of the AlexRenew apprentice program and partnerships with two local organizations to provide internships to underserved, high ability high school students.
Karen has held board roles for a number of organizations, including the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) and WateReuse. She has published or presented more than 50 educational papers and talks, and received multiple awards for public service and innovation.