PAWF Speaker Spotlight: Women in the Water Industry

Vivian Futran Furhman, PhD, Mairead Helmes, Kendra Morris, Diana Swindler
May 12, 2023 at - | Virtual via Zoom

The Penn Alumni Water Forum and the Water Center at Penn will present a panel of alumni working in diverse industries to discuss the impact that water has on their work. Panelists will speak about their career paths and how their time at Penn led them to where they are now. This informal conversation will touch on best practices in sustainable water use, water’s impact on equity, water quality, water scarcity, and more. Following brief presentations from our panelists, the audience will have the chance to ask their own questions of our panel. 

Questions we will address include:  How is water used sustainably in your industry?  Where is the water sourced, and how does it impact the surrounding communities?  Describe best practices on water use and reuse? How can students better prepare to address water challenges in their careers?  How did you become interested in water? What is the number one thing we can do to conserve water?



Vivian Futran Furhman, PhD, Assistant Director, Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

Dr. Vivian Fuhrman has spent nearly two decades working on environmental and health initiatives at the intersection of science and policy, including roles as an environmental consultant, researcher on trans-boundary water threats, national authority on consumer waste management, and steward of a prestigious energy center’s corporate affiliates program. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Duke University, a master’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and a certificate from the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. Vivian completed her Ph.D. in Environmental Risk and Policy from Ben Gurion University in Israel, using risk assessment to determine the health and policy implications of emerging contaminants in the aquatic environment. As Director for Policy and Programs at the Product Stewardship Institute, Vivian helped state and local governments, pharmacies, hospitals, law enforcement, and others work together on safe disposal of leftover medications and other household waste streams. Today, Vivian is Assistant Director for External Partnerships at Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. In this role, she connects stakeholders from the private and public sectors with Princeton researchers working on energy technologies, emissions reduction policy, decarbonization of the economy, water/energy nexus, and cleantech innovations. Facilitating cooperation between groups that share a stake in environmental challenges is the cornerstone of her long-term goals.

Mairead Helmes, Senior Consultant, Amane Advisors

Mairead Helmes. Penn, MES 2019 is a Senior Consultant with Amane Advisors, a global management consultancy and advisory firm focused on the water industry. She works out of the US office in Philadelphia and has been with the firm for more than two years. In her tenure with Amane, she has consulted on over 20 projects across the water sector advising a range of companies from industrial to commercial on market dynamics and how to strategically plan for the future. Outside of work, she has volunteered with the Global Water Alliance, the Water Center at Penn and the Ocean Exchange. She holds an MS in Environmental Policy from the University of Pennsylvania.

Kendra Morris, President Northeast Region, Veolia, North America

Kendra F. Morris, President of the Northeast Region – Municipal Water for Veolia North America, partners with municipal leaders to bring sustainable and resilient water solutions to our communities. At Veolia, she leads cross-functional teams to protect the public health of our communities and facilitate economic development through reliable water infrastructure.Kendra’s background is in infrastructure investment in environmental, social and transportation public private partnerships.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science and a Master of City Planning both from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in New Jersey with her four sons and husband.



Diana Swidler, Managing Consultant, South Pole

Diana is a sustainability professional with an international profile and working experience in a variety of professional fields, including renewable energies operations, renewable energies research (especially solar energy and hydrogen), energy policy analysis, natural capital services, and sustainable management. She works on the implementation of sustainability strategies that enable the inclusion of environmental and social considerations in business operations. Diana is a graduate of the MES Program of the University of Pennsylvania class of 2020.