Photo Credit: The Lavin Agency

The Opening General Session sets the tone for the conference that draws thousands of water quality professionals from around the world each year.

Watch the Opening General Session live HERE!

This year's kick-off event will feature a keynote presentation from Dr. Lera Boroditsky, an Associate Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of California-San Diego and founding editor-in-chief of Frontiers in Cultural Psychology.

Dr. Boroditsky will bring a unique perspective to the topics of workforce development, diversity, and inclusion by sharing her research into how differences in language can shape the way we think, perceive, and respond to each other.

By learning to recognize and overcome potential biases, communication nuances, and preconceptions, water professionals can improve how we work together, mentor each other, and recruit new talent into the water sector. 

The program will also feature a local welcome from Commissioner and President of the Metropolitan Water District of Greater Chicago Kari Steele and remarks from 2018-19 WEF President Tom Kunetz, retiring WEF Executive Director Eileen O'Neill and the new WEF Executive Director Walt Marlowe.

Other highlights include a preview of the soon-to-be released documentary, Brave Blue World and an inspirational performance from Musicality, a renowned Chicago-based group of young performers from various backgrounds who blend their power vocals into harmonic sounds and thrilling performances.