Women in Water | Hye Yeong Kwon

March 8, 2024
Hye Yeong Kwon, CEO of the Center for Watershed Protection, shares insight into her career in honor of Women's History Month.

March is Women’s History Month, and specifically, March 8 is International Women’s Day. To celebrate, Stormwater Solutions reached out to women in the water industry to reflect on their career paths, discuss critical issues facing the industry and share advice.  

In this Q&A, learn more about Hye Yeong Kwon, the CEO and executive director of the Center for Watershed Protection.  

SWS: Why did you follow a career in water? 

Hye Yeong Kwon: As a fan of science and nonprofits, I knew I wanted to pursue a career where I could make a difference. The opportunity to work at the Center for Watershed Protection has been perfect for me. I have really gained my passion for water and watershed through working at CWP. Water is magic (I think Loren Eiseley said something to that effect) and the substance in every part of life form on earth. Water and watersheds are worth protecting and worth my time. 

SWS: What is the best part of your current role? 

Kwon: Helping to advance the state of watershed management has really been the most rewarding part of my job. While I don’t do many projects myself anymore, working with a group of super- talented individuals who share the passion for water and watersheds makes it enjoyable. I have an immense amount of respect for my colleagues, and I really enjoy brainstorming with them and coming up with ideas to make things better for the world and implementing them. 

SWS: What is the most important issue facing the industry and how can we address it? 

Kwon: I do not know if I can think of just one. I do know that climate resiliency, agriculture, energy, capacity and equity are some of the important issues that the water and watershed industries faces today. CWP has been slowly addressing some of these issues, but it will take a lot more work from us and others to address it. In general, I wish more people were aware of and took steps to reduce their own impact on water and watersheds. I think that is something that the water industry could advance more. 

SWS: What advice can you give to other women in the industry? 

Kwon: YOU GO GIRL! For a long time, there were so few of us. I am encouraged by more women in the industry, and I hope it continues to grow. 

SWS: What piece of media (books, T.V. shows, movies, podcasts, etc.) has had the greatest impact on you in the past year? 

Kwon: My favorite tv series was “Queen Charlotte.” Shonda Rhymes is brilliant. “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” regularly. Is it bad that it is one of my primary sources of news? 

About the Author

Katie Johns

Katie Johns, editor-in-chief of Storm Water Solutions and Water Quality Products, graduated from the University of Missouri in 2016 with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. Johns joined the Storm Water Solutions team in September 2019. Johns also helps plan the annual StormCon conference and co-hosts the Talking Under Water podcast. Prior to entering the B2B industry, she worked as a newspaper reporter and editor in Sarasota, Florida, and a magazine assistant editor in the Chicago suburbs. She can be reached at [email protected].