Developing Water Solutions across the largest freshwater ecosystems on the planet

Participants will attend one of the in-person components


SEPT 15-18, 2022




SEPT 30 – OCT 2, 2022


About WIL Great Lakes

Waterlution, and our partners, are pleased to launch WIL-Great Lakes, a capacity building and innovation acceleration initiative involving young water leaders who work across the Great Lakes region from both Canada and the USA (Northern Turtle Island) who together develop new innovations and approaches across the Great Lakes’ region.

The program combines leadership and skills training with technical expertise from Northwestern Michigan College, coupled with community-led on-the-land knowledge sharing to stimulate and accelerate innovative solution-making, with partners in Sault St, Marie, Ontario. 

Core Themes

Innovation teams will create entrepreneurial projects that tackle one of three core themes: 

  1. Water systems monitoring technologies

  2. Fisheries and habitat monitoring technologies

  3. High-Resolution mapping including benthic and LIDAR mapping

  4. Data management, applications, and dissemination


OUR Water in the Great Lakes needs


The Water Innovation Lab, known as WIL, is a front-running, immersive leadership training designed to accelerate collaborative innovation, fast-track global knowledge-sharing and devise new innovations that improve water security. WIL supports emerging leaders and entrepreneurs (19-35 yrs) across water and climate change disciplines to learn and innovate together. WIL develops future water leaders to think holistically, design innovatively, and communicate effectively across cultures. 

WIL Great Lakes takes place within the traditional and ancestral lands of the Anishinabe, Ojibwe and Odawa people and Indigenous youth of all Nations are highly encouraged to apply.

Mentors & Coaches
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In-person Components for Hands-on Learning



The Great Lakes ecosystem is the largest fresh water system in the world and supports the economies & livelihood of people living across Northern Turtle Island in Canada and the US. The scale of these water bodies is so large that managing and protecting them can be a daunting task. At the heart of managing and protecting the Great Lakes is the need for collaboration, sharing knowledge, working together – on both sides of the US and Canadian border – to address gaps, and develop skills of young professionals across water/marine sectors to support resilient communities across the Great Lakes to ensure their protection for decades to come.

With this in mind, participants at WIL Great Lakes will work together to address the following themes:

  1. Water systems monitoring technologies

  2. Fisheries and habitat monitoring technologies

  3. High-Resolution mapping including benthic and LIDAR mapping

  4. Data management, applications, and dissemination

WHO can apply?

Open to young professionals (ages 19-35) living, working or studying in Canada or the USA (Northern Turtle Island). We welcome and encourage applications from women and all genders as well as Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.


Due to the generous support from our partners, there are no fees to attend WIL Great Lakes.


WIL Great Lakes

interactive online training sessions

Participants will gather during 2 interactive online training sessions, where experts will share knowledge on the themes and the WIL community will be developed. 

in-person collaboration trainings

Participants will then be invited to attend one of two in-person collaboration trainings, based on the nature of their Great Lakes innovation project: 

  1. Sault Ste. Marie, Canada – September 15-18, 2022
  2. Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, USA – Sept 30 – Oct 2, 2022

The in-person 3-day immersive trainings are a deep-dive components of the program for skills development, local field tours, traditional knowledge (Sault St. Marie) and extensive technological knowledge, farmers and fisher people, and innovation project development. Each training will be tailored to local expert knowledge, place-base learnings, field tours, and Resource Guests, allowing participants to attend that which is most relevant to their innovation project, and allow for one-on-one mentorship with experts. 

*All in-person programs will only take place if safe to do so in the context of the global pandemic. Adaptations will be made as necessary if gathering is no longer possible. 


1hr Mentorship Meeting
Date TBD

July – August 

Virtual Training Session 1
Skills Training, Networking, Community Building

September 13, 2022
2-hour session 12noon to 2 p.m. EST

Virtual Training Session 2
World Cafe with Expert Resource Guests

September 20, 2022
2-hour session 12noon to 2 p.m. EST

In Person Collaboration

September – October, 2022

In Person Collaboration 

September – October, 2022

Participants will be invited to attend one of two in-person collaboration trainings, based on the nature of their Great Lakes innovation project. The focus of the gatherings will be to explore the  themes through field tours, immersive on-the-land learning, innovation project development & acceleration, and mentorship:

1. SEPTEMBER 15-18, 2022

Sault Ste. Marie & Bruce Mines,
Ontario, Canada  

2. SEPTEMBER 30-Oct 2, 2022 

NMC in Traverse City, USA

October – February 

Virtual Mentorship, Coaching and Prototype Testing 

Project teams will receive extended mentorship for team innovation projects, acceleration of project development, and potentially initial piloting or prototyping (depending on nature of innovation project) of innovative solutions.


Past WIL Participants

“An excellent experience. The ability to meet, collaborate, learn from, and work with various individuals from across Canada and the world made the WIL Global program one to remember. I would suggest any young professional coming up in a water resources-related field take the time to apply and take part in this fantastic program!”
- Daniel F., WIL Global 2020 Alumna
“WIL is a great way to learn how to take a more holistic approach to finding solutions to complex water challenges. I feel that by attending WIL I have learned skills to facilitate discussions on subjects of water challenges in addition to expanding my network of peers in the water sector.
- Jared W., WIL Canada 2019 Alumna
“It was such an amazing experience! I have never seen such an organised program that seeks to develop intellectual and entrepreneurial capabilities for youth while searching for innovative water solutions that benefits our society. WIL Lebanon made me a better researcher, problem solver, public speaker and critical thinker. Thankful for this life changing opportunity.”
- Fatima Zbib, WIL Lebanon 2020 Alumna
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Resource Guests

More amazing guests will be added soon

Will Kitchen

risk taker, innovator, entrepreneur, and doer

Jennifer Szunko

Talent Attractor, Michigan's Creative Coast

Ann Ralston

President, Ralston Consulting Inc.

Aaron Jones

Fish & Wildlife Coordinator

Francis Criqui

Francis L “Tex” Criqui

President of Francis Criqui & Associates

Nick Beadleston

Sustainability Consultant

Elaine Ho-Tassone

Director of Operations, NORDIK Institute

Dr. Erik Emilson

Research Scientist

Brittany VanderBeek

Sustainability Consultant

Chuck Meek

Managing Director, Solve for X, L3C

Theresa Smith

CTO of OLA Filter

Bill Palladino

Senior Leadership Consultant

Sue Roppel

Independent Advisor

Al Everett

SCORE Certified Mentor

Mollie Everett

SCORE Certified Mentor

Jay Meldrum

Director of the Keweenaw Research Center

Greg Terell

Founder and the CEO of LooUQ

Laura Rutkowski

Writer, Editor, Instructional Designer

Russell Schindler


Bradley Matson

Program Manager of Venture Acceleration, Conquer Accelerator

WIL Great Lakes 2022 Team

Karen Kun

President & Founder, Waterlution

Ed Bailey

Director of Operations, Marine Center

Northwestern Michigan College

Megan Cornall

WIL Coordinator

Dawn Fleming

Innovation Lead

Stephanie Pheasant-Recollet

Indigenous Relations Coordinator

Chris McLeod



We encourage you to apply! Tell us about how you’ve been engaged with this topic, and the reviewers will see if you have the right background to be included. This is a young professionals space, and if you really feel you want to be there, put your best effort in. Diversity of experiences adds richness to the WIL program and we encourage applicants that have unique backgrounds.

WIL Great Lakes is open to people working, living, and studying in Canada or the USA, specifically those who work extensively in the Great Lakes region. Unfortunately, we cannot accept global applicants, but sign up for our newsletter and/or follow our social channels as we do host global WILs! 

Yes, participants who complete the program will be eligible for a certificate. 

Please set aside 1-3 hours throughout the summer for mentorship meetings. 

The in-person gathering is an immersive 4 day program with evening activities which are part of the networking. There will be wifi to check email and stay in touch, but the less work you can do during that week the better. This is a professional experience and you will get the most by being as present as possible! 

Beyond the WIL programming there will be opportunities to advance innovation projects, with work schedules created by each project group. 

Yes, sessions will be recorded for you to review afterwards if you are unable to make a session. We strongly encourage you to attend all sessions, as they are collaborative and interactive, and you will get the most learning by being present! 

At Waterlution, speakers and experts are usually referred to as Resource Guests, where the role is to elevate the knowledge and skills of the young professionals participating. If you think you have a strong set of skills to contribute, please email with your background and she will be in touch. 

As a general approach, Waterlution does vegetarian as the base, sometimes adding animal proteins and dairy to fit a variety of people. We do our best to accommodate vegan diets and allergies and would work with you on a case-by-case basis. Participants will be sent a form where those details will be included.

It is our sincere hope that the in-person portion will proceed as planned. The number of people attending has already been adapted to a lower number as a covid consideration. However if something happens beyond our control, we will revisit whether it will happen in person. (But our fingers and toes are crossed!)

Our strong preference is that people can stay the whole time; however, we understand that there can be exceptions and there is space for this included in your application form. It will be taken into consideration.




Megan Cornall