Business Development Manager at Veolia
WMRR NSW Young Professionals Chair

What does International Women's Day (IWD) mean to you?

As a young woman in the waste industry, International Women's Day holds profound significance for me. I am deeply grateful for the strides made by previous generations, which have allowed me to thrive in a more inclusive environment today. This day is not just about celebrating the achievements and contributions of women worldwide; it's also an opportunity to acknowledge the progress we've made in breaking down barriers and challenging gender stereotypes within our industry. International Women's Day serves as a poignant reminder that despite our advancements, women still encounter numerous challenges, including limited representation and unequal opportunities. It underscores the ongoing need to champion diversity, empower women, and foster a supportive environment where everyone can thrive.

What challenges (if any) did you face as a woman entering the industry? How did you address them?

As a woman entering this industry, I encountered several challenges, one of which was the perception that certain aspects of the field were traditionally male-dominated, especially given my background in STEM. However, I quickly realised that my passion and dedication to making a positive impact outweighed any gender stereotypes. I focused on building my knowledge and expertise in waste management practices, technologies, and environmental regulations. Seeking out mentorship opportunities and connecting with other women in the industry proved invaluable. They served as role models and sources of inspiration, providing me with invaluable insights, guidance, and support. Through mentorship and networking, I gained the confidence and resilience needed to navigate my path in this industry. I learned that by embracing my unique perspective and skills, I could contribute meaningfully to projects and initiatives, challenging stereotypes and paving the way for future generations of women in the field. 

How can we encourage future female leaders both generally and within WARR?

I firmly believe in fostering the growth of future female leaders, not only within our Waste and Resource Recovery (WARR) industry but also across various sectors. It all begins with raising awareness. By promoting education and awareness about the multitude of opportunities available in WARR, we can highlight the diverse career paths and the significant positive impact they can have on our environment and future resources. Mentorship and support play pivotal roles in empowering women to excel in any industry. As someone who has personally benefited from mentorship with remarkable female leaders in WARR, I advocate strongly for this approach. Hosting more events and programs where current female leaders can mentor and support aspiring women in WARR is essential. By sharing experiences, insights, and advice, these mentorship opportunities can provide invaluable guidance to future female leaders, helping them navigate their career paths with confidence.

What advice would you offer a young woman considering a career in WARR? 

The WARR industry is far more than just waste management. By embracing sustainability, circular economy principles, and cutting-edge technologies, you have the power to shape a brighter future for our planet. What makes this industry truly exciting is its dynamic nature, with new technologies and practices constantly emerging. This constant evolution presents endless opportunities for innovation and creativity in waste and resource recovery, allowing you to be at the forefront of transformative change. I highly encourage young women to explore careers in this field and join a growing community of changemakers dedicated to environmental stewardship and making a positive impact. Together, we can drive meaningful change and create a sustainable future for generations to come.

Connect with Cecilia.