At Cleanaway we’re proud of how our workforce has grown across Australia, welcoming team members from all places and walks of life. On International Women’s Day we’re taking the opportunity to shine the light on just a few of the many women in our business who contribute to our success. We interviewed six women from around Australia, representing all levels and many of the different roles in our company. Our interviews revealed a wide range of journeys and experiences that led to joining Cleanaway, but a consistent passion for continuous improvement, team work and making a difference.
Sharyn Elphinstone – Group Shared Services Manager, based in Queensland
I’ve been at Cleanaway for just on four years. My career has always been in finance, starting in external audit with one of the big 4 accounting firms while completing my degree part time. After a 12 month break backpacking overseas I settled in at TNT in an internal audit role (mainly because it came with a car) and from here moved across various finance roles and projects to General Manager of Accounting.
In late 2012 I joined Cleanaway and packed up my things to move from Sydney to Brisbane for an exciting next step in my career as Group Shared Services Manager. As someone who had been very comfortable where I was, this was big change! I haven’t been disappointed and love the challenges and opportunities that I find every day at Cleanaway, not to mention the people I work with. There is great team spirit and I have a real sense that we are making a difference. The main thing that keeps me going is the opportunity for change and always striving to do things better.
The transport and waste sectors are typically very male dominated industries and there have always been challenges – but I have seen a lot of change. I have been given many opportunities throughout my career, and I have always been supported to succeed.
Catherine Dwight – Senior Health and Safety Business Partner, based in Victoria
I started with Cleanaway 18 months ago after several years working in safety in retail and warehousing. I chose Cleanaway because I was looking for a new challenge in my career and I knew Cleanaway would have a completely different risk profile from what I was used to. I went from ergonomics and manual handling to vehicles and heavy machinery, so it was definitely a change of pace!
I didn’t choose Health and Safety as a career – it chose me. From my first job I knew immediately that I wanted to be a voice for frontline team members, advocating for safety and helping people understand the why behind the policy and procedure. It may be corny but I’m genuinely passionate about making sure everyone goes home safe.
I’ve always worked in male-dominated industries but I enjoy the dynamic. We may not always agree on everything but respect is earned through genuine engagement, and taking the time to listen and make sure everyone feels heard. To me it doesn’t feel like gender is a factor at Cleanaway – if you’re willing to work and willing to learn then there’s a place for you here.
There’s an enormous amount of pride at Cleanaway for our history, for what we’ve achieved and for where we’re going. I want to be an integral part of that progress. Safety is something that’s never finished and I’m excited about the direction we’re going in.
Angela Pavlovic – Environmental Scientist, based in New South Wales
After graduating from university I started my career as a laboratory technician analysing environmental samples. Since joining Cleanaway I have come across to the other side of the fence, undertaking most of my sampling in the field. Every day is different with activities varying from environmental site assessments, to project management, to site supervision. It’s fast paced and we’re responsible for delivering on customer expectation from conception and planning through to roll out and implementation.
I enjoy building meaningful relationships with clients and colleagues to deliver successful outcomes. I work hard, play hard, and travel a lot for work. There are some real characters along the way which makes work life more fun amongst the grind involved in any busy workplace.
I think there is an international day to celebrate just about anything, so having March 8 internationally recognised as Woman’s Day is profound. Women deserve to be part of a more inclusive, gender equal world, and their achievements acclaimed. Nature cannot thrive without woman, just as it cannot without man.
I will have been with Cleanaway for six years this July and I’m looking forward to continuing to develop my skills, moving into the next stage of my career, and hopefully managing a team of my own.
Bhavna Torul – Branch Manager, Malaga, Western Australia
After completing a Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety at RMIT University in Melbourne I moved to Adelaide and began with Cleanaway as a Health and Safety Advisor. After several years in Health and Safety, and a move to Perth, I had the opportunity to move into operations as MRF Manager – and I jumped at the chance. In 2015 I became branch manager for one of Cleanaway’s largest depots, Malaga. I’ve now been with Cleanaway almost ten years, and recently completed my Masters in Business Administration at Curtin University.
Working for Cleanaway has offered me many opportunities, diversity in roles, recognition based on merit and unparalleled support. Cleanaway is an employer of choice in my eyes. I have achieved much personal and professional growth and I am looking forward to the next opportunity and challenge that presents itself to me within Cleanaway.
For me the biggest issue for women in the workplace is pay inequality and lack of career growth opportunities once they start a family. I hope one day both are eradicated and International Women’s Day is no longer necessary to highlight gender disparity in the workplace.
Donna McIntyre, Operations Supervisor, South Australia
When I joined Cleanaway 9 years ago it was a big decision for me. I took a pay cut and completely changed industries but I knew I was starting with a company that would take me forward. I started as a Customer Service Officer and slowly worked my way up to Customer Service Team Leader and now Operations Supervisor.
My favourite part about my job is working closely with our teams to help people, work through problems and resolve issues. Residents are so passionate about recycling and waste services and I love being able to engage with them and deliver a great result.
I do notice that I’m a bit out-numbered from a gender perspective but it doesn’t bother me and I feel I’ve thrived in the operational environment. I’ve always been part of great teams and I enjoy working with our drivers, sales reps and other team members to get the job done.
One thing I love about working for Cleanaway is that the opportunity is there for whoever has the right attitude. We give people a go. I started with no experience but I’ve worked hard and I’m always up for a new challenge, the chance to learn something and to continuously improve.