April 6, 2023 — In partnership with Nonprofit HR, a recruitment effort was distributed to more than 10,000 members of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), 12 individuals have been tapped to join three original members on SWANA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Steering Committee for the next 12 months.
The purpose of the 15-member Committee is to provide input and guidance to the Board of Directors supporting development of SWANA’s DEI Initiative and implementation plan.
“We are proud to have a diverse workforce at SWANA. We support and celebrate all resource management and solid waste management employees and members of SWANA across the United States, Canada, and beyond,” said SWANA President Tim Flanagan.
The DEI Initiative is part of a Forward, Together Strategic Plan goal focused on Reframing the Perception of the Industry as Employers of Choice. That goal emphasizes making our industry more appealing to young people and other potential employees who may not immediately identify solid waste and resource management as the industry that will provide them with great, long-term employment.
The Board’s intention is to better understand diversity, equity, and inclusion issues across Association operations as identified by members across Association governance and within chapters and technical divisions, ultimately leading to a stronger, more diverse, and inclusive Association and improved conditions for everyone in the industry.
“Our community spans across North America and supports the advancement of responsible management of solid waste as a resource. The inclusion of diverse groups should be felt throughout the company and industry in everyday experiences and behaviors. We are all in this together,” Flanagan said.
Those appointed to the Committee were selected from 33 extremely diverse applications layering several dimensions of social identity, as well as region, chapter, career level, type of employer and technical sector. The result is an expanded Steering Committee that further represents the unique perspectives and shared commitments of SWANA’s members.
“My personal goal for SWANA’s DEI Steering Committee is to create pathways and accessibility for the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities,” said new Committee member Samantha Winkle. “To make the solid waste industry a psychologically safe space for folks from diverse backgrounds; where they see people that look like them in leadership positions and positions of influence. To ensure that we are creating space for all voices to be heard, respected, and acknowledged for their contributions to the industry and the conversation. An industry where we consider the person and their experience rather than their name, gender, color, or identity.”
The DEI Steering Committee now consists of:
James Law, SCS Vice President, Virginia Old Dominion Chapter, and a member for more than 10 years will join the Committee in July, when Flanagan rotates off.
SWANA also acknowledges the commitment and dedicated work of original Committee member Karen Storry, a Senior Engineer in Zero Waste Implementation, Metro Vancouver, Pacific – BC & Yukon Chapter). Storry stepped down from the Committee in March 2023.
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 10,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For more than 60 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses.