Today, we are looking into one of our most valued leaders, Heather Brown, and the important role she plays at MASS Environmental Services Inc.! She answered a series of questions pertaining to her position of Sustainability Manager.
- How long have you been Sustainability Manager at MASS?
I’ve been working for MASS for six and half years. I started out in our Customer Service Department, and have been working as our Sustainability Manager, managing special projects and education for about three years.
- Generally, what does the role of Sustainability Manager entail?
Every day is different, especially since the onset of COVID-19. My primary focus in this role his historically been education, however I also support our Customer Service team on a daily basis in ensuring that we are meeting and exceeding the needs of our nationwide clients.
Education is one of the three key pillars of MASS (which are: Cost Control, Education, and Regulatory Compliance). Education includes the education of our clients which includes things like webinars, educational material, providing support whenever they have questions about their programs, on-site education days, and more. It also includes the education of our community which we aim to do through sharing valuable content on our social media platforms and website. Last, but certainly not least, this also includes the education of our own team. I work closely with other managers to train our staff on what it means to do things “The MASS Way,” and to ensure our staff understand how to help our clients achieve their waste diversion goals.
- What does an average day look like for you?
Every day is truly different, especially now that the pandemic has altered so much of what I do for our team and our clients. However, a general outline includes team zoom meetings on Monday and Friday mornings. We call these our “Town Hall” meetings when every member of the MASS team is able to connect and get up-to-date on what each of us are working on, and where support may be needed. This is an important part of keeping the company culture of teamwork alive while we work remotely. Then, on a daily basis, I meet with the entire Customer Service Team at 2:00 PM to review what is going on with our clients, how our team members are fulfilling their key role as ‘problem solvers,’ and more. Myself and one other manager are on this call each day to provide support and fill in the gaps wherever they may be needed.
Outside of these meetings and providing customer support, I can be found working on a variety of special projects including hosting webinars, designing visual signage, updating our website and social media channels, and a thousand other different projects or assignments that may come up throughout the course of the day!
- What is your favourite part of the day?
My favourite part of the day is connecting with our team members over Zoom. A big part of what makes MASS good at what we do is that we work as a team and draw upon one another’s expertise whenever it’s applicable. When we switched to working from home due to COVID-19, we had to find new ways to stay connected, and using technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams has allowed us to be just as cohesive a unit as ever before. It’s great to see everyone’s faces and hear their voices, and still be ‘together’ despite being physically apart.
- What is your favourite part of your job?
My favourite part of my job is that I get to help other businesses make a difference. So often, people feel like they can’t have an impact when it comes to the environment, because so many of the actions we believe we need to take feel complicated or difficult. That’s what I love about Waste Diversion – it’s very tangible and something we can all actively take part in. When I complete an education session with a client, then hear back from them a few weeks later when they share about the changes they’ve implemented to reduce their waste, it is incredibly rewarding.
- How has the global pandemic affected your job day-to-day and long term?
The biggest change has undoubtedly been working from home. Our team has been working remotely since March 2020 and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. We see this as a responsibility to our community to make the changes and accommodations needed for our team to continue to do their jobs, while limiting our exposure to the public and thus reducing the spread of the virus.
For me, personally, the biggest shift I’ve experienced in my day-to-day is that the needs of our customers have changed drastically as a result of the pandemic, which has meant that I’ve been much more involved in customer service than I had been previously. This has been a great opportunity to work more closely with our team members and I believe we’ve become much stronger through every challenge that’s been presented to us.
- What makes you most excited for MASS’ future?
When I look at how our team has risen to the challenges of the last year that were posed by COVID-19, I am incredibly excited for our future. While it’s been a difficult time period, I truly believe we’ve been strengthened by the fire. When I look at the skillset of our team members and how they’ve been refined by overcoming unprecedented obstacles and dealing with unpredictable circumstances, I am extremely optimistic for what this means in the future. Our team is providing better quality services to our clients than ever before, and when the day comes that COVID-19 is behind us, I can’t wait to see how this takes us even further.
- Do you have any advice for someone pursing a leadership role in the environmental services industry?
I think it’s really easy to hear the words “Environmental Services” and get a little starry-eyed. That’s understandable, because when it comes to the environment, most of us have an image of hugging trees and spending your days in nature. But while those are admirable pursuits, it’s important for someone entering environmental services to be prepared to get their hands dirty and to the very real and tangible work that is required to make a difference. I encourage people to do a lot of research about the many, many different industries that fall under ‘environmental services’ and keep an open mind as you research what each of these are about. While “Waste and Recycling” may not sound glamorous, it is an industry that has a huge impact and is incredibly rewarding, provided you are ready to work hard. And remember – that hard work, will definitely be worth it!
Overall, it is clear that Heather plays an extremely important role in all aspects of MASS Environmental Services Inc.! Be sure to check in for more exciting staff posts!