One year ago, when we left the stability of our corporate jobs to envision and start both Diversion Strategies and WISR, we wanted to make an impact. I told Erin that I felt one way to measure that impact is if I could be recognized as one of Waste360’s 40 under 40 award recipients in the first five years of our business and non-profit’s life.
The idea that we could offer industry expertise and know-how to innovators in the zero waste economy, bridging the gap between the past and future is what started Diversion Strategies just over a year ago. Today we are supporting a list of clients that touch almost every part of the closed loop the zero waste economy intends to achieve.
Supporting the growth of these innovator’s products and services is extremely fulfilling. We often feel we are getting a glimpse of the future as we imagine and discuss the potential application of these innovations into the industry we respect and love.
But, Diversion Strategies wasn’t the only impact we planned to make. We had a concept to disrupt the social networks of this industry that have historically belonged to men. In a relationship-driven industry that has been male-dominated since its inception in the scavenger days, there has been no formal network for women. Until now.
Women in Solid Waste and Recycling, or WISR, is an independent non-profit organization that seeks to support the growth and development of female leaders in the waste and recycling industry.
Once we had the vision, we immediately got to work less than a year ago arranging “proof of concept” networking events to test the waters. WISR held 3 events in 3 major cities in California starting in May 2017 and had over 150 women attend those events. In addition to our in-person attendees, we have a list of over 250 women that have reached out to us from all over the WORLD interested in membership opportunities. It turns out, we were not the only ones who felt the need for an organization like WISR.
We now have a corporate entity seeking 501(c)(6) certification and have a goal of starting our first 3 chapters in 2018. We have just begun working with industry veteran and non-profit superstar Sharon Kneiss who shares our values and vision and will be helping with our formation and growth.
Earning 40 under 40 in my first year as an entrepreneur and philanthropist has been one of the proudest achievements of my career. I understand it comes with a responsibility to deliver on our vision of a network and support system for women in our industry. Women have the ability to take on leadership roles at every level and within every facet of our industry and I intend on supporting you in your endeavors. We are here to listen to your needs and deliver services that meet them.
Earning this award is not a congratulation but a call to action. I promise to use this platform to support WISRs growth so every one that wants to participate in WISR has a local chapter to call home.
If you are a business that is interested in being a founding sponsor of WISR, or if you are an individual that is interested in joining our mailing list please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org