Mentally Sexy Dad was at the Wasties and had this to say about the Pam Keating Award.
I was at the Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) Christmas dinner when the Pam Keating Awards were given out to two young women “wasties” Lisa Coffa and Bronwyn Sutton. Normally the WMAA functions are a predominantly male affair, but in recent years this has changed as the women in the industry come out to support their sisters on this awards night.
I knew and worked with Pam Keating, who the award is named after, for many years. She was a very feisty and engaging woman who took most waste issues by the scruff of the neck and shook them, including the men who might stand in her way! She was tragically killed in a car crash and her death shocked me and the whole waste community in Melbourne. Cheryl Batagol, who is currently the Chair of the EPA and just as dynamic a woman as Pam was.
As a 25 year veteran of the waste management community I recognise the importance of dynamic and creative people in the industry. It is particularly good to see women being encouraged into the sector as in my experience a diversity of views, opinions and life experience is essential in developing creative solutions to waste management problems. Woman are often able to listen to what people need rather than jumping in with solutions in a way that I see men doing less often.
Co-awardee Lisa Coffa works for the Yarra City Council to promote sustainable waste management in the municipality. She has been instrumental in increasing waste recycling and minimisation. Yarra is an inner city Council with narrow streets, housing commission blocks as well as its share of inner city professionals (read not very interested in recycling!). Lack of space is the constant problem to overcome, but Lisa has raised the performance in Yarra to achieve Gold Level in the government sponsored Waste Wise program.
The other recipient was Bronwyn Sutton, who is the Marketing Director of Kenmore DMP, a sustainability and social change consultancy. She tackles the difficult jobs like persuading people in large houses to switch to small garbage bins and reducing contamination in their organics collection service, something that I tried unsuccessfully myself. These achievements require exceptional education skills and persistence, which Bronwyn has.
I’m always excited to see good work acknowledged and this particular evening was no exception. I want to extend my personal congratulations to Bronwyn and Lisa for their hard work, creativity and expertise and hope to see many more women like them honoured in the future.