Leadership in the Waste Sector: IWD2024

For International Women’s Day 2024, we had the privilege of sitting down with Lauren Ball, our S.H.E. and Transport Manager here at Kenny Waste Management, to learn from her leadership experiences and insights as a woman in the waste management sector.

As our custodian of Health & Safety excellence within the company, Lauren’s journey from owning her own skip hire business to taking on a pivotal role at Kenny Waste Management is a compelling story of determination and expertise.

Lauren is a 4th generation waste management professional; in her words “waste management has always been in the family.”

Join us as we explore Lauren’s unique perspective and celebrate her contributions to our business and industry, offering inspiration and guidance to women seeking to carve their path in similar sectors.


What is your role at Kenny Waste Management?

My job title is S.H.E. and Transport Manager. I’m the main person responsible for all Health & Safety within the business, including transport compliance and operations in terms of day-to-day management.

You could say I work at the “coalface” of the business, giving instruction to drivers and staff on site.



Please could you tell us something about your work journey, why you chose to work in waste management, and how you got to where you are today?

I owned my own skip hire company before I joined here. At the time, we had a fleet of 14 trucks. The opportunity came to sell my business and become part of Kenny Waste Management and I decided to take it.

Originally, I joined the Customer Services team, but moved to compliance and then transport so as to fully utilise my existing WAMITAB and NEBOSH qualifications.

I’ve delivered toolbox talks, standardised our national compliance management, and taken the business through its FORS Bronze and FORS Silver accreditations.  I have also achieved my Transport Manager CPC and FORS Practitioner training.

As I’m now growing my team, one of the biggest impacts my role has had on the business is reducing our dependency on external consultancies. Because the business has invested in me, I’ve been able to bring a lot of important knowledge in-house, which allows us all to be better clued-up and more responsive.



What challenges have you faced as a woman working in the waste sector?

When I first started working in waste, it was quite difficult to get men to listen to me and follow instructions.

But the biggest challenge has been my age really, especially giving instruction to older and more experienced drivers. However I would say to any woman, working in waste or construction, that respect comes with time.

Have confidence and don’t be shy.



What do you love most about the work you do? (What makes your job meaningful?)

I enjoy interacting day-to-day with drivers and site personnel, building a good rapport and developing our teams.

I get a sense of accomplishment from successful audits and passed inspections, which tells me that we are always working in a positive direction — going above and beyond with regards to compliance and industry best practice.

Above everything else though, I am motivated by the continued safety of all our staff, who return home safe and healthy every day in the same state they arrived to work in.



Can you tell us about other women who have inspired you in your life and professional development?

My nana. I am really inspired by her life and career.

She gained her Class 1 license during the war effort and went into haulage. She stuck with driving her own tipper truck, driving plant, and so on. She drove a 24 tonne, H reg Scammell Routeman, with a tipper body, and also had her own TD-25 dozer.

She always drove a bigger wagon than my grandad.

When my dad came along, my nana kept a travel cot in the cab all while she was running material and muck shifting.

There were a lot of challenges she had to overcome, making headway in such a male-dominated industry. She showed her skill through her driving all while running her own business.



Please tell us something you’re proud of achieving in the past year.

Gaining and maintaining our accreditations. We’ve also introduced “blanket” training sessions — covering important traffic safety for all site and transport staff.

After a local skip company near to our HQ experienced a fatality, we decided to take our training to the next level to safeguard our employees and the public even further.

So far, we have had great feedback and insights from our teams. I am proud of everyone taking the right attitude to the additional training.



What advice would you give to a woman working in the waste sector, or a similar industry?

If you know what you’re talking about, don’t be intimidated. Keep at it, let your confidence build up and don’t be shy.

Try to adapt, engage in banter with the old-school drivers (give it back), and you’ll start to enjoy yourself.

You’ll need to have broad shoulders and be professional, but it’s well worth it and working in our industry can be really rewarding. Don’t be afraid to roll your sleeves up and muck in.





Are you interested in building a career in waste management? Get in touch!


Our current opportunities can be viewed on our careers page.




Kenny Waste Management