“Shared purpose clearly drives our team focussed on delivery of our front-line services. They are all Mothers, Wives, Daughters, Sisters and Aunties – each bringing a valued uniqueness to their role within our business. Thank you for being involved and always ‘Choose to Challenge’.

International Women’s Day 2021”

The Women of the TOMRA Cleanaway Network

International Women’s Day is a global celebration focused on the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Significant also is that International Women’s day highlights a call to action for gender equality.  As an organisation, TOMRA Cleanaway has more female staff than male, not the norm for a business under the umbrella waste industry!

It is with great pride that through this article we can celebrate just some of our women by presenting a snapshot of their personal stories. TOMRA Cleanaway’s women come to work each day with a spring in their step and sense of joy. Shared purpose clearly drives our team focussed on delivery of our front-line services. They are all Mothers, Wives, Daughters, Sisters and Aunties – each bringing a valued uniqueness to their role within our business.

Thank you for being involved and always Choose to Challenge.

International Women’s Day 2021

Vesna Davidovic, Network Development & Compliance Manager – TOMRA Cleanaway

 I am hugely motivated by being a leader within an organization that is achieving positive environmental impacts whilst shaping behaviour change for the next generation. I am privileged to be able to do this in a business that has a fantastic culture that is founded on collaboration and shared goals.

A proud Australian of Serbian heritage, I cannot top being able to share my experiences in the beautiful Australian environment with my family. COVID-19 has not impacted my desire to see as much of Australia as I can! The pandemic has enabled it!

If I had to pick one woman from history I admire and would love to meet, I would want to meet Isidora Sekulić. Her contribution to culture and community in Serbia as a front runner in academia set a pathway for Serbian women to follow. Something that women today in Serbia are lucky to be able to reflect on.

In the future, I am looking forward to continuing to work with our organisation to build upon current activities to strengthen our position ahead. I will continue to see as much of Australia I can, on foot, by bike and by car and spend time with my wonderful family.


Lily Brooks-Pope, Administration & Customer Service Office – TOMRA Cleanaway

 After leaving the hospitality industry I found an opportunity at TOMRA Cleanaway’s call centre, then an internal opportunity came up enabling me to specialise in administration and customer service. I am now coordinating account managers, logistics for regional and metro customers and handling escalations from customers.

I love this role because it is always changing — always evolving — and I get front row seats watching the process of a simple idea grow into a state-wide business. Every day is different, and it is a constant adventure.

I’d advise women looking to enter this industry not to be afraid to ask questions, as the important thing is that you are learning. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes either, the more mistakes you make, the faster you learn – as long as you’re paying attention. Reach out and be a resource to others who might be struggling or need some encouragement too – sometimes the best way to understand a topic is to teach it to someone else. As long as you’re pursuing work that lights you up, everything else will follow.

 I’m inspired by Christina Tosi [founder and owner of Milk Bar]. She inspires me to not be afraid to have an unconventional dream and to constantly ask myself, what will make me happy?


Michelle Mandl-Keating, Communication & Engagement Manager – TOMRA Cleanaway

 I have been privileged to have a twenty-year career in sustainability and waste to reflect on – every day I have gone to work, I have been able to go with a purpose and know I am delivering value for environmental and social good as well as building a business! That is really motivating. At TOMRA Cleanaway, the pride I take from our service delivery each day is immense. The fact our business is achieving such change at scale is incredible.

I started my career as an environmental educator delivering real-world experiences to K-12 students that complemented their in-class curriculum learning. Standing in paddocks, next to rivers and lagoons calling out “COOEE” at the top of my lungs to gain the attention of 70 fifteen-year-old students is not something I have done for a very long time but was one of the highlights of my early career! I do not take for granted my working environment now! Working with children is no more inspiring than what I do now though. I am still planting the seeds of behaviour change, just on a larger scale and making use of a different methodology!

My children are considerable drivers for me in my daily life. I have always attempted to live by example, following the messages I deliver for work – involvement in the container deposit scheme has been an extension of my choice to live a relatively low waste and sustainability-focused lifestyle. Inspiring my children to be the best humans they can possibly be will always be my goal.


Heather Sandberg, Partnership Team Manager – TOMRA Collections Solutions Australia

 When I heard that TOMRA was planning to launch conveniently located Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) into the Australian market, it sounded like an area where I could really make a difference. When I got the role, not only was I able to participate in launching an innovative business and technology into a new market, I was able to be part of a scheme that was making a crucial environmental contribution. It’s a great feeling to wake up each day knowing that you are playing a vital part in a catalyst for change.

I’d advise any woman entering the industry to build knowledge around the subject matter and network within affiliated communities – attend industry events, conferences and talks, take time to learn from those that are already established. Be sure to get involved where you can, volunteer in the market area and show others what you’re made of.

The woman who inspires me most in my career is Naomi Simson, founder of Red Balloon. She had an idea and believed in herself enough to know she could make it work. She started alone with a small savings account, started slowly, built a team, educated herself, opened her mind to influential others and created a successful business.


Elizabeth Berron, Leading Hand – CDS Metro Branch – Cleanaway

I love the diversity of my role. No two days are the same. I love the team that I work with, they are great people and it makes working life a lot easier when you are surrounded by supportive individuals who encourage a happy and safe working environment.

I love that I am a part of something so amazing and big, in creating a renewable and green future. I really believe in what we do and what the company stands for. Cleanaway is always finding ways to keep ahead and provide what is needed for a more sustainable future. This is so important for me as I look at it is a better life and future for my daughter, who is my world.

I started with TOMRA as an administration officer in October 2017 – the role grew rapidly along with the scheme and in December 2018 I moved to my current position as a leading hand.

I would advise any woman looking at entering this industry to DO IT!!! What was once thought to be a male-dominated environment has changed.

For me, a strong, inspirational female is a woman who urges others to do something to better themselves and the people around them.


Madeleine White, Service Centre Supervisor – TOMRA Collections Solutions Australia

Back in 2018 when I began working for TOMRA I could see that recycling and technology was an ever-changing industry and I wanted to learn more – two years later I am still motivated by this!

Working in the service centre, where we remotely monitor the TOMRA recycling machines, I get to interact with a lot of different people which I love. I am proud to be at a company that is reducing the amount of plastic, cans and glass that is sent to landfill each year in Australia.

It is inspiring to be in an industry that is changing the way we see waste and that promotes the up-cycling and reuse of materials.

I believe women should pursue any job they are interested in, no matter what traditional gender norms tell us. I would advise other young females not to be put off when applying to work with a team that is made up of predominantly men – all industries and teams benefit from diversity.

My biggest female role model growing up has been my mum. Mum has always worked hard to pursue her passions and career goals and took no note of people who believed she should spend more time completing traditional home-maker related activities.


Sally Conlon, Operations Supervisor – CDS Post Collections – Eastern Creek Container Sorting Facility – Cleanaway

I started working as a casual at Cleanaway’s Eastern Creek Container Sorting Facility in February 2018 after the birth of my youngest child – I had bills to pay and family to feed! After a few months, I become a team leader and after 18 months and lots of hard work, I am now the operations supervisor for the facility that processes all lightweight material from across NSW’s Return and Earn network.

I immediately loved working at Eastern Creek. I love that finally, we are lessening waste going to landfill. I also love the physical nature of the job, even when my body didn’t at first! We are also working in a very fast-paced environment. It’s always exciting.

My advice to women looking to enter the industry is go for it. Warehousing, waste and recycling and driving heavy machinery are not just for the men – women do it just as well, if not better!

My mum most inspires me because I have seen how hard she worked to provide for my brother and sister and I, and that was not easy. I think I get my strong work ethic from her.


Joanne Fisher, Service Manager – TOMRA Collections Solutions Australia

As the Service Manager at TOMRA Collections Solutions Australia, I manage a team of technicians responsible for maintaining and repairing the Reverse Vending Machines (RVM’s) and bulk sorting machines in New South Wales and Queensland. This all actively diverts waste from our streets, oceans, river systems and landfill, and contributes to making Australia a more sustainable country.

I come from an operational background, working for large transport and logistics organisations. My previous roles have been managing Field Technicians where I enjoyed the challenge of motivating and leading large teams, and in turn, they motivate and challenge me to be my best.

I think it’s important for everyone to follow their dreams and work in an area that interests them. Traditional gender-defined roles are quickly becoming a thing of the past. It’s important to encourage girls to follow their interests and to present opportunities for them to learn about engineering, science and other typically male-dominated areas.

My grandmother has been a hugely inspirational figure for me, and lived until she was 102! She was committed to contributing to her community throughout her entire life. She received numerous awards, including the OAM, and was made a life member of the Red Cross, Country Woman’s Association, and Meals on Wheels.