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Celebrating TOP Talent 2022 “Empowering Women in the workplace”

Date: 7 March 2022 | Category: Meet the Team

At Safetykleen, we aspire for all our employees to reach their full potential. We work hard to ensure we have a fair and equitable business that empowers women to develop within the company. Training and networking opportunities also enhance the gender diversity of our workforce.

Research published by the Office of National Statistics established that women still face a “massive gender bias” in the UK workforce “around 95 per cent of receptionists, legal secretaries and care assistants are female in the UK, while 82 per cent of all CEOs, 92 per cent of chairpersons and 73 per cent of directors are male, men continue to be far more likely than women to be in leadership roles across all sectors”.

With that in mind, we spoke to some of our employees for some insightful views surrounding the theme #breakthebias. See below for some of the stories our employees have shared. Highlighting their individual experiences in the industrial cleaning and waste sector, spanning roles such as regional sales managers, customer support leaders, and branch managers.


Womens day

Elizabeth Park: Customer Service Team Leader Montrose

Elizabeth started here in October 2018 as the CSTL. She has been in various roles for the past 30 years mainly focussing on customer service although for the past decade Also, working more with compliance so this role was the first time that she had taken on caring for compliance without a direct team to look after the details and report information back to her for our customers. It has been a steep learning curve but the team here in Montrose almost all-male are wonderfully supportive and I thoroughly enjoy my job..



Womens day

Caroline Povey: Regional Customer Retention Manager Chester

Caroline started in Safetykleen in September 2013 as the Branch Manager at Chester Branch.
She joined the Retention Team in March 2020 as Regional Customer Relations Manager.
She was the first female Branch Manager and was lucky enough to enjoy huge success at Chester and won the Advisory in 2015. She couldn’t have done this without the support of the fantastic team at Chester. Prior to Safetykleen, she has always worked in either Sales or Customer Service for some large multi-national companies.
“Safetykleen is the best company I’ve worked for and I love my job and find it very rewarding. The best part of working at Safetykleen is the people, everyone is friendly, Supportive & work as a team”.



Womens day

Stacey Shaw: Customer Support Team Leader Kleenwaste

Stacey started in 2007, her role was in telesales. It was her first proper full time job really. A year later she moved into the Business Support Unit working with our key account teams and it’s customers.
Throughout the years she has only ever worked in customer service within Safetykleen.
She now works for the Kleenwaste division assisting customers in arranging waste collections and ensuring our branches complete them in a timely manner. Recently I’ve been promoted to team leader. My aim is to ensure the delivery of our customer services are second to non..



Womens day

Jade Bernard: Regional Sales Manager, Scotland/North East Stirling

Jade started in January 2020, as Sales Service Manager, she was officially appointed as Branch Manager in January 2021 and then promoted to Regional Sales Manager in December 2021



Womens day

Carly Fleming: Territory Sales Executive Chester

She started on her birthday 26th July 2021 as a Territory sales executive. She is enjoying every moment of progressing and being a part of such an incredible and supportive team and she is looking forward to long her future with Safety Kleen.



1.Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

CF: International Women’s Day is so important to celebrate all the women in history who have made working equal for us and more careers possible for us. They have paved the way for a better future for women. I feel extremely lucky to be able to choose any career I wished while growing up.
CP: I think it’s so important to celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness about women’s equality. Throughout history, women have shaped and transformed our world we live in culturally, socially, and politically. I am so lucky being a woman in the UK, but even today women are still oppressed in some other countries.
JB: Woman had to fight for the right to vote and for equality, I think it is important to celebrate international women’s day, as an appreciation to all the women who fought to make these changes possible.
SS: It’s a chance to come together, celebrate and recognise the amazing contributions of women.
EP: I’m not sure that ‘celebrate’ is the right word for me. It’s absolutely important to think about the challenges that have been faced and overcome in order for women to be able to be at work and be successful in our chosen careers. It is sad that women in other places don’t get to contribute as much as I feel we can here in the western hemisphere.

2.Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?

CF: Honestly, I can’t say I have. With these women in history paving the way for us to have an easier ride into our careers. I think I’ve been quite lucky in workplaces who make a point of celebrating women in business and making sure we feel equal.
CP: Luckily, I haven’t faced any. But I honestly think if you work hard & stay focused you can achieve anything and be anything you want to be.
JB: When I initially joined the business, I think the team wondered why the company had employed a woman from cosmetics to take on the role of SSM. They had a pre-conception of what I would be capable of with in the role and expected me to last a month. The main way I was able to overcome this was by gaining the respect of the team, I would go out and help the engineers service the machines on a daily basis. I would never ask my team to do anything I would not do myself. I implemented structure and change, which brought the team together.
SS: To be fair no. Safetykleen has always been great and has helped me grow within the business I’m thankful to everyone within SK that has helped me.
EP: I’m fortunate to have experienced very little in the way of actual barriers, I’ve always thrived on a challenge so when I’ve come into a situation where there is a potential issue – perhaps at the start of a new position with the more ‘condescending colleagues’ who have felt that they know better simply because they are male – I’ve had at the same time a super manager who have pushed me forward outside of my own comfort zone and together we’ve proved the doubters wrong.

3. What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?

CF: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” This quote has always been used in my family and it’s worked for all of us. It doesn’t matter to me whether you are the CEO of a company to an intern, I will always treat every single person with respect. I will always listen and take any advice on board no matter who it has come from. At the end of the day, we are all human and it doesn’t matter what point in your journey you are. If you treat people, the way you want to be treated you will always get that returned.
CP: Be yourself.
JB: Always reach for the stars, you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
SS: Within work and life really, mistakes happen its how you learn from them to ensure they are not made again.
EP: No question is ever stupid – but you will be stupid if you don’t ask it and never learn the answer.Work to live don’t live to work – we need a life outside of work to keep us fresh and balanced.

4.Do you think that your role is traditionally associated with the male universe?

CF: The role I am currently in now, Yes. I’m a Territory Sales Executive and for a long time it was heavily associated with men, especially working with industrial parts washers and chemicals. Now I am the only girl on my team but the amount of support i receive is incredible. They don’t see me any different from them and will always offer to help and vice versus. The day I joined the company they spoke about wanting to have more women in the business and spoke about some of the incredible women already in the company. I truly am blessed to be part of such an incredible team who want to do more for women in business.
CP: Yes, originally it was. I think some people were surprised to see a female Branch Manager.At the time I joined there was very few women holding senior/management roles within the business.I am really pleased to see that SK has forged forward and myself and my fellow female colleagues are smashing it in a variety of roles across the business !!!
JB: 100%, When I stepped in role of Branch Manager, I was the only female branch manager at the time within the full company. The company is now much more diverse and there are a lot more women in leadership roles throughout the company.
SS: When I first started it did seem very much male-oriented but through the years I’ve seen more and more women join doing all kinds of different roles. Safetykleen has lots of successful women working within the business and everyone is supported equally.
EP: Possibly it could be seen that way however when you look closely at the tasks that make up the role there are a mix of male and female tasks needed so there is a nice balance here.

5.Any woman that you admire or inspire you and why?

CF: My Mum. She is the most incredible woman I know. She has been working since she was 13 years old. She has never been without work and sometimes working 2-3 jobs at a time. She was a single mum for my younger life, and I never sensed a struggle from her. She just got on with it to make sure I had nothing to worry about growing up. Speaking to her now, I realise how much she struggled but I never saw her stress or worry. Her work ethic is incredible still to this day at 57. She is one of the most caring women I know, and she will always help me succeed. For that I am forever grateful to have such an inspirational woman in my life and I can call her my mum.
CP: The Queen – WOW what a woman ! It doesn’t matter what your thoughts are on the monarchy this is one strong lady.
She was crowned at the age of 25 after losing her dad and has endured almost every life event thinkable during her tenure on the throne and has done it with strength and dignity.
JB: My Mum, she was a single parent when she went back to university and is now an advanced nurse practitioner. She was told by numerous members of the family and friends that she was taking to much on, with two young kinds and working part time to continue to pay the bills, the consensus was that she would never succeed. She proved everyone and achieved her goal!
SS: No one particular, any women that can hold a career, be a parent and embrace it all inspires me.
EP: I’ve worked with some absolutely amazing women over the course of my career but those who inspire me most are the quiet humble women who know what they need to do and just get it done regardless of the issues they face in achieving their task.

6.Why do you choose to work in Safetykleen and take this path? And what advice would you give to inspire to young women thinking about their careers?

CF: I choose to work for Safety Kleen mainly because we are ONE TEAM. No matter where you are in the team everyone is treated with respect and if you ask for help, they will do all they can to help you. No matter their seniority.
I have worked for a couple of global companies, and I have never felt support like this before. It feels more like a family than a business team.
I truly do hope to have a long career with Safety Kleen. I am extremely happy here and always willing to learn to get me to that next step.
CP: The reason I work at SK is the people. I have never worked with such a diverse and amazing group of people who show true determination and dedication every day. My advice to young woman thinking about their careers is have confidence in your passion and abilities.
JB: I chose Safetykleen as the position advertised at the time sounded like a good fit for my knowledge and previous experience, coming from cosmetics background it was heavily focused on targets and KPIs. I didn’t realise at the time that Safetykleen was so complex and male orientated. This position offered me the challenge I had been looking for. There were times where I though, this isn’t for me, but I stuck in and within 2 years have been promoted twice. The advice I would give is, be yourself and if you work hard enough, the hard work always pays off.
SS: I started Safetykleen when I was 20 years old and if I’m honest I wasn’t planning on it turning out the way it has. 15 Years later I’m still here and have seen the company change in many ways. The people I work with/ have worked with have helped me grow in confidence and become a team leader. So never start a job thinking its temporary. You never know how far you will go!
EP: Safetykleen have been around now for 50 years so they have strength in their history. They understand the market we serve and aim to do the best for our customers. Safetykleen don’t discriminate between men and women – if you are keen to progress and happy to work to achieve your goals they will help and support you find your place in the company. As a company we have a continuing commitment to reducing the environmental impact humans have on the environment and this is very important to me, we all share one planet.

Quotes from our women team

Bringing to our minds that females who inspire our daily activities and have an outstanding contribution in their roles in different areas.

“Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Never give up.

Carly Fleming : Territory Sales Executive Chester

Work hard & stay focused you can achieve anything and be anything you want to be. Be yourself.

Caroline Povey Regional Customer Retention Manager Chester

Always reach for the stars, you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

Jade Bernard: Regional Sales Manager, Scotland/North East Stirling

Within work and life really, mistakes happen its how you learn from them to ensure they are not made again.So never start a job thinking its temporary. You never know how far you will go!

Stacey Shaw - Customer Support Team Leader

If you really want to have a career don’t think is this a man’s job or a woman’s job. Take the time you need to learn the skills for the role and then go and do it! Settling for something you actually don’t want to do will leave you hating your time at work – trust me no-one needs that.

Elizabeth Park - Customer Service Team Leader Montrose