Women of Harsco: Holly Gamage's Story
Clean Earth’s first ever employee resource group, Women of Harsco, aims to promote the advancement of women through personal development, mentorship and empowerment.
We are proud to feature Holly Gamage, Senior Director – Fullcircle, who embodies what Women of Harsco is all about. As a leader of the group’s community arm, Holly is committed to youth mentorship; empowering young people to grow and explore what they are passionate about.
How did you get your start in the industry and progress to where you are today?
I received a bachelor’s degree in biology and upon graduating became a naturalist fueled by my love of nature. Recognizing how seasonal that path was, I redirected my passion within environmental services companies. I started in a role as a laboratory technician, followed by a role in client services and profiling, a position in proposals and then national program management. These experiences were integral to my success, and led me to roles in senior leadership, strategy, business development, sustainability, sales, and operations. I have been with Clean Earth for about 10 years now and have been in the environmental solutions industry for over 30 years, of which the past 15 years I’ve spent focusing on sustainable partnerships and solutioning for clients.
What is the most interesting part of your role?
I love the fact that my role is different every day. I work closely with others; both client-facing and internally. My role includes successes, complexities and challenges which makes it exciting. I enjoy the problem-solving and collaboration aspects.
What is a common misconception about your role?
A misconception about not only my position, but also the Fullcircle Program as a whole, is that we only handle recycling. The truth is that our program manages everything; from hazardous waste to things such as industrial waste, trash, non-salable goods, recyclables with solutioning for reuse, repurpose, recycling and zero landfill being the main component. The glue that holds our program together is continuous improvement through a long-term client partnership. We look at long-term goals for sustainability, improvement and innovation and then help our partners get there.
Do you have a fun fact about yourself?
A couple: I play handbells and have, ever since I was in middle school. (I also used to play the bassoon). Another fun fact is I enjoy rehabbing old homes or cabins, for our family to live in.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
First and foremost, I spend time with my family. Most of the things I do, I do with them. A big part of who I am is volunteering with youth; I’ve been volunteering for as long as I’ve been in this business. I think it’s so important to be part of the community, encourage people at a young age to explore different passions, while also supporting those who aren’t as fortunate as I am. I learned that from my parents very early on in life. I enjoy everything from working with Girl Scouts, to participating at reading programs in schools for those struggling with reading, and to working with disadvantaged youth. To help our community improve, we have to work with the youth who don’t have resources or the parental support that some of us are so fortunate to have.
How do you like to relax?
In my free time, I love to be outdoors hiking, walking, exploring or gardening and of course spending time with my family.
How do you empower other women in the industry?
I encourage women to follow their passion, but to also do a lot of listening. You can develop yourself while developing others. To be your best, you need to learn to walk in others’ shoes. It is crucial to understand what others do, and spend time doing the role of others on the team. It’s all about remembering where you came from because you didn’t get there alone.
What advice would you give to your younger self at the start of your career?
I would tell myself that work/life balance is critical and continue to be confident; women can do anything. (I learned that from my mother.)