Women of Harsco: Mindy Rath's Story
Our Women of Harsco program fosters a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with our organizational mission, values, goals, business practices and objectives.
We are proud to feature Mindy Rath, Senior Vice President, Sales & Customer Service who is leading the Company’s first employee resource group as its Executive Sponsor. She embodies what the Women of Harsco (WOH) is all about and has collaborated with our other Core WOH team members and volunteers to build a program which provides women opportunities for advancement through personal and professional development, mentorship and empowerment. The key areas of focus are community outreach programs, key resources including a monthly speaker series, and mentorship pairings to meet the mentor and mentees objectives.
How did you get your start in the environmental / waste industry?
I graduated with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and Chemistry with original aspirations to enter the medical field. Although, my qualifications were strong to enter medical school, I had unfortunately burned myself out a bit by working 40 hours a week during my last two years of full-time college. As a result, I decided to enter the work force immediately and applied for jobs that supported my degrees. I began my career as a laboratory technician, performing inorganic chemistry testing, while keeping my resume active. Soon thereafter, I was able to move on to an Environmental Engineering role at a prominent manufacturer of rocket engines in the Sacramento, CA area. It is in this role, that I really learned about hazardous waste. I was responsible for permitting and characterizing, profiling, and shipping all the hazardous waste generated by this company. They had many exotic waste streams! This is also where I learned a lot about the environmental regulations that pertain to generators and our industry. The experience was invaluable.
How did you start at Clean Earth?
I came to Clean Earth through a series of acquisitions. In my role as Environmental Engineer, I worked with many different Hazardous Waste Management companies. This allowed me to build relationships; one company approached me about working for them and going into Hazardous Waste Sales. I was a bit horrified about the idea, in all honesty, since my idea of “sales” was not positive, and I did not want to envision myself that way. Little did I know at the time how consultative this type of sales is and is in no way equivalent to car selling. I took the leap and have no regrets in entering the world of sales – now my absolute love! I began my sales career as a territory representative, and then move into a General Manager role, relocating to the northwest to run two 10-day facilities. From here, I rose to VP of Sales/Customer Service and was part of the Senior Leadership team that eventually worked under Private Equity to sell the company. I chose not to continue with the new owner, and our SLT moved to a small broker to help them with their business model for growth. This broker was eventually purchased by PSC Environmental Services who was bought by Stericycle and then – as we know – Clean Earth purchased the Environmental Solutions arm from them. That is my journey to get to Clean Earth.
How has your role evolved since starting at Clean Earth?
When I first started with Clean Earth I was in Sales Operations. I worked with the pricing team, business analytics team and marketing. During this time I really missed the sales role and felt like my skills would be better suited in sales. In October 2020, Clean Earth reorganized the structure of the sales team which is when I became Vice President of Sales for our M&I arm. A year later, I was promoted to my current role of Senior Vice President of Sales and Customer Service.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
My grandmother was a famous Hungarian actress, and she, my grandfather and father, escaped to the United States during the Hungarian revolution in the mid 50’s
How do you enjoy your time outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with my family; traveling, and playing games are our favorite things to do. I also enjoy hiking and being outdoors.
How do you empower women?
I encourage women to always do their best, continually develop themselves and to strive for bigger things. Also, it is important to recognize that sometimes you must take risks to get ahead. As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve found that its crucial to remember where I came from. Sometimes as people grow, they get self-important. They forget to appreciate and recognize all the roles and people that are equally as instrumental in contributing to the success of our common goal. Just because you’re a VP doesn’t mean you are any better than any of the people that are under your title. That’s something I try to message especially to people wanting to go into leadership. Be humble.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to be confident in my abilities. Earlier in my life I held more insecurities than I do today. Believe in yourself. When someone told me I would be great in sales, I didn’t believe them. Here I am today in a top sales role.
What has been your experience in the Women of Harsco Employee Resource Group?
As the group was being launched, I was asked to be the executive sponsor and to take a leadership role in getting the program off the ground. We started with building a core team of 12 handpicked women who were interested. From there we were driven by what we wanted to accomplish: mentorship, community, and resources. These three items became the focus areas of the group, and we have since committed to building these out. For our mentorship focus area we piloted a mentorship program and utilized a software to effectively match mentors with mentees. For our community focus area, we initiated a group with the Girl Scouts of America to help them earn environmental badges and teach them about careers in STEM. Lastly for resources, we started a Speaker Series that features internal and external speakers and podcast discussions. I’m looking forward to our first face to face meeting this year, and what the future holds for the Women of Harsco.