This month we introduce you to Joanne C. Jones, Director of Sustainability at Heritage Environmental Services, LLC, one of the members who helps make our network so unique.
Why did you join NAEM?
I recently became an individual member of NAEM, separate from my organization's Affiliate Membership after 10 years of attending the annual Forum. In the past, I networked with the professional membership to discuss the value of services our organization could provide, but I also made sure to attend as many educational sessions as possible. Now that I have a new non-consulting role at Heritage leading our internal corporate sustainability, it became clear that NAEM was the perfect professional association to support my personal career goals.
What are currently working on?
Preparing our first Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) submission. As we started the process, it became evident that in addition to defining performance indicators and gathering baseline metrics, Heritage also had a baseline of historic and current sustainability activities that were materially significant. Consequently, we decided to publish an Interim Sustainability Report as a program kick-off tool. The report shares how Heritage operated its business in a sustainable manner long before 'sustainability' was a household term.
What do you like about your job?
I love that my job offers new challenges every day. While this is a new position at Heritage, the core tenets of sustainability are already in place. Learning more details about each location and operation has been great. Additionally, since my last assignment was away from the Corporate Headquarters, it has been fun to renew old acquaintances and to work with many great professionals.
What is your biggest challenge in your current role?
Changing culture through employee engagement. As a privately held company, we have quietly performed in many sustainable ways, but we have never published our efforts. Creating a culture of transparency is new to the entire organization.
What advice would you have for someone entering the field today?
Stay current. The environmental field is growing into new segments and changing the outlook on conventional wisdoms. NAEM is the perfect place to see what your peers are doing and how their employers are embracing change. Networking at NAEM is a great way to gain confidence (support and real life examples) in concepts and programs you prepare for recommendations to your current employer.
What aspect to the natural world/environment impresses you the most? Why?
I love the ocean – each and every ocean. To me it is not just the salty wet stuff that ruins your sandcastles on the beach or the seemingly endless vista seen from the railing of a cruise ship. The power of an ocean is so great that it must be respected. Maybe it's the gravitational tides, but when I get the opportunity to float in the ocean, I feel more at peace than anywhere on earth.
What do you like to do during your free time?
I'm an avid perennial gardener and enjoy trading plant varieties with friends. I also love taking photos. This hobby has turned me into the family historian and a digital scrapbook guru. It is not unusual at a family gathering for someone to say, “No more pictures Joanne!”