Member Profile: Sharon Lashley, PIEMA
Why did you become an environment and sustainability professional?
I have always been interested in the environment, from an early age. I was fortunate enough to participate in a fully funded NVQ Level IV in environmental management training course – this helped me realise my ambitions and develop my career path going forward.
What was your first job in this field?
I worked as an environmental officer in a plastic packaging company managing the ISO 14001 Environmental Standard.
How did you get your first role?
I originally worked in there as a sales and marketing supervisor but I was seconded to the organisation’s quality department and began working actively in this new and exciting role.
What does your current role involve?
I am director of my own environmental consultancy company, Enviro UK Consultants, which involves the delivery of a wide range of project activities including energy efficiency advice and guidance, renewable energy project management, and sustainability consultancy.
How has your role changed/progressed over the past few years?
Perhaps the biggest change has been my ability to deliver waste management training – I am passionate about reducing waste and work hard to raise awareness about good waste management.
What’s the best part of your work?
Meeting new people, starting new projects and seeing the positive outcomes from the activities and support I deliver for my clients.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Having to say no to anyone – in an ideal world I’d like to be able to help everyone, but there comes a time when it’s not always possible, because of capacity, timescales or work content.
What was the last development event you attended?
The Future of Renewable Energy event organised by myself and two other organisations and supported by IEMA in the North East. This event focused on the future of the renewable energy and energy sector, and provided valuable updates on upcoming technologies including battery storage, electric vehicles and smart technology.
What is/are the most important skill(s) for your job?
I need to be able to listen to clients, work with them to provide a solution and, most importantly, deliver a successful project outcome. Competency, flexibility, innovation and resourcefulness are key skills to ensure the success of a project, alongside professionalism.
Where do you see the profession going?
In an exciting but challenging direction certainly, with the future of Brexit, the environmental laws and legislation and the changing environment. I hope we continue to work as a collective team to strengthen our position in this sector and drive forward the environmental challenges and aims we all sign up to as IEMA professionals.
Where would you like to be in five years’ time?
Still doing what I do and enjoying every minute of it.
What advice would you give to someone entering the profession?
Embrace the world of sustainability, be enthusiastic, driven and passionate about your views, and collaborate and work with as many other professionals as you can. Together we are definitely stronger.
How do you use the IEMA Skills Map?
I carry out a gap analysis from time to time to see where I am in relation to my skills needs and then plan for further development.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Resourceful, approachable, environmentalist.
What motivates you?
Our planet and looking after it – every day is spent thinking, doing and planning ways of how we can alleviate the pressure on our precious resources.
What would be your personal motto?
Definitely ‘think globally, act locally’ – it’s my personal favourite and one I always come back to.
Greatest risk you have ever taken?
Setting up my own consultancy company, as it’s a scary thing to do, but I felt I just needed to do it.
If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet?
As a conservation and wildlife fan, I think it would have been great to meet Archibald Belaney (Grey Owl) mostly for his views, his conservation work and the challenges he faced in communicating the need for humans to develop a respect for the natural world.