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Stacey Howitt’s road to success at GFL

Stacey Howitt’s career path has taken some dramatic twists and turns but the skills she acquired along the way have helped to pave her road to success at GFL where she is the operations manager in Southern Alberta. 

Before she joined the waste industry, Howitt held operations positions in a variety of industries from restaurant to aviation but she began her career as a registered massage therapist (RMT). 

After completing her schooling, Howitt moved to Calgary and began a successful five-year career as an RMT where she was “at the top of my game and highly requested by clients.” 

An unexpected employment offer from one of her clients led Howitt to make a career leap to business. Within two months her work ethic and organizational abilities earned her a promotion to communications manager of his aviation company. 

When she was ready for a new challenge, she joined the corporate office staff of an international restaurant chain. During seven years with this company Howitt was promoted to ever more responsible corporate positions, moving up from facilities coordinator to Real Estate and Planning to manager of Operational Standards, in another male-dominated environment. 

“I learned business and how operations worked,” Howitt said. “With an understanding of revenue and how to control costs, I was able to apply that knowledge to the waste industry.” 

She used that knowledge when she moved to the position of operations manager at a waste disposal company which was later acquired by GFL. 

Despite a lack of experience in the waste industry, Howitt joined forces with the company’s small team and together they turned the business into a financial success. 

Howitt credits her ability to enter male-dominated industries and achieve high levels of success to her mom and dad for instilling a strong work ethic in her, being a “go-getter”, determinedly finding whatever information she needs, and persevering until she gets the job done. 

“I am a strong woman who was brought up to be independent and self-motivated, so I don't let anyone discourage me,” she said. 

Howitt also makes a point of knowing every employee’s name and asks everyone how their day is going. 

“Knowing everyone’s name matters to me and I feel that changes the dynamic in the workplace,” Howitt said. 

Howitt also gave a shoutout to Lee St. Arnaud, regional vice president, for always being in her corner, providing motivation and mentoring advice. St. Arnaud is a strong advocate for women in the waste industry and nominated Howitt for a Women In Trucking award. 

She is encouraged to see that more women are pursuing careers at GFL, particularly as drivers, and that female drivers are setting goals and working their way up in the company. 

Her advice to women in the waste industry? “Speak up, share your opinion, and remember that with self-discipline you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to, and respect will follow,” Howitt said. 

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