International Women’s Day - Leanne Tillson, Head of Commercial

Hi Leanne. It’s great to have the chance to talk through some key questions for this year’s International Women’s Day. Perhaps you can start by introducing yourself and telling us more about your role?

Thank you, I’m delighted to be taking part. So, I’ve been with Slicker Recycling since 2009 and currently head up three different departments, which include the After Sales Team, Interceptors and Drainage, and the Total Waste Management Division. I am also responsible for customer retention, growth, supply chain, and people management. And funny enough, although it’s purely a coincidence, most of my teams are predominately women.

Gosh, your role must keep you very busy!! So, this year’s International Women’s Day is all about understanding, valuing, and seeking out better inclusion of women. But what does inclusion mean to you as a professional?

Inclusion to me is absolutely key. We should all be seen and treated as equals no matter what gender you are. Women are as capable of achieving and doing things just as men are. I also think it’s worth mentioning that although it tends to be mainly females who take time off to raise their children or look after elderly parents, this should not hold them back in their careers when they are ready to return to the workplace.

Totally agree with you Leanne. So, with that in mind, what more do you feel can be done to improve female inclusion in the workplace?

It’s important that the message of equality comes from the top and managers promote this positively. Everyone should be seen and treated as equal, if not then we stand still. We all have different skills to bring to a business so everyone adds value in their own way. However, there are many industries that are still male-dominated and I very much hope more females enter these industries and start to change that - which has been the case at Slicker for many years now.

Can I ask what is done at Slicker Recycling to ensure balance and female inclusion? 

We have a strong work/life balance ethic here so if someone, no matter if they are female or male, needs time off perhaps to look after a poor child or sick relative then the company is very accommodating. There are also options for colleagues to work flexible hours or hybrid working patterns. This flexibility is very beneficial not only to the staff but the business also as it allows them to retain good people who may otherwise leave the company for good.

It’s also worth mentioning that although the Waste industry is still male-dominated things are changing. For example, here at Slicker, we have a female as joint Managing Director, a female Finance Director, and many other females in senior or managerial roles. It’s great to see and be part of.

Everyone has a role to play, so what will you be doing to play your part this year in promoting female achievement, or pushing back against bias or discrimination?

As I mentioned in a previous question, I manage a lot of women across the three departments I look after so it’s important I continue to champion them and let them know what a great job they are doing and the difference they are making to the business.

Even acknowledging our female colleagues like we are today sends a positive message that everyone is valued and appreciated. I especially want my younger female colleagues to read this and hopefully be inspired by all the Slicker ladies who have contributed to IWD.

And finally Leanne, it wouldn’t be IWD without asking you which female has inspired you in the past 12 months?  

Without a doubt that would be my Mum, who for my entire life has supported and encouraged me to make the right choices. She has taught me resilience through adversity and instilled in me the strength to never give up. 

For more on International Women’s Day 2024, you can visit the website through

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