SBC’s Empowers Women in Industry

Usually, the person who picks up your trash bin from the curb each week is a garbageman, not a garbagewoman or garbageperson. In this case, sexism is not to blame. Not much, anyway. It’s a matter of biology because men, on the whole, have more muscles and upper body strength than women, so they were better able to lift and dump bins into garbage trucks.  That factor could easily be a barrier to seeking full-time work in the waste management field. 

“For being on a garbage truck, we don’t get a lot of women applying for those jobs,” says Shawn Flood, vice president of SBC Waste Solutions, “However, our office is filled with women.”

“Some people say, ‘You’re in such a male-dominated space, and I say, ‘Oh, no, I’m not. I’m in the perfect place at the perfect time.’ Because women-owned businesses right now are soaring, and it’s an exciting time to be in it and to be a leader in this space,” Karen says proudly.

SBC Waste Solutions serves the greater Chicago area, and earned the gold standard for women-owned business certification from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, which is accepted by more than 1,000 corporations, as well as some states, cities, and more. To achieve this, a business must be at least 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by one or more women. No figureheads need apply. 

With this credential, Karen Coley not only presents a role model but also mentors other businesswomen to help their business ventures succeed. SBC employees work toward inclusivity and diversity as well. The staff even delighted Coley two years ago with a hot pink garbage truck in honor of her breast cancer triumph, as well as a literal shining symbol highlighting the importance of continued awareness and the work needed for breast cancer’s eradication.

SBC’s 2021 social media post states, “This was a special week for us here at SBC. Not only did we introduce the newest truck to our fleet, Coley Strong, we had the opportunity to surprise Karen Coley, our CEO, with the truck reveal. She had no idea our newest truck was a cancer awareness truck in honor of Karen and her family.”

Coley and her employees prove how a changed attitude and willingness to share knowledge and guidance can lead to equality and empowerment in the workplace and the community. 

SBC Waste Solutions employs more than 60 people with full benefits and is a proud AFL/CIO union member company. Karen Coley and her business deal with every type of recycling, including residential, commercial, construction and demolition, industrial, and brokering. SBC, entering its sixth year, serves greater Chicagoland, including the city itself and the surrounding Lake, Cook, DuPage, and Will counties, with more than 100 suburban communities and a total population of more than 14 million people.