Can’t-Miss Keynotes

WASTECON® features an incredible lineup of keynote speakers who will provide valuable insights on a wide range of topics that are essential in waste management today. With our keynote speakers, attendees can gather practical knowledge and skills that they can utilize in their organizations and careers. WASTECON®'s keynote speakers are experts in their fields, sharing their experiences and knowledge to help attendees navigate the challenges and opportunities in the ever-evolving waste management industry. The agenda is thoughtfully curated to ensure that all attendees can take away actionable steps that they can apply in their work and beyond.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Hynes Auditorium
Mitch Weiss

Join SWANA at the WASTECON Opening Ceremonies and Keynote.  The evening will begin with greetings from SWANA and Local leaders.  We'll celebrate the achievements of some of some of the luminaries of our industry. 

Opening Keynote:  We the Possibilities

Government can't do new things or solve tough problems—it's too big, too slow, and mired in bureaucracy.

Not so, says former Boston public official, now Harvard Business School professor, Mitchell Weiss. The truth is, entrepreneurial spirit and savvy in government are growing, transforming the public sector's response to big problems at all levels. The key, Weiss argues, is a shift from a mindset of Probability Government—overly focused on safe solutions and mimicking so-called best practices—to Possibility Government. This means public leadership and management that's willing to boldly imagine new possibilities and to experiment.

During his presentation, Weiss will share his tenets for this new way of governing.

Mitch will be signing copies of his best-selling book, We the Possibility: Harnessing Public Entrepreneurship to Solve Our Most Urgent Problems during the opening reception.

Thursday, September 28, 2023
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Hynes Auditorium
Natalie Stirling-Sanders

Join The Alliance to End Plastic Waste as we discuss how we can build a circular economy for plastics.

10:15 AM - 11:00 AM
Hynes Auditorium
Shaara Roman

In times of crisis, is your organization able to leverage it's most important assets? Your superpowers lie within your purpose, your people and your culture. Shaara Roman provides practical, actionable advice, to help leaders transform your organization build a purpose-led, people-centric, and values-driven culture.

Keynote: The Conscious Workplace
11:15 AM - 12:00 PM
Hynes Auditorium
Nicole Sroka

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is exploding across every sector and holds immense potential to revolutionize waste management, address climate change, and reshape the workforce. There is a fast-moving convergence across technologies such as generative AI, deep learning, robotics, augmented reality, quantum computing, high-speed connectivity and more. As our physical, digital and biological worlds converge, we are also entering a new era of human-machine collaboration. In this unprecedented "sci-fi" environment, there is a pressing need for exploration, innovation, and a new level of change leadership to navigate the rapid advancements in AI and drive transformative outcomes. What can leaders do now and in the future to harness the power of AI at the intersection of technology and the environment? This keynote will explore real-world use cases in waste management and imaginative possibilities of AI application like chatGPT to showcase its ability to enhance communication, operational efficiency, and data-driven decisions. Unlock inspiration and practical insights for how AI systems can be used to drive meaningful change for businesses, cities, public health and the environment.

Keynote: Transforming Waste Management by Harnessing the Power of AI
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Hynes Auditorium
Gunilla Carlsson

In this keynote you will listen to the story of  how we together, can work towards a sustainable circular future. From marine litter to circular cities, to climate mitigation. Case-studies, operations as well as legislation will be included.

Ms. Carlsson has been instrumental in the ISWA Marine Litter Task Force and driving the Cities Network in the Circular and Low Carbon Cities Project.

In this session she will be sharing insights on this and her years of service in the solid waste industry.

Friday, September 29, 2023
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Hynes Auditorium
Nigel Baummer Nicole DiGiorgio Nate Francisco Cassie Horton Andrew Lee Anthony Novelli Ashley Ramsey Nick Rodricks Sierra Schupp

The 2023 Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Young Professionals Leadership Academy (YPLA) Cohort is proud to present our project report: “Bridging the Gap: Enhancing Communication in the Solid Waste Industry to Engage Young Professionals”.

The solid waste industry plays a pivotal role in our society, but it faces significant challenges in attracting and retaining young professionals while dispelling public misconceptions. With the competition for a skilled workforce intensifying among solid waste industry employers throughout North America, there is an urgent call to reshape the industry's image and foster a new generation of dedicated and enthusiastic individuals who can lead the responsible management of solid waste as a valuable resource.

To tackle these pressing issues, the 2023 Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Young Professionals Leadership Academy’s (YPLA’s) Bridging the Gap report presents a comprehensive analysis from the unique perspective of young professionals (YPs). This report offers invaluable recommendations for industry stakeholders to effectively attract and retain YPs, while promoting the solid waste industry as an enticing career path. The findings underscore the significance of engaging with young individuals interested in sustainability, environmental, and associated fields, providing actionable guidance to improve the industry's perception and establish it as a sought-after employer of choice.

Keynote: Bridging the Gap: Enhancing Communication in the Solid Waste Industry to Engage Young Professionals
10:15 AM - 11:00 AM
Hynes Auditorium
Scott Cassel

Join Scott Cassel, CEO of the Product Stewardship Institute, who will discuss the latest trends and challenges for extended producer responsibility (EPR), a policy that is creating a global paradigm shift in how waste in managed. He will briefly identify the fundamentals of EPR policy and its framework (see earlier Workshop session), highlight the policy elements most important for influencing upstream product and packaging design, and discuss some of the hottest topics in EPR policy development. Additionally, Scott will identify the challenges that lie ahead, as well as highlight opportunities for state policy harmonization

11:15 AM - 12:00 PM
Hynes Auditorium
Dr. Kathryn (Katie) Sandoe

It starts with you! New research in business reveals something extraordinary… and most leaders aren't paying attention. Whether it's employees, customers, or clients, they're looking for something different… from YOU. Do you know what that is? This session will share the latest research, powerful insights, groundbreaking tactics to transform your leadership, your organization, and (if you want) your life.

You will learn:

  • The mindset shift that transforms the way you lead, work, and live.
  • What new generations are looking for in leaders and the workplace.
  • The leadership shift from traditional, to servant, to purpose-driven.
  • How to advance this change in your team and organization.
Keynote: The New Leadership Mindset: How one shift will transform the way you lead and live!