Two-day Retreat

This retreat would be located at the SWANA HQ office in Silver Spring, MD. Participants will learn from SWANA program instructors and invited speakers. At the conclusion, a cohort project will then be introduced for participants to work on throughout the program. Possible topics include:

  • Defining Leadership
  • Leading Change
  • Exploring Ethics
  • Proactive Thinking
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Presentation Pointers
  • Time Management
  • Media Relations
  • Team Building Activity
  • Industry Challenges

Monthly Calls and Assignments

Participants will have the chance to explore relevant industry topics through individual and group assignments including case study reviews, reading assignments, and homework. Then will come together for monthly one-hour conference calls to discuss with instructors and peers. Example topics include:

  • Collaboration and Team Building
  • Disaster Response
  • Advocacy
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Marketing, Online Presence and LinkedIn Profile
  • Interviewing
  • SWANA: Insights into SWANA Structure and ways to get involved; SWANA Technical Divisions and Leadership Spotlight

Common FAQ

Candidates must be:

  • A YP (35 years or younger) at start of the program and interested in advancing his/her career within the solid waste industry.
  • Individuals who have been working in the solid waste industry for more than three years.
  • Committed to full participation in all assignments and activities, with the full support of their employer.
  • Participation on monthly conference calls
  • Timely submission of program-related homework assignments
  • Attendance at the two-day retreat
  • Completion of class project and presentation to SWANA Board and Advisory Board
  • Graduation events at WASTECON
  • Applicants are required to attend the two-day retreat in Silver Spring, Maryland and graduation events at WASTECON. If selected for the program, SWANA will pay for all approved Leaders Academy related expenses EXCEPT for travel and lodging costs associated with attendance at two-day retreat and graduation events.
  • If selected for the program, Applicant must become a SWANA member (if not already) by the project initiation meeting.
  • There is a separate travel scholarship application for those who have employers with constrained travel funding.

August 15, 2024

Application Priority Date

August 30, 2024

Applicants notified of selection results

October 21–24, 2024

WASTECON with YPLA events in Dallas, TX

November 1, 2024

Application period closes and selection results shared next day

November 6, 2024

Kick-off Call

December 12–13, 2024 (tentative)

Two-Day Retreat in Washington, DC metro area

January 2025–October, 2025

Monthly Conference Calls

TBD 2025


* Note dates are subject to change

A completed program application includes six components:

  • A letter of interest (LOI) with three-page limit. The LOI must answer these questions:
    1. Briefly describe your professional experience.
    2. Briefly describe your SWANA and/or solid waste industry participation, if any.
    3. Briefly describe any volunteer or community activities you are currently engaged in.
    4. Why should you be selected for this program?
    5. What is your Leadership Philosophy, and how you exemplify this philosophy in your work, community, etc. (with specific examples)?
    6. How will you contribute to the program? What personal and professional strengths can you offer to the other participants?
  • A completed online application form.
  • Current resume with page limit of two pages.
  • A letter of recommendation from a professional in the solid waste industry with over 10-years of work experience.
  • A letter of recommendation from the applicant’s immediate supervisor (or similar).
  • A letter of support from the employer. The letter must acknowledge time and financial commitments detailed in this application.
  • Headshot photograph.

If applicant is self-employed or in a rare situation applicant is unable to receive this letter of support, SWANA may still consider the applicant, provided that the applicant provides a written justification and acknowledges time and financial commitments detailed in this application.

You can contact any member of the Academy Taskforce below:

Or reach out to the SWANA YP Staff Liaison: