‘Love from Lyon,’ that’s what I told my husband on a recent video call on the French metro. He was holding a crying baby, our son Robin, who had just had his first shots that morning. Meanwhile, I was off to Pollutec. It’s the first trade show on my calendar since returning to work after my maternity leave.
It was a blessing to have three months to get to know this little boy. It was also a blessing to get back to work. I grew up with a working mom, a single mom besides that. I remember how much I looked up to her. Indeed, I vowed that if I ever have kids, I want to set the same example. To be ambitious, and to keep working on myself and my skills.
In the world of technology and circular economy, changes are many and frequent. I realised that by stepping out of the game for 16 weeks in a row I’d be missing out on a lot. There’s only so much Google will tell you.
Conferences, company visits, fairs. They are the fuel that keeps our magazine going – and growing. I’ve been lucky to visit many innovative sites and far-off places over the years. Travelling so much and meeting new people from different cultures has taught me a lot about life. Not just business, technology or legislation. It will no doubt help me be a better mom.
What I find touching is the outpour of support and interest from my industry connections. Upon seeing me walk the halls in Lyon, their eyes lit up. ‘Hey, are you back already? How are you? How is the little one?’ We spent a good half an hour going over photos and sharing anecdotes.
Laura Minotto from Bano poured Italian prosecco generously. Joaquin Sémis from Seram group served ‘only the best’ Iberico ham.
Marianne Grub from Steinert provided Haribo and helpful advice as a mother of twins. Andreas Schenzer of Danieli Group made me laugh at the end of the first day – which is always too long, right?
I received a funny stuffed animal from the people at Paprec, too. ‘Take it home, for your boy. It will make him smile.’
It’s obvious the recycling industry is not just about building plants and selling machines. Rather, it’s an industry with a lot of heart and warmth. The people you meet remember your face and your story. It makes sense for a sector shaped by family companies.
Returning to the world of scrap with fresh eyes also gave me a deeper appreciation for the women in recycling. An excellent example is UK entrepreneur Susie Burrage, who was recently crowned BIR’s new president. She envisions a recycling sector with strong female leadership – something I wholeheartedly applaud.
More voices equals more potential for innovation, after all.
I am excited to be writing again and finding out where we’re all headed.
Finally, don’t forget there’s still time to nominate someone for the annual Top 100! We are currently updating the list; making cuts and adding new names. I’d love for it to reflect an increasingly more diverse recycling sector. Be sure to contact us with your suggestions.
See you out there!