As the Head of Commercial for Water, Yvette Waterfall works with teams across Veolia to ensure we're a competitive provider. At Veolia, she says she’s found the creative breathing space to bring her ideas to life, and most importantly, an employer whose values align with hers.
Yvette Waterfall is a maverick; she has an open, direct and witty character. With verve and gusto, she tells how she’s driven by our triple bottom line: profit, people and planet.
“I was so proud to move to Veolia last year. It’s a sector where I really believe I can make a positive difference. The economy and the environment aren’t mutually exclusive. I wanted to work for a company that was leading the charge to bring about that environmental awakening, and one that cares about the communities it’s working for.”
It all started with a coffee with our Chief Operating Officer. That conversation would change the course of Yvette’s career.
“We had this amazing discussion, examining complex business challenges with lots of threads. Then we tore straight into how the future might look, and how we were going to get there - all in the space of two hours. The COO told me to think about the role and get back to him. I said, ‘I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to work for you.’ And that was it! It was one of those life-changing conversations where you come out going, ‘Heck yeah!’”
Pride, creativity and collaboration
Looking back on her first year with us, Yvette can’t contain her smile.
“At dinner parties, I love telling people that I work for a company that treats water. When I wake up, I want to jump into some creative thinking and work on a pitch for an enhanced waste-water treatment before I start work.”
‘Creative thinking’ - it’s a term Yvette utters with wonder, and returns to again and again.
“The fact that I can even say ‘creative thinking’ in relation to my work is amazing. There’s just such huge scope here, in terms of what we’re trying to achieve. From my experience, when you’re in a large company, creativity can be stifled by an overwhelming hyper-proceduralised way of working that is foisted upon you. You’re only implementing someone else’s idea. But that’s the difference here at Veolia - you’re encouraged to bring your own ideas. We’re a disruptor company. When we encounter a problem, no one just says, ‘Here’s the answer, go ahead.’ No - we say, ‘Let’s get some bright minds on this - let’s innovate.'"
Yvette says creativity is stirred naturally at Veolia; a product of a culture characterised by collaboration and inclusivity.
“Veolia doesn’t have ping pong tables, but we manage to come up with creative ideas. Creativity is about being inspired by what’s around you - not by a colourful bean bag in the corner! The best part of my role is putting my head together with bright minds and solving business challenges. We’re a multinational corporation with access to a range of intelligent people, so we can draw inspiration from around the world. Some companies have rigid structures where, for example, a finance person strictly counts dollars. Well, those structures simply don’t hold true at Veolia. Creativity happens naturally. It’s how we work.”
Are you looking to move to the sustainability sector?
Yvette reflects on her own realisation of the need to urgently pursue sustainable solutions for our planet.
“We can help the fossil fuel industry improve their environmental outcomes, while also paving the way for more environmentally friendly approaches to waste, water and energy management. I felt compelled to contribute to a company that was at the forefront of environmental solutions, and so here I am at Veolia.”
To anyone in any industry looking to make the switch to environmental solutions for themselves and our planet, Yvette has one key piece of advice: don’t look back.
“Just do it! No matter what industry or role you’re coming from, harness your transferable skills. Rather than expecting Veolia to have a predetermined script for how you can help, identify problems to solve. Ask yourself, ‘What can I make faster, quicker, stronger?’ You won’t regret it.”
Explore a career with Veolia and help make a sustainable future possible.