In this month’s Q&R Listen Better vodcast, I interviewed Sarah Poulter, CEO, Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) – the professional body for the waste management industry in the United Kingdom and other countries.

Sarah has worked for CIWM for nearly two decades, with 14 years as Managing Director of the Institution’s commercial and market development activities. In 2017, she took on a broader role across the organisation as Head of Membership and Funding, before taking on the role of joint Executive Director and in 2019 became CEO. Her previous background was in training and development in the construction sector.

I wanted to find out how she and her membership team of c.65 staff responded to COVID-19.  In the following 15 minute vodcast I asked the following questions:

  • What worked well and what did not?
  • How have CIWM members reacted to the changes implemented?
  • What would you have done differently with hindsight?
  • How can you continue to drive membership and deliver benefit to members when opportunities to meet in real life are limited for the foreseeable?
  • What advice would you give membership organisations who may be struggling right now?
  • What is coming up for CIWM in 2021?

Thanks to Sarah for her time and honest and articulate responses. 


The CIWM is based in Northampton it has ten regional centres throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland and is a member of the Society for the Environment. It awards the title of Chartered Waste Manager to qualifying members.

The objectives of the CIWM are to advance the scientific, technical and practical aspects of wastes and resource management for the safeguarding of the natural environment, to promote education, training, and research in wastes and resource management, and the dissemination of knowledge of the topic; and to strive to achieve and maintain the highest standards of best practice, technical competence and conduct by all its members.

If you are a business owner or leader in an organisation and you would like to be interviewed for the Q&R Listen Better vodcast series in 2021 please do get in touch for an initial chat: