Women’s Professional Development Workshop

Women to Women: Sharing Pathways to Successful Leadership
Thursday, June 17, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm ET

The Women's Professional Development Workshop features an extraordinary panel of accomplished women discussing their path to leadership, including barriers to entry, how they navigated their path to success, and advice they offer others still on the path. 

Specifically, the panel will discuss:
  • Key characteristics to becoming an effective and impactful team player within an organization
  • Gaining confidence and valuing and promoting your talents and abilities
  • Leaning in and knowing when and how to take professional risks
  • Pandemic impacts, including how women are navigating current work-from-home while balancing professional productivity and family obligations, along with longer term career impacts
  • Gender barriers - are they still as strong as they once were?

Keynote Speakers:

Michele E. Karnes, Principal, Coterie Environmental LLC

Ms. Karnes has spent her entire career in the combustion industry with projects involving a variety of processes, such as hazardous waste incineration and thermal treatment of energetics and explosives. She performs engineering studies, assists with system troubleshooting and prove-out, and develops permit-related materials for these clients. Ms. Karnes served on the A&WMA International Board of Directors from 2015 through 2020 and was the President of the Association in 2019. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Mid-Atlantic States Section.

Paula Leverett Cobb, Environmental Services Director, Florida Power & Light

Paula Leverett Cobb is an experienced practitioner and policy maker within the environmental services industry. She has served in a number of private and public sector roles focusing on environmental law and policy and working with diverse stakeholder groups to help Florida achieve state environmental and economic goals. Currently, she is an Environmental Services Director for Florida Power & Light where she leads the water team. She recently served as General Counsel for the South Florida Water Management District, a regional governmental agency that manages water resources for South Florida, including restoration of the Everglades, the United States’ largest environmental restoration project. Paula also worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in a number of roles advising the Governor’s Office and Legislature on state and federal environmental policy matters. Paula’s other private sector roles include a law practice at Hopping Green & Sams, where she represented clients before the Florida Public Service Commission, U.S. EPA, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and a policy practice as Director of Environmental Affairs for Duke Energy. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School, and a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina.

Susan Robinson, Senior Director of Sustainability and Policy, Waste Management

Susan Robinson leads WM’s Sustainability Team. In this role, she is responsible for WM’s sustainability policy, advocacy and reporting. Her 30+ years in the industry includes work in the public sector, non-profit environmental work, consultancy, and over 25 years in the private sector. Susan’s experience includes global commodity marketing, research and analysis of industry trends, and twenty years managing municipal solid waste and recycling contracts. Susan is active on several boards including the American Institute for Packaging and Environment (Ameripen), Paper Stock Industries (PSI), the Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC), and the ReFED Advisory Council. Susan attended Stanford University and holds a B.S. in Applied Earth Sciences from the University of Washington. Her master's work in Environmental Studies is from The Evergreen State College.


Dawn McCormick, Director, Communications & Government Affairs, Waste Management Inc. of Florida

Dawn McCormick is responsible for external and internal communications along with community relations activities for Waste Management in Florida, co-manages the company’s Public Affairs activities in Tallahassee, and coordinates the company’s Recycling Improvement initiatives in the state. She is Chair of the Florida Recycling Partnership, Vice Chair of Keep Florida Beautiful, and Co-Chair the Legislative Committee of Recycle Florida Today. She is a member of Leadership Florida’s Class XXXIV.

A&WMA Committee for the Professional Development of Women
This workshop was planned by The Committee for the Professional Development of Women. The commitee's goal is to draw upon the unique perspectives and talents of women to further the goals of the Association and to mentor women in the profession.