When Nicole Reed first joined Waste Pro, the job she wanted wasn’t available – but that didn’t stop her from pushing through and reaching her goal. Nicole joined Waste Pro in 2011 after working for more than a decade in retail. She spent five years with Sam’s Club management, but decided with two children at home, the work-life balance simply wasn’t working. “I needed more structure, and this was much better for my family life,” Nicole said. “Having the leadership experience from that job was a huge asset when I got to Waste Pro.”

Nicole began her Waste Pro career as an inside sales representative, which she made clear during her first job interview was not the job she wanted. “The interviewer asked what I wanted to do, and I told him I wanted to work in human resources. He told me there were no positions available, which I knew,” she said. “But he didn’t ask what job I was interviewing for, he asked what job I wanted!”

She said it was a great ice breaker and she received an offer for the inside sales position, which she took. “Any position was a gateway to get where I wanted to be,” she said. A year later, when an HR position opened, Nicole said she knew she wasn’t ready for it, but she applied anyway. “I wasn’t selected but it wasn’t a disappointment for me,” she said. “I knew I wasn’t ready, but I needed to know what Waste Pro expected.”

Ultimately, she was offered the position of Office Manager, first at the Hilton Head, SC Division in 2012, then at the Concord and Charlotte South Divisions in 2015. Throughout her career with Waste Pro, Nicole has learned the secret to success is confidence. It’s critical, she said, to have the mindset and confidence of knowing what you want and expect. “If you have a negative mindset, you will immediately think you can’t succeed,” she said. “Stay true to yourself, know what you’re capable of, and stand your ground.”

Finally, in 2021, Nicole got the offer she’d been waiting for since 2011 – the job of Regional HR Generalist. “I was really excited,” she said. Nicole said she felt more ready for the job this time around because, as Office Manager, she served as a self-described “House Mother” and would help diffuse emotional situations, make sure everyone felt like they were being treated fairly, and helped perform HR functions when there was a job vacancy or a new trainee in the HR department.

In her new role, Nicole said while she does have daily tasks that she sticks to, she has learned she can’t schedule every minute of every day. She makes it a point to leave pockets of time available in case an email comes in that requires her to do research or someone comes into her office with a concern. “I try to be the person they can come to and know they won’t be judged,” she said. “When people come to HR they’re typically already at their wit’s end. I’ll listen and give them honest feedback, and a lot of the time they walk out of the room feeling better than they did when they walked in.”

That’s part of why Nicole loves her job so much. She loves seeing other people succeed and being a part of their success – something she carries with her into her personal life as well. “I teach Sunday school at church, which I think helps me more than the people in my class, knowing I can guide somebody toward something so meaningful,” she said.

Nicole is also an avid cook, describing cooking as her therapy. She has become something of a local celebrity for her famous collard greens and chicken and dumplings. She also has a new smoker she uses for foods like ribs, chicken, and pulled pork. Nicole is proud to say she has been with Waste Pro for ten years – something, she says, isn’t very common in most companies. “I’ve always had a strong leadership team with Waste Pro,” she said. “They’ve always taken pride in caring for their employees and making them feel like family, which is the same way I feel working here.”

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