The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is commemorating Women’s History Month throughout March. The theme for the month is Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government. In highlighting the women of GSA throughout the month of March, we are sharing their stories every Monday on the GSA blog.
Doreen Sheih, Solid Waste and Green Teams Programs Manager
What was your path to public service?
I started my career at GSA in 2005 as a student co-op during my last quarter at the University of Washington. After graduation, I joined GSA’s Intern Program and had an opportunity to support and work in different program areas managed by the Facilities Management Division, such as the energy and water conservation programs, operations & maintenance, the call center, and computerized maintenance management system. I currently manage the solid waste and green teams programs.
Is there a woman in history who inspires you?
There are so many inspiring women around the world who I admire. One of them is from my home country. She is a leader of Burma’s democracy movement. Her name is Aung San Su Kyi. She is a Nobel Peace Prize winner who chose to remain in prison and under house arrest for most of the past two decades rather than leave her country and abandon her struggling people. She is a symbol of hope and freedom for the people of Burma.
How do you contribute to the mission of GSA?
The solid waste program focuses on providing educational awareness to tenants and GSA employees. We review and provide contract language for custodial contracts to strengthen waste management, partner with janitorial contractors, and expand composting.
Region 10 buildings have a comprehensive and aggressive recycling program. In the past four years, Region 10 met and exceeded the GSA waste diversion goals. Each year we strive to do better. We started with a 37 percent waste diversion rate in FY 2010 to achieving a high 71 percent waste diversion rate during first quarter this year (FY 2016), edging out the rates of all other regional and national office targets.
The region pioneered the award-winning green teams program, which was adopted nationally in 2012. Buildings with green teams are high performers in terms of meeting their energy, water, and waste diversion targets. Green teams were instrumental during the existing building certification process. Tenants in these buildings are more aware about sustainability and supportive of sustainability initiatives such as restroom paper towels composting, or daytime cleaning.
What specific life lesson do you hope to inspire in others while at GSA?
– Always challenge yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and try new things.
– Don’t give up. Things don’t always turn out the way you want. You will learn many valuable lessons in the process that will make you better and stronger in the end.
– Love what you do. We spend a large part of our life working. The only way to enjoy our work and do great work is to have passion for it.