Written by Josh Glover
12 Jun 2024

Sharpsmart Spotlight: Kate Chambers

When you feel a little too structured and need to do something to take the edge off, horse surfing along Florida’s Gulf Coast can be quite the adventure…

We want to take a moment to shine the spotlight on Sharpsmart’s shape-shifting horse surfer, and our Executive Manager, Kate Chambers.


Who’s the driving force behind keeping projects on track across the Sharpsmart business?


At work, Kate Chambers is known for developing and driving strategies forward across multiple departments, focusing on wider business goals. At home, she’s known as Mum, aka the pony taxi driver for pony club competitions…

But Kate doesn’t only spend her time out of work driving around, she’s also in the process of renovating a farm cottage and when real downtime is needed, there are a lot of social events that happen with colleagues outside of work too.

Beginning her Sharpsmart journey in 2009 as a receptionist, Kate has witnessed the business blossom from its smaller roots – in fact, a lot of the growth within the business and the establishment of several departments has been the result of Kate’s determination and adaptability.

Variety is the spice of Kate’s professional life and her role involves pulling together different facets of the business. The ever-changing nature of her work ensures that there’s never a dull moment, and Kate thrives on the challenge of supporting others in keeping their priorities in check.

Kate’s well-structured grasp of project management requires having one eye firmly focused on the present and another looking ahead to the future, and keeping both eyes wide open without going cross-eyed – that only happens after a few drinks at one of the Spennymoor team’s infamous parties…

But that’s enough from us – now that you have an idea of who Kate Chambers is, let’s hear it straight from the horse-surfer’s mouth. We spent some time with Kate to learn about her Sharpsmart experience.


What were your first impressions of Sharpsmart?


I saw the brilliance of the company’s vision straight away and the core product offering with its added value fascinated me back then, and it still does because it hasn’t changed.

I also saw a blank canvas with space to develop new systems and teams before scaling up and building on what we had.

No one else was offering reusable sharps containers at the time either so we were creating our own track and there was a lot of opportunity.


What do you enjoy most about working for Sharpsmart?


The people are a huge part of it and I’ve hired quite a few of the people so a lot of them have been hand-picked and that culture that brings gets you working through any problems that may arise.

I also love the variety, I started with Sharpsmart as a receptionist and over the years I’ve had multiple opportunities to shape my career path and learn different roles. I’ve even had an influence on some of the areas of business growth over the years and been able to put my own stamp on things.

It’s a common theme at Sharpsmart to be able to have your say and be heard right to the top and build with the business.


Is there a customer moment / meaningful anecdote that stands out as especially rewarding?


When I went on maternity leave I received cards and flowers from some of our customers – in the service and industry we’re in, that’s unusual. I never expected to build up such meaningful relationships with customers and get to know people who genuinely and personally care about you, it’s very rewarding.


What’s the strangest request you’ve had whilst on the job?


I was once asked to retrieve a set of false teeth from a container for a patient and more shockingly, I had to explain why they wouldn’t want to put them back into use…

That’s just one of many unusual collection and guidance requests I’ve had over the years, most of which involve anatomical parts.


What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned over your career?


Letting go of what you’ve built so you can move on and build something else. It involves continually adapting and finding the right people to backfill your role as you adapt and grow with the business.


What’s the most fulfilling thing you’ve done with Sharpsmart?


I find a lot of fulfilment in the general service but a big moment that stands out for me is when the pandemic struck. We continued our service and adapted to meet the rising demand and needs of our customers whilst keeping our staff safe.

We quickly changed our way of working and found a new normal that ended up doubling our business in a moment when many were panicking. As other businesses shrunk back, we moved forward and grew as a result, we were hiring when many others were making redundancies.

It was a hard working moment but a very proud one and we got a lot of positive recognition in the industry and from our customers for being there in their hour of need.


What does growth look like for you and your dept/team/plant?


I haven’t got a set route and never have done, I just advance into different roles that I’ve identified by watching the horizon and identifying what the business needs. In my time at Sharpsmart, I’ve gone from Receptionist to People & Culture, Customer Service, Continuous Improvement, SHEQ team, and more.

As the business grows and has new requirements, I’ll adapt myself and move on to the next project.


How would you describe the culture at Sharpsmart?


We’ve always had a closeness at Sharpsmart and even though we’re now a much bigger team than we were when I started, that closeness still exists.

It’s a welcoming and hard-working team with a “can do” culture of positive action and we always find a way.

To have such strong backing from the CEO is another unique aspect of the Sharpsmart culture, you won’t find many businesses where the CEO will be involved in supporting and ensuring an open door policy for him and the rest of his global leadership team.


If you could dispel one myth about the healthcare waste industry, what would that be?


Firstly, when work needs doing the fairies don’t come and do it in the background…

But a bigger one would be the myth that single-use bins are equivalent to our reusable sharps containers – they don’t even come close. The transition and support system that comes with our solution completely changes behaviour, not just the bin.


What advice would you give someone looking for a career with Sharpsmart?


Just go for it! There’s so much opportunity available and I’m just one of many examples of someone who’s had the chance to develop and grow with the business as well as put my own stamp on things.

There’s the potential here to come in and have a job for life in your initial role, or the chance to try different things and carve a path in a business that’s true to its vision and mission.


If you were abandoned on a desert island, which three Sharpsmart colleagues would you want with you?


Martha Nutkins, she’s a super resourceful lady and would be the best bet to find shelter. I’m also pretty sure she could make an escape boat and paddle us to safety when we’ve had enough! Dominique Bradley, she could identify any ‘friendly’ local talent, negotiate a good deal on some nourishment and generally keep the peace. Joanne Wood, she’ll keep our spirits up and fiercely protect the team.


Bonus Question: What’s your biggest pet peeve?


When people don’t try to see the problem before they try and work a solution.


Join Our Pride!


Are you currently considering an exciting new career with an innovative company that gives you a platform for growth and development?

If you are, and you’d also like to be a part of making healthcare safer and more sustainable, you’ll fit in nicely with the Sharpsmart pride.



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Josh Glover

Josh Glover

Content Specialist

As a natural storyteller driven by curiosity, Josh aims to educate and engage through informative and thought-provoking content; working towards a safer and more sustainable healthcare system.