In June, Paula Pagano joined ISRI as director of education. She has 20 years of experience in the association industry, including education and program planning for various formats, credentialing, committee managing, event planning, and more.

Pagano started her career with the Newspaper Association of America and has worked with the Parenteral Drug Association and National Business Travel Association. Most recently, she served as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) director of education programs and services. During her 12 years with NAHB, Pagano launched multiple online courses; overhauled a decentralized webinar program; oversaw daily operations for 13 professional designation programs; and developed budgets for seven product groups totaling $1.6 million.

At ISRI, Pagano serves as the liaison to the Education and Training Committee. She is developing a growth strategy for the association’s digital learning portfolio; serves as the point of contact for ISRI’s partnership with Scrap University; and project manages the educational programming at convention and smaller conferences throughout the year. She recently provided Scrap News with some more insights into her background and what she hopes to accomplish working for ISRI members.

What are some of your career highlights?

Throughout my career I have gotten to do a lot of interesting things. One standout will always be producing the ATHENA Awards honoring excellence in newspaper advertising. It gave me the opportunity to work with some of the most creative advertising people in the country. In addition, I have been involved from the beginning in providing distance learning and have enjoyed watching the technology and acceptance of it grow. Most importantly, I have had the honor to mentor many great people. In doing so,  I have learned a lot about myself and the ability to encourage others to shine in their careers.

What made you apply for a job with ISRI?

Making a difference in my work life is important to me and I welcomed the chance to work at ISRI because I believe in environmental protection and a healthier planet.

What are you looking forward to the most in working with ISRI?

As a lifelong learner, I am looking forward to discovering all I can about the recycling community and providing platforms for knowledge to help recyclers grow in their careers and in the industry. In addition, I look forward to getting to know and learning from my colleagues and ISRI members.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

I am a voracious reader (mostly fiction), and love to travel and have adventures with my husband, Scott, and my rescue dog bundle of joy, Sadie. During the COVID-19 pandemic, binge-watching lots of British competition shows from baking and pottery to make up and jewelry making became a huge obsession. I believe it takes a village and enjoy providing a support system for my nieces and nephews.


Primary photo courtesy of Storyblocks. Body photo courtesy of ISRI.

Dan Hockensmith

Dan Hockensmith

I'm a native Ohioan who since 2014 has called Maryland home. My background includes print, broadcast, and digital journalism; government contracting; and marketing communications.