Meaningful Mentorships in Packaging

An alliance between two early career professionals provides the impetus for an upcoming session at thePACKout.

Kassandra Kania, Freelance Writer

May 2, 2024

3 Min Read
Mentorships session at thePACKout 2024
Chris Kelley; Greyson Hammer

At a Glance

  • Mentor and intern partner on educational session to share lessons learned in their relationship.
  • One key takeaway will be the power of continuous networking within the niche industry of packaging.

Chris Kelley, R&D packaging engineer for Coloplast Interventional Urology, was looking to fill an open intern position when he met Greyson Hammer, a packaging student at the University of Wisconsin – Stout who was looking for a summer internship. The two formed a mutually beneficial partnership that is the subject of thePACKout session titled “New Kids on the Block: Navigating the Medical Packaging Industry as an Early Career Professional.”

Hammer first attended thePACKout as a Medical Device Technical Packaging Committee (MDTPC) scholarship winner in 2023. During the event, he had the opportunity to hear his mentor, Kelley, speak on a variety of medical device packaging topics, including MDTPC and KiiP.

“When I was in the audience it really made me proud of Chris, and I felt like a fanboy taking pictures of him,” Hammer recalls. “It also made me want to be on stage in the following years, and it was awesome that this opportunity came up so quickly.”

It was during a happy hour at the event that Hammer first entertained the idea of submitting an abstract for thePACKout 2024.

“While speaking with Sarah Ptach, [president of Canyon Labs and one of the founders of thePACKout], I shared how much Chris Kelley and I have gotten along since I was an intern for him in the summer of 2022,” Hammer says. “That is when Sarah brought up that it would be a good idea for an abstract for thePACKout 2024 and that the deadline to submit had been extended another week. From there, I thought to leverage her advice into writing an abstract that was centered around building a good relationship with your mentor.”

Fostering a mutually beneficial relationship.

According to Kelley, people might argue that the pair “got lucky” by connecting at random. But he has a different take on their meeting.

“We believe that luck is simply when preparation meets opportunity,” Kelley says. “This idea is something that we hope will inspire the attendees to leave our presentation making more of an active effort to put themselves in the right place/right time during which opportunities that could better their careers will be presented to them.”

The presentation will delve into the pivotal role of mentorship in shaping the careers of emerging talent. Through their firsthand experiences, Kelley and Hammer will explore lessons learned and the diverse ways in which mentorship fosters growth and resilience. Attendees will gain actionable strategies for cultivating mentor-mentee relationships that drive personal and professional development.

The duo chose this topic because they want to share the unique story of how and why their paths crossed, the keys to their success of experiencing a mutually beneficial relationship, and what others can learn from their story.

“The key takeaways that I hope attendees remember from our presentation would be how to have a mutually beneficial relationship with your mentor and the power of continuous networking within the niche industry of packaging,” says Hammer. “I feel this would be of value for attendees because they’ll be able to hear the real-life examples that Chris and I share about how innovation is only possible with collaboration.”

Kelley adds: “I think our story is fun, and I’m looking forward to the back-and-forth bantering nature of our presentation. We both hope the audience is inspired by our chat.” 

About the Author(s)

Kassandra Kania

Freelance Writer

Kassandra Kania is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, NC. She has written extensively about healthcare packaging for a variety of publications.

Sign up for the Packaging Digest News & Insights newsletter.

You May Also Like