Women in management roles within packaging departments are changing how the packaging industry does business.
Packaging Digest first reported on this trend at the beginning of 2015 with “Women in packaging: Taking the lead.” In subsequent months, we profiled four female packaging executives who we believe have made a remarkable difference: Pepsico’s Denise Lefebvre, Campbell Soup Co.’s Mary Gregg, Amy Zettlemoyer-Lazar from Walmart Scorecard fame and Nina Goodrich with GreenBlue and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.
But you who work with remarkable women day in and day out know their value as leaders. It’s now time to recognize some of the women nominated by their packaging peers in the last couple months as the Leading Ladies of Packaging.
In no particular order…we start with Lisa Scribner, associate director Fabric and Home Care MPD (Materials, Process and Delivery) Packaging, Procter & Gamble. MPD is part of a larger packaging organization that includes Package Development. MPD is not the R&D part of packaging, but deals with day-to-day issues, such as packaging material supplier performance and quality. The MPD team also leads optimization projects that drive cost and defects out of current supply chains.
Scribner was nominated by teammates Rebecca Gulaskey, NA HC MPD Packaging, and Paul Bader, Air Care MPD Packaging, for her transformation of the packaging organization and significant contributions to the bottom line.
In their own words…
“In 2007, Lisa Scribner was assigned to manage the MPD Packaging Organization in Procter & Gamble’s $26 Billion Global Fabric and Home Care Sector. Since then, Lisa has transformed this packaging organization from a loosely organized and siloed collection of technical experts into a globally focused, multi-category organization with manufacturing and technical center staffing in 35 plants and 25 countries.
“Last year, Lisa’s organization delivered over $100 million in annual packaging savings projects across diverse suppliers and technologies ranging from injection stretch blow molding (ISBM), extrusion blow molding (EBM), injection molding, glass, corrugate, cartons, aerosols, flexible films, thermoforming, colorants, transportation, warehousing and device assembly, while meeting the daily business needs, including delivering packaging initiatives for the diverse regions where the multi-category manufacturing facilities reside.
“Even more impressive is the fact that Lisa’s MPD organization attracts and retains top performing women at all levels and is arguably one of the most culturally diverse organizations in P&G.
“‘Lisa is a very empowering manager’ quotes one of the Section Heads on Lisa’s global leadership team. ‘She ensures that we have the tools to do our job and then holds us fully accountable and fully recognized for the work.’
“Lisa breeds rapid expansion of packaging innovation by fostering a tight-knit and seamless community of her 13 member global leadership team—each person responsible for a multi-national region and/or global product platform. Lisa demands that issues are solved at the lowest level possible in the organization, and insists that her team members work out conflicting ideas and business propositions before using her as a ‘tie-breaker.’ This management style breeds highly independent and business savvy packaging professionals who are visible and valued in their Go To Market organizations around the world. This high bar for performance and leadership expands to all members of the MPD organization who are said by outsiders to ‘operate one level higher’ than their peers outside of this packaging organization.
“Lisa’s vast experience as a Procter and Gamble plant manager (Green Bay, WI, and Cape Girardeau, MO) and her deep technical mastery of paper making technology has positioned Lisa well for her current responsibilities of managing a global packaging organization. Lisa further expanded her skills and influence by moving with her family to Western Europe for a broadening role in global purchasing.
“Unwavering adherence to standards has allowed Lisa to implement several global systems that are identically deployed and executed across Fabric and Home Care (F&HC) businesses. Examples of Lisa’s global footprint include implementing Supplier Capability roles and work systems, a global training system and database for all MPD packaging employees, standard supplier and material qualification protocols, and a strong working partnership with R&D that is leveraging global scale with standardized package designs and work processes.
“Lisa has been married to Stephen Sturtevant for 28 years, lives in Mason, Ohio, and is mother to 23 year old Chelsea, currently studying business at the University of Cincinnati. Lisa enjoys biking and has completed multiple week-long bicycle treks both in the United States and abroad.”
Next up: The first female chairperson takes risks
The first female chairperson takes risks
When 32-year-old Hillary Femal took the reins in 2015 as chairperson for the Reusable Packaging Assn. (RPA), she was the first female chair in the association’s 16-year history. She was also the first female on the RPA board when she joined it in 2013—which turned out to be a year of many accomplishments. It was the same year Femal became vp of global marketing at IFCO Systems and was named by the Produce Marketing Association as one of “9 Women to Watch in Produce.”
Katie Kilfoyle Remis, RPA’s communications director, says, “I am nominating Hillary because her drive and commitment to the reusables industry has made the RPA a stronger association. Before joining the board, she was an active volunteer on the RPA's Marketing Communications Committee for six years. She was always willing to take on additional marketing projects for the association in spite of her heavy workload and travel schedule with IFCO, and now she is taking on a more active and strategic role as chairwoman. She has been a real asset to the association.”
Femal is a great role model, on and off the RPA court. “She is comfortable with taking risks and accepts that occasional failures go hand-in-hand with achieving strong accomplishments,” Kilfoyle Remis says. “She believes that achieving greater diversity in leadership roles in the packaging industry is an important workforce strategy for the future. Reason: the young packaging stars of tomorrow need to ‘see themselves’ in the workforce and become excited and interested in joining the industry.”
Next: Another role model from a $10.8 billion (yes, with a “b”) company
Amway’s Pelc encourages empathy with consumers
Winning packaging awards takes a back seat to elevating the consumer experience. But Kristi Pelc manages to do both, even though the stakes are pretty high.
As the director in Amway’s Global R&D Div., Pelc is responsible for Packaging, Beauty & Home Care Product Development for the world’s largest direct sales company, which posted sales of $10.8 billion in 2014. In the area of nutrition, beauty and home, Amway offers more than 450 products in an array of packaging forms.
Tiffany Buchholz, Amway’s senior packaging engineer, Packaging R&D, nominates Pelc for our Leading Ladies in Packaging recognition. Here’s why:
“Kristi was instrumental in forming the Packaging Department under one reporting structure,” Buchholz says. “This has allowed a Packaging Center of Excellence to form at Amway where Packaging Engineers share best practices and strengthened packaging skills such as consumer experience, sustainability, new technologies and design. Amway boasts a group of 47 packaging professionals including one industrial designer, located in the U.S., South Korea, China and India. Under Kristi’s leadership, Amway has earned seven industry awards including Beauty Packaging Company of the Year in 2014 from Beauty Packaging magazine.”
“Creating a good consumer experience has always been an important focus for Kristi. She encourages her team to use the products throughout the development cycle in the same environment a consumer would (such as the bathroom and laundry room) and also asks for samples herself. Through these experiences, we have been able to identify potential issues and react while there is still time to make adjustments.
“Collaboration among team members has also been a strength of the organization. This is no surprise since Kristi co-leads the R&D Culture of Innovation team. The Packaging Engineering team embraces this collaborative spirit and as many as five packaging engineers can be working to bring a new package to life.
“Kristi has been with Amway since 1994 in various roles including Package Engineering, Project Management and Product Development. She has worked to launch many global products in the Beauty, Nutrition and Home Care categories. She has also lived and worked in Tokyo, Japan, as a part of Amway’s global R&D program. Kristi has a Bachelor of Science degree in Packaging from Michigan State University and is working towards a Masters in Management from Aquinas College. Prior to Amway, Kristi worked as a Packaging Engineer at Colgate-Palmolive located in Piscataway, NJ.
“At a recent staff meeting, Kristi shared the leadership values she expects from her organization:
• Use the Science to Tell a Story
• Use the Product
• People are a Priority
• Meet Your Commitments
• Go the Extra Mile
• Be Humble
“As a mother of 3-year-old twins, Kristi has also participated in forums for Amway’s Women’s Inclusion Network. Recently, she participated in a working parent’s roundtable that was well attended. All of these examples make Kristi a great role model for the women in our department, R&D division and across the organization.”
…as well as throughout the industry.
Next: All it takes is initiative
Initiative and insights create a powerful advocate
The secret to getting ahead is…giving away. When Chandler Slavin offered to help me cover (for free!) the SustPack 2015 conference—which Packaging Digest sponsors in partnership with Smithers Pira and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition—she made it obvious how we would both benefit. She would get to network with peers in her field and Packaging Digest would gain critical insights about key issues in sustainable packaging through her articles and tweets.
I nominate Chandler for our Leading Ladies of Packaging recognition for her initiative, enthusiasm and untapped potential for leadership in both thought and action.
Who is Chandler Slavin? She’s the sustainability coordinator and marketing manager at family owned custom thermoforming company Dordan Manufacturing. Since joining the packaging design and manufacturing firm in 2009, Chandler has focused her efforts on post-consumer clamshell recycling, publishing three reports that narrate the journey of clamshell containers from largely landfilled to recyclable and recycled in 2015. These reports have received the cover story of Green Manufacturer Magazine (2010) and UK-based Plastics in Packaging Magazine (2013 and 2015).
In addition to being a contributing writer to Packaging Digest, Chandler writes a blog for her company and serves on the editorial board of Plastics in Packaging. She also sits on the board of the Sustainable Manufacturers Network, a professional organization of individual members working together to drive the transition toward environmentally friendly manufacturing.
Among her accomplishments, Chandler cites her service as the co-lead of Walmart Canada's PET Subcommittee of the Material Optimization Committee, 2010-2011.
More recently, in 2014, Chandler graduated from the Executive Management program at the University of Chicago BOOTH School of Business, now integrating business strategy into sustainability efforts to facilitate sustained growth for the 52-year-old thermoforming company in Woodstock, IL.