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Empowering Change: Women Shaping the Future of Packaging and Processing Industries

In a world that's evolving at an unprecedented pace, the role of women is taking center stage across various industries. The packaging and processing sector is no exception. These industries, crucial to the global economy, have witnessed a remarkable shift in gender dynamics, with women taking on influential roles, breaking barriers, and leaving their mark on an industry that has been traditionally male-dominated. We're thrilled to present the "Women in Packaging" Special Report, where we delve into the experiences, insights, and journeys of leading women who are reshaping the packaging landscape.

From engineers and entrepreneurs to sustainability advocates and operational experts, each of these trailblazing women brings a unique perspective and invaluable contributions to their respective fields. In exclusive interviews with Packaging World, they share not only their remarkable stories but also offer advice and vision to inspire the next generation of women in packaging.

Diverse Journeys, Shared Wisdom

Charlotte Ashcraft, Manager of Packaging & Graphic Development at Just Born Quality Confections, emphasizes the importance of adaptability and connection in her career journey. Her ability to engage with people from all walks of life has propelled her advancement, showcasing how interpersonal skills can be just as essential as technical expertise.

Anne Tate Bedarf, Director of Packaging & Plastics Sustainability at Colgate-Palmolive, reveals her inspiring journey from childhood experiences to becoming an influential leader in sustainability. Her story underscores the significance of persistence and resilience in carving one's path in a male-dominated industry.

Ana Espinosa, Packaging Sustainability Manager at Estée Lauder Companies, highlights the profound impact packaging has on the environment and consumer behavior. Her insights remind us of the vital role the packaging industry plays in driving positive change.

Breaking Down Barriers

In a world where challenges still persist, these women's stories remind us that every obstacle can be turned into an opportunity. Despite facing discrimination and setbacks, their resilience and determination have paved the way for significant advancements.

Lisa Hirsh, a third-generation leader at Accurate Box Company, reflects on her four-decade journey in the industry and the importance of fostering inclusivity. Her story showcases the enduring impact of long-term commitment and the power of championing diversity.

Jennifer Lawrence of Pregis discusses the strategies she employed to shape her path to success in a male-dominated sector. Her experience highlights the significance of perseverance and strategic navigation in overcoming obstacles.

Leading with Purpose

Allison Lin, Global Vice President of Packaging Sustainability at Mars, Inc., sheds light on the critical role diverse perspectives play in solving global packaging waste. Her insights emphasize the importance of collaboration and innovation to drive meaningful change.

Kelly Murosky, Sustainable Packaging Manager at Unilever, shares her experiences in driving the "less plastics" agenda and how she overcame challenges while carving a path for women in sustainable packaging. Her journey showcases the transformative power of passion and determination.

A Collective Vision for Progress

Montserrat Cerf, a founding member of the North American PPWLN with over 20 years of experience in the field of packaging and processing, has taken a significant step towards empowering women. She has been appointed president of the Latin American Chapter of the PPWLN, aiming to promote women's involvement in positions of responsibility and leadership within the traditionally male-dominated industry. Cerf's vision aligns perfectly with the ongoing efforts to foster gender equality and provide opportunities for women in packaging and processing.

As evident from these stories, women in packaging are forging ahead, each contributing to a more sustainable, inclusive, and innovative industry. Their insights, experiences, and advice serve as a guide for aspiring women in the field, reminding them that they have the power to make a difference.

With the support of organizations like the Packaging & Processing Women's Leadership Network (PPWLN) and ongoing efforts to promote gender equality, the future of women in the packaging industry is brighter than ever. The stories of these remarkable women inspire us to continue advocating for change, fostering mentorship, and empowering women to achieve their fullest potential.

Join the Movement

If you're passionate about driving change and want to be part of the journey, don't miss the upcoming PPWLN Breakfast at PACK EXPO Las Vegas. This exclusive event will feature Manjit Minhas, an award-winning entrepreneur who co-founded Minhas Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries at just 19 years old. She'll share her extraordinary journey of conquering challenges in a male-dominated industry, offering insights and strategies for success. This is an opportunity to gain inspiration, empower yourself, and be part of a movement that's reshaping the future of packaging and processing.

As the packaging and processing industries continue to evolve, the women leading the way remind us that every voice matters, every contribution counts, and every challenge can be transformed into an opportunity. Let's celebrate the progress we've made and work together to ensure a more equitable and inclusive future for all.

Reference: "Women in Packaging Special Report: Women in Packaging Share Experiences, Advice, and Vision." Packaging World, Jul 26, 2023. Link

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