Women in Packaging, a new organization to connect, support and recognize female employees in the UK packaging industry, is being launched by two long serving women from the sector at this month’s Packaging Innovations event in Birmingham.
Joanna Stephenson (pictured, right), former vice-president of Linpac Packaging and now managing director of PHD Marketing, and Debbie Waldron Hoines (pictured, left) of Avant-Tout, formerly of DS Smith and executive secretary of the European Flexographic Industry Association (EFIA), have joined forces to develop the new initiative. A website and event calendar are to follow in the coming weeks.
The initiative is being launched during the second day of Packaging Innovations at the NEC in Birmingham on February 26 on the Parkside Flexibles stand at 12pm.
‘We have some really great role models right across the breadth of our industry but there is a lack of opportunity for women to network, collaborate and learn’ said Stephenson. ‘The intention is to address some of the gaps we see in networking and mentoring, as well as provide opportunities to recognize success and celebrate those who are leading our industry to show what a great sector we work in.
‘We’ve had fantastic support from a range of companies we’ve talked to, as well as industry associations, and envisage being able to deliver several events throughout the year, as well as build out a mentoring and coaching programme as the initiative builds.’
Waldron-Hoines, who is also involved with the emerging FTA Europe association, added: ‘Whilst the packaging industry seems to have fairly good female representation, we don’t really know and a first job for us is to survey the industry to truly understand what our gender balance and diversity looks like.
‘From our experience we see many female employees in traditional female roles. Operators, engineers and managers are often sadly lacking, along with women in senior director roles. Hopefully by learning from those who’ve navigated their way through, we can encourage more to enter the industry and learn from each other along the way.’
Nick Smith, Parkside Flexibles managing director, said: ‘Parkside prides itself on its diversity and I think the Women in Packaging initiative will be a great support to my team in enabling them to connect with their peers. We have similar programs in the plastics and tobacco industries and it’s about time we engaged more in the packaging industry too.’
Those interested in attending the launch or joining the Women in Packaging initiative can contact the team via firstname.lastname@example.org.