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  • 26 Feb 2015

Women in Packaging makes debut

Joanna Stephenson: '‘Women have a big presence in the UK packaging industry but are under-represented.'

A new organization to help connect, promote and engage women in the UK packaging industry has been officially launched, with Parkside Flexibles hosting 40-plus attendees at a launch lunch on its stand at Packaging Innovations.

Joanna Stephenson (pictured), former vice president of Linpac Packaging and now managing director of PHD Marketing, and Debbie Waldron Hoines of Avant-Tout, formerly of DS Smith and executive secretary of the European Flexographic Industry Association (EFIA), are leading the creation of Women in Packaging.

During a presentation on the first day of Packaging Innovations Stephenson detailed how Women in Packaging will work on an operational label, and how it’s wider goals and aspirations.

‘Women have a big presence in the UK packaging industry but are under-represented. We want to better promote the work they do, and to attract women to and retain them in the industry, especially in technical and top-level management positions.

‘This will require the input of members on a voluntary basis to talk with and engage fellow members at events and in a mentoring capacity.’

An annual awards scheme will be organized to recognize women in the UK packaging industry, while other networking and social events are in the pipeline. A website is also being developed.

The Women in Packaging organization for the UK industry follows similar initiatives already in existence in the US and other markets, including plastics and tobacco. Women in Plastics describes itself as a group representing ‘intelligent women, innovators, leaders, designers and history makers’, and as a ‘positive presence in the plastics industry’ and a platform for ‘support, recognition and praise’.

Men are not excluded from Women in Packaging, nor are international members, although the group will primarily have a remit to support and recognize women from the UK packaging industry.

‘Women in Packaging is not anything radical,’ said Stephenson. ‘Rather we want to help recognize the role of women in the UK packaging industry and give them the recognition they deserve.’

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 Women in Packaging can contact the team via

David Pittman


David Pittman is former deputy editor of Labels & Labeling.

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