Women in Plastics Evolves

By Katie Juneau, Chair, Women in Plastics

The Women in Plastics group launched late last year, with an informal poolside meet-up at the convention in Miami and several conference calls before the end of the year. With each call, we were able to solidify some of the structure and purpose for this fledging group, such as:

  • Identifying a purpose statement
  • Creating a LinkedIn Group
  • Establishing sub-groups to manage different aspects of the group (Communication, Local Events and a Leadership Event)

Although much ground was covered in those first few months, it was time for a face-to-face meeting with IAPD staff to discuss some of the “big picture” questions that had come up and map out a strategy for this year. I was happy to visit IAPD headquarters on March 6, spend the day meeting with staff and get a lot done.

The first BIG question was about membership in the group. Specifically, whether to limit it to women employees of IAPD member companies or open it up to all IAPD member company employees. We discussed the changing demographics of the workplace, which is projected to have a higher percentage of women in the coming years, as well as the greater number of women than men graduating from college. Taking this information into account, it seemed like opening up the group to men, also, would benefit IAPD member companies, as the Women in Plastics group could provide resources and tools for recruiting and retaining women in plastics careers. So, if you’re a man in plastics and you are interested in joining the Women in Plastics LinkedIn Group, we’d welcome your participation.

The next item on the agenda was to revisit the purpose statement for Women in Plastics, which had previously defined it as a women’s only group. After a little conversation and wordsmithing, we developed the following as the new Women in Plastics purpose statement:

Women in Plastics is committed to supporting women through mentoring, education and personal and professional development to attract, retain and advance women within the plastics industry. The Women in Plastics group is open to employees of IAPD member companies who are interested in supporting our objectives. The group will focus on the distinct needs of Women in Plastics:

  • Promote leadership and education focused on women in the plastics industry
  • Provide resources needed for successful career advancement
  • Encourage work/life balance

We also discussed activities for the group and created a preliminary schedule. We identified three ways in which the Women in Plastics group will communicate:

1. Written communications, such as this article in IAPD News
2. In-person events, such as an informal networking gathering at next month’s IAPD Leadership Summit
3. Webinars on topics of interest and importance to the Women in Plastics group

The plan is to rotate these three offerings, so each month there will be one scheduled. So, for example, this month we’re presenting this article, an in-person event will happen at the Leadership Summit in San Antonio and in May we’d present our first webinar. Then, you can expect another article in June, networking event in July, webinar in August, etc.

The one outstanding item, and it may be a Board decision, is how to classify the Women in Plastics group. We don’t fall neatly into one of the existing categories (committee, common interest group, etc.), so we might need to define something all-new. As the Future Leaders group is in a similar situation, whatever the new nomenclature ends up being, it will most likely apply to both groups.

So, what’s next?

At the top of my list now is recruiting a vice-chair to assist with the leadership of the group. We have a good start on people who have expressed interest in serving on the subgroups, but there are some gaps to fill, particularly in the regional events subgroup. Since we want to have as many geographical areas represented as possible, I’d encourage anyone interested in getting involved to consider this subgroup. Ideally, we’d like to be able to have someone send out word via the LinkedIn Group or other means of communication to IAPD members about an informal gathering in a location that’s convenient for people in your area. Whether that’s happy hour, lunch, dinner, participating in a 5K, it’s up to you!

I’d also like to hear some ideas for webinar topics that would interest you. Of course, if you’re interested in presenting a webinar, please let me or IAPD staff know, but we won’t be putting anyone on the spot.

Thanks to all the people — women and men — who have been early champions of this group. I look forward to seeing it grow and become a tremendous resource for all IAPD members.

Please feel free to contact me or Carly Rodgers with IAPD if you are interested in getting more involved.


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