Alissa Moody spent time in the recruiting business working for apparel and retail companies. But she traded luxury goods and stores — like Burberry and Liz Claiborne — for manufacturing and plastics six years ago.
And she said she prefers the factory.
“I don't have to worry about what color lipstick my candidates are wearing to an interview,” she said. “I can focus on substance, intelligence and leadership capabilities.”
Moody, 41, is vice president of JM Search, an executive recruitment company in Pennsylvania. The search firm works in a number of industries, but Moody specializes in plastics and packaging.
Moody said she's passionate about promoting female candidates in searches. And about a quarter of the time, firms identify a lack of diversity on their team and ask her to find female candidates to consider.
“It's not the norm, but it's happening more and more,” Moody said about the specific search to diversify leadership teams with female members.
That search often leads Moody searching outside of plastics companies to draw them into the industry.
“Sometimes that means you have to be a little more creative [in finding candidates],” she said.
Moody, who got her bachelor's from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y., said it's sometimes difficult finding up-and-coming talent interested in roles in the industry.
“I don't know that we show them the opportunities of the roles in manufacturing.” she said. “If you are a driven person, the opportunities are endless.”
The old stigma of a dirty manufacturing plant is just outdated, she said. But it's tough to fight against potentially “sexier” career paths, like those in technology. And while other companies and industries are often on college campuses recruiting freshly minted business minds, the manufacturing industry just doesn't do that sort of recruiting, she said.
Moody wasn't completely foreign to the plastics and manufacturing world when she started at JM Search; her grandparents started a business after World War II that made extruded vibration dampening and cast sound barrier composites. Her father and uncle eventually went to work for the company too.
She said she loves the change of pace in the industry.
“Just as you think the industry is consolidating, some new company and technology comes into the market. It's constantly evolving and replacing other materials,” Moody said.
The people are what drive the industry forward, she said.
“These are really smart people. These are really innovative people. There's just so much substance and it's really about talent,” Moody said.