For Wendy Warner, it's all about connecting the dots.
Her early career aspiration was to be a forensic chemist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, utilizing her ability to analyze technical information and communicate it in an easier, consumable way. She graduated from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., with a doctorate in analytical chemistry.
Because of a hiring freeze at the FBI around the time of graduation, Warner started as an application developer and trainer of environmental test methods for air and water. Warner spent 17 years in the nonwovens industry with a range of progressive commercial, technical and marketing roles.
Her entry into the plastics industry was with Polymer Group Inc., which was named Avintiv Inc. and acquired by Berry Global, as a key account lead in the hygiene market. In her Women Breaking the Mold survey, Warner said she "pursued the opportunity to translate customer needs into products enabling comfort and personal wellness of women and babies."
As the specialties business lead of Berry Global, Warner said she is responsible for the "investment in increased annual production capacity of our state-of-the-art, proprietary Spinlace technology."
"Spinlace, when combined with Berry's proprietary Apex technology, is capable of imparting customizable three-dimensional images directly into the fabric, providing enhanced product performance, recognition and/or aesthetic appeal with brand differentiation," she said.
Warner said several years ago she broke the mold of just being a "technology leader" by becoming a business leader as well. "The next boundary to break is into executive leadership or staff," she added.
Using her love of "connecting the dots" among "market trends, customer and consumer needs, and technologies" with strategies and tactics to provide solutions for business growth, Warner said she has her sights set on a future role as chief product officer, innovation officer or regional business lead.
The mother of three said she recently joined the World of Wipes committee and volunteers at children's sporting events.
Warner has received two meaningful pieces of advice throughout her years. First, speak up.
"It does not matter if you are the youngest in the room, only female or only technologist," she said. "If you have something to say, say it. Your voice matters."
Second, err on the side of action.
"Women think multidimensionally and are more likely to overthink situations than men," she said. "Try to gain enough information to feel confident in a direction then set things in motion. You can always course correct."
But what are her words of wisdom she's passing along to others? "Be agile," she said. "There are many exciting aspects to this business and ways to make a contribution."