Stephanie Baker was often the youngest and one of few women in any given meeting or conference. She didn't come from a technical background; she has a Bachelor of Arts from Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, and plastics recycler KW Plastics Recycling in Troy, Ala., was her first job in the plastics industry more than 15 years ago.
Her background is in communications and economic development, which "provided a unique perspective to be able to change the recycling message from an environmental one to an economic one," said Baker, director of market development.
"I knew that I could either be intimidated by those around me with more experience or I would take advantage of the opportunity to learn and build relationships," Baker said. "I also learned that what made me unique also set me apart and could offer a lot of value."
Baker was named a "Four Under 40: The Voices of the Future" by Resource Recycling and deemed a "Mover and Shaper" by Business Alabama. She previously served as chairwoman of the Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC) Board of Directors and SERDC 120, which was a voluntary initiative that resulted in the Recycling Partnership.
"I think my greatest achievements are not in the goals I have been able to accomplish, but rather the collaborative work in bridging together groups with common goals or connecting leaders in various aspects of the supply chain to better understand respective challenges and work together to inspire community within the industry," Baker said.
"One of these examples is the SERDC 120 initiative, which recognized that a lot of great work was being done to research and understand specific points in the recycling stream and gathered these various interests together to take action," she added. "The Recycling Partnership resulted as a work of our intense six weeks of work and today is a great example of voluntary partnership and investment in arenas that affected the supply chain as a whole and moved brands and communities closer together."