Our 32 profiles of Women Breaking the Mold in the plastics industry is a record this year for quantity, and the quality of the submissions was fantastic, too.
We've been averaging about 20 profiles a year for the past six years, and this year we blew past that number.
Jordan Vitick, our special projects editor, shares the stories on Pages 9-19 of this week's issue, and we'll be running extended versions of the profiles on PlasticsNews.com.
Thanks to everyone who shared their story or nominated a deserving candidate. We have a wide variety of talented, accomplished professionals again this year, in a range of roles.
One of the things that always stands out is when someone shares their story about how they pioneered the way for other women in their organization, or even in their field.
Karen Bouchard, a laboratory quality manager at Chroma Color Corp., said when she started working in 1984, there were only men in the lab.
"I was the first women hired as quality control tech, first-ever promoted to a lead color matcher role, and then first as a color lab manager," Bouchard said. "Today it is exiting to look around and see other women in our organization and our customers."
Monica Christler, director of sales at M. Holland Co., said there were few women in commercial roles when she started in plastics in 1991.
"Our data suggests that less than 20 percent of commercial roles are currently held by women in the distribution space," Christler said. "I challenge myself to change that number through mentorship and empowerment of the women I know can be successful in this field."
We're finally featuring Tamsin Ettefagh in our class of 2020, she's a leader and a pioneer in the plastics recycling sector.
"As a young woman entering this industry with a degree in polymers or engineering … learning and getting to where I am now was definitely a nontraditional mold-breaking achievement," Ettefagh said.
It's rewarding to recognize this new class of women who are succeeding in the predominantly male-dominated plastics industry. Their careers are proof that companies that are starved for talent need to make sure that they're considering women for important roles. That includes jobs in engineering, manufacturing and management.
If you know a woman who we should profile, don't worry: We plan to recognized another group of Women Breaking the Mold in 2021.