Becky Segarra, 26
Account Manager, Entec Polymers
Becky Segarra's first job in the plastics industry was as a customer account manager for Entec Polymers. A graduate of the University of North Florida with a bachelor's degree in international business and management, Segarra had no background in plastics and spent a week in Michigan traveling with a sales rep, knowing she "belonged in the field and not behind the computer."
"I knew I wanted to do sales, but I was not sure if I would be good at plastic sales," she said. "Once I expressed my interest in pursuing this career with Entec, they set me up to learn from the best of the best. I had no idea that this would be my career when I was studying business at the University of North Florida."
Segarra's parents moved to Florida from Puerto Rico 36 years ago. They met at the University of Puerto Rico and both became pharmacists.
"They decided moving to the States would give them the best shot at raising kids and financial stability. They were the type of parents that taught their kids not by telling us what to do, but by leading by example," Segarra said. "My brothers and I grew up in the best home, surrounded by parents that supported every decision, good or bad. I have always been career-driven, and I owe it to my parents, who never held me back from making my own choices. Like moving to New Jersey from the Sunshine State."
Segarra, born in Orlando, Fla., started at Entec in July 2017, then moved into a commercial development trainee role in March 2019. She excelled in the program and was placed in New Jersey, where she started in the field as an account manager in January 2020.
The hardest challenges Segarra faces, she said, are "how to navigate price increases, logistics issues and keeping customers educated on the circumstances of today while trying to generate new business and grow in sales."
"I am constantly reminding myself that we [our customers] are all in the same boat. How I handle these situations today will affect my growth in the future," she said.
Segarra said she could see herself in a commercial director position or heading new program initiatives for recruits, "hiring the next generation of young, talented professionals that will make up our industry 30 years from now."
"I pride myself on building strong relationships across the company. It is a privilege to be recognized by management for the hard work I have put into this role and roles that I have held prior," she said. "Out of the 400-plus employees in North America, I was amongst a handful of people to be considered as a nominee [for Rising Stars], which shows the value I bring to the table and the impact I make within the organization."
Q: What has been the biggest impact/challenge on your career from the coronavirus pandemic?
Segarra: The biggest impact has been accessibility to customers. Two years ago, I could have spoken to any rep in the field and they would have 10 or 20 calls that week at customers' plants. Today, it is incredibly difficult to build a week of visits like that. Some customers are only allowing necessary visits or no visits at all, depending on the area. My style of learning is being hands-on. I want to see the application and understand the customers' operations and what their capabilities are. You can't get that type of experience through a Teams call.
Q: What steps have you taken to advance in your career?
Segarra: I have been working with advisers within Entec to further advance my knowledge of plastics to better assist customers in my role. I have the privilege of working with some of the best teams, the full support of Entec to attend any related seminars within the industry, and networking at plastic events with other professionals to further advance my role at Entec.
I started my career as a customer service rep, understanding how Entec operates as a company, then using this knowledge to move into my role as an account manager in the field. I learned from each department, building relationships internally, before I made the commitment to my customers in the field.
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
Segarra: My mentor is Julie Hubble. She is an account manager at Entec today. She is the reason why I wanted to pursue a career in plastic sales, and I have been following in her footsteps from the moment I came to Entec in 2017. She is my confidant, she has been my biggest supporter at the company, she has always encouraged me to pursue any opportunity and was the first person to know that I was meant to do something more.