Teknor Apex Co. is Casey Gunning's first step in the plastics industry. While she has previously worked in manufacturing, she was not specifically involved with plastics.
"The Teknor Apex team and culture is what first captured my interest. My interest in the industry grows every day as I learn more about the products, customers and potential TA and the industry has now and in the future," said the senior manager of internal communications at the materials firm.
The responsibilities that fall under Gunning's title include employee communications, communications strategies, engagement programs and strategic advising to the senior leadership team.
Gunning earned a bachelor's degree in public relations from Florida Southern College. She previously worked for GlobalFoundries Inc. and was a project manager for development and strategic implementation of a global platform that launched in October 2020. She was a two-time recipient of the CEO Award for COVID-19 task force leadership and a brand launch.
"My greatest achievement professionally was launching and successfully implementing SocialChorus/FirstUp at GlobalFoundries. In doing so, I was able to develop a strong culture of wholistic communication globally that not only had 90-plus percent registration/engagement but also decentralized communications by pulling in almost 150 content contributors, creating a robust and representative live news feed for all employees," she said.
In her personal life, her greatest accomplishment is her daughter.
"She's the best parts of me and also the best mirror I have," Gunning said. "She keeps me focused on what matters most and always reminds me to have fun, laugh and truly enjoy life."
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Gunning: Teknor Apex has never had a dedicated internal communications leader/function. I have only been a part of the team since the end of April 2022, so I'm still learning/building relationships and working to identify what the team needs from a communications perspective. While building the function from the ground up is a challenge; it's what makes me most excited about my job every day. I can't wait to see where we are a year from now.
Q: What is your biggest failure and what has it taught you?
Gunning: Culture often feels like a buzzword, and it's easy to fall into the trap of checking a box. As a key leader in connecting with employees, I must always represent employees globally, ask hard questions and hold fellow leaders accountable in walking the talk. When I haven't fulfilled this responsibility, employee trust and engagement suffers. This is one of the attributes of the Teknor Apex leadership team that I love most: We're all on the same page.
Q: What is your personal "mold" that you are breaking?
Gunning: Conventional and traditional communications. Employees want to communicate and engage similarly to how they do in their personal lives. People are constantly absorbing news and social media, using a variety of apps to support banking, travel, product purchases … and they want it all faster, easier to access and more specific to their needs/interests. Strengthening and streamlining the employee digital experience is key in bringing the business culture and performance to the next level.