Nashville, Tenn. — You don't have to be the leader of a global movement, have a household name or hold a C-suite title to make a big difference.
For DuPont's Portia Yarborough, senior operations and innovation leader, everyone has an opportunity and a responsibility to make an impact — whether that means creating change, helping each other grow or working toward satisfying your personal goals.
"It doesn't matter what you do, where you sit. You can and should be making an impact right where you are," said Yarborough, who kicked off the 2019 Women Breaking the Mold Networking Forum, a Nov. 11 conference organized by Plastics News.
"You don't need the right opportunity. You don't need the right project. You don't need the right manager," she said. "Lead now from wherever you are."
Yarborough outlined three important considerations that can help carve out a career path where you're able to be a champion for yourself and others. Those include being confident in your passions, finding meaning in your work, and knowing and helping others.
"What motivates you, and what speaks to your heart? What gets you out of bed every morning?" she asked the audience, which included more than 150 women who work in the plastics industry. "Maybe you already know. And if you do, that's the gift — embrace it. But if you don't know, get curious."
Yarborough recalled a "fantastic chemistry teacher" who brought atoms and molecules to life for her. Though in college — and in response to some prodding by friends — she signed up for business courses.
"I did try a couple courses, and they were pretty frustrating for me," she said. "And so, you know what I did? I went back to my happy place: chemistry."