When she was 19 years old, Joy Johnson became pregnant, and she and her husband dropped out of college to "make sure that our child would have all that they needed to have to grow into the successful human they were meant to be." Johnson said their children have "learned immensely" from her and her husband: "Be an honest, hard worker each and every day."
While Johnson said not finishing college with a degree may be her biggest "failure," that has shown her "hard work and determination can still shine through."
"Learning about the specific world [plastics] that your life has taken you to can be very rewarding and you can be successful without the degree," she said. "Schooling is still very important, and throughout the years, I continue to take education courses focusing on plastics, selling and leadership. I will keep education part of my ongoing career helping me learn about areas I need strength added or would like to expand into."
After 26-plus years in the plastics distribution business, the senior account manager for Amco Polymers said she has enjoyed being one of the top female plastics distribution sellers in the industry.
Career highlights for Johnson include three national sales awards at Nexeo, seven supplier recognition awards and one sales excellence award at Amco, ranking among the top 5 percent of sellers for five straight years, mentoring more than a dozen men and women, being appointed to a national sales excellence leadership counsel, consulting and implementing a new customer service model and more.
"My mold I am breaking and will continue to break is blasting a female road in a men-dominated workforce. The plastics industry has been known as a 'man's' world, and I would like to change that," Johnson said. "As I continue to push up against a workforce dominated by men, I find fuel to propel myself forward and look to bring other women with me."
Q: If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Johnson: Emphasize the importance of teamwork. All members of our workforce contribute to our success. Listen to all team members for ideas, suggestions, current difficulties and challenge them to bring forth suggestions on how things could be done differently to potentially improve our processes.
Q: Most unexpected thing you learned from the pandemic?
Johnson: I learned that our whole company is able to perform at never-before-seen levels than had ever been done in the office prior. We broke sales records multiple times (three times) during the pandemic and everyone was working from home.
Q: What has been the biggest impact or challenge on your career from the coronavirus pandemic?
Johnson: Ability to keep relationships to the same degree with face-to-face calls and not being able to see customers face to face. Relationships have always been No. 1 on my list. I want to make sure people know that when they call me or email me, I am all over their request and will make sure it gets completed. I had a lot of established relationships and others that were newer, so keeping those moving forward with phone, teams and Zoom calls was most important to me.