A University of Illinois graduate with a degree in economics, Maureen MacDonald-Stein's first plastics job was at Complex Tooling and Molding in Boulder, Colo. She started in the sales development program working in multiple roles, including tooling, molding, quality assurance and customer service, before moving into a sales position.
Throughout the 1990s, she drove "explosive growth" of a sales territory from $5 million to $60 million in eight years at Complex Tooling. Between 2000 to 2007, she won seven MVP awards at GE Plastics for sales and field market development.
As the director of OEM growth at Sabic, MacDonald-Stein manages multiple global teams, including the application and business development teams focused on the top OEM customers, the regulatory team and the megatrends marketing team. She is also the acting leader of the fulfillment excellence team for global sales and operations planning.
"As you mature in your career, your greatest achievements also evolve. I am proud of my contributions that have helped Sabic to grow and innovate year over year in exciting industries such as health care, automotive and 5G. I am also proud of my teams' successes," she said.
"However, at this time in my career, I think my greatest achievement is the nurturing and coaching I provide for individuals who will be the next generation of leaders at Sabic," she added.
Asked what job she would love to have in the future, MacDonald-Stein said she already has the best role in the global petrochemicals firm's Specialties business: "I am helping to shape and enrich the customer experience, which is directly connected to helping the company grow."
Q: What is your personal "mold" that you are breaking?
MacDonald-Stein: For the better part of my 32-year career, I have been in technical sales. I had always considered my mold to be "commercial." I had no ambition to explore other parts of the business like product management or supply chain. In 2017, Sabic made the decision for me. They appointed me to manage a sizable product business. It was scary to break outside of [the] mold I had created for myself, but I leaned into the role learning the business dynamics and was successful.
Sabic continued to challenge me with project work well outside of my commercial comfort zone. I have led projects on inventory, sales and operations planning, distribution and pricing. My current organization now consists of marketing communications, regulatory affairs, marketing, S&OP and the technical marketing and sales team. I no longer consider myself or my mold as just a commercial person; I consider myself a well-rounded business leader who embraces change and adapts to be her very best self.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
MacDonald-Stein: I am always delighted to see innovations driven by the plastics industry to not only meet a need in the marketplace, but also to improve the world we live in. For example, developing products to divert PET bottles from entering the waste stream or the ocean. For example, Sabic's LNP ELCRIN iQ resin has diverted over 150 million PET bottles into durable goods used in consumer electronic devices, and I am immensely proud of that contribution.
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
MacDonald-Stein: Growth. I am focused on driving my teams to work smarter to achieve business growth year over year. For example, we are currently piloting a variety of different channels to drive material specifications with new customers.