Sarah Taranto has always loved medical devices. She earned a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and spent her early career in the medical devices field. She found the different technologies "interesting and the ability to help people is something important to me."
Prior to Teknor Apex Co., she worked for a medical device manufacturer and a chemical distributor.
"It was a natural fit when I joined Teknor, using my previous experience and learning more about the plastics industry. What I've loved so much about my role in this industry is that we touch many different applications across the world," said the regulatory affairs manager for the materials firm headquartered in Pawtucket, R.I. "Everyone is using plastic, whether medical, pharma, automotive, electrical, etc. I like the diversity this industry brings and the ability to learn about different products that reach people globally."
Taranto ensures company compliance with various regulations, develops compliance systems, provides regulatory advice to internal parties and monitors changing regulations that impact the business. One career highlight includes improving on-time performance of the team from 75 percent to above 95 percent through training and system enhancements.
While raising her first son and working full time, Taranto earned her master's degree in regulatory affairs from Northeastern University.
She also has completed the first year of her MBA program while raising two sons, working full time and living through a pandemic. As well, she attended and completed a 10-week certificate course in "Leading the Sustainability Transformation" from the University of Victoria while starting her first MBA course.
"Generally, moms often take a break in their careers to raise their children when they are young and then resume career building later," Taranto said. "I want to change this perspective and show people that with some hard work and dedication, I can expand my education, become a successful company contributor that others can look up to, including my children, while raising a family."
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Taranto: Career development, not only for my team but myself as well. I keep asking, "What is the next step? Where do I go next?" But I am having a hard time figuring that out. I have hit a ceiling in my current role until there is either retirement or some movement. Trying to explore other areas of the business is something I am working to focus on.
Q: Most unexpected thing you learned from the pandemic?
Taranto: My company's resilience. Even through difficult times, it was refreshing to see how supportive everyone was, including senior management who periodically checked in. With much uncertainty around the pandemic, it was nice to see how the company was able to navigate and how well everyone was able to adapt. Within my own department, we are all flourishing, working together, albeit virtually, and advancing the team goals every day.
Q: If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Taranto: Aside from celebrating for making it that far, I would want to hear from the employees to understand the company's current challenges and areas of weakness from their point of view. I would designate a diverse team to develop a structured plan to address feasible concerns and innovate new ways to attack current challenges.