Tracy Conrady graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a bachelor's degree in accounting. Before joining the industry, she primarily worked for public companies.
She started her career at Leggett and Platt in the fixtures and display group consolidating 36 different branches.
"I created a software tool to automate the budgeting and consolidation with the help of IT. This exposed me to many different areas and helped me understand the challenges that each branch was facing," she said.
Conrady then moved to HSBC, working as an accounting manager at the North American headquarters, then switched to risk management.
"M. Holland is my first job in plastics. I didn't know much about the industry and was immediately intrigued after researching during my interview process," she said. "Because M. Holland is a full-service plastic resin distributor, I knew I would be exposed to many different products and markets."
As the assistant controller, she ensures the company is "financially aware."
"I also educate shareholders about how continuous planning, forecasting and economic vigilance can provide an above-average return on investment," she said.
Conrady is a certified public accountant and she said it has been her greatest achievement.
"I am breaking my personal mold by learning to become a better listener. We all think we are good listeners. After going through feedback from my team, I learned that I need to listen, not monopolize the discussion and be mindful of when other people have something to say," she said. "It is important to not only listen to others but also to pay attention to what they are not saying. As a leader, it is crucial to do this."
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Conrady: The best advice I have ever received is that I made the best decision I could have with the information I had at the time. We can go back and forth regretting our decisions, but you have to look at it and say, "I did the best I could at the time." Quit beating yourself up and learn from it for the future.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Conrady: There are so many different plastics applications. Plastics are a key material in almost every industry. Advancements and innovations in automotive, aerospace, medical, electronics and other consumer products rely on plastics. For example, look at the automobile and aerospace industries. Plastic is being used over metal and aluminum to enhance and improve fuel efficiencies in cars and planes.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Conrady: I'm fascinated with 3D printing. It is amazing to see all of the applications, from a toy being created to scientists developing a 3D printed bone that integrates into existing tissue to replace or help grow new bone.