Aida Mercado Salazar's current role, in sales and business development at Industria de Estampaciones Metálicas SA de CV in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, is her first job in the plastics industry. She is currently studying industrial engineering.
"I am very happy to be part of it because I believe it is a very interesting process [and] the technologies used in the machinery, side machines and especially molds [are] impressive," she said in her Women Breaking the Mold survey.
Founded in 2005, IEMSA specializes in stamping, die-cutting, welding and plastic injection molding.
"When we started working together, we raised the deliveries to the customer from 77 percent to 99.86 percent in one month. We've reduced the scrap from 4.5 percent to 1.9 percent," she said. "We are developing improvements in the process to be more efficient and better suppliers."
Mercado Salazar said her greatest achievement in her career has been in ISO 9001:2015 quality management systems standards: "Leading my team towards that goal has been a real challenge, but it has showed us that using the system we can have a better operation."
One job she aspires to have in the future? "Being the CEO of the company I am in, leading the areas and developing new processes," she said.
If she were CEO, she said, she would "develop teams and projects" and use "leadership instead of old patterns."
To unwind from work, she enjoys riding horses on the weekends.
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Mercado Salazar: Improving the quality system to a daily basis life and making small changes. My biggest challenge is to manage my time in a certain way that I can achieve more in the same amount of time.
Q: Biggest failure and what it taught you?
Mercado Salazar: When I started, being absent, not being constantly with my team. It taught me that if you do not have a well-formed team with compromise, any project will become complicated and nearly impossible to maintain. As long as you support your team, they will have your back, too, and both parts can grow.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Mercado Salazar: The variety and the technology behind something that seems to be so simple, the opportunity to develop new resins, the constant change and the facility to recycle and being sustainable.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Mercado Salazar: Good leaders do not want recognition; they want their team to grow.
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
Mercado Salazar: [Virgin Group founder] Richard Branson has really inspired me into being a better manager, and [motivational speaker and author] Simon Sinek has shown me that with purpose there is no barrier that can stop you from achieving the goal.