Patty Berman joined the plastics industry five years ago when she became the director of human resources for resin distributor M. Holland Co. of Northbrook, Ill.
"I was excited to join a growing company with a great culture and saw an opportunity to partner closely with the business to bring progressive HR practices to the organization," she said. "During my time here, I have learned about the broad impact that the plastics industry has on our everyday life. From lifesaving medical devices to lighter weight cars to bicycle helmets, versatile plastics inspire innovations that help make life better, healthier and safer."
Berman's job responsibilities include providing leadership and driving the company's mission, business direction and strategic plans. She serves as the primary resource for all aspects of human resources management, from talent acquisition and performance management to payroll and recruitment.
"I've been fortunate to have challenging opportunities to grow and work with amazing colleagues throughout my career," she said. "I've been responsible for developing new HR functions, which has allowed me to bring in new ideas and best practices from many different places.
"I've had broad international experience in plastics, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and engineering companies. I've worked for global companies leading and supporting change initiatives, creating innovative business solutions, developing and motivating effective HR teams, and building enduring relationships and partnerships," Berman added.
Berman received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Arts from the University of Illinois — Chicago.
She is active in the Society for Human Resources Management and Human Resources Management Association of Chicago. She volunteers at nonprofit organizations, including animal rescue shelters, social services agencies and an organization as a consultant on HR practices.
Asked what personal mold she is breaking, Berman said: "Taking on new responsibilities creates opportunities for me to stretch, to succeed and to break the restrictive self-confidence mold."
Q: If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Berman: Before making any big changes, I would talk to a lot of people — customers, leaders, employees, suppliers — to understand the perceived strengths and opportunities of the company. I would learn about the industry and market challenges. I would find out what has made the company successful in the past and what we didn't do so well. I would use what I learned to work with my leadership team to create a strategy for the future.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Berman: If you don't work in the plastics industry, you may not realize that issues around sustainability are important to plastics companies. We have always looked for solutions to problems, and our environment is a vital part of our problem-solving focus. There are many thought leaders in the industry who are out front creating solutions.
Q: What is your greatest achievement?
Berman: As a single parent, balancing a rewarding career with raising two amazing daughters brings me a great deal of satisfaction. But I can't really take credit for my children and their achievements. That's on them.