Sophie Tuviahu started her career in the chemicals industry, always in the sales and product management area. After years spent at a large corporation, she decided that her strong point was "grow small into bigger and better," spending much of her career helping small industries reach the next stage. She was in the nonwoven, plastics and clean tech industries always supporting development and strategic growth in various positions.
Her first position in the plastics industry was at shrink film manufacturer Syfan Saad Co. Ltd.
"Plastics is such a huge industry, so diverse and dynamic; it was in the days when the industry started to look at [sustainability] and the changes and preparation for greener and smarter plastics film was a challenge I could not resist," she said.
Tuviahu is the vice president of business development and sales for recycling technology firm UBQ Materials Ltd. in Tel Aviv, Israel.
"In a startup environment, that's a very shiny title that means basically that I'm responsible for convincing the industry to implement UBQ into their bill of materials. Since UBQ is a new material made from household waste, that is a great challenge," she said.
Tuviahu said her greatest achievement "undoubtedly" was the implementation of UBQ by Mercedes-Benz in a plastic automotive part, "a project that awarded UBQ with the Roland Berger award for Sustainability in Automotive for 2021."
She received her bachelor's degree and MBA from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.
The challenge right now is growing the team with the company, she said, "bringing in the right people that can share the level of commitment and enthusiasm" in UBQ's DNA.
"We envision rapid growth and geographical expansion that will require the business development team to grow and keep the level of service and connection to the customer," she said.
Tuviahu was nominated by Derek Schaefer, UBQ Materials vice president of business development, North America.
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
Tuviahu: My great grandmother; she is more of an inspiration. A young woman with a sick husband, she left Russia for the new world — arriving to South America with four children, set up a business that flourished and exists ... these days. A role model of courage, strength and determination.
Q: What is the most unexpected thing you learned from the pandemic?
Tuviahu: Virtual meetings can be effective. Coming from a reality in which mileage was always reaching new records, I learned that planning the work and optimizing communications can keep the momentum and realize targets even ambitious and very technical ones.
Q: What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the plastics industry?
Tuviahu: The plastics industry is a supermarket of opportunities; it touches so many industries and so many products in so many levels of the supply chain. I would recommend [being] open to the learning process, since every bit of experience we accumulate in the career journey will be useful in other stages and can be leveraged to move forward.