Rev Anbalagan's journey with plastics began when she worked in Alabama at a recycling paper plant, she said, "actually being annoyed by the presence of plastics and the adhesives as they were our contaminants."
"My experience of working with the chemistry of plastics and adhesives later landed me my role with another plastics packaging company. This is where I started to realize that plastics actually play an integral role in keeping several other industries afloat. I thrive when I work on mega challenges and wicked problems, and plastics provide innovative solutions," she said.
"There is an emotionally driven mass movement against plastics, and at the same time, there is a real need to create plastic products to meet the demands of the world, especially products that give all people, regardless of their socioeconomic status, access to advanced technologies, transportation, health care and basic supply of food," Anbalagan added. "Finding the balance and managing these two are why I am interested in this industry."
Anbalagan earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Madras in India, a master's degree in chemical engineering from Mississippi State University and an MBA from Purdue University. She is working on a master's degree in global development from Harvard University.
The Master Black Belt and continuous improvement director for Evansville, Ind.-based Berry Global Group Inc. creates strategies and executes them "for systemic, sustainable improvement in everything from cost to culture."
Anbalagan is involved with MentorNet, a branch of Great Minds in STEM: "I believe in paying forward. This program allows me to mentor current students or newly graduated STEM students as they embark on their careers." She is also active in the Private Directors Association: "My main focus and takeaway from this association is to understand the inner workings of the board of directors and corporate governance."
She also has received awards in four categories from a previous employer: drive action and execution, rally and empower people, think big and bold, and focus on customers.
"I think my greatest achievement is my consistent commitment to lifelong learning and quest for knowledge," she said. "That said, being a person from a small town in a developing country with farmers as forefathers, attending Harvard University is a dream come true."