Our latest Women in Packaging UK (WIP UK) event at Epernay Bar, Leeds was inspiring as ever. Nicki Moran’s insightful presentation about her 24 years’ experience in the industry was the catalyst for lively debate around whether women in packaging should use their emotional intelligence as a tool to interact with male counterparts.
For anyone unfamiliar with WIP UK event formats, it’s probably important to point out that constructive debate is an important part of the Women in Packaging events. The opportunity to share views and opinions (whether they differ or not) with other women in the packaging industry is one of the very reasons WIP UK exists today.
Following on from Nikki’s presentation was Joanna Stephenson’s ’10 Top Tips for Women in the Packing Industry’. As a WIP UK co-founder, Joanna’s insight was certainly valuable to delegates. Having started her career with The Dow Chemical Company and progressed to senior positions at Sun Chemical and LINPAC, Joanna certainly knows a thing or two about what it takes to be successful in the industry!
For those who missed the WIP UK, Leeds event, don’t worry, we jotted down some snippets from Joanna’s top tips talk as a taster of what WIP events can offer to members.
1. Commit to learning and development
“Never stop learning. It’s very important to keep progressing. Not only for professional
development but for personal development too.”
2. Find a mentor or coach
“Using someone, whether it’s a colleague, friend or family member, as a sounding board can
really help to put things into perspective and help you to formulate a development route
that’s right for you.”
3. Identify your role models
“Some leaders have great qualities and some are all-round role models. Identify qualities
and ways of working that you admire in people and emulate them where appropriate to
support your own development.”
4. Understand the difference between leadership and management
“Coaching, mentoring, managing. There are many different ways you can support your
employees. Or that a leader can support you, as the employee. And remember, no-one is
born a ‘leader’ – leadership skills are learned and can be continually developed.”
5. Take the ‘either/or solution’ approach with your boss
“Never go into your boss’s office with a question. Go in with solution A and solution B. In
other words, don’t ‘pass the monkey’…your boss doesn’t want the monkey. It’s your monkey
– so own it. Decisions will be made quicker and your boss will appreciate it.”
6. Be aware of your emotional make up
“If you understand your personality type it’s easier to manage your interactions with yourself
– and others. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, the Wilson Learning Model and
Myers-Briggs philosophy is a good place to start.”
7. Distinguish between friends and colleagues
“Sometimes great work colleagues become genuine friends. And sometimes great work
colleagues are just that – great to work with. It’s important to distinguish the difference to
maintain a healthy work-life balance.”
8. Be free with your praise
“If someone really helped you. Or, a piece of work they did for you was excellent…tell them.
Praise can boost morale like nothing else but it’s something that we, as reserved Brits, tend
to hold back. In a consumer-driven society a ‘thank you’ often means more than a physical
9. Get in tune with your strengths and weaknesses
“Know your strengths and own your weaknesses. Everyone has weaknesses but
understanding what yours are will help you to tailor your development to your advantage.”
10. Network! Network! Network!
“Last, but certainly not least. Network! Network! Network! It’s likely that you can learn more
about the industry in one conversation with your WIP counterparts than by asking around at
the office. Get to know people, allow them to get to know you and you’ll be surprised as to
where it takes you.”
If Joanna’s top tips have inspired you to get involved, why not join us for the next event?
Women in Packaging Membership is FREE and you’ll get access to our calendar when you
sign up. You can also get in touch by email if you have any questions.