Year In
iapd Women in Plastics
The IAPD Women in Plastics group didn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic get in the way of a year of valuable programming, networking and fun. We hope this recap of the highlights of these events inspires more women (and men!) to join us in 2021.

ven though 2020 didn’t go exactly as planned for Women in Plastics, the group was able to present one in-person event in March prior to the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. After canceling the other in-person events for the year, the Women in Plastics leadership successfully pivoted to a virtual format. From July through December, monthly Women in Plastics virtual events featured a speaker on a relevant topic, plus the opportunity to network with other IAPD members in small breakout groups. In addition, Women in Plastics hosted three consecutive virtual happy hours on Thursday, October 1, at 5:30 p.m. Eastern, Central and Pacific times. IAPD members were welcome to attend one, two or, for the intrepid few, all of the virtual happy hours. Also new for 2020 was Watch Me WIP day on Saturday, October 3, a day for IAPD members to participate in local service projects and achieve fitness goals. Read on for more information about all of these events.

Educational Workshop
Women in Plastics Educational Workshop

How our lives have changed since our last in-person educational workshop! Right after we gathered in Austin, TX, USA in early March, COVID-19 caused shutdowns all over the world. I’m pleased to report on the success of this event and look forward to future in-person educational workshops.

IAPD Women in Plastics is committed to giving back to the community through various philanthropic endeavors. In 2020, Women in Plastics started a new program to give back to the city where the workshops were held. We kicked off with an awesome day (pre-workshop) volunteering at the Central Texas food bank. The Central Texas Food Bank has been at the front line of hunger relief with the help of partner agencies in 21 counties across central Texas. Together, they provided more than 39.2 million pounds of food to families in need during the 2017-2018 fiscal year, an average of 200,000 individuals each month. We had 26 volunteers help pack more than 20,020 meals for the Austin area. At the time, we didn’t know that this relief would be needed more than ever.

The main event took place on Thursday, March 5, where more than 70 IAPD members and nonmembers from 28 different companies gathered for an educational workshop featuring Eleni Kelakos, also known as the “speaker whisperer.” Kelakos addressed how to “think like an actor, speak like a pro.” She led a fun and instructive workshop during which we learned tricks to help with public speaking. We worked in groups where we did role playing designed to develop skills to be more real, more relaxed and more relatable with the goal of becoming a better speaker and presenter.

The second featured speaker was Chris Chotard, chief financial officer of Polymershapes. He helped guide us through reading a profit and loss statement. I am no financial wizard, but I certainly learned some new skills to impress my boss. We ended the workshop with one of my favorites networking activities: speed networking.

Since the workshop in Austin, Women in Plastics has shifted to virtual events. Although it’s wonderful to have this connection virtually, I look forward to when we all can meet in person again.

— Lisa Kreinces, Vycom, an affiliate of The AZEK Company

Women in Plastics Virtual Events

The Women in Plastics Virtual Event Series is a terrific example of making lemonade when life hands you lemons. After the success of the March event in Austin, we were all disappointed when we had to cancel the other two regional events scheduled for 2020. However, from the first of the virtual events in July, we were excited to expand the reach of Women in Plastics to new audiences. After all, because these events are free to attend and don’t require travel, many more people have been able to experience the Women in Plastics Virtual Events.

The Women in Plastics Virtual Event Series intro

The virtual event series kicked off with “Stress Reduction Strategies that Work,” presented by Dr. Deitra Hickey on Wednesday, July 22. Dr. Hickey explained the importance of investing in ourselves, because when we don’t manage our life balance and stress, it can affect our personality. That, in turn, may affect our jobs and relationships, which then affects our happiness, peace and contentment. She spoke about the power of perspective when it comes to stress. Dr. Hickey said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at tend to change.” Visit the recording of her session on IAPD’s website to hear from her directly, plus learn about the 10 key strategies to achieving life balance.

The second event in the virtual series was “Diversity: A Starting Place,” presented by former comedian Jess Pettitt on Wednesday, August 19. Unlike other diversity trainings, this one focused on how each individual person fits into the conversation about diversity. Pettitt helped attendees understand the intersection of their own unique biases, perceptions and expectations of entitlement as the foundation of social justice work. That’s the starting place.

Nir Bashan presented “The Creator Mindset” on Wednesday, September 23. He spoke about the importance of creativity, then led attendees through an exercise showing them how well (or not) they multitask. He encouraged attendees to share their little victories during a breakout session. He also talked about the relationship between shaking up a routine and creativity.

The Women in Plastics Virtual Event Series screenshot

On Wednesday, October 14, Rania Anderson presented “How to Be and Get a Career Sponsor.” She outlined the differences between a mentor (who supports and advises, but privately) and a sponsor (who is a public champion of the person they sponsor, giving them opportunities), but indicated that there can be overlap. She also pointed out that 75 percent of executives select protégés who look just like them, which can inhibit diversity. Anderson went on to share some career truths:

  • Around 80 percent of decisions about your career are made when you are not in the room
  • Career advancement requires more than exceeding objectives and making unique contributions
  • It also requires the active engagement of senior, influential leaders
  • Sponsorship is the secret sauce that accelerates success

Visit the webinar archive on the IAPD website to see the nine “Ps” of sponsorship, plus how to get noticed if you are looking for a career sponsor.

Dr. Erin Oksol presented “The Psychology and Science of High Performance” on Wednesday, November 11. During her high-energy presentation, she discussed how to find your mission, then get and stay on it. She also talked about the psychological importance of finding your “why” and high-performance habits of highly successful people. In addition, she covered how to overcome fear, obstacles and distractions so you can accomplish your goals.

On Wednesday, December 9, Betsy Allen-Manning will present “DNA of High Achievers — Develop the Mindset, Discipline, Habits and Game Plan to Reach Your Next Level.” Through Allen-Manning’s research, she’s discovered a six-step formula you can use to become more focused, disciplined and successful. This formula is wired ONLY into the DNA of those who are fully committed to their next level in life.

If you missed any of these virtual events, or if you just want to revisit the topic, the recordings are posted on IAPD’s website. We’re thrilled that so many of you have experienced these virtual events, and hope to see you in person in the future.

— IAPD Staff

The Women in Plastics Virtual Event Series live screenshots
Virtual Happy Hours

Every year, the month of October symbolizes new beginnings. Leaves change their colors and fall from their trees, the air gets a little colder and the growing anticipation of the holiday season occupies the minds and hearts of all. The first day of October this year was no exception, and also marked the start of a new season of change as we celebrated another significant milestone for the Women in Plastics Committee.

Women in Plastics is committed to promoting, advancing and sustaining women in the performance plastics industry, while emphasizing the need for greater diversity in management and leadership. Since its inception, Women in Plastics has realized this vision by connecting professionals in the industry through networking events, educational workshops and philanthropic endeavors. While many in-person programs have been postponed indefinitely, this has not prevented the leadership team from being inventive and hosting a new set of virtual networking events. First on this list was a series of meet and greets where attendees came together for a laughter-filled evening over a few drinks!

Guests were able to choose from three informal happy hours, to accommodate all of the major U.S. time zones, and participated in a few ice breaker activities, all while getting to know the Women in Plastics leadership team. The stakes were high, as each session included a music trivia competition where there were prizes waiting for all of the winners. Several guests even joined multiple sessions, to continue testing their music trivia knowledge and connect with one another. All in all, the virtual happy hours were a huge success and are just another example of how IAPD is able to bring all of us together through creative programs, especially when times are difficult. Thank you to all who participated and continue to support the mission of Women in Plastics, so that these types of programs can be accessible to everyone. We could not do what we do, without all of YOU!

— Kathena Siegel, Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials

Watch Me WIP Day

Women in Plastics remains committed to our mission of developing and advancing women in the industry. In addition to attending our professional development seminars, Women in Plastics encourages our members to be physically active as well as support philanthropic endeavors by giving back to the community. On Saturday, October 3, Women in Plastics held our first ever virtual fitness and philanthropic event.

Members were encouraged to get out and move. We shared our results by posting screen shot summarizing the day’s physical activity. An industry-wide goal was set at 100,000 steps and we crushed it! Collectively, we walked 253,420 steps. We were so pleased and encouraged with the turnout that we are looking for more creative ways to stay fit and stay connected.

“When the Women in Plastics workshops went virtual, I was able to participate,” said Dominic Doran of Inteplast. “It has been a great learning and networking experience for me. Participating in the #WatchMeWIP day was an adding bonus. I got to support the industry, get some physical activity and spend time with family, all at the same time.”

Giving back to the community has been an important part of Women in Plastics’ mission since our inception. We strive to make a difference and have supported local charities in the city of each event. Women in Plastics hosts have found several charities supporting women with varying goals, including helping less fortunate woman get on their feet by providing a place to live and basic life necessities and finding a safe haven for those in domestic violence situations. Going virtual did not stop our mission. On #WatchMeWIP day, members donated food to local food banks of their in their communities. It gives us an incredible sense of pride and self-worth to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate. Women in Plastics likes making a difference and will continue to find ways to better ourselves and our communities. Victoria Kohn of Martino Marketing Group said, “Volunteering has always been important to me. From a young age I always enjoyed giving back and helping those in need, especially within my own community. Being able to donate items to my local food bank made me feel grateful to have made an impact and even a small difference in someone’s day.”

In an ongoing effort to support our mission and have our members voices heard, we encourage all to bring their suggestions for future philanthropic and get active days!

— Kim Reddick, Martino Marketing Group

IAPD members collage
IAPD members collage
IAPD members collage
IAPD members collage
Thank You, Sponsors

All of the 2020 programming was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Women in Plastics sponsors. Because of the support of these companies, we were able to offer quality programming throughout the year, and the virtual events were free for IAPD members to attend. Please joining us in giving a heartfelt thank you to:

World Class Sponsors
Curbell Plastics logo
Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials logo
North American Plastics logo
Simona America Group logo
Elite Sponsor
Cartier Wilson logo
Gold Sponsor
Alro Plastics logo
Piedmont Plastics logo
Plaskolite logo
Polymershapes logo
Primex logo
Professional Plastics logo
Sekisui Kydex logo
Vycom logo
Silver Sponsor
Rochling logo
Sean Moore headshot
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