At Paper Mart, we are beyond proud of our accomplished women in leadership, who contribute a wealth of experience, insight, and excellence to our business. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting the many amazing women that make Paper Mart an industry leader in packaging. Read on to hear the unique insight that these incredible women had to offer regarding their careers and their personal experiences.
On Being A Woman In Leadership & Success
What is the most challenging part about being a woman in a leadership position and what has helped you succeed?
Allison: When I was starting out, I didn’t have strong female business leaders to model my career after. Many were overcompensating by being tough or competitive. As I moved into leadership positions, it was important for me to be a good example to my female employees.
A great legacy is to set up the next generation of female leaders for success. By supporting and nurturing their talents, we’re teaching them they can succeed and be themselves at the same time.
Erika: As a woman in a leadership position, I believe the most challenging part is navigating the double standards and biases that still exist in our society. Women are often expected to be nurturing and collaborative, which can sometimes be perceived as weakness or indecisiveness in a leadership role.
However, what has helped me succeed is staying true to my values and leadership style. I have found that being authentic and confident in who I am as a leader has earned me respect from my colleagues and team.
Jennifer: Early on in my leadership career, it took quite some time for me to gain respect from men in the same or a higher position than myself. I overcame this adversity by working hard and letting my work ethic and confidence show how much of an asset I can be to the team.
Simone: It is finding the balance being too tough and too soft. When I was starting out, the c-suite was dominated by men and that was what everyone emulated. So, most examples were to be tough on people. Now there are so many good examples of women as great leaders that can inspire by being more caring of their teams.
Linda: IT is a highly male dominated profession, Paper Mart looked beyond my gender and saw the skills that I had to offer.
Sherie: Personally, success has and continues to be a collaborative effort with my team, my colleagues and, of course, my family. I feel you cannot truly be successful without the support of them all.
What advice do you have for those striving to achieve a leadership role?
Erika: For those striving to achieve a leadership role, my advice would be to stay focused on your goals and not let anyone discourage you from pursuing them. Find role models and mentors who can offer guidance and support.
Linda: Set your goals and work hard toward them. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.
Simone: Emulate the type of leader you want to become, mirroring off of those who are great leaders around you. Be courageous to influence those around you reach their potentials. Lastly, be able to roll up your sleeves and do the small work to gain respect of others.
Allison: Being a good leader takes time. Empowering your team and helping them thrive in their environment requires keen observation and listening. Finding out what motivates each individual and knowing how to challenge them without overwhelming them will provide the greatest results.
It’s also important to bring your authentic self to work. My Dad instilled in me from an early age to act as if everything I did would be known by all. Throughout my career, I would feel pressure to be someone I wasn’t, but at the end of my career, I will be proud of my decisions and accomplishments because they were done with my values.
Jennifer: The most important skill I learned is to actively listen to your colleagues and employees. Listening shows engagement, that you are open to new ideas and constructive criticism and want to build relationships. Listening is the best way to encourage stronger communication between you and your team!
Sherie: You have to be willing to work as a team, be open to others and their suggestions or advice. Stand by what you believe in and trust your gut.
On Role Models, Personal Growth, & Paper Mart
Are there women or role models that have opened doors for your career or personal growth?
Jennifer: Until Paper Mart, I did not know a lot of women in executive positions that I was able to look up to. I do however have to thank my Mom for all that she did for me as I was growing up. She is a single mother that worked hard every day for her family. She showed me that with hard work and dedication, you can achieve your dreams.
Allison: Early on I had a boss that coached me to speak up and share my ideas and accomplishments with my colleagues. I made the mistake of assuming everyone was noticing my good work and I would seem boastful if I shared.
Over the years, I’ve found that women will often keep quiet and not speak up like their male counterparts, and this can ultimately hold you back in your career.
Linda: My Mother. She never let anyone tell her she couldn’t achieve her goals.
Simone: Several years into my career, I had a female manager that had trust in my abilities and inspired me to always try to improve. As I was very reserved at the time, she worked with me on how to use my voice to stand up for myself and my decision-making abilities.
What do you like about working at Paper Mart and specifically working with other women on the team?
Sherie: Currently my team consists of all women. I feel we all work well together whether we are in agreement or have differences of opinions.
My hope is that my team trusts me and feels comfortable discussing with me any and all concerns they may have.
I also feel Paper Mart allows women to have an active voice. I do not feel stifled or limited by being a woman in any way.
Linda: I love the comradery. Everyone is always willing to help each other.
Jennifer: I am inspired each day by the women on the executive team and am constantly learning from them. They all bring a different perspective and new ideas that contribute to the ever changing and amazing company that Paper Mart is today.
Erika: I truly appreciate the inclusive and supportive work environment that Paper Mart fosters. It is evident that diversity and equality are a priority, and it reflects in the culture and atmosphere of the workplace.
Working with other women on the team has been a source of inspiration and motivation for me. We have a sense of camaraderie and support that I find invaluable. Having women in leadership positions is also encouraging, as it provides me with positive role models and the confidence that my contributions and hard work are valued.
How Paper Mart Celebrates Women’s History Month
Women make up 44.51% of our workforce here at Paper Mart, so it’s safe to say that our team wouldn’t be what it is without their contributions. This year, we took the opportunity to recognize and celebrate Women’s History Month in a big way. Our wonderful HR department hosted special activities that highlighted the accomplishments of female leaders and women’s rights movements throughout history. It was a great chance to honor the women who have helped shape our world!
Our HR department also took the time to show their gratitude to the women working at Paper Mart with goodie bags full of treats – including lip balms, shower bombs, essential oils and a hanging pillow for Women’s History Month!
These goodie bags even included handmade items by women within our Paper Mart team; with some of the proceeds being donated to Mary’s Path, a charity that helps equip teen mothers and their children with the facilities to live successful and fulfilling lives.
Happy Women’s History Month from Paper Mart!
Women’s History Month is a time to look back in admiration and awe at the brave, daring and visionary women of the past. However, it is also a time to reflect on the current and thriving accomplishments of the amazing women working today.
Every day, we are inspired by the incredible women working at Paper Mart. Thanks to their untiring dedication and creative inventiveness, we have been able to grow and serve you – our Paper Mart family – for over 100 years. We are proud to celebrate the positive impact of these hardworking and innovative women this month and every month!