Women in packaging take centre stage

PACKAGING Innovations, running alongside Empack and Label&Print, opens its doors in just under a week at Birmingham’s NEC. The hotly anticipated show boasts an expanded exhibition floor, six debut show features and a new found focus on the rise of women in packaging.

It has recently been reported that more women are rising to the highest levels of leadership within the packaging industry and the trend promises to change how the sector does business.

In response, show organisers Easyfairs have lined up an all female panel for its ever popular show feature, The BIG Print Debate, which will be addressing: ‘As personalisation increasingly becomes the norm will its greatest impact be on the shelf or in the home?’ This interactive debate takes place at 11:30 on Thursday 26 February, in the Label&Print Theatre. 

The panel will include Antoinette Devine, Global Packaging & Materials Consultant at SABMiller; Karen GraleyPackaging & Reprographics Manager at Waitrose; Lynn Harris, Account Director Digital at JKR: and Nancy Janes, WW Graphics Solutions Business Program Director at HP. Chairing the debate will be Alison Church, Event Director for Easyfairs’ UK Packaging Events who states:

“Having a diverse workforce is something every industry strives for, but if we want to move forward, we need to attract a more varied talent. Having our all-female panel should make for a fascinating debate, and one that will be made all the more stimulating and rewarding through direct audience participation and panel interaction.”

The show will also play host to a brand new organisation, ‘Women in Packaging’, designed to connect, support and recognise female employees within the Packaging Industry. The new initiative will be launched at 12:00 on day two of the show by two leading women from the sector, Joanna Stephenson, Managing Director of PHD Marketing and Debbie Waldron-Hoines Director at Avant-Tout Management Services, hosted by Parkside Flexibles Group (Stand F53).

Stephenson said: “We have some really great role models right across the breadth of our industry but there is a lack of opportunity for women to network, collaborate and learn.  The intention is to address some of the gaps we see in networking and mentoring, as well as provide opportunities to recognize success and celebrate those who are leading our industry to show what a great sector we work in!

Debbie Waldron-Hoines added: “From our experience we see many female employees in traditional female roles.  Operators, engineers and managers are often sadly lacking, along with women in senior director roles.  Hopefully by learning from those who’ve navigated their way through, we can encourage more to enter the industry and learn from each other along the way.”

In addition to launching the initiative at the show, Stephenson will also be part of the LearnShops line-up. During her presentation she will continue to discuss the theme of women in packaging, using the interactive session to delve further into why certain areas of the packaging sector are lacking a strong female presence and the variety that a more diverse workforce brings with it.