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The first student event of the annual Pulp and Paper Foundation Day was a Women in Industry Luncheon, facilitated by Dr. Adrianna Kirkman.  This year,  a diverse panel of both male and female industry representative which included Mary Elliston from Sonoco, Jill Shifflett from WestRock,  and Kim Phillips and Tim Corey, both from International Paper.

Challenges verses Successes….

Dr. Kirkman started the discussion by asking the panelists questions in regards to their experiences either as women, or in Mr. Corey’s case, situations he has seen working with women.  The topics of questions ranged from challenges women face working in the paper industry, to successes women have had in their career.  The panelists provided great answers filled with very different perspectives that left the audience with food for thought.  Once Dr. Kirkman completed her questions and topics for the panelists, the floor was open to the audience.  Students, alumni, and faculty contributed to the discussion, asking questions from personal situations at work, to how to approach personal social media usage when people from the workplace get involved.

A New Perspective Achieved

Challenges faced by men and womens are  different, but that doesn’t take away from the many opportunities  that women have to be successful, which were demonstrated by the personal successes that the women panelists shared.  Great advice was given with different perspectives, between engineering versus HR and male versus female viewpoints.  The discussion was valuable to everyone in the audience, and a new perspective was gained on how to approach difficult situations that rise in the workplace.  The men who participated in the event gained insight, and an awareness of how to be inclusive, and recognize the challenges faced by women they work with.

A special thanks to our panelists who took the time to speak to the group and share their real life experiences and to all those who participated in the event!

By guest blogger Taylor Krakuszeski