Women of Macfarlane Packaging breaking the bias in the packaging industry

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Every year, 8th March is International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias. At Macfarlane Packaging we are proud to be an equal opportunities employer, and value all our employees. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re breaking way from our usual content, to highlight the work of women of Macfarlane Packaging who are breaking the bias in the packaging industry…

Gay J-B - Women in Packaging

Gay J-B, Regional Director for Milton Keynes

Gay is Macfarlane Packaging’s Regional Director for Milton Keynes with over 30 years’ experience in the packaging industry. In her role, Gay manages our Milton Keynes distribution centre. She works closely with customers, manages contracts, and leads the team for the territory.

How do you think women at Macfarlane Packaging break bias in the workplace?

I joined Macfarlane 36 years ago when there were no women managers or sales executives. In fact, I was the second ever female sales executive out on the road for company!

The packaging industry was a very male dominated arena at that point.  Macfarlane have evolved tremendously over the years and now have many women in leadership roles, demonstrating that women can break the glass ceiling.

The company has a culture of equality and promote this at every opportunity – roles are varied and without boundaries, helping break industry bias.  Macfarlane make sure you feel valued and appreciated – no matter your gender.

As a female leader at Macfarlane, how do you approach your role?

I really believe we’re a work family. We all celebrate success stories and share these regularly to encourage best practice. I have an open-door culture and encourage my management team to do the same. Empathising with our team and our customers is critical to success!

What advice would you give to women thinking about joining the packaging industry? 

Go for it – apply for that packaging job! Packaging is often not a glamourous environment, but it’s an exciting one and offers the opportunity to engage with many different industries. If you like solving problems and being hands on, the packaging industry is a great choice.

Kelly C - Women in Packaging

Kelly C, Logistics Manager for Grantham  

Kelly works as a Logistics Manager for Macfarlane Packaging. Logistics is a traditionally male-dominated space across all industries. Kelly is breaking the bias in her role, leading the logistics team for our Grantham site.

Do you feel Macfarlane Packaging (and the packaging industry) is a great place to work for women?

I have worked at Macfarlane now for over 25 years. 11 of these have been in my role as Logistics Manager. During my career at Macfarlane, I have always been encouraged by management to develop myself and consistently received the support I need to succeed.

It’s a great industry to work in, and an enjoyable role even on the most high-pressure days. My gender isn’t seen as a barrier, and I’d encourage more women to think about careers in packaging – especially logistics.

What advice would you give to women thinking about joining the packaging industry? 

Go for it, hold your head up high, and show the industry women have a lot to offer. Breaking down gender imbalance in logistics is important, so don’t discount a logistics-based role. There’s lots of opportunity for women in logistics – whether you’d be interested in driving, working in a warehouse, or even working your way up to a leadership role.

Rachel F - Women in Packaging

Rachel F, Director for Retail & 3PL

Rachel is a senior leader in our sales team and specialises in working with our retail and 3PL customers.

Do you feel Macfarlane Packaging (and the packaging industry) is a great place to work for women?

Since joining Macfarlane in the late 90s I have always felt fully supported to reach my goals and encouraged and incentivised to make a difference.

Working for a large progressive company such as Macfarlane Packaging gives anyone with energy, creativity, and passion plenty of career opportunities – regardless of gender. In fact, I received a significant promotion when I was pregnant with my daughter, back in 2001.  This recognition and reward were highly motivational during a period when a women could feel vulnerable and limited when it comes to career development.

I have never felt there has been a glass ceiling for women at Macfarlane.  Individuals who are focussed and deliver on their promises are rewarded on merit and have equal access to resources and opportunities. It’s a very exciting and dynamic career to choose for women who mean business!

What do you think has changed for women in the packaging industry since you joined the business?

I came from a media sales environment and when I began to work in packaging, I quickly realised that parts of the role, like warehouse walk-throughs and demonstrating equipment while in my safety boots, meant working in a male dominated environment. At the time, this was very different for me! Over the years this has changed drastically, and I have witnessed so many women being recruited to senior operational roles over the last decade. Plus, there’s much more focus on the value women can add in this sector! This is a great step towards breaking the bias, particularly in logistics and supply chain businesses.

What advice would you give to women thinking about joining the packaging industry? 

Working in packaging can be a refreshing change and will give you the opportunity to work with a wide variety of businesses. If sustainability is something that’s important to you, there’s no time like now to apply for a job in packaging as this is going to be a crucial factor for the packaging industry moving forward.


For more information about a career at Macfarlane Packaging click here to visit our careers page. You can also view our latest Gender Pay Gap reporting by clicking here.


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