And that’s a wrap!
The Flexible Packaging Association’s (FPA) first summer internship program, launched by the Emerging Leadership Council (ELC), included over 35 students from 18 different companies. The council started the program for one foundational purpose: to “sell” our industry to highly impressionable students who are weighing a very important decision—where to launch their careers.
And if you ask them, we weren’t bashful.
We, as industry leaders, wanted to tell our stories—why we came, why we stay (and for some of us, why we may have left), and most importantly, what makes us so excited for what’s to come.
While Zoom was our medium to connect each Friday, we sought to create a real connection with each student. Every alternating Friday, we hosted guest speakers as part of our Summer Speaker Series. We kicked off the series with a welcome from Kathy Bolhous, CEO of Charter Next Generation and the chairperson of the FPA board of directors, and Alison Keane, FPA president and CEO.
Other sessions over the summer included:
• an ELC Career Panel;
• a presentation by Loran Nordgren, author of “The Human Element” and a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University;
• a chat with our sustainability superstars: Sal Pellingra, vice president of global application and innovation at ProAmpac; Bill Barlow, sustainable innovations manager at Printpack; and Fabio Peyer, sustainability director at Amcor.
The finale featured Ken Swanson, president and CEO of Liquibox, who shared pivotal moments in his career and the current journey at Liquibox in building a purpose-driven culture.
On the other Fridays, we split off into small groups to connect about how the summer was going, reflect on the speakers, and talk about the industry—refreshingly free-flowing conversations, with no slides and no prep.
As we look ahead, we’re going to take some time to digest feedback from our students and quickly start fram-ing out what next year might look like.
One thing is for sure—we would love broader participation from FPA member companies, and it’s not too soon to reach out and let us know that your company is interested. We also are evaluating whether we broaden the participation to new full-time hires, as well. Our goal is to have an in-person component next June where we invite all participants to connect live.
Thanks for your support and a big shoutout to our small group leaders: Kasie Strong-Fairbarn, global account manager at PAXXUS, Inc.; Chelsey Quick, vice president of client success at Industry Intelligence; Simon Hermans, vice president sales and marketing Südpack Oak Creek Corporation; Justin Kimmel, senior sales account manager at MacDermid Graphics Solutions; and Jonathan Quinn, director of market development and sustainability at Pregis.
Abbey Phillips, Amy Presher, and Apurva Shah led the ELC recruitment committee’s efforts with the summer internship program.