Meet the Staff at FPA: A Conversation With Emily Patten, Director of Membership and Meetings

Meet the Staff at FPA: A Conversation With Emily Patten, Director of Membership and Meetings
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Editor’s note: FlexPack VOICE® has featured workers of the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) in a series of short profiles since 2022. Emily Patten, FPA director of membership and meetings, is a newer member of the team.

Patten, who started at FPA in mid-2023, was raised in Chicago’s northern suburbs, where she attended New Trier High School. Later, she studied marketing and fashion merchandising at Butler University in Indiana.

After graduation, she worked for General Electric, selling electronic data interchange services. She eventually was hired by one of her clients, the International Housewares Association, where, she says, “I fell in love with the events industry.”

“From there, I went to Stagnito Communications, which was bought by BNP Media, where I ultimately worked for the Packaging Strategies Group,” she adds. In that job, she managed aspects of the events for the Global Pouch Forum and Converters Expo. “I was presented with and took the opportunity to ‘retire’ mid-2022 because I felt I had done what I could do for those events.”

Later, she received a call from Alison Keane, FPA president and CEO, and Dani Diehlmann, FPA vice president of communications. “I jumped at the opportunity to work with the clients whom I found I was missing,” she adds.

FlexPack VOICE®: Talk a little bit about your duties with FPA. What do you like best and what are some of the challenges going forward?

Emily Patten: In my role with FPA, I’m responsible for the operations of our two annual events. The Annual Meeting takes place each March; the 2024 event is March 20–22 at the Lowes Ventana Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. The Fall Conference will take place at the Omni in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, September 17–19.

I’m also responsible for FPA membership. I, along with the rest of the team, work to ensure our members are maximizing their benefits. In addition, I am responsible for finding new members for the association. There are several companies that are not currently members who can benefit from what we offer. It is my job to communicate with them and show them how we can be of service.

My challenge is our new “supporting member” category, which is new for 2024. This is reaching out to companies who are likely not familiar with us and have yet to learn about what we are doing for their customers and why it’s important for them to be involved.

FPV: What do you like to do when you are not working?

EP: I practice yoga six days a week. I find it valuable for both my physical and mental health. 

FPV: Any hobbies or interests?

EP: I enjoy traveling, but I feel like I don’t do it nearly enough. I’ve been to Iceland twice and highly recommend it. My husband and I are going back again this winter because we couldn’t do everything we wanted last winter. Summer there is beautiful, too. I’m waiting for the opportunity to combine yoga and travel because I would like to study yoga abroad. I also enjoy skiing.

FPV: Do you have a favorite sports team?

EP: I’m a fan of the Chicago sports teams: the Cubs, Bears, and Blackhawks. My first professional sports outing as a kid was the Cubs against the [Pittsburgh] Pirates—when they wore the old pillbox hats. Growing up, I watched the Bears with my dad as he worked on home improvement projects. I was also a skater when I was in elementary school. My son played hockey when he was little, so the Blackhawks are in my heart. I’m wearing my Bobby Hull sweatshirt right now.

FPV: Anything that you would like to say about your family?

EP: My husband, Jefferson, is an inactive Marine and practicing attorney. My oldest, Michelle, is in education. My son, Finn, is an engineering student at the University of Iowa, and my youngest, Alexandra, is a junior in high school, who swims and plays water polo.

Thomas A. Barstow is senior editor of FlexPack VOICE®.