Women Breaking the Mold – and the Glass Ceiling

Women are holding more meaningful and contributing positions today than ever before. Turner Group is proud to be a female-led company! CEO Laura Douglas shares her experiences as a woman in the plastics industry and celebrates women leaders.

Wear shoes ladies, there is broken glass everywhere!

You can’t go far today without reading a headline about women stepping into roles that were traditional male strongholds. From sales people to construction workers, engineers to garbage collectors.

Here are just a few American women breaking barriers in the last year who I’d like to celebrate. We have Kamala Harris, the first female Vice President. Football fans know that Sarah Thomas broke barriers by becoming the first woman to officiate at Super Bowl LV (Go Bucs!). President Biden’s cabinet nominees are 48% female. Sydney Barber is the US Naval Academy’s first Black female brigade commander. Janet Yellen is Secretary of the Treasury and Avril Haines is Director of National Intelligence.

To date, there have been a total of just over 90 elected female government leaders around the world. Currently there are 21 as sitting heads of state. I find that inspiring!

When I started in the plastics industry in 1984, there were very few women in what was a mostly male industry. There were virtually no women selling equipment. I was lucky that I never experienced a glass ceiling. I was encouraged and supported by the men I worked with who showed an undying commitment to my success. There are literally too many to name.

I often tell the story that I had a much easier time making appointments with customers because I was a woman, but that once I had a seat at the table, I experienced a much harder time proving my technical ability (because I was a woman).

Thankfully, this has changed and I want to give a shout out to Plastics News who started featuring “Women Breaking The Mold” well over a decade ago. It has now grown into a conference with the focused goal of supporting and nurturing female professionals in the plastics industry.

It’s important that we all help broaden the path to welcoming and bringing more women into the industry. We need to stay committed to making a home in the industry for our daughters, sisters, mothers, nieces and friends.

I want to thank the industry for keeping me safe, for encouraging and supporting me not because I was a woman but in spite of it.