September 12, 2019
Katie Adams, a Sonoco employee of 10 years, finds value in perspective. It is important as a young professional, a woman in manufacturing as well as in every aspect of your life to use perspective when identifying how impactful something is. When I get upset, I've learned to take a step back and look at the big picture. “Will this make a difference in my life in a few weeks, a few months or even a few years? If it won’t make a difference, move on.” This quote from Katie, along with several others, highlight a few points that every professional should live by.
MK: Tell me about what brought you to Sonoco.
KA: The Talent Acquisition Team found me through on-campus recruiting as a sophomore, and I did two internships in ICD Tubes & Cores. After graduating from Purdue, I held a multitude of positions before joining the Oracle Development Team for Tubes & Cores. During my first few years with Sonoco I was able to travel to most of our United States and Canada plants, which I greatly enjoyed.
MK: Tell us about your current role.
KA: The role that I have been in for the past four years focuses on research and development for Tubes & Cores as well as ICD Global Technology. My role encompasses supporting products in the marketplace, but more so improving products and processes behind the scenes through standardization and optimization.
MK: Tell us about any impactful advice you received early on in your career.
KA: I had a former plant manager that loved to give free advice for work and life in general. He lived by a few simple rules. He said, “If you set the standard, you follow no one.” Secondly, “Don’t spit into the wind,” and lastly, “Have perspective. Identify whether something will make a difference in a few weeks, months, or years. If it won’t make a difference, move on.” I happily soaked up the free advice and wisdom from a senior employee.
MK: Why do you believe it’s important to have perspective?
KA: I believe it is important to have perspective when considering a career in manufacturing because it’s not glamorous! Social media portrays women in designer dresses and heels outside of a high-rise in a big city as normal and realistic, but that is the furthest thing from working in one of our paper mills or Tubes & Cores plants. We have plants that aren’t air conditioned, and you’ll most certainly be dirty and hot checking inventory in a paper warehouse or doing a spindle audit in July. Although it isn’t glamorous, it is so rewarding to know you are a part of a team doing great things for the company, while enjoying a more relaxed dress code. It is important to have perspective around risk versus reward. You may risk getting dirty but the reward is so great.
MK: Tell me about the Women@Sonoco Business Resource group and why you decided to co-lead it.
KA: Sonoco actually approached me to co-lead the Women@Sonoco BRG. I was honored they thought of me to represent the Industrial sector, and had no intention of passing up the opportunity to help women feel encouraged, supported, and valued. It’s my hope that through the program, women in all stages in their careers feel like there’s something for them to participate in, or learn on a personal or professional level. We have women in all roles in all business units, but they may typically be the only woman in the room. I want women to have a community of other women they can identify with, network with, or learn from.