Today we are proud to join thousands of companies around the globe in recognizing International Women’s Day. This year’s official theme, Balance for Better, reminds us all of the importance of a diverse and balanced workplace that enriches company culture and fosters ingenuity. M. Holland is fortunate to have women across our business– from sales to engineering and manufacturing– who exemplify our core values and play a pivotal role in ensuring we continue providing the highest of quality service and products to our customers. Below we’re spotlighting a few of our female leaders at M. Holland and sharing their advice to other women in the plastics industry.

Mariza Chavez,
Operations Manager, Latinoamérica

Mariza may be fairly new to the plastics industry, but she is not new to managing complex operations. With over 15 years’ experience working various aspects of operational management, she has implemented automation projects for a variety of organizations throughout Mexico and Central America. She has a Master’s in Environmental Management, which allows her to better understand the impact of environmental and social issues within the workplace.

Mariza joined M. Holland in 2016 as the Operations Manager for its Latinoamérica business, where she oversees warehouse operations, logistics, maintenance, IT, and quality assurance. To say that she is busy is an understatement. “In operations, we must be sure that every day we are making the best decisions, and being efficient, productive, and smart. And yet, despite the daily demands of the job, I am able to find a balance between my work and personal life.”

Mariza finds joy in her work and in those around her. “Working at M. Holland is like working with my family, my best friends – the people I love. And I think that´s the most rewarding part of all of it. It doesn’t matter how stressful your day is or how overwhelming your goals. When you turn your head and realize that the rest of the team is just as committed as you are; that everybody has the same sense of belonging; that they put their heart in their everyday duties – all this makes you want to continue, to be better, to work better.”

Samantha Stone,
Director of Distribution Sales

Samantha had an early fascination with STEM studies, especially chemistry. So, when the University of Akron first introduced its polymer science program, she was quick to enroll. Ever since, Samantha has held a variety of roles within the plastics industry, including product design, sales, and product management. She is a firm believer that diverse experiences and positions throughout your career best prepare you for leadership. “I am thankful for the variety of responsibilities I have held over the years. It provides you with a perspective that allows you to understand, firsthand, how the decisions you make impact other roles within your organization.” Samantha currently serves as Director of Distribution Sales at M. Holland, where she manages the Distribution sales team and technical development engineers. She shapes processes and determines the necessary tools that enable her team to work more efficiently.

Samantha’s advice to women entering the plastics industry? “You are measured by what you bring to the table – but first you’ve got to get there. A solid work ethic, curiosity, and motivation to excel will earn you the latitude to try new things and map your own success.”

Michelle Rupke,
Logistics Manager

In the complex world of logistics, Michelle Rupke keeps things moving at M. Holland. And, with over 20 years of experience across multiple industries, she is well-qualified to handle the demanding and varied tasks that come her way. By having worked on all sides of the supply chain – from her start as a truck dispatcher to carrier sales to manufacturing and now distribution – she has accumulated a cache of knowledge and skills that enable her to apply creativity to her daily tasks with the unique perspective gained from each of these distinct roles.

Despite the demands and challenges of her day-to-day tasks, Michelle finds her career rewarding. “I have been trusted with projects that go beyond the traditional role of a logistics manager, providing the opportunity to contribute in a way that has an impact on the success and growth of the entire organization.” In the past year, Michelle oversaw the transfer of operations from one warehouse to another and is currently in the final stages of implementing a new Transportation Management System (TMS) for M. Holland.

Michelle attributes her professional growth to a handful of supportive managers as well as her team. “Early in my career, I had a colleague who mentored me. He was preparing for retirement and I was pegged to take over his position. It was a role with a tough audience in a male-dominated industry. He regularly encouraged me to trust in my skills and have confidence that I was the right person for the job. That encouragement has stuck with me ever since.”

Now, Michelle is inspired by her current manager, Director of Supply Chain, Roland Wilson, who has been a constant teacher to her as well as her dedicated team. “They are such a great group of people. They keep me sane when things get hectic.”

Bobbi Jo Parks,
Sales Representative

What started as a temporary position has blossomed into a rising career for Bobbi Jo Parks. She first came to M. Holland as a temporary Client Experience Representative, but it didn’t take long for her to realize she’d found a home. With her outgoing personality and infectious positivity, Bobbi Jo made such an impression that when a permanent position in the Client Experience group opened up, she was an obvious candidate. Bobbi Jo quickly discovered she loved the daily interaction with clients. So, when M. Holland introduced the Commercial Development Program (CDP), which provides intensive education and training for aspiring Sales Representatives, she jumped at the opportunity and was one of the first graduates of the program.

Now, more than a year since graduating from the CDP, Bobbi Jo is a Sales Representative for the Midwest Region at M. Holland. With the support of those around her, she’s already on her way to becoming a seasoned pro. “I have a place in my heart for everyone at M. Holland. They have been so supportive and patient every step of the way. When I have a question, I don’t just get an answer; I get an explanation. It has been such an encouraging learning environment.”

Bobbi Jo knows firsthand that the road to success is not always easy. As a single mom, she started her working life in the beauty industry. Although she loved her team and clients, she’s found happiness with her new direction. Thoughts to women starting out or starting over in the workplace? “The journey through life is rarely straight. It’s all the twists and turns and bumps in the road that make us unique and valuable. When things get tough, embrace the challenge, work harder and try to find moments of happiness along the way.”

Tara Cutaia,
Director, Client Experience

A satisfied client is music to Tara Cutaia’s ears. From an early age, she had an interest in music – having played the piano since she was six years old. In college, she studied music therapy, a discipline that treats physical and emotional ailments through singing, playing, and listening to music. Now, as the Director of Client Experience at M. Holland, she employs some of that theory in her daily interactions with coworkers and clients – a method that allows her to take a more creative and sensitive approach to problem-solving.

Tara has worked in a customer service environment for over 25 years in various distribution models, including healthcare, food, and plastics. She has spent five of those years at M. Holland, where her primary responsibility is to lead the Client Experience team to provide superior customer experience to all clients, both internal and external. Part camp counselor, part Yoda, she works to both teach and inspire her team to leverage their talents to excel at their work and grow their careers. Tara received similar inspiration at her first job out of college. She worked with a strong group of women in the PR group of a hospital, who always had her best interests at heart. “They pushed me in the right direction and advocated for me when times were tough. Their strength and support made me realize early on just what kind of manager I wanted to be.”

What does Tara appreciate most in her current role? Being heard. “It’s important to not only have a voice but also to have your comments considered. The openness and entrepreneurial spirit of M. Holland encourage me to weigh in on important matters and put my thumbprint on the success of the entire organization.”

At M. Holland, we believe everyone has a part to play. We want to empower all Mployees to grow and develop in their roles and within our business and industry. A balanced and diverse workforce enriches our company culture and fosters ingenuity, which is critical to maintaining our reputation and market position. Today, we honor women around the world and especially the women of M. Holland who have helped shape our company and contribute to its mission every day.

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