May 19, 2022

Spotlight on Women in the Paper and Wood Products Industry from International Paper

Posted 03-11-20

Proposed by International Paper Society

Originally published by the American Forest & Paper Association

This month is Women’s History Month and our industry employs many inspiring women who develop, manufacture, design and market the products we rely on. Women are an invaluable part of the paper and wood products industry, and we are delighted to share their stories with you.

This projector will feature two women who currently work in the industry at International Paper, Sophie N. Beckham, Director of Sustainability, and Linda A Bramblett, Director, North American Transportation, Supply Chain Operations.

Why did you get into the paper and wood products industry?

Sophie: I was majoring in biology in my undergraduate and looked for a graduate program with a focus on natural resources. When I started my masters, I discovered that forests and the way people use forest resources were my main interests. After some time working in the field in the forests that supplied the patio furniture trade, I wanted to know more about the downstream end of this supply chain: who were the companies that were purchasing wood for end consumers. and what they thought of their Power purchases? I spent almost eight years in the solid wood forest products business, working for a global furniture producer and retailer. With this experience, I moved to the world of pulp and paper to explore new challenges.

Linda: I graduated from college in chemical engineering and participated in undergraduate research on polymers and plastics. Taking a job in the paper industry had never crossed my mind. When I interviewed for a full-time position, a number of paper companies were recruiting on campus, and I liked three things about their post. First, these were companies that had been around for over 50 years, which told me that they were focused on the long term and would do the right thing for future generations. Second, these companies helped me understand that cutting down trees is a good thing. Allowing landowners to harvest their trees for profit ensures that more landowners are interested in growing wood and trees, which is great for the environment. Finally, while visiting various stationery stores, I learned that people in this industry help each other, care about each other and are generous in their community. So even today being with my work team feels like an extended family.

What does a woman’s point of view bring?

Sophie: I think the question is not so much what a woman’s perspective brings to the table, but what a person chooses to bring to the table. Each of us – male or female – is unique in that our diverse backgrounds, experiences and cultures color our perspectives. Diverse perspectives are essential for collaboration and effective problem solving and fundamentally heightens the conversation around any table. We each make a choice about how we use our diverse perspectives to contribute and lead.

Linda: I believe that each individual is unique and that leveraging each person’s different perspectives adds value to an organization. Being a woman is just one thing that gives me a different perspective. The people who use our products are globally diverse, so using a wide variety of ideas is essential to design products that appeal to our diverse customer base.

Why should women be in this industry? How is being a woman an asset for the industry?

Sophie: The world needs transformational leadership. For those of us in leadership, we need to think about the diverse backgrounds, orientations and ethnicities of our key stakeholders. Women have long been the engines of change in the natural resource sectors.

Linda: One of the advantages of working in a paper company is that your career can be very varied. Changing roles and working in different departments within a company ensures that your perspective continues to expand and that you continue to grow and develop throughout your long career. This is a fantastic opportunity for women to show that they can be successful in so many areas. At the same time, this flexibility can allow women to access different roles that match their needs during different stages of life.

What advice would you give to women wishing to rise to leadership positions?

Sophie: An important starting point is to make sure that the values ​​of the company or organization you want to work for are aligned with yours. Identify a mentor who can support your journey and who has your best interests in mind. Do not abandon ! Going your way by fostering professional relationships and building a reputation based on a strong work ethic is important, but it is not linear. Setbacks and challenges are a part of normal life and we all experience them. Mistakes are part of the learning process and can provide rich material for reflection and learning. Finally, remember that you are also setting an example for the young women in your organization. Make sure you support the development of the talents around you.

Linda: Be prepared to say “yes” to opportunities as they arise. Plus, continue to grow and leverage your network. Most of the challenges we face have happened before. Finding people who will share their experiences, listen to your thoughts or concerns, and who can be a sounding board is important for success. I have a number of people I rely on to help give me a boost when I’m feeling disappointed or reassure me when I’m feeling stressed. Maintaining balance when I am under pressure is essential for success.

About AF & PA:
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) is the national trade association for the paper and wood products industry and advances public policies that promote a strong and sustainable U.S. forest products industry in the global marketplace.

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About International Paper

International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a leading global producer of renewable fiber packaging and pulp products with manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, North Africa and Europe. We make corrugated packaging products that protect and promote merchandise and enable global trade, as well as pulp for diapers, facial tissues and other personal hygiene products that promote health. and well-being. We are headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., And employ approximately 38,000 colleagues. Net sales for 2020 were $ 21 billion *. For more information about International Paper, our products, and our global citizenship efforts, please visit

* Including our former pulp and paper mill in Kwidzyn, Poland, which was sold on August 6, 2021, and our former global paper company, which became a publicly traded stand-alone company on October 1, 2021.

About International Paper – EMEA

In Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), International Paper focuses on the production and marketing of fiber-based packaging and pulps, employing approximately 4,200 people. As a leading supplier of high quality corrugated cardboard containers for a multitude of applications, we serve customers across the region from our network of two recycled containerboard factories and 23 box factories in France, in Italy, Morocco, Portugal and Spain. Pulp production is centered in Gdansk, Poland. Other products available from International Paper in the region include Kraft liner and recycled containerboard, as well as pulp.

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