To highlight how common values help grow and scale the company, Novolex is featuring a regular series focused on how our employees embody our values. This month, in honor of National Manufacturing Month, the series focuses on the Novolex value of “Approaching every task with a commitment to excellence and a winning, entrepreneurial mindset.”
Dr. Sonya Benson sits at the cutting edge of sustainable packaging innovation—and she wouldn’t want it any other way. Sonya holds a PhD in macromolecular science and engineering and her passion for polymers and scientific solutions is at the forefront of her work as a technology and lab manager for Shields™, Hilex® and Heritage®, all part of the Novolex family of companies.
“Today, there’s a big hunger for packaging innovation that wasn’t there when I started in the packaging space,” said Sonya. “It’s exciting to be in a place at Novolex where we can be at the center of this demand as a solutions provider and manufacturer.”
Sonya was recently nominated to be part of the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED)’s Fellowship Program for Mid-Career Women. Those who know Sonya well, or get to work with her at Novolex, would not be shocked by this nomination—Sonya is the first to jump on a new opportunity to learn and grow from a diverse array of opportunities. The fellowship program creates pathways for mid-career women to elevate to roles in the C-suite, empowering women to reach the highest echelons of corporate leadership.
“I see this as an opportunity for me to learn and grow and bring all that back to Novolex. We have women on our team who are phenomenal. I want to bring this information back so they can learn by osmosis,” said Sonya. She looks forward to joining sessions covering sustainability programs and the impacts of COVID-19, while also stepping outside of what she’s normally drawn to. You might find Sonya listening to a seminar series on aerospace or attending a public policy leader’s talk on health care.
Sonya encourages other women in the manufacturing field to also expand their knowledge beyond their typical responsibilities. She recognizes that it’s essential to understand the needs of her counterparts in Novolex who might be working in finance, regulatory, or external affairs. She also encourages her peers to be good listeners, solid collaborators, and to come to the table with an open mind, ready to work as a team.
At home, Sonya is passionate about working with her hands, namely refurbishing furniture. She loves the idea of breathing new life into an old item—which ties back to all the work she’s done in her career developing sustainable solutions in packaging. She is also always looking for ways to support learning in STEM and has participated in several programs introducing students to STEM activities, sharing a day in the life of working in packaging, and what it’s like to work in chemistry.
Sonya stands as an ideal representation of the broader collective of Novolex employees with technical skills necessary to create products that help people improve their lives through responsible environmental outcomes.
“I feel privileged to get to come to work every day and work with others passionate about tackling such big, global challenges.”