North American Tissue News

“Being a woman is an asset to the industry”, says executive from Domtar

Diane Hardison and Kari Cahoon recognize there is opportunity for other women to be leaders in the paper and wood products industry

Environmental Health and Safety Manager Diane Hardison is one example of a leader and mentor in the paper and wood products industry.

She works at Domtar’s Plymouth, North Carolina mill, and later this year will retire after more than three decades in the industry. Looking back on her career now, she recognizes the support of others.

“I’m inspired by our field operators, electricians, mechanics, roll wrappers, equipment operators, lab analysts, boiler operators and the rest of our labor force. Because of what they faithfully do, day after day”, Hardison said.

That includes Kari Cahoon, a Plymouth mill engineer who will be promoted to Hardison’s current role as environmental manager. She has worked at Domtar for 25 years and across the mill on several different projects and in various roles.

“I’ve been challenged and stepped outside my comfort zone many times, and I am better for it”, Cahoon said. “I feel prepared to make this next step because of those opportunities. They were offered to me, and I accepted. It’s important for leadership to offer opportunities to be challenged and grow even when a person is highly valued and productive where they are”.

Both women recognize there is opportunity for other women to be leaders in the paper and wood products industry. They also acknowledge the role the industry plays in supporting local communities.

“Pulp and paper manufacturing provides exciting work environments and opportunities to continue to grow skills and knowledge and progress into leadership roles. In my personal experience, the industry cares for and invests in its employees and operates with a high degree of integrity”, Hardison said.

Cahoon added, “being a woman is an asset to the industry because we bring another perspective to the table. My dream for women in manufacturing is to stay engaged in the industry, perform well and aspire to bigger roles within an organization”.

By intentionally mentoring and learning together, both women have found a life-long and fulfilling career.

American Forest and Paper Association
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