Spotlight: Women in the Paper and Wood Products Industry from International Paper and Packaging Corporation of America

Mar 27, 2019

Women hold a wide variety of roles throughout the paper and wood products industry, and they are essential in guiding the manufacture of many of the products that we rely on every day. To continue our celebration of the contributions these women make for the industry, we interviewed notable women throughout our membership and produced a series of their responses. They shared what attracted them to the industry, the importance of female perspectives and why others should feel compelled to be a part of it.

This spotlight will focus on two women, one from International Paper and one from Packaging Corporation of America: Holly Goughnour, Vice President, Corporate Finance, Tax, International Paper; Brittney Hull, Legislative & Environmental Agency Relations Manager, Packaging Corporation of America.

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

Holly: As an accountant, I began my career with one of the big four public accounting firms. International Paper was a client of mine. Later in my career when a job opportunity became available, I was excited to join a well-respected tax department both in the industry and more broadly as a large global company.

Brittney: The paper industry has been in my family for over 65 years. I never really considered it to be in my future, but I had the opportunity to intern during college in the environmental department. I fell in love with the industry. I like how our company brings in a raw product and puts a usable and recyclable product out the back door. I also love being able to make sure our environment is safe for our community. 

What does a woman’s perspective bring to the table?

Holly: Historically, this industry has been a predominately male environment. In my experience, including different perspectives when problem-solving, usually results in a better answer.

Brittney: I do not speak for all women, but I would say women in general tend to analyze issues. The paper industry is a problem solvers playground. We think before acting and love to solve problems.

Why should women be part of this industry?

Holly: To be the best, you have to attract the best talent. To compete in today’s marketplace, our industry has to focus on finding that talent no matter where it is and what it looks like.  

Brittney: We bring fresh ideas and different perspectives. We are hardworking and paving the way for other women to get into the industry. Sixty years ago when my grandfather worked in this industry, it was unheard of for a woman to be in the field at a paper mill. I think we have come a long way from then, but we still have a long way to go. I love that my company is progressive and recognizes women in the workforce. We have women who run paper machines and plants. I am happy to see the progression of women in the pulp and paper field!