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This year, within the context of the world’s most important packaging event, interpack, the spotlight was focused on Women in Packaging, a panel discussion featuring five industry female leaders. An audience of more than 150 people attended the panel on 8 May, demonstrating that this is a hot topic that will continue to be discussed even after the Düsseldorf trade fair has concluded.

Valentina Aureli, CEO of the Aetna Group together with her brother Enrico, was among the protagonists of the panel. She shared her view on women’s position in the world of packaging and spoke about her career path. In addition to her, other prominent professionals shared their stories at the event: Afsaneh Nabifar, Head of Market Development for Biopolymers at BASF; Australian Nadia Taylor, co-founder and director of TNA Solutions; Marjo Halonen, Vice President of Communications at Metsä Board Corporation in Finland; and Gabi Bauer, Head of Marketing and Communications at Uhlmann Pac-Systeme.

For the first time at interpack, this year’s format was organised with the support of the World Packaging Organization, WPO. Furthermore, it was created to inspire and disseminate the testimonies of women who have made their mark on the packaging industry. In fact, until recently, this sector was dominated mainly by men. However, it is now also being positively valued by many young women who wish to pursue careers in this area.

Valentina Aureli explained to the audience that she gained her experience in international high finance at Rothschild Banking. However, over the past two decades, she and her brother have guided Aetna Group towards steady global growth with the main brands Robopac and OCME. “It is important to be the same person both at home and at work, and to always put yourself out there”, commented the CEO, “but keeping in mind three fundamental coordinates, which have helped me overcome challenges in both my personal and professional lives. Be real, be whole and be innovative”. She stated emphatically: “Essentially, this means being oneself regardless of external influences, being whole by following one’s principles, and finally being innovative by employing not only rational, but emotional and social intelligence as well. All this is very valuable in working environments”.

At Aetna Group, talent development is the basis of a rich and stimulating work system, which knows no cultural or gender differences.

Valentina Aureli commented on the subject, stating: “I am fortunate to be able to say that our Group is filled with talented individuals, many of whom are women. We have several female managers on the front line in China, Mexico, Italy and America, even in sectors and departments in which women have traditionally been under-represented and where specific product knowledge is required. I am referring to engineering, sales engineering, after-sales, sales and spare parts. It is also noteworthy that there are women managers in more traditional roles, such as marketing, human resources, and administration. My choices to place women in certain key roles reflect their ability to coordinate and facilitate processes”.

This was a successful event and a source of inspiration for many young women, as well as a very sensitive topic within the Group. The latter had already proposed and organised it on several occasions through the Robopac USA subsidiary under the same title: the first time in October 2022 at Pack-Expo in Chicago, and then twice more this year in Duluth, home of the American HQ.