In an interview featured in Packaging World's Women in Packaging July supplement, Claudia Silvie van den Pol, CEO & Owner at Royal Apollo Group, parent company of Ryson International, Inc. discusses the key factors that have contributed to her success in the industry. She emphasizes the importance of adaptability to meet market demands and the power of building a strong network with like-minded professionals.
What is your name and position?
Claudia Silvie van den Pol, CEO & Owner at Royal Apollo Group, parent company of Ryson International, Inc.
Tell us about your background and how you got into the packaging industry.
I studied at International Business School, followed up by International Technology Management. Besides school, ever since I was 15, I started joining my father on business trips and started working at Royal Apollo.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced as a woman in a male-dominated industry?
I’ve experienced that people didn’t take me seriously. People thought that I was the coffee lady and asked me when the CEO was coming. I’ve got to double-prove myself, so they know what I’m talking about from a technical point of view.
What do you think are some of the key factors that have contributed to your success in the industry?
Always believe in yourself and boost resilience to stand up again after you made mistakes. Be flexible and adjust to the markets needs. And most important of all, surround yourself with great people.
What can the industry do better to support women and increase the number of women in leadership positions?
Empower women more. Listen and talk to women to understand how and why they have these leadership positions. It’s very important to talk about the balance between family and work life. Not only for the women, but also for the men who make it possible that their wives take a leadership position.
What advice would you give to young women who are considering a career in packaging?
Get the right education. Visualize your career and believe in yourself. And, last but not least, stand up for yourself and educate the men in the industry.