Orchard Park, N.Y., December 15, 2020 – Curbell Plastics, Inc., one of the nation’s top suppliers of plastic sheet, rod, tube, tapes, and fabricated parts, recently had two senior management team members participate as panelists in the Plastics News Women Breaking the Mold Virtual Networking Forum. Plastics News held the event in November 2020 to help support and nurture the growth of female professionals in the plastics industry. Curbell’s Senior Director of Sales & Customer Service, Peter DelGado, and Associate Director of Training & Development, Jinny Kcehowski, shared their experience working together in the panel session “Working with Mentors and Mentees.”
The “Working with Mentors and Mentees” panel consisted of teams of mentors and mentees to provide viewpoints from both sides of the discussion. Mentoring women has been an increasingly popular topic in recent years and organizations have made efforts to be more inclusive and diversify their workforce and leadership teams in what is primarily a male-dominated industry. The teams were able to take this opportunity to reflect on how their relationships came to be and how the process not only helped promote women to more prominent roles, but contributed to the professional growth of everyone involved. Peter and Jinny shared the virtual table with Linda Campbell, Kristina Corona, and Tammy Straw from ENTEK Extruders, and the discussion was moderated by Rhoda Miel of Plastics News.
As a mentor, Peter said he looks to take individuals under his wing who show initiative and demonstrate a desire to help accomplish the company goals. He differentiated between the roles of a mentor and a sponsor, and acknowledged he’s likely done more for women as a sponsor, acting as a champion and recommending them for opportunities where they could benefit from the challenge. “We’ve promoted more women to our leadership teams at Curbell, whether its management positions or our senior management team, like Jinny,” he shared, “the diversity women bring to the leadership team is just so critical to decision making and to rounding out the thoughts of the team.”
Jinny remembered the support she received from Peter when she began reporting to him in 2010 – still relatively new to training and just three years out of college. “He always listened to my ideas, he carved out time to have discussions with me, or to make sense of things for me,” Jinny recalled. “As we got to know each other better, he started to see what I am best suited for, what my strengths are, and what I bring to the table in terms of projects. He was on the senior management team, so when projects came up where he thought I was a fit and–as he mentioned–do a service to the company, he would raise his hand and say ‘I think Jinny would be great for that project.’”
From her original role as Inside Sales Representative to now leading a team of talented individuals as the Associate Director of Training & Development, Jinny has moved vertically through Curbell Plastics at an impressive pace. But she also had a passion to personally support the advancement of women in business leadership roles outside the company, and her mentor/mentee relationship with Peter led to a unique opportunity through the International Association of Plastics Distribution (IAPD).
“A few years ago, IAPD’s Women in Plastics was looking to get off the ground. It was Peter’s knowledge and connections that led the founders to talk to him about their desire to create this event series, and he connected me to these women.” Jinny’s responsibilities with the initiative grew, and she now sits as Chair of the Women in Plastics Committee. During IAPD’s 2020 member recognition ceremony, Jinny was presented with the Pacesetter Award, an honor that recognizes one outstanding IAPD volunteer’s achievements in improving and advancing the performance plastics industry. “Had he not been that sponsor for me, I would have never tackled that,” Jinny shared, “it’s the opportunity piece of sponsorship that I would say is most key to what it’s done for my career, and how he’s helped me over the years.” Fun fact: Peter was the 2018 recipient of the Pacesetter Award for his exceptional contributions as IAPD’s Chair of the Member Committee. Like mentor, like mentee!
The “Working with Mentors and Mentees” session revealed insight as to how mentors find mentees, the process of taking them on, and how they effectively communicate when not in the same office every day. The mentees shared best advice received from their mentor, and the mentors shared favorite lessons learned from their mentees. To watch the full panel discussion, Plastics News has shared the “Special Panel: Working with Mentors and Mentees” session on their YouTube Channel.
About Curbell Plastics, Inc.
Curbell Plastics grew into one of the nation’s top plastic materials suppliers by investing for the long term and focusing foremost on the needs of its customers — a strategy that has set the company apart since its founding in 1942.
Curbell supplies performance plastics — durable and lightweight materials that minimize energy consumption and add value to countless commercial and industrial applications — to thousands of businesses, entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies. The company also offers plastic film, adhesives, sealants, tapes, prototyping and tooling materials, and fabricated plastic parts. Its innovative services include a nationwide team of material experts to help customers solve engineering and application challenges.
Curbell Plastics, a privately held subsidiary of Curbell, Inc., has 21 locations nationwide and is based in Orchard Park, New York. It has ISO 9001 certification for eight of its locations and its corporate headquarters, and it maintains ITAR and EAR compliance company-wide.