Background and Introduction
Q: Gunilla, could you introduce yourself and tell us about your current role in the carton and cartonboard industry? What sparked your interest in this field and led you to your current career path?
A: My journey in the carton and cartonboard industry began in 1987 when I started as a summer trainee, coinciding with the start of my studies in international marketing. What initially drew me to packaging was the opportunity to work with Finnboard, a sales organisation for board manufacturers in Finland. My proficiency in several languages, including English, French, German, Swedish, and Finnish, drew me to international companies where I could utilise my language skills. The concept of product branding and the versatility of packaging, which serves countless end uses, truly inspired me.
Your Career Journey
Q: Can you share with us some key milestones and experiences that have played a significant role in shaping your career in the carton and cartonboard industry?
A: My career has been marked by several pivotal milestones and experiences that I often find myself reflecting on. The first being how I engrossed myself to fully understand the potentials of cartonboard. From an early stage, I realised the indispensable role of packaging, not only in protecting products but also in conveying brand identity.
Another area that is important to carry throughout a career in packaging, and this applies to other industries, is the ability to build strong, enduring relationships with customers, which quickly became a cornerstone of my career.
I’ve also had the privilege of witnessing the profound influence our industry has on brands and product marketing strategies, and working in a multicultural environment honed my ability to appreciate the cultural nuances within the industry, ultimately leading to better collaboration and understanding.
Daily Work and Responsibilities
Q: What does a typical day or week look like in your current role as a Customer Experience Manager?
A: As a Customer Experience Manager, my days are wonderfully diverse, and I relish this variety. Many weeks entail spending 2-3 days with customers, either at our mills or at the Excellence Centre, or engaging with them at trade shows and events, so my job naturally involves quite a bit of travelling. I allocate one day a week in the office, where I meticulously plan upcoming workshops and customer mill visits, handling practical arrangements, and fine-tuning the program details.
Q: Are there any recent projects or initiatives you find particularly exciting or innovative?
A: One of the most exciting aspects of my work is launching and promoting the Excellence Centre to a broader audience, encompassing both customers and internal stakeholders. Additionally, I actively participate in workshops with customers, which allows us to collaboratively innovate and explore new horizons in our field.
Q: How do you believe your work contributes to the sustainable and environmentally friendly aspects of cartonboard packaging?
A: Sustainability is a fundamental consideration in all our projects. Working with fresh fibres, we continuously strive to find solutions for lightweighting and reusing board packaging. Our strategy places equal emphasis on innovation and sustainability as goals for every operation and workshop with customers. The value added by our 360 services extends not only to the sales but also to the sustainable and environmentally friendly aspects of our products.
Q: What industry trends or developments are you most excited about, and how do they influence your work?
A: I’m particularly enthusiastic about projects that focus on reducing the use of plastics. This aligns perfectly with our commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility, and it’s a significant driver in our daily efforts.
Advice and Inspiration
Q: What advice would you give to individuals considering a career in the carton and cartonboard industry?
A: I would encourage them to explore this incredibly interesting industry. It’s a dynamic field that constantly evolves alongside new regulations, presenting a wide range of challenges and opportunities. The carton and cartonboard industry offer a rich and rewarding career path that is well worth exploring for someone who is a forward-thinker and has a keen interest in sustainability.
Q: Lastly, what makes you proud to work in the carton and cartonboard industry?
A: The reason I take immense pride in working within this industry is its inherent innovation and modernity. It’s not just about packaging; it’s a dynamic arena where innovation, sustainability, and creativity converge to shape the future of product presentation. It’s a field that continually inspires me, and I’m honoured to be part of it.
Gunilla’s own journey represents the versatile and remarkable opportunities the industry offers, and the significant impact one can make. Her dedication to sustainability and her passion for packaging drive her every day, inspiring not only the future generations of professionals, but also all of us who benefit from the sustainable and environmentally friendly cartonboard packaging solutions she works tirelessly to create.