Ingrid Rodriguez
Professional Member
Mexico City, Mexico

A late night comedian once said, “You can’t be both young and wise.” 

Obviously, he’d never met TAPPI Young Professional Ingrid Rodriguez.

A recent graduate of the Universidad Panamericana with a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Human Resources, Ingrid joined TAPPI this year. Why? She had been hired by Smurfit Kappa as a Human Resources (HR) trainee for The Americas. With her only prior HR experience being in the automotive industry, Ingrid soon turned to the resource she knew would provide the in-depth knowledge necessary to hit the ground running.

“In order to perform a strategic human resources role, it is required that you fully understand the business in which you are involved,” she said. “Being a TAPPI member will help me  increase my knowledge about the pulp, paper and packaging industry, which in turn will lead to a better understanding of my company’s needs in terms of HR management and development.”

Ingrid first learned of TAPPI when she was organizing a training program for Smurfit Kappa employees. Digging deeper into the course offerings and conferences, she soon realized that there was more benefit to be gained as a member. For a firsthand look, she and fellow Smurfit Kappa team members traveled to TAPPI’s headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., where they met with staff in charge of organizing courses and conferences, including PaperCon and Super CorrExpo. Ingrid also took the opportunity to explore many of TAPPI’s online learning offerings, such as TAPPISAFE. The face-to-face meetings, she noted, were highly educational.

“I saw many ways in which we could work together with TAPPI to provide training courses tailored to our specific needs,” she said. She also came away from the meetings singularly impressed by the networking opportunities available. Upon her return to Smurfit Kappa offices, she immediately began to assess how TAPPI’s many offerings could be applied in her workplace.

“From an HR perspective, it’s crucial to deeply understand what your company produces and what the knowledge and skills are that people need in order to become high performers and to contribute to business strategy,” she said.

Based on our knowledge of Ingrid and her fellow TAPPI Young Professionals, it makes us want to laugh at those who say you can’t be both young and wise.

Q. Why did you decide to join TAPPI?
A. I have been in the industry for more than a year and a half, and I joined because it represents a comprehensive process where you can learn from many different areas: From papermaking, sustainability and supply to sales, design and finance. The more  I know about the industry, the more I enjoy my job.

Q. How did you learn about TAPPI?
A. I heard about TAPPI while I was organizing a training course for some of our employees which gave me the opportunity to know more about the organization and all its benefits. Ingrid Rodrguez lake

Q. As a new member, how do you see TAPPI helping in your career pursuits?
A. For me, I expect to gain a deeper knowledge about the pulp, paper and packaging industry, including coming trends and challenges.
    
Q. Tell us about some of your interests outside of TAPPI and your professional life.
A. I love watching movies or TV series. I could spend a whole night watching them until a complete season finishes. I also enjoy traveling to other countries and visiting unique places where nature can be appreciated. Ingrid is pictured here at Lake Moraine, Canada.

Q. Can you share a unique or fun fact about yourself?
A. Normally I cannot work with a lot of noise surrounding me, however if I listen to classical or New Age music while working it helps me relax and stay focused on the task at hand.

Q. Please provide a closing sentiment on how you think TAPPI membership will help you in your day-to-day responsibilities, how it will benefit your career over the long run, and why you would recommend membership to your peers.

A. I strongly recommend new professionals become members since it is a great opportunity to gain specific knowledge about the industry. This will contribute to your professional growth, and also provide the chance to know people from the same industry and network with them.

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Paper Technology Foundation at Western Michigan University