Shamus Hardie is a Senior Market Analyst with Canada’s Heartland Polymers, a company owned by PLASTICS member, Inter Pipeline. He is also a young professional with a passion for the plastics industry and a strong work ethic to match.

“Something that is most exciting about my role, and challenging at times,” he said, “is being tasked with keeping up with and communicating developments within the plastics industry, whether related to ever-changing market dynamics, shifting consumer preferences, or emerging policies and macroeconomic trends. The benefit of this position is that I also get to engage with many internal and external stakeholders, so it’s always interesting to understand where others are coming from and what they’re seeing.”

Seeking the voice of experience

When someone like Shamus gets paired up with a mentor whose attitudes are a perfect match, the results are amazing. Shamus gives the PLASTICS Future Leaders in Plastics (FLiP) Mentorship Program high marks for providing him with a uniquely qualified mentor.

“I wanted to participate in the FLiP program to learn from senior leaders within the plastics industry who could share their wisdom and give me things to consider as I progress in my career. And my expectations were exceeded,” Shamus said. “I received a phenomenal and passionate mentor, Martin Baumann, VP/General Manager at MAAG Americas. He was highly accommodating with both my questions and schedule, allowing us to meet monthly and cover a specific topic each session.”

In addition to having leadership, sales and marketing experience from which Shamus wanted to learn, Martin had also spent time working in Canada, which gave the mentor/mentee team an additional point of connection.

Mentorship program teams set their own schedules for meeting. For Shamus and Martin, a monthly half-hour supplemented with as-needed meetings worked best. Among the topics they covered were meeting customer needs, interacting with stakeholders, senior leaders and executives, facilitating group discussions, developing presentation skills, managing work/life balance, and how to establish and maintain one’s personal brand and reputation.

“Beyond those topics,” Shamus said, “I learned a great deal from Martin regarding the challenges he faced earlier in his career and even now as a senior leader.” The pair discussed current industry issues, including inflationary pressures, labor shortages, the ability to procure equipment and materials, and other unexpected impacts of global restrictions.

Making the most of an opportunity

An important piece of advice Shamus shares with anyone working with a mentor is to be clear about what they hope to get from the relationship, so their mentor has the best possible chance to be of genuine help. “I was able to make the most out of the program by letting my mentor know which areas I was most interested in and getting his input on things to consider,” Shamus explained. “Our meetings were guided by a topic I wanted to pick his brain on, and shared a week ahead of time in order to give him time to think about it.”

FLiP and the mentorship program are built into Inter Pipeline’s PLASTICS membership, and Shamus is thrilled with opportunities it offers. “I would encourage others to participate in the FLiP program,” he said, “for three reasons: professional development, broadening your network, and personal growth.” Shamus went on to add that he has been able to learn and practice skills that will help his career, while meeting a senior leader he might not otherwise have had an opportunity to know, let alone learn from—someone who could help Shamus better understand his own aspirations and values.

PLASTICS and the Future Leaders in Plastics (FLiP) Committee are devoted to supporting and encouraging the next generation of plastics leaders who will play a crucial role in the innovation, technology and future of the plastics industry. FLiP’s mission is to provide young professionals under the age of 40 the exposure, education and resources they need to build lifelong careers in plastics. Want to join? Want to get your employees involved?  Email: flip@plasticsindustry.org

 

 

 

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