My meals & drink job: Stephanie Squires, advertising government, Ball | My Meals & Drink Job
Surname: Stephanie Knappen
Job title: Marketing Manager
Company location: Ball, Luton
Education: Bournemouth University, Media & Communication
Why did you choose a career in the industry? Before I came to Ball at the beginning of the year, I worked in the hotel industry for a large hotel company, providing both external and internal communication. After two years I left the glamorous hotel world to work in the packaging industry.
I was interested in how fast the industry was growing and the female leadership that is clearly evident at Ball, including Carey Causey, President of Ball EMEA and directly on my own team. From my manager to Carey, there is a strong chain of female leaders that is incredibly inspiring.
Aluminum cans are an important part of our circular economy, and I was intrigued to learn more about how they are helping food and beverage brands to be more sustainable overall. I’m definitely learning more every week and it’s an exciting time to be in the industry.
Explain your job to us in one sentence (or two): My job is to support the team in communicating our sustainability message and the products that Ball makes available to our customers, be it through digital marketing or an internal newsletter – it changes week by week.
What does a typical day look like for you? Typically, it involves a lot of engagement with internal stakeholders at Ball to make sure we are connected with our transformation team and colleagues across Europe.
Right now I’m working closely with our Marketing Manager to drive a digital marketing campaign that examines how the can marks key moments in consumers’ lives and how sustainability messages on the packaging can help raise awareness of aluminum recycling.
After rebranding just over eight months ago, we’re also making sure our key assets are up to date and we’re constantly looking for new ways to raise the profile of aluminum cans in the market. Ultimately, it’s a very diverse role, and every day is different!
Tell us how you applied for your position. Funnily enough, the recruiter who approached me about this role is actually my mom!
My interview was with the Senior Director, Commercial Strategy, Insights & Marketing and it was such a natural conversation that we had to end the call so we wouldn’t sit and chat all day. After my first interview, I knew that I would fit in seamlessly with the team.
Since my passion is writing and creating content, I was excited to bring something new to the team to help them improve their content. Right from the first interview, I had the feeling that they valued my skills and that they had set up a two-year promotion plan towards a leadership position.
What’s the best part about working for Ball? The best part about working at Ball is learning how special a can really is.
Like many of us, I’ve always enjoyed a cheeky can of gin & tonic, but I’d never really think about where that could come from. or ‘where does it go when I’m done with it?’ But now, because of my role at Ball, I know that cans are infinitely recyclable and melt at 700 degrees Celsius before putting them back on the shelf! I didn’t even notice what packaging I was taking and now I’ve checked every can I buy to see if it’s Ball.
The opportunities for advancement are also fantastic. A former executive on my team has now moved to a brand new team so it’s exciting to know that when I’ve been in the business longer, I can hone my skills to move up the corporate ladder.
“I want to be an example of strong female leadership, which Ball is incredibly supportive of”
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in the industry? I don’t think people realize how much innovation is coming from the packaging side of the industry and not just from the product that is inside.
So many new and existing brands are starting to switch their current type of packaging to aluminum cans and it’s one of the most exciting and fastest growing areas in the market. Brands want to be greener and cans are the perfect solution. I look forward to visiting a factory soon so that I can see for myself how cans are made from bars before they are filled and shipped to retailers.
What advice would you give to other young people who want to get into the packaging industry? I would definitely encourage people to give it a chance. While it’s a lesser known area of the food and beverage industry, packaging is a really fascinating industry.
The most exciting innovation doesn’t just come from the product inside, and packaging is a rapidly evolving part of the market. The way a product looks and feels is extremely important to consumers.
The industry offers a great opportunity to learn more about new technologies and how packaging supports the circular economy, which is increasingly important for our future and the fight against the plastics crisis.
What is your ultimate career dream? Ultimately, I want to keep learning and push myself as far as possible. I started at the bottom and I’m proud of how far I’ve come, but I know it takes a lot more hard work to get to the top.
Above all, I want to be an example of strong female leadership who is incredibly supportive of Ball and who is committed both internally and externally.
After starting this role remotely in a new industry and industry for a few months, I thought I was overwhelmed – but I learn so much about packaging every day and can clearly see how much I can achieve in the industry.