In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we are excited to shine the spotlight on one of our company’s many female leaders and overachievers: Hayley Thompson. Bellwyck was actually Hayley’s launchpad to stardom when she joined us as an intern in 2006. She learned the ropes with us so well that after four years, Hayley left to explore new career opportunities elsewhere but if you love someone set them free… and two years ago, Hayley came back as our Business Development Manager.
Today, Hayley works closely with brand owners and entrepreneurs to help them develop packaging solutions that reflect the essence of their brand’s unique selling proposition while connecting with consumers and standing out on shelf. Her approach in working with individuals who typically are juggling multiple things at once and wearing many hats is to function as a branding partner capable of anticipating their creative and business requirements, and taking many of the packaging and printing stresses involved in a product launch off their shoulders. This fully-invested partnership approach is core to our client service model, and Hayley is a natural at nurturing relationships and making our clients look great – on paper and in the marketplace.
In reflecting upon International Women’s Day and what it means to her, Hayley says “it means so many things. Naturally, it’s a celebration but it also makes me sad that we have to create awareness around gender equality in the workplace and all the other women’s issues that still exist today. The United Nations has developed 17 sustainable development goals and one of them is gender equality, stating ‘gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.’
“There was also an article in National Geographic’s October 2021 issue that examined the pay equity timeline for women who are white, black, Asian and Latina and, for example, they projected for Latina women it would take 199 years at today’s current pace. That’s not good enough. On another side of the coin, there’s the issue of highlighting when a company has a female CEO; are they a female CEO or just a CEO? Why do we need to draw attention to the fact that they’re female? It’s obvious in today’s business climate but we won’t have genuine equity until we can point to that individual simply as a CEO, regardless of their gender.”
When asked about female figures who have impacted and inspired her, the first woman Hayley mentions is Bellwyck’s Customer Service Manager, Sasha Braganza. “She is a powerhouse who is constantly in pursuit of the highest standards. At every point in the process, she asks ‘could this be better?’ She holds herself to the same high standard she expects of those around her, always seeking to improve her knowledge and skillset. Plus, she has a wicked sense of humour. Hayley also points to her previous employer, a company that has been female-led now for three generations, and a client of Bellwyck’s who she saw collaborating with a design partner: “I was so inspired by simply watching them work together and the way their instinctively supported and empowered one another.”
It’s become important for companies of all sizes and stripes to develop official diversity and equity policies, and for good reason. The more we raise awareness of existing issues and endeavour to institute positive change, the faster we will accelerate toward the goal of fully equitable workplaces. This core value of equality is something Hayley attributes to joining Bellwyck again in back in 2020. “One of the reasons I returned was that our company has such strong female leadership. It’s evident throughout our organization at every level that there is a healthy female representation.
“Our industry can be quite male dominant. It can be intimidating to ask questions because it can be interpreted as a sign of weakness. Bellwyck is different. For example, Jerry Malfara, our Director of Technical Services & Innovation, has always been open to teaching and mentoring. He always invests a lot of time in explaining things and helping people grow. We have a very friendly and collaborative environment.”
Overall, Hayley views International Women’s Day through her eternally optimistic perspective. “It’s an incredible time to be alive,” she enthuses. “It’s an exciting time to think about what else is possible.