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Women Pave New Way in Chemical Distribution Industry

This November, NACD is celebrating women of the chemical industry by recognizing their achievements and applauding their efforts to collaborate and inspire others.

With telework and virtual events as the norm over the past several years, connecting with others was undoubtedly more challenging. But for two NACD members, an opportunity to network couldn’t have come at a better time in their careers.

Through their participation in NACD’s Emerging Leaders program, Caroline Thomas of Mission Chemical, and Laura Beavers of Superior Industrial Solutions, found a lasting connection based on their shared challenges, afforded opportunities, and the network they have been able to create since. 

Of all the benefits that NACD has to offer its members, one consistently stands out: networking opportunities. In an industry primarily male-dominated, this rings especially true for women as they continue to pave a new way and inspire more women to join the chemical industry.

As up-and-coming leaders in the chemical distribution and transportation sectors, Caroline and Laura found that they shared similar values as many women in the field. Their experience taking on new responsibilities and collaborating with their colleagues have allowed them to achieve even greater professional development during the most challenging of times.

“The Emerging Leader program afforded me a network outside of my bubble,” said Caroline. “Although I joined the industry nearly seven years ago, I have been with the same company since, so my network was limited. Through this program, I have made friends across the nation that work in markets I didn’t even know existed. This community has encouraged me in turbulent times, and I’ve even become friends with some, like Laura, outside of the work.”

Both Caroline and Laura found value in taking on various responsibilities early in their careers, which allowed them to work in multiple facets of the industry.

“When I first joined Superior Industrial Solutions, I wore many hats, as my role was previously split up between two individuals,” said Laura. “With a strong work ethic and willingness to learn, I fostered growth for myself and expanded my capabilities more than I could imagine.”

Caroline echoed the importance of being open to new learning opportunities, particularly in the chemical distribution industry.

“If there is something you want to learn, seek out mentors, classes, and a community that can grow that interest,” said Caroline. “I’ve learned that while the ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is real in any industry if you equip yourself with the tools to fight it through continued learning and a support network, you can really achieve anything.”

Collaboration has also been central to Caroline and Laura’s efforts to overcome some of the current challenges facing our industry.

“The opportunity to collaborate with other industry leaders and learn how they handle tough issues has given me the resources to not only learn about other sides of the business, but it has given me tactics to use in my own day-to-day that I wouldn’t otherwise have,” said Laura.

Caroline’s experience in the Emerging Leaders program even inspired her to take on a greater leadership role by joining Women in Chemicals, a 501(c)(3) created by a fellow Emerging Leaders alumna that aims to facilitate professional and personal connections and bring greater visibility to the opportunities available to women in this industry.

“Through my connections in Emerging Leaders and Women in Chemicals, I received the advice and guidance I needed to help make one of the biggest transitions of my career,” said Caroline. “These conversations with fellow women in my field inspired me to join Women in Chemical’s Board of Education, where we are now working to develop initiatives that engage students with STEM programs. I know that I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today without these programs.”

Women throughout the chemical distribution industry are breaking barriers every day. NACD is proud to now have a woman in one of the highest positions of industry leadership to look to for inspiration. Megan Bohan, CEO of TRInternational, Inc., was elected in 2019 to serve as NACD’s first woman Treasurer, and last week as Vice Chair, putting her on track to become Chair of the NACD Board of the organization in 2025.

Megan brings a wealth of industry knowledge, a background in law, and a deep passion for the chemical distribution industry to this leadership role. She drives innovation and performance at her company by empowering and challenging her team. Megan’s willingness to champion and participate in NACD programs puts her among the ranks of women leaders within the association. However, Megan’s role as the first woman among the NACD executive committee gives emerging generations of women in chemical distribution the opportunity to interact with, learn from, and model a female executive operating at the upper levels of her career and industry.

Although Caroline and Laura live across the country from each other, they have both found endless similarities as women in the workforce and created a lasting friendship along the way.

One thing that Megan, Laura, and Caroline agree on is that the chemical industry isn’t just for chemists and engineers. There’s a range of opportunities in marketing, accounting, sales, legal, and beyond. Just ask them.

NACD offers a wide variety of networking and educational opportunities apart from the Emerging Leaders program for all members. This includes becoming a member of a committee or subcommittee, and participating in the Annual Meeting, ChemEdge Conference, regional meetings, and workshops. Begin your journey to becoming more involved by clicking here.


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