María Saborido, Director of Operations of ECOPLAS: “In Ecoplas most of the positions with responsibilities are held by women; some of us are mothers and this situation has never been a problem for professional advancement”
We spoke with María Saborido, Director of Operations of Ecoplas on Working Women’s Day. After 15 years in the company she has become a benchmark within it. Her professional career in each of the departments has led her to have a global vision of the principles and value proposals that Ecoplas defends and, hand in hand with her team, she works day by day following the roadmap set out to achieve each one of the objectives that the team sets itself.
Currently, she is living in a key moment for Ecoplas, where the development of a new range of nets will mean a revolution in sustainability and the circular economy for food packaging.
1- TELL US YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AS DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS AT ECOPLAS. HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE COMPANY AND WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT WORKING AT ECOPLAS?
I have been working at Ecoplas for 15 years, and I have witnessed the evolution of the company during all this time. I have worked in each of Ecoplas’ departments and that is why today I am the COO, because perhaps I am the person who has knowledge of every part of the operations and the overall vision of the entire work framework.
The growth of Ecoplas has been very significant. When we started with Ecoplas at the end of 2005 we only had 2 lines of work, and currently we have a total of 18 lines as well as two production centers. The work and effort that we have made in the company has seen its fruits in terms of growth, and we are clear that these are the steps we want to follow.
If I had to say what I like the most about my job, I would say that it’s coming to Ecoplas every morning, since every day is a challenge. I like to work and I am passionate about the work I do. While it is true, I have to confess, the production plant is my weakness. But it is the area that excites me the most about the company. I enjoy being with the staff and seeing the work that is being done.
2- WHAT HAVE THE TWO OR THREE CRUCIAL MOMENTS BEEN IN YOUR EXPERIENCE AS AN ECOPLAS WORKER? HOW DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE FUTURE OF PACKAGING IN ECOPLAS?
For me, the first crucial moment for Ecoplas was our collaboration with the Italian company Team Mare. This alliance represented an important scale for us both in terms of production and image. This stage presented great challenges for us at the business level and at the consolidation level of the company.
The other important moment for us was the incorporation of our director, José Peleteiro, to the day-to-day running of the company. José Peleteiro gave us the experience and also the value of entrepreneurship, and that is why today we have such a large machinery park. He is always committed to growth and the generation of wealth in our closest environment. With the arrival of him to our daily activity, we managed to make this important leap in terms of growth of our production.
Currently, from my opinion, we are in another of the key moments of Ecoplas, since we are working and betting very strongly on new projects related to the new range of nets that we want to bring to the market, more respectful with the environment and always framed within the circular economy. We are developing nets with very specific properties for the new challenges that are being posed to us today, with antifungal and antibacterial properties and of course we continue working on the development of compostable nets within food packaging.
3- AS DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF FEMALE TALENT IN THE COMPANY? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO KEEP ADVANCING?
At Ecoplas we believe in people regardless of everything else. As a feminist woman, I like to enhance the talent of each of my colleagues and my own, since in certain sectors the professional worth of a woman is still undervalued. At the moment that it does not surprise us that a woman performs certain tasks, then we can say that we enjoy equality.
In these moments, from my opinion, the problem of inequality is found more in the day to day, in everyday situations, more than in the business world. I have an 8-year-old daughter and I am very concerned about the regression that has occurred in this matter. We have gained strength and positions at the highest levels, but in daily life we have lost a lot of ground, and younger women are seeing inequality as normal.
At Ecoplas, most of the positions with responsibilities are held by women who have earned the work they do. Some of the women who are in these positions are mothers, but this situation has never been a problem for our professional advancement, just as the promotion of men who are fathers has not been a problem. We must prioritize talent and professional merit. At the moment we are 6 women who are in charge of the following departments:
Supply Chain: Cristina Patiño
Quality Control: Tania Simoes
Financial Manager: Yulia Smirnova
COO: Maria Saborido
Head of section: Cristina Piñeiro
Logistics: Raquel Gómez
4- WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG PROFESSIONALS WHO START THEIR WORK CAREERS? WHO IS YOUR MODEL TO FOLLOW?
My role model is each of the male and female entrepreneurs, whether they have 1 employee in their business or 1,000,000 employees. That a person makes the decision to start and to create a business is already something to value, respect and praise since it is an intense job for which not everyone is prepared. If with entrepreneurship you manage to reach the top, you will see envy, but if you do not, you will see mockery and attack. So I can only say that I value and admire each of the male and female entrepreneurs for the value they show every day.