Emerging Leaders Committee member Lauren Lippert had originally planned to work in the broadcasting field, studying journalism in college. But along the way, she found she was more suited to public relations and enjoyed being part of a marketing team.
It was this realization that led Lauren to work in the flexographic industry, and at FTA member Apex International. It’s not the typical career path for most flexographers, but Lauren has found the industry to be welcoming with many opportunities to learn and grow. Here, Lauren talks about her career path, why she enjoys working in her field and the challenges it brings, and how different generations of workers can benefit from working together.
FLEXO Magazine: Where do you work and what’s your title?
Lauren Lippert: I work for Apex International as the marketing coordinator for North America.
FLEXO: What does “marketing coordinator” actually mean? What’s a typical work day look like?
Lippert: As the marketing coordinator for Apex, I manage all the marketing drives for North America. This includes communicating with customers through email marketing, social media, advertising and press releases. I also coordinate and plan our presence at exhibitions, such as Labelexpo Americas and INFOFLEX. Since Apex is a global organization, I also connect with our marketing teams in our other locations, so we’re always in the know of what’s going on around the world.
FLEXO: A more common career path for Emerging Leaders Committee members—and, in general, for young people in flexography—is to study package printing in school and then focus on one particular area once they graduate and begin their careers. You are sort of the opposite: You studied something else and then found your way to flexography (specifically, to Apex International), right?
Lippert: I actually studied journalism at Ohio University and planned to work in the broadcasting industry. While going to school, I realized I was more interested in the public relations and social media side of journalism, which ultimately led me to marketing.
My first job out of college was with an ISO standards company. I knew from there that I really liked being a part of a marketing team versus working at a marketing agency. Before starting at Apex, I had no idea what an anilox roll was (some of my friends still don’t, after many explanations), but I was eager to learn more and get to know the industry better.
FLEXO: The flexographic industry is known for being close-knit and not unlike a family. Does your path to it make you feel at all like an outsider?
Lippert: It’s definitely intimidating coming into an industry that you have limited knowledge of. I think I’ll always feel like a little bit of an outsider because of that. I’m lucky to have colleagues who are always open to sharing their knowledge with me, so I feel like I’m being embraced into that family.
That being said, there are people who went to school for printing and people who have been working in this industry for decades, and I’m humbled by their experiences and knowledge.
FLEXO: What’s something that has surprised you—good or bad—about working in the flexographic industry?
Lippert: Well, I didn’t realize just how big this industry is. Attending my first trade show was really eye opening. Despite that, there’s a lot of collaboration, so it isn’t surprising that people say the industry is like family.
FLEXO: When someone who is not a flexographer asks you about the industry, how do you describe it?
Lippert: I think the best way to describe flexography to an outsider is not by explaining the intricacies of what it is, but by showing what it creates—because it’s everywhere. I’ll show my friends a lid on the top of yogurt or ice cream and tell them my company’s product helped create this, and it’s easier for them to understand since it’s something they’re familiar with and see every day.