PORTLAND, Maine, Dec. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Sappi North America, a leading producer and supplier of diversified paper and packaging products, today announced that Laura Thompson, Director of Sustainable Development and Policy Initiatives at Sappi, was named the 2018 Woman of Distinction by Girl Scouts of Maine. She was honored last night at the Women of Distinction Gala, an annual event that celebrates women whose individual excellence and high levels of achievement distinguish them as outstanding members of their communities and exemplary role models for today's girls.
"I am so proud to be recognized as the 2018 Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Maine. I hope that as an honoree I'm able to inspire girls to pursue activities and careers in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] fields, and to think outside the box when it comes to which industries can fulfill those interests," said Thompson. "The Girl Scouts is a fantastic organization that shapes young women into future leaders, and I could not be happier to work with them. It's an honor to be recognized alongside so many accomplished women, and I hope that I can provide a similar impact on my community and peers."
Laura has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire, and an M.S. and Ph.D in Paper Science from the Institute of Paper Science and Technology. Since 1995, she has held a variety of positions within the paper industry, including research, mill environmental, product development, marketing, and for the past 10 years, sustainable development.
At Sappi, Laura has played a key role in building an industry leading sustainability brand for the company and sustaining strong corporate governance and controls around Sappi North America's sustainability strategy. Over the past decade, her work has created competitive advantage for Sappi in the market by establishing goals that drove unnecessary costs and waste out of our operations while lowering our environmental footprint, and provided us with a sound scientific foundation and business-driven direction for the commitments we undertake with our customers, certification agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Laura's leadership of Sappi's Sustainability Ambassador Program has supported strong employee engagement at all Sappi locations and levels.
Laura participates on boards and committees for the American Forest and Paper Association, TwoSides US Sustainability Committee and the environmental non-profits, GreenBlue and The Recycling Partnership. Laura was also part of a team at Sappi that worked with the Girl Scouts of Maine to develop a papermaking patch, which was unveiled during the Women of Distinction Gala.
Outside of work, Laura routinely volunteers her time in the local community with educational outreach and mentorship for various programs including the Codman Academy Charter School in Dorchester, Mass., supporting the Living Land and Waters mission to clean up the nation's rivers, and the ongoing partnership with the Green Neighbor Fest/Urban-Run-off 5k in Portland.
"For 105 years, Girl Scouts has helped shape girls aspirations and confidence in areas that need more female leadership," said Joanne Crepeau, CEO, Girl Scouts of Maine. "Women are particularly underrepresented in STEM fields and Girl Scouts has programs committed to increasing girls' interests and abilities in these disciplines. Exposure to STEM professionals has real impact on girls especially when they see women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This is why we are thrilled to honor Laura Thompson, whose professional pursuit and many accomplishments make her a perfect role model for women, of any age, today. Girl Scouts encourages girls to make a difference in the world and Laura is certainly doing that."
Thompson joins other notable honorees, including Eileen Skinner, Gena Canning, Meredith Strang Burgess, Melissa Smith, Pamela Hurley-Moser, Betsey Timm, Brenda Garrand, Senator Olympia Snowe, Erin Hoeflinger, Dr. Sandra Featherman, Meg Baxter, Beth Newlands Campbell, Judith Magyar Isaacson, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Sara Burns, Carol Mitchell, Maddy Corson, Eleanor Baker, and Jana Lapoint.
Thompson was recognized during the 21st Annual Women of Distinction Gala on Dec. 7, 2017 at The Westin Portland Harborview hotel.
For more information, visit www.girlscoutsofmaine.org/womenofdistinction.
To learn more Laura's important work at Sappi North America, read its latest Sustainability Report, here: http://bit.ly/SappiSustainabilityReport.
About Sappi North America
Sappi North America, headquartered in Boston, is a market leader in converting wood fiber into superior products that customers demand worldwide. The success of our four diversified businesses – high quality Coated Printing Papers, Specialised Cellulose, Release Papers and Specialty Packaging – is driven by strong customer relationships, best-in-class people and advantaged assets, products and services. Our high quality Coated Printing Papers, including McCoy, Opus, Somerset and Flo, are the key platform for premium magazines, catalogs, books and high-end print advertising. We are a leading manufacturer of Specialised Cellulose used in a wide range of products, including textile fibers and household goods, and one of the world's leading suppliers of Release Papers with our Ultracast, PolyEX, Classics and Neoterix lines for the automotive, fashion and engineered films industries. Our Specialty Packaging products, such as LusterPrint and LusterCote, represent an important asset in the food packaging and labeling industries. Customers rely on Sappi for high technical, operational and market expertise; products and services delivered with consistently high quality and reliability; and, state-of-the-art and cost-competitive assets and innovative spirit.
Sappi North America is a subsidiary of Sappi Limited (JSE), a global company headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with more than 12,000 employees and manufacturing operations on three continents in seven countries and customers in over 150 countries around the world. Learn more about Sappi at: www.sappi.com.
About Girl Scouts of Maine
Girl Scouts of Maine builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. GSME provides services and support to over 12,000 girl and adult members statewide, and operates service centers and shops in South Portland and Bangor. For more information about Girl Scouting in Maine, visit www.girlscoutsofmaine.org or call 888-922-4763.
SOURCE Sappi North America