Mary Laschinger is the current CEO and Chairman of Veritiv Corporation. It is interesting to note that while said corporation is included on the Fortune 500 list, its name isn’t as well-known as those of a lot of its counterparts. In part, this is because it came into existence in 2014. However, it should also be noted that it specializes in business-to-business products and services, meaning that consumers have less cause to have heard of it. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Mary Laschinger:
1. Grew Up on a Dairy Farm
As a child, Laschinger grew up on a dairy farm situated outside of a place called Arkansaw in the state of Wisconsin. This is perhaps unsurprising, seeing as how said state has managed to build up a formidable reputation for cheese-making, so much so that it is still the state that produces the most cheese in present times. In this, Wisconsin has been helped to a considerable extent by its fertile fields, which were a very attractive draw for European immigrants with the relevant skills.
2. Studied At the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
There are some executives who studied business from the start, with an excellent example being Laschinger, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Said school started out as a place to train teachers, but since its founding, it has seen considerable expansion, meaning that it is by no means limited to that particular subject in modern times.
3. Studied At the University of Connecticut
Later on, Laschinger continued to study business administration, as shown by the fact that she has a MBA from the University of Connecticut. Once upon a time, the school was called the Storrs Agricultural School for the brothers who provided the land as well as the initial funding. However, it saw three name changes to reflect the ever-broadening nature of what it could offer interested individuals.
4. Studied At the Kellogg School of Management
Speaking of which, Laschinger has done some postgraduate studies in executive management as well, which isn’t particularly unusual for people who manage to reach the very top of their respective corporations. Her choice for school was the Kellogg School of Management, which is the Northwestern University business school. Said institution has existed since 1908, so it should come as no surprise to learn that it has played a pioneering role in a number of important trends, with an excellent example being the emphasis on teamwork that is so popular in the business world.
5. Got Her Start As a Production Planner
Career-wise, Laschinger got her start as a production planner, which is, well, a very literally named position. In those times, she worked for Kimberly-Clark, a personal care corporation that tends to be known to most people for making Kleenex as well as other paper-based products.
6. Spent a Long Time Working for the International Paper Company
From 1992 to 2014, Laschinger worked for the International Paper Company, which can claim the honor of being the single biggest pulp and paper company that can be found in the entire world. Over that period of time, Laschinger managed to rise through the ranks, with the result that she was the Senior Vice President of the company as a whole by the end. As such, she held a wide range of responsibilities at the International Paper Company, which often included those connected to operations in countries other than the United States.
7. One of a Small Number of Female CEOs on the Fortune 500 List
Currently, Laschinger is one of a very small number of female CEOs who can be found on the Fortune 500 list. To be exact, the list included a grand total of 24 individuals in 2018, which was actually down from the record high of 32 such CEOs in 2017. It should be mentioned that there has been improvements in this regard over time, but there is still a huge gap between female CEOs and their male counterparts. For that matter, this isn’t limited to the position of CEO, seeing as how there were still companies on the 2017 version of the Fortune 500 list without so much as a single female member of the Board.
8. Learned Much About Running a Business From Her Father
It is interesting to note that Laschinger has stated that she learned much about running a business from her father when she was growing up. Supposedly, her family farm never ran into the financial struggles that were experienced by a lot of other small family farms in those times, which is a fact that speaks well of his business management skills.
9. Cares About Values, Growth Potential, and Technical Capabilities When Hiring
When hiring people, Laschinger says that she cares about the candidates’ values, potential for further growth, and technical capabilities. In her opinion, the first two are more important because they provide the foundation for the candidate. Certainly, technical capabilities are also important, but they can be taught to the candidates with much greater ease than either values or the willingness to learn, which are much more personal matters.
10. Believes in the Need to Engage People
One of the first lessons that Laschinger learned is that the successful implementation of business initiatives need the engagement of the people who will actually be carrying out said processes on the ground level. This makes sense because while business leaders can issue the orders, they can’t count on the effective and efficient compliance with those orders unless their employees care about those orders to some extent. As such, Laschinger believes that it is important to bring influencers within a business’s ranks on board with various plans so that they can in turn, convert other relevant individuals to the same way of thinking.