BRANDPACKAGING (BP): Jill, tell us about your background and current position.
Jill Ahern (JA): My background seems eclectic, but looking back, it was all crucial in preparing me to be in the space I am today. My bachelor’s degree is in psychology, but I also studied theater, anthropology and family social science. My passion has always been about understanding the human condition and why we do what we do. But, my early career was focused on business strategy, working in both corporate events and open innovation partnerships, which gave me a solid understanding of business needs, decision-making and collaboration. I had the good fortune to work with clients in a large number of industries during that time, but I landed in packaging about eight years ago and have picked up technical and industry knowledge by osmosis and great mentors. The stars aligned in 2010 when I joined Packaging Technology Integrated Solutions, a division of HAVI Global Solutions, where I get to blend all three areas of my experience together: helping brands and suppliers create packaging that meets both business and consumer needs. As consulting solutions senior director, I lead the portion of our practice that is dedicated to customer and consumer insights for packaging, including research, testing, thought leadership and channel strategies in support of design and development.