Breanna Cornell loves the outdoors. She’s an avid runner, plans to build her own off-grid cabin, and through her work as an engineer, she’s able to impact how we manage the earth’s resources. After graduating, Breanna started at Essity in the Graduate Onboarding Engineering Program and is now a Process Engineer for the Napkin Resource Team.
What made Essity stand out from other employers you were considering?
Senior year I started looking for a job in mining because I interned at a copper mine. Mining is so high-impact on the environment, so I didn’t think I would like it. But once I started, I realized how much opportunity there was from an environmental engineering perspective, and I ended up really enjoying it.
So, I was applying to mining positions when I came across the Essity booth at my school’s career fair. I thought, 'Well, I didn't think I would like the mining industry and I actually ended up loving it. I've never worked in the paper industry. This could be interesting, why don't I give it a try?' And here I am!
What do you like about the culture at Essity?
That it’s encouraging. My managers believe in my potential: I have quarterly conversations with my boss about where I want to be in the future, and what he can do to help me get there. This year the company even nominated me for the Manufacturing Institute STEP Awards, and I won an emerging leader award! It was really flattering, and people from outside my facility still take time to congratulate me and recognize the work I do.
Congrats! What else does Essity do to encourage your growth?
We have a lot of off-site training like leadership classes and development. When I was in my first plant in Alabama, they brought in professors to teach leadership classes. They do a lot of stuff like that.
What makes you want to grow your career with Essity?
I think it’s the security they provide. I feel like I have financial security with Essity, so I don’t feel stressed about paying bills, and can invest in my hobbies and passions. I run a lot of races, which can get expensive, and I’m also an artist — and those art supplies cost money. Running and art bring a lot of value to my life, and with Essity, I’m able to really pursue both.
And since I know I have a stable position here, I’ve been able to put down roots in Flagstaff and buy real estate; I bought my first home at 23, and a second property this year. In the near future, I plan to build my own sustainable, off-grid cabin. That project will really combine my engineering and creative skills!
What has your experience been like as a woman in STEM?
This question is hard for me to answer because I've only ever been a woman. So, I don’t have a point of comparison. But I think we need more women in STEM. I was lucky because, in school, my engineering class was pretty 50/50 as far as gender goes. But when you enter the workforce, it is more male-dominated, and it can take a bit of time to adapt to.
My advice to women working in STEM is to persevere. You bring a diversity of perspective that's needed. Diversity, in terms of gender and culture, brings different experiences and ideas, which only improves the quality of our work and the workplace.
Essity (formerly SCA) is a leading global hygiene and health company. In North America, Essity develops and produces the leading global brands Tork, TENA, and medical solutions brands such as JOBST.