The AICC Emerging Leaders (EL) fully embraced their mission to engage and support their fellow paper and packaging professionals at the Spring Meeting in Miami, Florida last month.

Emerging Leader Delegate John McQueary, Vice President of Sales at CST Systems, spoke to the larger AICC membership during the general session about the EL Program’s latest activities and the important role it plays in the industry. 

McQueary has been involved with the EL Program since 2019 and was elected as a Junior Delegate in 2021.The EL program is designed for those ages 35 and under who are in management positions or who have been identified by their respective companies as being on the future leadership track.

“Having some of your younger employees join the EL program is great way to show that you believe in the longevity and bright future of your company,” McQueary said. “It’s a great way to encourage them to stick around and to make them feel engaged and further connected to our industry as a whole.”

With a mission to encourage, engage, and support young professional in the paper and packaging industry, McQueary said the EL Program gives young professionals an opportunity to find their voice and develop skills that create value in the industry and their company as well as their career.

Currently, there are 124 enrolled members in the EL Program, 15 of whom are new members. Throughout the year, the EL Program hosts multiple virtual and in-person training and networking events. More than half of those events are free. During the AICC Spring Meeting, the Emerging Leaders hosted a leadership development workshop panel and an offsite evening networking event.

McQueary said the Emerging Leaders are also excited about the next installment of their quarterly C-Suite webinar series which featured AICC Vice Chair and President of Packaging Express Matt Davis on May 4. In the C-Suite series, Emerging Leaders have candid conversations with people within and outside of the packaging industry.

Past speakers have included the VP of Sales for the world’s second largest wine producer, the Human Resources director of a large noncorrugated manufacturing company, the CFO of an AICC general member company, and president and founder of an AICC associate company.

On June 7-9, the ELs will have their annual Emerging Leaders Workshop which is hosted in conjunction with the AICC Vice Chairman. The event takes place in Denver, Colorado this year and will include two plant tours, a leadership training workshop, tickets to a Colorado Rockies game, and numerous networking opportunities.  

“This Emerging Leaders workshop is always well received by our members and leaves them fired up and ready to create the maximum positive impact within their perspective organizations when they get back to their companies,” McQueary said. 

Registration is only $525 and is limited to 40 members. McQueary said they are close being full and encouraged all who are interested to register soon at

To learn more about becoming an EL member, contact Taryn Pyle at [email protected].

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