Ana Paula Repezza, Director of ApexBrasil, talks about the Women in Leadership Roundtable, which will take place at the World Plastic Connection Summit

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The World Plastic Connection Summit will be held at Blue Tree Premium Alphaville (Alameda Madeira, 398 – Alphaville, Barueri, SP), on August 21-24, 2023, with simultaneous broadcasting in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. During the Seminar, to be held on August 21, Ana Paula Repezza, Business Director of ApexBrasil, will be mediating the Women in Leadership Roundtable, alongside Maria Prado (Fame), Magdala Moraes (Terphane), Natalie Ardrizzo (Termolar), and Renata Canteiro (Embaquim). We interviewed her about the expectations of the event and the topic of the debate. Read more below:


Atenção Junto Crédito da foto: Divulgação / ApexBrasil.


TPB: What are the actions formatted by ApexBrasil to promote gender equality within sectoral projects and in the market as a whole?

Ana Paula Repezza: Currently, women are majority shareholders of only 14% of Brazilian export companies. Faced with this reality, in March 2023, ApexBrasil established its commitment to gender equality and undertook to develop a program aimed at women who work or wish to work in the international market.

Thus, in June, we officially launched the Women and International Business Program (Mulheres e Negócios Internacionais – MNI), whose goal is to bring together various partner entities in an effort to increase the participation of Brazilian companies led by women in exports, internationalization, and attraction of investments. Businesswomen from all sectors, partners or executives who are interested in expanding in the international market are welcome to participate.

Some of the planned activities include market intelligence actions, training, and trade promotion, as well as events and business roundtables. The goal is both to offer technical tools for the international insertion of these businesswomen and to build a network of women, thus contributing to the development of fundamental socioemotional skills when negotiating with foreign partners.

The first initiative of the Program, the “Elas Exportam” (“They Export”) mentorship was launched recently, in partnership with the Ministry of Development, Industry, Commerce and Services (MDIC)” of Brazil. Businesswomen with experience in international markets will offer customized mentoring to those who are interested in starting or expanding exports.

Given the size of the challenge in achieving gender parity in international insertion, the effort needs to be collective. Therefore, the NMI Program will be carried out in a cross-sectional way. With regard to sectoral projects, developed in partnership with entities, we are initially in the diagnostic phase on the participation of women in internationalization actions. From there, we will design specific actions together.

TPB: How important is it for the topic to be addressed at an event such as the World Plastic Connection Summit?

Ana Paula Repezza: According to a recent study by the MDIC, in Brazil, 32.5% of jobs in companies that operate in foreign trade are occupied by women. In 2019, there were 2.6 million employees, concentrated mainly in companies that export higher-value-added products to higher-income destinations, as is the case of converted plastics. For this reason, initiatives that highlight women in the sector contribute to encouraging female participation in leadership positions and expanding into foreign markets. Addressing this issue at the World Plastic Connection Summit – an event that is so relevant for the segment, with a focus on internationalization – is part of this movement.

It should be noted that, although companies engaged in international trade pay higher wages, there is still a wage gap between men and women. According to the same MDIC study, in companies in the manufacturing industry that carry out exports or imports, this difference is 28.4%. Debating female participation in the sector is therefore essential to ensure that more and more women benefit from foreign trade in an equitable manner. The greater insertion of more women in these positions also represents a virtuous circle for society as a whole, given that studies show that they invest more in education for their children and in health in their communities.

TPB: What kinds of insights do you believe the Women in Leadership Roundtable can provide to converted plastics companies?

Ana Paula Repezza: Brazil is one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world, and the participation rate of female entrepreneurs has grown. Our challenge is to provide capacity building for these women, both by training them in technical matters and by helping them to overcome limiting beliefs and unconscious biases. The reflections generated in panels such as this one, with businesswomen in leadership positions, contribute precisely to the realization that gender stereotypes are nothing more than prejudices.

Knowing the experience of successful businesswomen is crucial for those who are treading the same path or are interested in doing so. The opportunities and challenges experienced by Maria Prado, Export Manager at FAME, Magdala Moraes, Director at TERPHANE, Natalie Ardrizzo, CEO of Termolar, and Renata Canteiro, Director at Embaquim, who will make up the panel, will certainly generate identification and inspire many women in the sector. Moreover, these industry representatives are leaders in the sector as a whole, offering a reflection on the importance of providing more opportunities for female leaders.

Check out the seminar schedule and sign up at