Meena Banasiak

2020 STEP Ahead Honoree

Director of Quality and Food Safety
Phoenix Closures, Inc.

To me, manufacturing is where ideas are transformed into realities, often on a scale more grand than you might’ve ever imagined up front.  It is so fulfilling to lead a team on that journey of bringing a product to life and to celebrate the successes and hurdles along the way.

As director of quality and food safety at Phoenix Closures, Inc. (PHOENIX), Meena’s leadership is essential for $163 million in sales. Bringing energy, enthusiasm and a drive that is hard to match, Meena has made an already robust department more collaborative, more approachable and even stronger.

Under Meena’s leadership, PHOENIX’s manufacturing plants collectively achieved a 37 percent reduction in customer complaints in just 20 months. In addition, she led efforts at four geographically separated factories to earn perfect or nearly perfect scores in their 2019 Global Food Safety Initiative recertification audits. With a strong dedication to professional education and development, Meena has enabled several individual employees to achieve technical certifications.  She has also overseen significant improvements to the format and content of thousands of training activities administered to our 400+ production, maintenance, warehouse and management personnel.

The Valley Industrial Association and the Women in Manufacturing (WiM) Association’s Illinois Chapter have taken note of Meena’s talents, handpicking her to serve as a panelist for their annual event, “Lifting Up the Next Generation of Female Leaders.” There, she spoke before 141 people from 80 different companies about building confidence, ownership and empowerment.

Meena is deeply engaged in the Naperville community through involvement with her school district, the Chamber of Commerce and multiple charitable organizations. She is committed to fighting food insecurity and serves on the Board of Directors for Loaves & Fishes Community Services, a non-profit which provided food and support to 18,657 individuals and 4,651 households over the last year. Meena also actively participates in student outreach, working with youth and young adults of all ages. She has supported numerous initiatives ranging from launching an after-school “Inside Out” club to foster empathy and compassion among elementary students to leading a team of PHOENIX employees to sponsor a career exploration event for local high schoolers.

Across all her pursuits, it is clear that Meena has made it her mission to ease the path forward for others and to inspire and empower the same willingness to lead that has enabled her own success.