5 Minutes with Kelly Thompsell from KCA

This month we are chatting with Kelly Thompsell, the Continuous Improvement Engineer at the Kimberly Clark Australia mill near Millicent.

1/ Who is Kelly Thompsell?
I grew up in Port Augusta and relocated to Adelaide to undertake study.  Following this I was successful in obtaining a job with Kimberly Clark in the South East, in 1997, and relocated to Mount Gambier where I still live today with my husband, 3 children and 2 dogs.

2/ Your main professional areas you have worked in over the years.
I am the Continuous Improvement (CI) Leader supporting all engineering disciplines in the UCTAD stream at Kimberly Clark Australia in Millicent.  In my 23 years with KCA, where I started as a Graduate Chemical Engineer in 1997, I have worked in all areas of Pulp and Paper Production, in both Engineering and Production roles. Since 2015 I have also been the Kimberly Clark Corporations Regional Technical Leader for Australia and have supported other KCC mills through both on-site and on-line training and problem-solving sessions.

In my position as CI Leader I have had the opportunity to guide the careers of young Engineers & more seasoned Professionals while also supporting the production team with improvements and higher-level problem solving.  I encourage STEM by supervising the local science and engineering challenge and young women in STEM through STEM girls, a program ran by UNISA. I am also a long-standing member of APPITA and has been involved in the local SA group for many years along with recently being elected to the APPITA Executive Committee.

3/ Biggest challenge you have faced professionally or personally?
Working for a Multinational organisation there have been occasions where my casual, friendly nature and manner have needed to be adapted to suit the professional work environment. I have needed to modify my ability to see the amusing side of most situation to ensure I don’t misrepresent my capability to still take those situations seriously.

4/ Your favourite place to visit in the Limestone Coast & Western Victoria area?
I enjoy visiting Port Mac and other coastal towns and the Coonawarra is also a big draw.  I like going out to dinner at the various restaurants in Mount Gambier and other local towns  with my family and friends.

5/ Recommendation for our members to focus on/ take away.
I’m a big believer in curiosity, communication and continuous learning.  I use the 1/2hr drive to and from work to listen to a lot of educational books and I think this has been one of the main reasons I have transitioned from Technical roles to a more managerial role without too many challenges.
My favourite sayings are “there is no such thing a dumb question” and “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.

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