As we prepare to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11, it’s a fitting time to spotlight individuals who have blazed trails in the scientific arena, breaking barriers and making impactful contributions. One such remarkable woman is Michele Whyle, Commercialization Director at MGK.

Over the past two years, Michele has driven the development of MGK’s sustainability strategy, engaging a passionate team tasked with creating and unifying the company’s sustainability goals and practices.

Science & Sustainability Combine

Michele’s journey in science began in 1993 when she embarked on a career as a chemical engineer, distinguishing herself as one of the first in her family, and the first woman in her family, to pursue higher education. Early in her career, Michele took on the role of Construction Project Engineer, contributing to the construction of a new facility that would house new, innovative technology and chemistry with a lesser environmental impact and improved performance. Her personal passion for merging business and science led her to pursue an MBA while working as an engineer.

Relocating to Minnesota, Michele transitioned into a Regulatory Affairs position, becoming a key figure in product stewardship and sustainability efforts. Notably, she served as the Vice Chair of the Environmental Marketing Claims Committee at a national industry association, playing a pivotal role in revamping the EPA Green Guides. Driven by a passion for sustainable business practices, Michele went on to pursue a master’s degree in environmental sustainability from Harvard Extension School.

Coming Home

In her current role as Commercialization Director at MGK, Michele finds the perfect intersection between business and technology, describing MGK as “home.” In her words, “It’s a culmination of all the different eclectic things I’ve done.”

She particularly loves how the company uses science and business to advance and improve lives around the world.  “MGK is a fascinating business.  Our scientists are exceptional and relentless in their pursuit of new, better and more innovative products and technologies,” she says. “They are never satisfied with the status quo, but are always advancing, creating and producing new and better products and technologies.”

Strengthening Sustainability at MGK

Michele’s dedication to sustainability dates back to the early 2000s when sustainability emerged as a significant industry focus. Embracing transformational thinking, Michele views sustainability holistically, considering environmental, social and economic factors. She emphasizes that successful businesses inherently contribute to these aspects by improving lives, a principle in which she ardently believes.

At MGK, sustainability is a core aspect of the company’s foundation and identity. Michele underscores the direct impact MGK’s chemical products have on users’ health and daily life. As a manufacturer of chemicals crucial for protecting human health and crops, scientific rigor is applied to ensure the products meet environmental, health and social standards of excellence.

MGK’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond its own operations to the partners, suppliers and communities in which it does business. The company’s partnership with the Pyrethrum Company of Tanzania, as example, plays a vital role in lifting family farmers out of poverty by creating meaningful and sustainable jobs.

Embracing her Values

Beyond her professional achievements, Michele’s personal life reflects a commitment to community service. As a married mother of four, she is currently navigating the transition to an empty nest while volunteering at a local juvenile facility. As she says, “Every child is precious. The world may see me giving to the youth at the juvenile center, but I receive 100 times more from them than I ever give. It’s an honor and privilege to spend time with them all.”

In Michele’s inspiring journey, the echoes of strength, courage and unwavering commitment to core values resonate. For her, it is not the accolades that stand out, but as she says, “It’s about the people I’ve encountered. Did I positively touch someone’s life?”

Michele Whyle exemplifies the intention of the United Nations celebration happening now – a trailblazer, a leader and an advocate for sustainable practices that make a difference in the world.

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