Woman in science: Marcella Gagliardo, R&D Laboratory Manager Compounding

Woman in science: Marcella Gagliardo, R&D Laboratory Manager Compounding

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February 11th, 2020

Today, on 11 February, we celebrate the international day of women in science. Besides all the amazing men working for Stahl, we have incredible women who contribute to the success of Stahl every day. One of the women who – with her team - brings great contribution to the innovation power of Stahl, is Marcella Gagliardo, R&D Laboratory Manager Compounding. She and her team work very hard every day to create new products, which enrich the goods we use in our everyday live. We asked Marcella why she chose chemistry and what it is about her job that she’s so passionate about.  

Marcella joined Stahl five years ago, but already came to the Netherlands 21 years ago to finish her Master’s Degree in Chemistry. Before she joined Stahl, she worked at AkzoNobel as researcher and innovation manager in close contact with commercial functions. After a very short time in Sales, she realized however, that her heart was in research and not so much in Sales. So, she decided to come to Stahl to start as head of the Compounding Lab. ‘When I arrived after so many years in the coatings industry, I didn’t know what the Compounding Lab did. Compounding was a completely new world and a completely new vision on developing a product to me, and I soon got fascinated and involved. Compounding is of course to put different materials together, but it is also to make something very complex and it takes a lot of chemistry to compound a product. At Stahl, we are masters in the process of compounding. We deliver a product that is easier to use for our customers. We take care of the hurdles for the client and we see that this is what our customers need.’

Working at Stahl                                                               

The Compounding Lab consists of 10 researchers. They work on projects ranging from leather and performance finish chemicals to polymer projects. One of the focus points in all projects is sustainability. Together with the Green Chemists at Stahl, Marcella and her team constantly work to create new possibilities. Where the role of the Green Chemists really is to developing renewable building blocks using resources that help to reduce our carbon footprint, the compounding team translates those building blocks into ready-to-use products for the customers, always by taking into account other elements such as “do more with less”, reducing energy, water usage and waste by improving shelf life and performance: ‘There was for instance a material that wasn’t stable to use, until we compounded it with different components and now we are able to use it, so there is a lot to gain in working closely together and improving sustainability in this way.’ 

Women in science

Marcella tells that science is becoming more and more accessible to women: ‘I follow all kind of organizations related to women in science. They are all about making the impact of women in science more visible, because many scientific women did not have the spotlight. But with internet nowadays we are more and more aware of the influence of women in science. Marie Curie is one of the more known, but there are so many that contributed a lot. I think it is important to bring the feminine part in the picture. Men and women both contribute, but women have a special way to add to it and to contribute. We look at elements in different ways, we are ambitious and we are just as results-driven.’ She adds: ‘If I could go back, I would do it again as Science brings you closer to Nature and people. I was actually not meant for science, because I studied music. I switched after four years, but in many ways, you can be as creative in Chemistry as in music. You have to have an open mind, you cannot perform without and it is in my nature to be creative. Being creative is something I am keen on and I like doing things differently. As a kid, I was building my own things and I was always creating something new. Now that I am here at Stahl, I have a different role. I have a team and I steer, but when I wake up in the morning and I come here, it has to be about making the world better than it is.’

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Woman in science: Marcella Gagliardo, R&D Laboratory Manager Compounding
Anne ter Braak
Corporate Communications & Marketing Manager