Maria Gabriela Cadena Avila got her first experience with the packaging industry through her father’s work with a company called Imperial Chemical Industries. Studying at the Ibero-American University in Mexico, she earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial design and a master’s degree in packaging design and engineering. She rounded out her education with internships in Italy and Belgium and a three-month course on quality control in Japan. In 1991, Ms. Cadena established an industrial packaging design studio, Moldart Diseño, which was the first packaging design company in Mexico.
Following a number of years as the owner of and, later, as a consultant for Moldart, Ms. Cadena joined the Ultraquimia Group as an industrial designer, where she remains to this day. In this role, she focuses on packaging design for industrial packages as well as environmentally friendly packaging. One of her recent projects involved removing two inks that contained biopesticides from their label production. In order to keep abreast of new developments in her field, Ms. Cadena maintains professional affiliation with the World Packaging Organisation and the Mexican Association for Bottling and Packaging.
Twice presented with the WorldStar Packaging Award from the World Packaging Organisation for her excellence, Ms. Cadena is also a three-time recipient of the Mexican Packaging Award from the Mexican Association for Bottling and Packaging. She was notably the first woman to be honored with the Mexican Packaging Award. Furthermore, she was nominated to be featured in ADZebra, a Mexican magazine. Above these accolades, Ms. Cadena is incredibly proud to have excelled in the packaging industry, particularly since it has been a very male-dominated field, and she hopes to be an inspiration to future generations.
Outside of her primary responsibilities, Ms. Cadena has been very active in her local Catholic church. She helped to establish various ministries, including one for Bible studies, and spent time as the chair of her parish’s pastoral council, where she worked to support their local Hispanic community. Currently, she serves on a commission of the pastoral council. Looking toward the future, Ms. Cadena hopes to continue to grow in her career and advocate for environmentally friendly packaging.