Women in Textiles

In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re spotlighting movers and shakers within our own team who are changing the game in the antimicrobial and odor control industry.

From scientists and researchers to marketers and developers, meet the women making big moves as a part of the Microban Textiles team.

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Dr. Gina Sloan, director of innovations, has her Ph.D. in molecular genetics and covers a wide variety of subject matters including examining the challenges related to inhibiting the growth of harmful microbes and assessing odor-measuring test methods.

She has been with Microban for more than eight years and is committed to leading the research and development of new products within new markets while leading a multidisciplinary team responsible for scouting new technologies, establishing new IP and evaluating potential strategic partnerships. Her expertise in biological sciences, microbiology and genetics, brings a definitive research-oriented skill set to Microban, spanning vaccine research, odor management approaches and transformative product development.

“At the onset of my career, I wanted to make products that would bring meaningful change. This started as a strong link to the healthcare industry with a focus on new drug development, vaccine research and Department of Defense work. In an interesting turn of events, I ended up at Microban, a global leader in antimicrobials. The company has grown tremendously and has allowed me to grow into new roles and develop innovation products that will impact the lives of those around me. Each day is unique and brings interesting challenges.”

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Maria Diefenbach, global textiles marketing manager has been with Microban for 11 years and is our resident go-to expert on how body odor affects textiles, why it’s a major issue for brands and manufactures, what our latest innovations in odor control technology are and how to prevent permastink.

She’s passionate about creating engaging consumer experiences with a global marketing strategy and after spending a decade in the odor control and antimicrobial industry, she has helped countless leading brands share the benefits of fresher products with their customers.

“We work with great brands and manufactures from in wide range of industries, it is never boring. I’m constantly learning something new and engaging in projects all around the globe, and even get to practice my different language skills. A Marketing geek at heart, I find consumer behavior is fascinating and love capturing their attention through a good story. At Microban I get to formulate two of my favorite things creativity and science. “

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Nisa Fan, Microban’s global associate for product line manager recently joined the textiles division team, but joined Microban International in 2017. She’s been instrumental in managing our overseas communication strategy and played an integral part in developing Microban’s Weibo and WeChat strategies to better connect Microban partners with Chinese consumers.

A native of Taiwan, Fan is both an Aletheia University and Pepperdine University graduate, combining her knowledge of finance and marketing to propel our partners to stronger relationships with customers and a more sound global supply chain standard.

“I started my career at Microban as a Global Customer Service Specialist. The position provided me the opportunity to build a strong foundation of knowledge about our customers and products. When I was offered a transfer to global product marketing, I was able to utilize my customer service experience and provide support to the sales team. I like working in textiles because it is a unique industry. I am able to utilize my mandarin language abilities and understanding of cultural norms in Asia to assist sales and product associates working to deliver our products to clients around the globe.”

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Katherine (Kate) Harrell Hawley is Microban’s senior microbiologist who joined the team eight years ago. A day in the life of Kate includes conducting microbiological research and testing as well as supporting various successful research initiatives and collaborating with partners in the liquids, textiles and polymer industries.

Kate's most recent project is the development of a cost-effective, adaptive test protocol to support odor capture technology.

“I have always loved puzzles, the more elaborate the better. Working with our sales and engineering team to solve our customers real world challenges with microorganisms and the problems they create, like odor, has been an excellent, complex puzzle. Each challenge is different, and brings its own unique nuances and obstacles, but here at Microban, our team of scientists and innovators see each problem as a way to help our partners provide the best quality and technology to their customers to solve those real-life issues. “

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In 2010, Marsha joined Microban as director of business development with a focus on reducing odor on smelly items in the home. During her time at Microban she has brought new technologies to the consumer that enhances their comfort and makes their life easier. She works remotely from Bluffton, South Carolina, which provides flexibility in supporting partners in the home textiles industry.

“What little girl dreams about growing up and selling chemicals? Not many, but after earning a BS in fashion merchandising from Winthrop University and a masters in marketing from the University of Georgia, Athens, I spent nine years at Dupont Apparel/Home Textiles and seven years at The Dow Chemical Company helping Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s, Dillards, Gap and a myriad of other brands and retailers to enhance their products with technical features and benefits and loved making the life of the consumer easier, leading me to my role now at Microban.”

These women have and continue to make their mark in the textile industry and we look forward to seeing their contributions to a highly technical profession.

Are you a woman or know of a woman working in the textile industry? Connect with Microban and the women of Microban on LinkedIn to continue this discussion.