Submitted by DOW
By Karen S. Carter, Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief Inclusion Officer
EMERGE is an extraordinary experience. It energizes me. It is powerful to see first-hand how ID&E is transforming the lives and work experiences of my colleagues.
How do you make inclusion, diversity and equity (ID&E) take off and grow in a global company with people in 31 countries? How do you transform ID&E from a top-down corporate initiative to a grassroots effort, fueled by the passion and purpose of thousands of frontline employees? How do you get individuals and teams to become empowered champions of ID&E?
You get them to EMERGE – literally and figuratively. You get them to attend EMERGE, Dow’s all-Employee Resource Group (ERG) conference. And you empower them to emerge as advocates and change-makers for ID&E.
In May of this year, we held our third EMERGE conference and our first since the pandemic began. Consistent with the values of ID&E, any member of Team Dow could self-nominate to attend. People in all jobs from across the Company participated side-by-side with Dow’s senior-most leaders, including our CEO, Jim Fitterling. About 500 people in all attended from around the Dow world. And for the first time, we employed a hybrid model so that people could attend the event virtually and still engage in the interactive elements of the conference – including our Day of Service.
In my opening remarks, I urged people to engage fully with an open mind and an open heart, and to openly share their ideas over the next three days. And to listen…to really listen to each other. Because EMERGE is not a passive experience. It is an activation. Its success requires people to stretch, to challenge themselves and each other (respectfully), and to be ready to personally make an impact.
Because the real return on the investment of our time at EMERGE is what we do when we return to our daily work-life. How we pay our experience forward. How we lean forward to intentionally define the actions we will take, and how we inspire colleagues to do the same.
Because forward means ID&E becomes a catalyst for achieving business priorities like employee attraction and retention, and accelerating Dow’s decarbonize and grow strategy. Forward means greater profitability, a more engaged workforce and even stronger corporate citizenship.
Speakers at EMERGE ranged from our CEO to our president and chief financial officer, Howard Ungerleider who shared the business value of ESG, to a quality system technologist, Nicole George and Ting Jiang, a production director who talked about their personal journeys. Guest speakers included Wharton professor and best-selling author Adam Grant, members of our Board of Directors, Gaurdie Banister and Jill S. Wyant, and Shannon Sisler, senior vice president and chief people officer at Crocs, among others. Every speaker inspired us, challenged us and encouraged us along the three days of the conference to move forward.
EMERGE is an extraordinary experience. It energizes me. It is powerful to see first-hand how ID&E is transforming the lives and work experiences of my colleagues. I heard it in the voices of the gentlemen who said that Dow’s new parental leave policy had changed their lives. I saw it in the eyes of a colleague who had been working for more than 30 years but said the last four have been the best because they were with Dow. I felt it when a colleague shared that she lost her father during COVID, but that Dow and her ERG had literally saved her life.
By the close of EMERGE, we achieved a renewed sense of unity, shared purpose and a commitment to action. We emerged, 1,500 ID&E champions. We emerged moving forward, together.
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