Something Is Wrong If You Don’t Belong

Have you heard this phrase? It’s true in many places and, in my view, it’s especially true at work.

Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time working. The average person will devote one-third of their life to the workplace. With that kind of commitment, it’s important to feel at home in the workplace. We should feel appreciated and at ease. Many factors are involved to be able to achieve that, including the quality of your job, feeling successful at what you do and having good people around you who know you and respect you for who you are.

Celanese has started to recognize that to achieve this, many employees can benefit from developing a community of likeminded people for support, sharing experiences and sharing advice. In many locations within the Celanese network we have now started ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) in support of these needs.

We have several ERGs established: women’s groups, young parents, young professionals and groups supporting Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender employees (called Pride) to name a few.

My personal connection to the Pride groups is strong. Not just because I live in Amsterdam where Pride is simply part of everyday life, but also because I have two gay adult children. That has allowed my wife Beth and me to really understand what that means. I am enormously proud of my kids: what they do, what they stand for and what good citizens they are.

Pim, Ellie, Mimi, Marcel and Beth van Amerongen

There’s still the occasional struggle, but that is far outweighed by the fact that they can be who they are, that they are accepted and they lead successful, fulfilled lives in all parts of the world.

With the work the Pride groups are doing in Budapest and Dallas, I am strengthened in the belief that we are on the right track in creating an environment at Celanese in which people simply belong.

My charge for you is to support these groups. Educate yourself, reach out to them, and, most of all, work together so that one day “special” groups will not be needed at Celanese as we will have achieved the culture that inclusion is part of our DNA.

If you’re in Amsterdam on Aug 6, the city hosts its annual Gay Pride Canal Parade. Please join us. It’s good fun, a great celebration and a great opportunity to connect. If you’re in Dallas, the Gay Pride Parade is taking place on September 18. Gay, straight or ally, all are welcome.


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About the author


Marcel van Amerongen is vice president of Celanese’s cellulose derivatives business, located in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He joined Celanese in 1985 and has held various leadership positions in finance and business strategy and development. Marcel holds a B.B.A. from the University of Nijenrode, The Netherlands and a master’s of International Business Studies from the University of South Carolina.

There are 11 comments. Add yours.

  1. Cindy Kemp-Smith says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Marcel! Celanese is indeed doing a wonderful job of inclusion with the ERG communities, and I am a proud member of the PRIDE@Celanese ERG here in Dallas. You have a beautiful family.

  2. Kelsey Achenbach says:

    Thanks so much for sharing Marcel, you have such a lovely family! What a great story about your passion around creating an inclusive environment. You are an inspiration to us all!

  3. Linda Mock says:

    I am happy to say I am a PRIDE ally in the Dallas office. Your family’s smiles say a lot. I would love to be in Amsterdam August 6th, but I’m pretty sure I will be in Dallas. Thanks for sharing. Linda

  4. Mark Murray says:

    Thanks for the blog Marcel. Your relationships with your co-workers and your family say a lot about what a great peson you are – thanks for your leadership and example for us all…

  5. Karen Evans says:

    Thank you for your wise and loving words. I’m so honored to have been a part of your children’s early lives. You and Beth continually serve as inspiration for truly great parenting!

  6. Leslie Allen says:

    Very well said, Marcel. I have a very close, lifelong friend who happens to be gay. In the 40 plus years that we have been friends, I have witnessed and admired the courage and determination it has taken for him to remain uncompromisingly true to himself in the face of blatant discrimination. Cultural acceptance of the LGBT community has evolved over the last 40 years; the fact that my friend is now legally married to his partner and is a successful executive in a company that sees his sexual orientation as a non-issue is a testament to progress. I agree with you that cultural inclusion is not fully achieved until there is no longer a need for “special” groups. In the meantime, I am proud to be working for a company that is committed to actively fostering a culture of diversity, acceptance, and inclusion. I am especially proud of Celanese for having the corporate courage to demonstrate that commitment by taking a principled stance against anti-LGBT legislation in the US (TX HB 4105 and NC HB2).

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