A Crash Course in Humility

I was ready for adventure when I joined Celanese, but I had no idea that shortly after joining my career would jump start with a trip to the other side of the world. It was the opportunity of a lifetime to be the project manager for the Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP) leading 2 volunteer teams to India in 2017.  

Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP) teams, in April 2016, I informed you of your selection to participate in the Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP). For each email that followed, whether it was confirming logistics or answering questions, I was also implicitly asking each of you for your trust, flexibility and patience. We would be navigating India together; and if that wasn’t enough of a culture shock, I was simultaneously figuring out a culture you already knew, Celanese.

There were so many components to think about. My first project at a new job and, although CIIP had happened before, the new structure would take you a little further outside your comfort zone. Participating in the volunteer work was life changing; working in an early childhood education center in Dharmsala and with a women’s empowerment group in New Delhi, but the trips would not have been successful if it weren’t for each of you being able to work as a team, lean into discomfort and open your heart to everything India offered. It was amazing to watch two women, one from Germany and one from China, create a lesson plan to teach a computer software program written in English for teenage boys who speak Hindi. Or to watch a team figure out how to transport a tire to an education center to then create a tire swing. Or the ultimate in cooperation where six women from five countries shared one bathroom.

Thank you for the crash course in cultural sensitivity, intercultural communication and humility. Overwhelming at times, these trips were by far the best on-the-job training I could have possibly imagined. Not only was I able to learn about Celanese from an organizational standpoint, what we create and how we create, I was learning firsthand from Celanese’s biggest asset – you. Thank you for trusting me, teaching me and inspiring me.

Read more about the Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP).











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About the author


Jillian Richardson joined Celanese as the Corporate Social Responsibility Communication Specialist in 2016. She enjoys eating with friends, practicing yoga and exploring new places.

There are 12 comments. Add yours.

  1. Christy says:

    It was an absolute pleasure experiencing India with you! You did a great job of maintaining grace and humor in those trying times. Thanks for all of your work that went into an opportunity of a lifetime for me!

  2. Dana Smith says:

    What an amazing opportunity! Can’t wait to see what adventure’s are in store for 2017. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Margie Dolch says:

    Jillian, thank you for leaping into your position with such an adventerous & open-minded attitude. Thanks for investing in the communities of India and our Celanese employees.

  4. Sylvia Zhou says:


    You did a great job. I often recall my memory when we spent together in India. You have the magic to make the team sticking together. I miss all our CIIP team members.

  5. Norman Brinson says:

    You are great! It was a life changing experience and were a big part of why it was so transformative. Life is an adventure!

  6. Christopher McKay says:

    When Jillian began her time at Celanese, I had the the opportunity to grab on to her coat tails and see what the ride was like. Over the last year I have been taken aback by the impact Celanese makes – whether domestically or internationally, your corporation is determined to make an impact the human level. There is nothing greater we can do for our fellow person. You truly embody the saying, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Thank you for showing us the way. Here’s to an even more impactful 2017! #TheImpactfulCelanese

  7. Andy Penton says:

    Ms. Jillian, you did an awesome job taking care of us. I knew you were going to do an job of looking after us, but I did not expect you to be an awesome negotiator. I hope I never have to sell anything to you. 🙂
    Appreciate you and Proud of you! Andy

  8. Laura says:

    Jillian –
    I love this post! I’m so glad I was able to share my India experience with you and the rest of our CIIP team. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

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