“Teacher, Teacher, Teacher….” The kids’ voices still echo in my mind. One month ago, I jumped on the flight to South Africa for the Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP).
In Johannesburg Airport, an African lady gave a helping hand when I was totally lost in front of the complicated transfer process. She helped me to pass the migration office through the clerk channel and claim the luggage, then sent me to another terminal for the flight check in to Cape Town. Her warm-heartedness made me feel at home.
As former vice president of stewardship and operational excellence, I’ve had the opportunity to experience stewardship from a unique perspective. Having been with Celanese for less than two years, I’m impressed by our extensive commitment to our stewardship culture: worker safety, environmental protection and the commitment to caring for precious natural resources. Among similar companies globally, Celanese rates in the top decile in the world for measured stewardship performance.
Stewardship often brings two things to mind: safety and environmental sustainability – and Celanese is well-known for handling both with diligence and care. But at Celanese, stewardship means more than just avoiding incidents at our facilities and it means more than just protecting the environment. It also means caring for our people, our community, our planet and our customers.
Our most important resource is our people, and we go to great lengths to show our value for the human spirit – to create a culture where each person feels welcomed and appreciated.
As a senior in high school, my dad came home from work one night and asked me two questions about my day. The first was standard and straightforward … “How was your day?” The second, “What did you do to help someone today?” Recounting my day, as an arrogant and self-absorbed eighteen year-old, I had to shamefully respond with, “Nothing.” That moment sticks in mind. My father wasn’t angry, he never brought it up again and probably doesn’t even remember it. I do however. I remember thinking how easy it should have been to do ONE THING to make someone else’s day better.
What if everyone, before they went to bed at night, made a point to do one nice thing for someone else that day?
In a Ted Talk video featured at the launch of the Dallas chapter of B.O.L.D. (Blacks Organized for Leadership Development), Verna Myers said,
“We can’t just decide not to see color. The problem was never that we saw color; it’s what we did when we saw color.” She went on to say, “While we’re busy pretending not to see, we are not being aware of the ways in which racial difference is changing people’s possibilities.”
I think we’d all like to believe we’re color-blind when it comes to racial diversity, but unfortunately, we’ve got a long way to go toward making equality the rule rather than the exception.