These days there is at a lot of emphasis on our leadership behaviors at Celanese, our competencies as leaders and on how to drive value. This made me realize I have a very internal, Celanese-specific view on that. However, recently I had the opportunity to widen my horizon just a little.
My daughter, Annika, with a PhD in Sustainability Entrepreneurship, has founded together with her friend Amy what she terms a “social business.” Their approach is to solve a social issue through entrepreneurial means and therefore make a tangible impact on society while still being able to finance themselves. As I got involved in lots of discussions around business plans, financing models, crowdfunding, and legal and tax considerations with Annika and Amy on their start-up, I also became very interested in the environment they are working in and visited the Social Impact Lab Frankfurt. The Social Impact Lab is a community for social entrepreneurs, social start-ups, coworkers and young people with a German and non-German background. It’s a co-working space where young professionals find the creative environment to further develop their ideas, network and seek professional support on their way of becoming self-employed. The lab’s purpose is to incubate the start-up during the first steps.
As my interest in those ideas and start-ups grew, I asked myself how to connect the Celanese Foundation’s volunteering program with the Social Impact Lab and soon started advertising the idea to do a social day where Celanese colleagues could consult young entrepreneurs at the Social Impact Lab.
Every three years the whole plastics industry meets in Düsseldorf, Germany for the world’s largest plastics tradeshow: the K. In 2016 more than 218,000 trade visitors from 108 countries came to the city on the Rhine. But what’s so fascinating about this fair?
Let me try to explain it from my viewpoint. For me, it was the second K attending for Celanese after 2013. But my very first experience with the K started in 2007, while I was a young man studying plastics engineering, and honestly, I didn’t know too much about the size and the power of the industry. Our professors just told us we definitely can’t miss that show, and so I took three of my fellow students and we went to Düsseldorf without knowing what to expect…
I underestimated the amount of change I would go through as a new mother. People told me my life would be completely different, but there aren’t enough words to describe how my world was turned upside down in the most challenging, beautiful, and rewarding way.
I met Trevor and Jacob this spring. They were the first to arrive at a shoe giveaway sponsored by Buckner Children and Family Services. The event took place at an elementary school nestled in the community of Bachman Lake. It was just 7:30 am on a Saturday, but Trevor and Jacob were wide awake and ready to go.
When I became the first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) coordinator in 2010, my first assignment was to develop an annual event that would allow employees around the company to come together to volunteer in their local communities. We knew that there were plenty of volunteer efforts happening around the company, but because we didn’t have a formal CSR program, we didn’t really know about all of the great things our employees were involved in.