I’ve recently diagnosed myself with “PHSD” – Post-Holiday Stress Disorder. My holiday party didn’t go exactly as planned, and a few close relationships caused some disappointment.
I know things happen, and everybody has holiday challenges, but I kind of hate to start the year off in a funk. So, I’m doing some things I hope will boost my spirits and send me on my way to a joyful and productive 2018…
A Perspective On Female Engineers At Celanese
Celanese’s University Recruiting Team recently attended the Society of Women Engineers Annual Conference in Austin, Texas. At this World’s Largest Conference for Women Engineers, our recruitment team sought out talented college students, recent graduates and female engineering professionals to introduce them to, and educate them on, the many benefits of working for Celanese. The opportunity to gain valuable engineering experience with a global Fortune 500 company; the culture of diversity and inclusion; and the opportunity to make a difference in the world through our many volunteer initiatives, differentiate Celanese from other companies in the chemicals and materials industry.
We interviewed a few of Celanese’s own talented engineers, including Sarah Abrego, Trinity Hale and Lauren Moore, to gain insight into why they chose Celanese as the place to begin their careers…
Listening As An Ally Through Email
Every day we take in a lot of information, especially when it comes to our email. So how do you tackle active listening when reading and responding to email? Recently I received an email request that wasn’t clear to me. It could have been the note itself, or the fact that it was a Friday morning and my coffee hadn’t kicked in yet. I paused and reread it and it still wasn’t clear. There was something missing and I didn’t know what, so I reached out to my colleague…
How We Quit Smoking…Together
Our journey started in the fall of 2016 when my husband, Fred, and I were prompted to get annual physicals and there was a U.S. benefit decision to begin smoking surcharges in the near future.
The findings on our physicals brought me to the decision that something had to change with our current way of life.
“But how was I going to be able to stop smoking after 50 years,” kept ringing in my head.
Celanese Celebrates 10 Years In The Heart Of Budapest
It has been 10 years! Can you believe it? A decade ago, Celanese took the ambitious step to establish a shared services center in the heart of Budapest. A decade ago, a success story started.
September 7, 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the Budapest Business Service Center (BBSC). What began with a handful of people in Finance, today has become a well-rounded solution provider for Celanese with more than 350 outstanding, talented employees. We could not have been successful on this journey without all our engaged and talented colleagues. Many of them have been with us since the beginning; and we asked them to share their thoughts with on what these 10 years at BBSC have meant for them.
The Email That Put My Weight Loss Journey Into Overdrive
I will never say my decision to start losing weight was an easy one. I had a pretty terrible three days and it led me to focus on myself and making sure I was happy. While I had never been fully content with my weight, I never let it hold me back from living my life. As a full-time graduate student, my process always starts with research, so I looked into credible lifestyle change advice and recognized dieting fads weren’t going to lead me to real, sustainable results. At work, I started observing what people ate. The key is moderation. I started tracking my calories, meal prepping, and going to the gym.
Between school and two jobs, timing was everything and freeing up that time was crucial. Interning at the Celanese office in Dallas also gives me access to a gym facility, which really helped me stay committed while simultaneously avoiding rush hour traffic. I had changed my diet, started working out and after 4 months and 40 pounds, I received the email that put my journey into overdrive.
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.
The Power Of The Working Family
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.
Real Time Feedback
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who said, “I love feedback; in fact I need feedback” only to argue with you on every point you made? Maybe you’ve asked for feedback but the only time you get it is when you’ve done something wrong. Or, are you the type of person who shies away from feedback because it causes so much anxiety? In any case, feedback is important. And even though many of us agree that getting feedback is good, giving it and/or receiving it can be difficult.
Good leaders recognize that feedback happens in various ways, times and regarding a host of different topics or issues. Managers who value differences in others, and strive to be more inclusive to those differences, understand that engaging employees requires constant attention. Feedback has to be tailored to get the intended improvement or change.
Employee Growth – A Leader’s Perspective
When I was named Chief Financial Officer with an “Interim” tag in front of the title, it was both a great challenge and a great opportunity. I had prepared for years with the goal of becoming a CFO, but when I looked at the criteria in the written description for the CFO position, I understood why our CEO and chairman, Mark Rohr, chose to make me interim rather than full CFO. I came to Celanese with a broad variety of experiences and skill sets in finance and, since 2010, I had had direct ownership of most of the finance and shared services functions at Celanese. But while I had accumulated a great deal of finance experience—and that is what put me in the running for the job—it was clear that I was missing other types of experience. The external search criteria called for candidates who had deep engagement with the business and experience leading cross-company initiatives. My experience in these areas was limited because I’d spent my career playing mostly in the finance sandbox.
This Year I Resolve To Give (And Ask For) More Feedback
Recently I joined a yoga studio for more exercise and a peaceful place to settle my busy brain. For anyone considering yoga, I highly recommend it. Not only is it a challenging whole-body workout – it encourages focus and presence in the moment. Something I’m striving for.
What I didn’t expect from yoga was getting jazzed about giving and receiving feedback.
If you’ve never tried yoga, here are the basics. Each class begins in a quiet room – generally the lights are off and everyone lies down on a mat or sits still – there is no talking. In this calm atmosphere minds are cleared of the events of the day and “intentions” are set for the class. This means simply deciding what to achieve in this hour.
Earlier this year, we had record rainfall in the local area. The generous showers may have been a welcome sight to budding spring flowers, but not so much for area drivers as it flooded major roadways for days at a time. One of the impacted roads happened to be the one I take to work each day. Great – now what do I do? I knew I had a destination and I was forced to find another route to get there.
I had a few options, and because the road was closed for about a week, I think I must have tried them all. I was desperately seeking the route that would get me to work or home in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of hassle. One of my phone’s navigation apps would give me optional routes to my destination based on current traffic patterns. While each route would get me to my destination within a few minutes of each other, they would also take me on completely different roads. One route took me to an area I’d never driven through before. It wasn’t very far at all from where I live, and yet I discovered places so close to me that I never knew existed – like a nice park or popular restaurant. The next day I tried another route that took me WAY out of the way…taking a lot longer than it really should have but I got there eventually. Several times, my smooth talking driving companion (the system calls her “Jane”) would instruct me to take a turn, obviously unaware that the road she was leading me to was closed. When that happened, I ignored her advice and took another direction that I knew was better. I hoped she would quickly get the hint and create a new route for me: “Recalculating,” said Jane.
A Fog Advisory – Navigating The Unfamiliar
On most days, the drive to work is uneventful. When that is the case, you follow a familiar route and the drive is a forgettable, to-be-repeated-tomorrow affair. Yet, sometimes your route can be foggy and your trip requires a change in plan and routine.
In the same way, our day-to-day job is a lot like our daily drive. As we plan our week, we expect it to be familiar with a bit of repetition. Our routines are governed by an anticipated destination and follow a clear, well-traveled path…
It gets pretty windy in our office parking garage, and one winter morning the wind was so strong it whipped my hair back and forth, no dance moves required. Once inside I made my way to the ladies’ room to put it all back in place. I combed from side to side, trying to get it just right. When I combed part of it one way, I immediately didn’t like what I had done and wanted to move it back to where it was before. And without thinking, I muttered, “Undo, undo.” And I stopped and thought about what had just happened.
It Always Works Out In The End
Growing up, my parents always told me to get a good job with a good company and I’d be set for life. My mom worked for Quaker State Corporation; my dad worked in the IT department for a company called Franklin Steel. Both worked at their respective companies for 20-plus years, and for a long time I thought they were right. But, then change came…
The Listening Habit
I confess. I binge on business books, and can consume them like food.
I think most business books are like popcorn — enjoyable when hot and fresh, with some great nuggets of knowledge, but often you’re left wanting more. It’s like expecting a dinner, but settling for a snack.
Ten Tips For Staying Healthy – No Matter What
I recently had the pleasure of giving a lunchtime talk – “Staying Healthy Under Pressure” – for the ABC News team in New York City. As it happened, the day I presented was the same day the United States announced the easing of sanctions against Cuba.
It’s a scenario to which virtually any hardworking person can relate. We are all pulled in so many different directions – work, home, family, community. And in the midst of all this, we also have to be thinking about our health…
How A Little Planning Can Go A Long Way
A little planning can go a long way, but what’s the recipe for success? First, you need personal vision and commitment to be successful. If you’re not personally invested into the task you’re faced with, it will become meaningless and you won’t follow through. In order to finish, you have to first be willing to give it your all, no matter how big or small it may seem, by beginning with the end in mind.
Perspective Of An Intern: My “Journey”
My name is Taylor Jensen. I have been an intern in the Human Resources department since January, and will continue this wonderful journey until April 3. I am excited to share with you my experiences and what I have learned in this role for the past nine weeks and counting.
5 Lessons Learned In Personal And Career Growth
In order to grow we must commit to owning our career development. To be authentic, we encourage a diverse and inclusive environment. At Celanese, we have found inspiration in our company value, Employee Growth, and seen how it can move us forward…
Seventy-Five Years Of People Making The Difference
Narrows, Virginia, is a small town located in southwest Virginia in Giles County with a population of approximately 2,000 people. The New River flows through this town crossing the Appalachian Mountains.
Narrows is part of the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford area which is one of the fastest growing regions in the U.S. The region has been ranked on multiple occasions within the top five areas to raise children considering education, safety and economic development.
The color of the seasons could not be more vibrant around this area. From the bright greens in the Spring, through the orange and red leaves in Autumn, to the white scenery that brings the snow fall during the Winter.
A river, mountains and several hiking trails are also neighboring scenery to the world largest…
Stepping Out From Behind The Corporate Curtain
I’m in my early 20s and slowly learning the DOs and DON’Ts of daily corporate life.
- DO show up to work earlier rather than later.
- DON’T stay in your cubicle all day long.
- DO ask others if they need help on projects they are working on.
- DON’T be afraid to ask for help.
As I am trying to learn as much as possible, I have found myself caught in a bit of a trap. I’m watching each step I take so carefully, with a fixed gaze on my feet, I have forgotten to look up and look in the mirror. I sometimes work to reflect this corporate image I have in my mind, rather than the…
How Curiosity And Collaboration Helped My Growth And Development
Curiosity is a good thing, especially when it comes to personal growth and your career! Last year I asked colleagues and customers to consider providing me feedback for my year-end review. It was a bold move, but I was interested in what they would say and how I could improve. You see, my role is unique on the global communications team. I am responsible for the Celanese intranet and manage the editorial calendar. On a daily basis, I work together with team members in Budapest, Frankfurt and Shanghai to share company news. Based on their feedback, I was challenged to consider working on some non-Dallas projects and learn from my colleagues in other regions. So, I prepared a summary to share with my boss.
I have always had a healthy fear of performance reviews, but with our new approach to employee performance, I was optimistic that this year’s discussion would ease my discomfort. During my review…
Building The Communication Skills You Need
Do you aspire to lead a team, an organization, a corporation? Have you thought about the communication skills you will need?
Leaders who move organizations in powerful directions connect with people and build a shared vision of the future. Being a strong communicator can significantly enhance your chances of success. Whether it’s one-on-one, with your leadership team, business or global enterprise, people need to believe in you and your message before they’ll follow you. Good communications can help. At the same time, by developing communication skills, you are building a career asset that will set you apart.
A rare number of people are born…
Do You Do Windows?
Shortly after Mark Rohr joined Celanese we began to discuss our culture. We did surveys, sensing groups and had several global teams work on our vision, mission and values. Ultimately we had consensus and established an “enhanced” set of organizational values. As you walk through the offices and plant sites, you can see these colorful posters hanging on the walls. Our “Employee Growth” is defined as “Make Celanese a rewarding place to work with growth opportunities that allow employees to reach their fullest potential.” But what does that really mean anyway?
From my experience (as an employee and supervisor), here are the fundamental elements that lead to highly-effective employee growth…
How Can We Add Value And Grow With The Company?
I remember the exact moment I knew that to be successful, I had to grow faster than my company and the industry I was working in. I had just taken the top human resources (HR) job for one of the fastest-growing business units in a global technology solutions company. I was joining HR after a career in research and development so my learning curve was steep.
I had to set myself on a growth path to learn and lead . . . ahead of the business. And, this business was destined to grow from $1 billion in revenue to $9 billion in revenue over four years – all organically. So, needless to say, I had to get busy. In the end we had great success, and I emerged four years later a better leader. How did I do it?…
24 Hours To Better Leadership
The first business book I actually read was “What the CEO Wants You to Know.” I remember admiring the way it looked; small and white with a band of red across the bottom. The author was Ram Charan; his name was strong and when I read the book I wasn’t disappointed. In a few sittings, I learned about business metrics, leadership and how to tell a compelling story using simple examples. Of all the business books I have owned, it’s the one that has…
Daily Gratitude Can Bring Out The Smiles In Us All
Thank you. These two little words carry so much power and are sure to brighten the day.
Although we are a global company, it’s easy to show appreciation and embrace an attitude of gratitude – being grateful for others and their part in our daily lives. In our efforts to embrace our changing culture, I encourage everyone to acknowledge the little things every day that we can…
Communicating Change: “Me” Before “We,” Then “Us”
I can’t believe I’m going to do this. I’m about to share my secret weapon for change communications. When I tell you my methods you’ll say, “Right, I knew that all along.” But the real question is, do you apply what you know?
Early in my career, I worked at a heavy-manufacturing plant. We were implementing a new product line intended to improve quality, cost and competitiveness. In one way or another, everyone’s job would change.
The communication team was responsible for delivering a program to help the 2,000 employees support the new product. The changes touched all aspects of…