Where Are You From?
In September, eleven Celanese employees departed for New Delhi to participate in the second of two Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP) service events in 2016. The second group served for two weeks teaching children, young me and women a variety of school and life skills, from English and Math to sewing and karate. Hear from our CIIP participants as they reflect on their volunteer service.
Where are you from? This is the most frequently asked question of me. So, I also wanted to know how my 8-year-old son would answer this same question given that he has been exposed to many countries in his young life. His parents were born and raised in different countries. He has lived in four different countries. His dad has worked in nearly a dozen countries. He was born in Texas. So, I asked him point blank: “Luke, where are you from?” He, without hesitation, said: “Dad, I am from planet earth.”
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.
How We Integrated A Syrian Refugee In Our Sulzbach Office
During the past years Europe has been the desired destination of millions of refugees seeking safety and shelter. Not only for Germany this new situation means a big challenge for society. It is a huge responsibility to successfully integrate refugees with a permanent residence permit into our society, culture, language and work environment. That’s why in 2016 various employees from the Frankfurt and Sulzbach site founded the “Celanese refugee initiative Rhine-Main”. Under the umbrella of this initiative we took a step further and were very proud to have our first refugee intern, Mohamed Takika from Syria, working with us in the Celanese Commercial Center in Sulzbach, Germany, in January and February.
No Act Of Kindness, No Matter How Small, Is Ever Wasted
When I first found out I was selected for the Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP) 2016 project to Dharamshala, India, I was very delighted and filled with so much excitement. I knew right then how lucky I was to be able to travel to this beautiful country that is so diverse, filled with lots of great culture, religion, food and people. Adding to this, I was very happy that I had gotten a great opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life and be able to give back. Making a difference, regardless if it was big or small, was my goal. To top it all, I was going to volunteer with a group of our very own like-minded Celanese representatives from all around the globe. Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much, and I was looking forward to the trip with great anticipation.
Upon reaching India I was greeted by our friendly Celanese CIIP team. In no time we were all warmed-up to one another and looking forward to our volunteering assignments with Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS.) The CCS staff was welcoming and catered to our needs with great hospitality. I got the chance to meet and mingle with other volunteers collaborating with CCS too. I remember how all of us understood the definite purpose for being there and the commitment we had.
Top 6 Community Impact Stories From 2016
Through our efforts to reach our goal of 100,000 volunteer hours last year, we made some great memories along the way and had a huge impact in our communities around the world. We wanted to take a moment to highlight the top stories from some of our locations.
So, as we kick off 2017, let’s take a look back at the top 6 community impact stories of 2016.
Proud To Serve Our Global Community
I want to thank you for the wonderful opportunity I had to participate in the Celanese International Impact Program trip to Dharamsala, India in June. I’m grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime experience in which I participated.
From the moment I met my nine teammates in India, I knew that the experience would be life changing. Although we were 10 people with vastly different skills and talents, it was amazing how we bonded immediately and had just what was needed in our daily work assignments – working with young children in five different Anganwadi’s (early childhood education centers.)
That I May Serve
Namaste mera naam Cole hai, “Hello my name is Cole” in Hindi. In June Celanese completed its Celanese International Impact (CIIP) trip to Dharamsala, India. This was my first time traveling to India, as most of our team, and I knew it was going to be a unique experience. Our time was powerful, eye-opening and rewarding. I never imagined it would have impacted me the way it did.
It was 106 degrees Fahrenheit the day I landed in New Delhi before making the connection to Dharamsala. This was a completely new kind of heat, not what I am used to in southwest Virginia. After my arrival I went to a hotel and met with the only Celanese person I knew, Kathy Borhauer from Bishop, Texas. We only had conversations over the phone but never got the chance to meet in person. At the hotel, I quickly learned hospitality and friendliness were key elements of Indian culture, not just from the staff but from most Indian people we encountered. This comfort was welcomed in what was soon to be a trip filled with several discomforts.
During one of our later lectures, we would hear about how being on time is culturally not a high priority; the needs of family and friends come first, and that sometimes means being a little late. Taking the advice from the hotel, we left for the airport and quickly learned about timeliness. With five minutes before they were scheduled to close, I arrived at the gate. Here I met my family away from home: Kathy, Laura, Geoff, Sara, Jillian, Christy, Silke, Orsi, and Sugam.
Developing Dharma In Dharamsala
As part of Celanese’s International Impact Program (CIIP), I traveled in June with nine other individuals from Celanese to Dharamsala, India, a small city nestled in the mountains in the northeast section of India close to the border of Pakistan. Dharamsala is derived in part from the word “Dharma,” which has a number of different meanings including good works and other activities which are considered beneficial for society. Thus, it was a fitting location for volunteering.
The Best Night In A Long Time
Being selected to serve on the Celanese Foundation Committee, and then joining families with the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky (ESNKY) and having the chance to Improve the World, has been an incredible experience that I will be proud of for the rest of my life. It’s caused me to reflect on the meaning of “family.”
It has also provoked me to think about what “families” mean. It’s not just doing a one-time volunteering event, but building an ongoing relationship with those in the community who we can help. This includes those who manage this wonderful life-saving facility at ESNYK and their overnight guests. In 2016 we have extended our relationships with ESNKY by doing a bowling night, which has become more than just a fun night out, but a real opportunity to build relationships of trust.
All of the hard work and dedication that comes with being a Celanese Foundation member is so rewarding, especially when I hear volunteers share their reflections about time spent with our “Shelter Family.”
Dear Celanese: A Reminder Of What Really Matters In Life
Dharamsala is a small town in India at the foot of the Himalaya mountains. Luckily I was picked together with nine other Celanese colleagues from all around the world to volunteer in a CSR project with kids between the age of one and five.
Emotional was this journey to a country and culture that is so different to my own life in Europe. The kids made me laugh and cry. The feelings that I had each day are very difficult to describe.
Adventurous were our taxi rides.
Rose and thorns were our daily evening rituals in which we described our daily highs and lows and learned so much more about each other, about our feelings, emotions and personalities.
Challenge Completed: UK Style
Hello, my name is Tina, and I have just turned 50 years old. Where did all those years go? I have worked at the Celanese Spondon, United Kingdom facility for what seems like forever. I am an organizer. Fortunately, this trait comes in quite handy when you are the Global Citizen Network (GCN) representative for the Spondon facility and in charge of coordinating all local volunteer efforts.
At this point I should also state that when it comes to charity work or volunteering, we British live up to our reputations and are quite reserved. This is a new concept for us, and even now my friends can’t believe that Celanese allows us to take time from work to volunteer.
The Universal Language Of Smiles
Thank you so much for the privilege of going to India for the Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP) in June. The things I got to see and experience have left me a different person.
I had never been to India before, and I found the country to be everything I had imagined and more. The sights and sounds and smells (both good and bad) were overwhelming at first. During the course of the two weeks there we learned not to be frustrated because the hot water wasn’t working, among other cultural differences.
While in India I found the people to be warm and friendly and loving. The children that we worked with in the early childhood education center were precious, and while the language barrier was difficult, we found other ways to communicate the necessities. It turns out that smiles are a universal language! By the time we left, it was so neat to hear them counting in English while playing hopscotch, reciting the ABCs and singing the songs that we taught them. I think I’ve sung “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” enough to last me a lifetime! They even taught us a little Hindi, even if it might have had a little bit of my southern accent!
How Volunteering Can Open Your Horizon
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.
K 2016: Anyone Could Be The Next Big Customer For Celanese
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…
Stepping Outside Of Myself And Spending Time Serving
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the 2016 Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP) trip to Dharamsala, India. During our orientation with Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS) when we arrived, the country coordinator told us that India was a land of contradictions. One of the fun things we did as a Celanese team at the end of every day was get together and discuss our highs and lows. I want to tell you a little more about some of the highs and lows to give you a sense of my experience in India and to help you see the contradictions we came across.