When we started working on the Celanese Values Challenge, a two-week competition we hosted at our company headquarters in Dallas, we set out with a charge: to educate Celanese employees about our new values so they could internalize and connect with them. We expected employees to learn about our values by participating in the challenge; however, in the end, we realized how much we had internalized those values ourselves.

Our managers demonstrated to us how much they valued Employee Growth, one of Celanese’s six values, by giving us the responsibility of not only coming up with the idea of a competition from scratch, but also finding creative solutions to implement every step of the way no matter what roadblocks we faced. When push came to shove, we learned to rely heavily on the power of Collaboration, another Celanese value. We were blessed with an incredibly cohesive team of Communications interns, but we also realized we needed to draw upon the help of the other Celanese interns working in Dallas. We accomplished seemingly insurmountable tasks in no time at all when we worked together, and we grew closer as we learned to depend on each other as coworkers and as friends. We were then able to see the fruits of all our teamwork as we watched the other teams work together to make the Celanese Values Challenge the exciting and fierce competition that it was. In order to create the challenges, we also had to learn more about the company than just its stated values. For the challenges tied to the values Improving the World, Creating Customer Value, Shareholder Value, and Being Sustainable, we had to learn the depth and breadth of Celanese, including its history, product portfolio and businesses.

We learned how creative people can be when they set their minds to things. We had a lot of challenges that involved quizzes, but the challenges also allowed for more creativity where our employees excelled. During the #MyCelaneseWhy challenge, employees wrote their inspiration for working at Celanese on cards to post around the buildings, and we received great, thoughtful responses. When filming the Improving the World videos, people took our basic prompt and made films that went so far beyond what we had asked.

Companies tend to get a bad reputation for being “too corporate,” but the amount of talent and creativity we saw proved otherwise. Innovation — whether it be product, process or solution — is a strategic theme Celanese has embraced, and it’s clearly visible in the individual employees as well.

There are relatively few companies who would allow such a visible project to be managed by a group of interns, let alone by those same interns who had been with the company for less than a month. Our managers were open and willing to hear our ideas that often pushed the boundaries. With that creative freedom, we were not only able to create something new that is now being eagerly received by our international locations, but also given a greater sense of pride and responsibility toward the project to make it the best it could be. We greatly appreciated that we were not only shown Celanese’s values, but we were also valued for our fresh perspective, youthful passion and boundless energy.