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Improving The World

Paying It Forward – Investing In Our Community 

Have you ever had a day where you are told how great you are? Or called a “Rock Star” no matter which direction you turned? How about receiving not just one or two notes of thanks and praise, but a handful of personal cards and letters with heartfelt notes of appreciation recognizing your phenomenal acts of kindness? That was my day at MC Lively Elementary School in Irving. 

On behalf of Celanese, we gave 900 students school supply items, customized T-shirts and backpacks. Students could barely contain their excitement as Celanese volunteers paraded up and down hallways handing out backpacks with school supplies and T-shirts. Several students said that they would never be able to afford these types of necessary school items without…

Creating Customer Value

Celanese TCX Technology® Can Reduce Indonesia’s $12 Billion Annual Gasoline Subsidy 

I recently returned from another trip to Jakarta, the third time in as many months given the significant progress being made in the country.  The Celanese team has kicked off the work with Pertamina as defined in our Joint Statement of Cooperation and it was rewarding to see the progress they have achieved.  As a reminder, Celanese announced its intention to jointly develop projects with Pertamina, the leading state owned oil and gas company in Indonesia, to convert local coal resources to ethanol using Celanese’s TCX® ethanol technology for use as a transportation fuel in the country.  While in Indonesia, I had the opportunity to meet with the US Ambassador to Indonesia, Scot Marciel, at the Ambassador’s residence.  The Embassy has been very supportive of our efforts and has provided instrumental insight and support into the opportunity.

Ambassador Marciel hosted a reception with members of “Commission VII” of the Indonesian Parliament to discuss the fuel ethanol project between…

Creating Customer Value

Clarifoil Film Showcased At Walmart Show 

Clarifoil have just returned from the Walmart Sustainability Expo – an invite only event exclusively for suppliers and buyers of Walmart.  This is the 3rd year that Clarifoil have attended, having previously exhibited compostable envelopes and breathable donut boxes.  This year was the launch of Clarifoil’s thermoformed packaging in the form of sushi boxes.

Traditionally, PVC has been used for this type of packaging however, there is strong drive to eliminate this from the supply chain due to its contribution to landfill, difficulty to recycle and the fact it is not made from sustainable sources.   RPET (recycled PET) is becoming increasingly popular, however this product has a finite lifetime due to…

Creating Customer Value

China, Celanese And This Summer 

One of the ever-present views of the economic climate is the slowing of China’s economy and the impact it’s having on the world. Celanese has major investments in Asia and China which represents about 20% of our annual revenues. So it has been a priority of mine to get a firsthand look at what’s happening there, to hear from customers, suppliers and to spend time with our employees.

Having just returned from four weeks in Asia I want to share some highlights of this trip. But before I do, let’s start with…

Collaboration

Improvisation And Innovation – An Intersection Of Personal Passions 

Almost two years ago, Celanese was embracing its transition into a company focused on innovation, collaboration and customer-orientated opportunities; and I was enjoying my own transition into a new role to support that innovation built on strategy, marketing, and – a personal passion – improvisation.

How can I suggest that good business can come from improvisational acting?  Easily.  When we discuss unmet needs of the marketplace and debate possible solutions, we are embracing an unscripted environment where the solution doesn’t exist –quite frankly, we’re making it up as we go.

Strategic thinking, a “Market-Back” perspective, and “Stage Gates” improve the success of innovation development; similarly, there are core elements that make improvisation more successful.  As I outline below, there are three improvisation skills which can…

Improving The World

Returning To Elementary School 

I was thrilled to participate recently in two Junior Achievement teaching days with my Celanese colleagues Gretchen Rosswurm and Phil McDivitt as we co-taught a kindergarten and a third grade class at MC Lively Elementary in Irving, Texas.

It was a blast! Junior Achievement is a well-organized, straight-forward program that allows career professionals the opportunity to share their life experiences and make a difference in the lives of elementary students. I have taught children in the past, but no experience is required to volunteer. From my recent experience, I would like to share a few helpful tips…

Employee Growth

Leaders Communicate, And Communicators Lead 

This week SmartBrief published a guest blog post about leadership and communication by Gretchen Rosswurm, Celanese’s vice president of communications and corporate social responsibility.

The full post is re-published here for the convenience of Celanese’s audience:

I’m lucky. Having been with a number of Fortune 500 companies, I’ve worked with some incredible leaders. They may not be names you know, but these are a special few who lead and communicate so well they bring people together to achieve amazing things.

From CEOs to supervisors and everything in between, these leaders have a few common communication habits that any of us can take to persuade, inform and encourage teams to be more successful. I’d like to share them with you…

Creating Customer Value

Perception Can Be The Elegant Missing Key 

I have for a while now successfully replaced TV watching with watching TED videos. It makes me feel virtuous, although I do spend equal amounts of time on the couch — and by extension — not exercising.

Recently, one particular stream of thought spread across a few videos resonated with me strongly. It is this notion that often times what you should be solving for is the perceived problem and not necessarily the “described” problem. Let me give you a few examples (courtesy of TED and my own experiences).

Example: Six million pounds were spent on Eurostar to reduce the transit time between London and Paris by 40 minutes. For 0.01% of the money they could have instead put Wi-Fi on the train making…

Collaboration

Ask Yourself Three Questions When Managing Processes For Productivity And Efficiency 

To effectively and efficiently manage a process, one needs “end to end visibility”.  Too many times, we “compartmentalize” ourselves, do our own little piece, and toss it over the wall to the next person, without seeing the full process or understanding the objective.

I once lead restructuring in one of Celanese’s largest manufacturing facilities. It involved five individuals, three from the same department that had no idea what the other was doing.  Each week, one individual collected quarters…

Creating Customer Value

Busy And Loving It 

This is always a busy time for marketing professionals because there are many trade shows. As marketing communications manager for Celanese Emulsion Polymers, part of my job is the organization and oversight of our trade shows.   I was in India, Russia, Germany and Las Vegas – all within four weeks this year.  And, I loved it all. Well, maybe not that cancelled flight out of Delhi at 3:30 AM, but I digress.  

Trade shows are critical activities in our integrated marketing communication strategy to build awareness of our company, bolster our brand initiatives and communicate our…

Improving The World

My 3rd Grade JA Nerves Turned To JA Joy 

I usually get a bit nervous right before a big presentation at work.  Little did I know I would have the same nervous feeling getting up in front of an elementary school class!  For business presentations, you get ready for it by reviewing your materials and preparing answers to questions that you know will probably be asked.  However, it is much different preparing for an audience of 3rd graders… anything could happen!

Volunteering for Junior Achievement (JA) really challenged me to step out of my comfort zone.  Are they listening?  Will they understand me?  Will I make a positive impact in their lives?  These were thoughts that went through my head when I entered the classroom.  All eyes were on me.  I took a deep breath and said…

Collaboration

Vive La Difference! 

During a recent trip to a Celanese European-sites workshop in Sulzbach, Germany, I had time to reflect on the good fortune I’ve had to visit many sites and enjoy the cultural differences that only a truly global organization like Celanese offers.

Aside from the more popularly accepted and incontestable distinctions (milling in my head whilst sitting in the workshop classroom): the Germans make great cars, the Dutch and the Belgians are incredible linguists, the French and the Spanish are culinary connoisseurs, and all Englishmen wear bowler hats…

Creating Customer Value

Innovation Tastes Sweet At Celanese 

Frankfurt – Last week I was in Europe visiting with employees and customers. I met many talented people and am learning more about Celanese’s innovation capabilities. I like what I see. The teams there are enthusiastically developing solutions for customers that address the needs of our society today and in the future.

Take beverages for example. In 2011, five out of the top ten carbonated soft drinks in the US had zero calories thanks to artificial sweeteners. These “light beverages” are gaining popularity because consumers these days want less

Creating Customer Value

Competitive Dynamics Require More From Us In Singapore 

Recently I was in Asia visiting key government officials in China and Indonesia with our Advanced Fuel Technologies (AFT) team.  At the end of the trip, I stopped by our Singapore Acetyl facility on Jurong Island.  The plant has been in the spotlight recently.  Industry conditions and a challenging feedstock position have necessitated the temporary idling of the acetic acid unit.  My objectives in visiting the site were focused on our people. 

Historically Singapore served as our initial gateway to the East.  We launched production in 1997 with vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) and now also produce acetic acid, ethyl acetate and butyl acetate.  The plant has a rich history of process and safety excellence and has been a cornerstone of the…

Creating Customer Value

Trying To “Keep It Simple” (KISS) 

In my 20-year career since leaving undergraduate engineering school, I have run into various forms of the KISS principle many times.  Whether in product design, communications or organizations, the KISS principle states that most things work best if they are kept simple.  Therefore, simplicity should be a key goal of almost any activity.

In Celanese’s EVA Performance Polymers business, trying to make things simpler has been a key driver of nearly everything we do.  When emerging from the tough economic conditions experienced in 2008 and 2009, we had…