The Dow Chemical Company

Leadership in Action Program

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Leadership in Action offers a unique twist on leadership development. Through collaboration between Dow Sustainability Corps (DSC) and the company’s Human Resources talent development arm – the program involves deploying between 35-40 employees to work simultaneously on seven to eight projects with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), non-profits, and social entrepreneurs in emerging geographies or new areas of growth for Dow.
Participants work virtually for several months and in-country for one week to address pressing community needs. The result is exceptional training for the employees, resolution of long-term issues for the NGOs, and business penetration into new markets for Dow.

Through this initiative, which began in 2013, 119 Dow employees from across the Dow globe have worked in teams to solve challenges facing 23 non-profit organizations in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Indonesia. Projects include efforts to address education, sustainable farming, access to clean water, and urban housing.

"Our employee participants can see the potential for change in countries that are poised for transformation. When our employees engage one-on-one with the community to truly get at the heart of the need, it opens doors to continue the dialogue and identify ways we might provide products and technologies to play a role. This is sustainability at its finest and an important way to impact communities through our global citizenship."

ROB VALLENTINE
President of The Dow Chemical Company Foundation &
Global Director, Corporate Citizenship
The Dow Chemical Company

Since 2013, 119 employees from across the Dow globe have worked in teams to solve challenges facing 23 non-profit organizations in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Indonesia. The LIA model calls for employees to work five months virtually with their client organizations, then spend one week in-country working side-by-side with their respective NGO clients, learning about issues and presenting their solutions. Participants use a collaborative and team-based approach to problem-solving, bringing to life Dow’s strategic, 10-year Sustainability Goal to reach one billion people by engaging employees for impact.

Dow Sustainability Corps project results range from providing strategic plans on how to grow medicinal plants as cash crops, ways to improve water and sanitation in impoverished areas, to improving access to clean water. The employee participants also gain critical leadership skills while living out Dow’s values.

“Leadership in Action gives employees an opportunity to use their experience and skills in areas they would not have imagined,” said Johanna Söderström, corporate vice president, Human Resources and Aviation. “It’s a fantastic alignment, combining Dow’s passion for science and technology with human chemistry to deliver innovative, win-win solutions.”

In the process of immersing themselves in the local culture, participants also become visionaries for new business opportunities.

“Our employee participants can see the potential for change in countries that are poised for transformation,” said Rob Vallentine, president of The Dow Chemical Company Foundation and global director, Corporate Citizenship. “When our employees engage one-on-one with the community to truly get at the heart of the need, it opens doors to continue the dialogue and identify ways we might provide products and technologies to play a role. This is sustainability at its finest and an important way to impact communities through our global citizenship.”

The hope is that in 50 years, Dow will be doing business in many of these countries as they grow and thrive, supported by the foundations built by Dow and LIA participants.

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