Can We Change the World If We Listen?

May 25, 2021 11:05 AM ET
Summary: 

We can only do our best as a company by first listening to all voices...

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Can we change the world if we listen? It’s a good place to start. We can do this one person at a time.

When we’re at the design table with our customers, it starts with listening. Listening sparks an understanding of needs and challenges. We break free of old ways of thinking. Listening elevates our understanding, so we can take action.

As the executive sponsor of Dow’s Asian Diversity Network (ADN), I see the power of listening. It opens eyes, changes minds and builds allyship. Keenly listening to the voices of those who have AAPI heritage is especially important today. In 2020, hate crimes against people of Asian descent increased 150% in the United States and also was observed in other parts of the world.

May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Every year, this is an opportunity to listen and learn about the diversity within the AAPI communities and to celebrate, embrace and stand with the AAPI community here at Dow and beyond. This year, AAPI Heritage Month takes on new resonance.

No one should fear violence because of what they look like or what part of the world they or their families come from. That’s why Dow people are working with ADN to take action through the Dow ACTs framework. The framework seeks to holistically address racism and inequality through Advocacy, Community engagement and our own Talent pipeline.

We started by listening. Across Dow, we’ve launched tough but needed conversations. These listening sessions have addressed model minority stereotypes and highlighted the wide-ranging diversity among people of Asian heritage. They also have linked the latest violence against the AAPI community to a long history of discrimination in the United States, dating back to the first immigrants. Change begins by being heard and understood.

Taking action against bigotry

While more actions are to come, here are some early actions that ADN has taken to address anti-Asian sentiment through Dow ACTs:

Advocacy: We are engaging with the Asian American Chamber of Commerce to help support supplier diversity among small business owners . We are also engaging across our trade associations to support calls for support for the AAPI community and sustain Asian-owned businesses, such as through the US Chamber of Commerce and others.

Community: As part of our commitment to our employees, ADN hosted a listening session for our North American region where Karen S. Carter, our Chief Human Resources and Chief Inclusion Officer challenged participants to listen and then to act. As a signatory of the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge, we also participated in CEO Action’s Day of Understanding. ADN hosted a webinar attended by hundreds of employees that increased awareness of challenges faced by Asian Americans and encouraged allyship.

Talent: ADN recently launched Champion4Change, a sponsorship program designed to advance the careers of Dow Asian talent. The program provides coaching and guidance to overcome systemic and personal barriers in order to foster advancement to future leadership roles.

We can only do our best as a company by first listening to all voices, holistically embracing diversity and ensuring that our community is welcoming and inclusive. We all play a role. There is power in listening. And a responsibility to speak up. Learn how to become a better ally for your AAPI colleagues, friends and neighbors. This month is a great time to start.

 

A.N. Sreeram, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer; Executive Sponsor of ADN