The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) sent 43 of its global leaders to Mumbai, India this week to address pressing local challenges related to sustainable housing, environmental cleanup, diversity and inclusion, circular economy, and education and career readiness as part of its sixth-annual Leadership in Action (LIA) program.
After completing six months of virtual pro-bono consulting on seven projects with strategic non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Dow’s LIA participants are spending the week in country as the pinnacle of their collaboration, working on projects including:
- Habitat for Humanity India: A non-profit organization that builds homes and provides housing-related services to low-income, marginalized families across India, and a long-time Dow India partner. With the help of Dow LIA participants, Habitat is looking to develop, through research, a strategic plan to cultivate alternative low-cost housing materials and construction (leveraging from techniques used around the globe).
- Mann Deshi Foundation: The Foundation provides access to financial education, skills and a support network for rural women and their communities – empowering women to make their own choices and to be celebrated as equal and valuable members of their families and communities through entrepreneurship. The Foundation is seeking the help of Dow LIA participants to create a distribution channel and logistics roadmap to address customer demand throughout the year. The Foundation also needs an infrastructural blueprint of processes and resources to make this project affordable and viable.
- Mouth and Foot Painting Artists: An international, registered society of disabled artists, wholly owned and run by the artists themselves to meet their financial needs. The objective of the assignment is to identify marketing opportunities to increase revenue so the organization can further support disabled artists in India, both new and existing.
- Pratha: An NGO focused on improving urban sanitation and hygiene, acting as a bridge between city authorities and the community. With the help of Dow LIA participants, Pratha is looking to develop a comprehensive process document and three-year strategic plan that will support the scaling and replicating of the Suvidha Center model and will serve to standardize sanitation service centers within urban slums across the city.
- Sampurn(e)arth Environment Solutions: A social enterprise working towards breaking the non-cyclic process of waste management, providing end-to-end decentralized waste management solutions. The LIA objective is to provide Sampurn(e)arth with decentralized solutions to waste management that will grow the circular economy, positively impact the social wellbeing of Indian citizens and will also have positive economic viability.
- Trailblazers Foundation: A Foundation that conducts environmental education workshops for teachers and trainee teachers, in partnership with Dow India. Their LIA objective is to develop a plan to digitize their content and teaching pedagogy, and make them accessible online as learning modules.
- United Way Mumbai: Part of the 130-year-old United Way movement, with a mission to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities to advance the common good. United Way is looking for Dow LIA participants to support their campaign, Clean Shores Mumbai (creating a visible change in the cleanliness of Mumbai’s beaches) by designing methodology for tracking, measuring, and effectively communicating the initiative's impact, leading to increased community awareness and ultimately community participation. “Dow invests in the leaders of tomorrow, and they in turn invest in the Dow of tomorrow. Through Leadership in Action, participants become visionaries for new business development in emerging geographies as they learn from experience about the market realities of global communities. Additionally, these teams establish strong in-country relationships to pave the way for business opportunities and market growth, while making strides toward our commitment to advance human progress by addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Jim Fitterling, Dow chief executive officer.
“An essential part of Dow’s leadership development philosophy is action learning. The Leadership in Action program continues to be one of our flagship programs, and has proven to help transform the way we develop superior leaders by matching them with real world challenges to solve, giving them learning experiences that test their ability to lead courageously, collaborate effectively, and deliver innovative solutions that generate value,” said Johanna Söderström, Dow chief human resources officer and senior vice president Human Resources and Aviation.
Aligned to Dow’s long-term commitments to advance a sustainable planet and society, LIA intersects Dow’s investment in Global Citizenship; the Company’s focus on its 2025 Sustainability Goals; and Human Resource’s pool of top talent to build sustainable communities around the world. To date, LIA has engaged more than 240 employees who have worked with 42 NGOs to benefit communities in the Philippines, Ghana, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Vietnam.