Photo Courtesy of Dow Chemical

Dow Chemical Honors Its LGBT Business Leaders

Oct. 10, 2014
"We are leading by example in helping to eliminate stereotypes and stigmas, demonstrate zero tolerance for discriminatory behaviors and create an environment where discussion about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression is irrelevant,” said Andrew N. Liveris, Dow’s CEO. 

Dow executives Howard Ungerleider and Louis A. Vega, were named to the OUTstanding in Business list, which honors LGBT and straight ally business leaders who actively contribute to an environment where all employees feel safe and are able to bring their whole authentic selves to work.

“These accolades proudly display Dow’s core values in action and demonstrate that we are leading by example in helping to eliminate stereotypes and stigmas, demonstrate zero tolerance for discriminatory behaviors and create an environment where discussion about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression is irrelevant,” said Andrew N. Liveris, Dow’s CEO.

“We applaud Howard and Louis as advocates of our commitment to drive a culture which fosters inclusion and celebrates the diversity of differing experiences, backgrounds and perspectives, not just for the LGBT community, but for all.”

Howard Ungerleider, Dow’s chief financial officer and executive sponsor of the company’s Gays, Lesbians and Allies at Dow (GLAD) employee network, was named to the Top 20 list of straight allies. As a member of Dow’s most senior executive committee, Ungerleider has long championed workplace diversity and has driven efforts to achieve unprecedented growth of the GLAD network. Inaugurated in 2000, and the chemical industry’s first LGBT employee resource group, GLAD now has participants at 97 Dow sites across 29 countries, and has grown more than fourfold during Ungerleider’s tenure – nearly doubling participation in one year alone.

Named one of the Top 100 inspirational LGBT business executives, Louis A. Vega, Dow’s chief of staff and newly-appointed vice president of Dow Olympic operations, works with the most senior leaders not only within the Company, but with other businesses, government entities and non-government organizations around the world. He always brings his ‘whole’ and open self to work not only driving toward business goals, but passionately advocating for workforce equality and representing Dow’s GLAD employee network as management sponsor. Vega is also a member of the board of directors of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute and partners with groups like GLAAD and Out & Equal, in both a personal and a professional capacity.

For more than a decade, Dow has offered equal benefits to same-sex partners for everything from health, dental and life insurance to bereavement leave, relocation and dual career assistance. Dow also recognizes survivor benefits for its pension plan for LGBT, and began providing transgender benefits in 2010.

In addition to providing equal benefits for Dow employees, the company also takes a leading public policy advocacy position whose leaders have spoken on Capitol Hill on a number of occasions in support of LGBT policies, sponsoring and leading lobbying activities to bring fairness and equal treatment to all LGBT citizens, and most recently participating at a White House roundtable ahead of the Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender.

In 2014, Dow was named the world’s second most gay-friendly company after IBM by Workplace Pride in their first Global Benchmark survey. Dow was also named one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT equality” for the ninth consecutive year, again earning 100% on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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