Field Research and Development Leader,
Tell us about yourself.
I work at Dow AgroSciences where I have been for 27 years. I am currently the Field R&D leader for virtual research scientists in three different Dow AgroSciences business units based in the US. The scientists are spread across the US, so I travel quite a bit to work with them in the field as they develop new products for our company. I have had numerous roles in the company over the years (discovery, commercial, regulatory in addition to Crop Protection R&D where I currently work) and have traveled to about 40 countries for work. I am originally from Fountain Inn, SC, obtained my BS from Clemson University in Botany, my MS from the University of Arkansas in Entomology and my PhD from Iowa State University, also in entomology.
I love to travel and am a passionate foodie who loves to try local foods—I have enjoyed items such as scorpions, insects, leeches, durian, and NattÅ from around the world.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate to create a better place than the one I leave. As an LGBT person, I have been heavily involved in trying to create better parity both in the workplace and within the community. I helped found our Dow Chemical LGBT employee resource group (ERG) called GLAD, at Dow AgroSciences. As the global leader for GLAD at Dow, I helped oversee domestic partner benefits and our first transgender non-discrimination policy. I have testified before congress twice on LGBT in the workplace and, working with Dow government affairs, engage on state and national legislation around LGBT. Last year there were 201 anti-LGBT bills introduced in 34 states just in the US, and Dow engaged on many of them. I also work in the local community having served on the board of Indiana Youth Group (IYG), a United Way agency devoted to at-risk LGBTQ youth. This is what brought me to United Way was seeing the good that United Way provided to IYG.
What does leadership mean to you?
Attract, Connect, Listen, Motivate, Believe, Inspire.
When did you first become involved with United Way? I have been donating for years—at least since 2005. But, I mostly just did payroll deduction and didn’t think much about it. However, after serving with IYG’s board and seeing the impact that United Way had on the group, I became much more interested. Then, we had a presentation at work about the Diversity Leadership Circle and I felt I had a fit there so I reached out and became involved.
What inspired you to become more involved with United Way?
Through IYG, I realized how progressive and engaged our United Way of Central Indiana truly is. We are very fortunate to have such a strong advocate within our community. When I first heard about the DLC, they didn’t have anyone else from the LGBT community but they were very open to it and really wanted to hear what some of the needs in the community were. As time as gone by, I find that it is a two-way street of communication and I am proud to carry back information into the vibrant LGBT community in Indianapolis
What interested you most about the Diversity Leadership Circle?
Bringing a diverse voice into United Way as a way to better serve our communities
What is your favorite memory or event with the Diversity Leadership Circle and why?
I have really enjoyed my volunteer work at PACE. The mission of PACE is to provide a variety of services to help offenders, ex-offenders, and their families to lead productive and responsible lives in their community. I freely admit that this is not a group I had heard of before nor knew anything about before joining DLC (a great example of the benefits of DLC!) and is a very different world from the corporate environment I normally work. However, I have volunteered to help in their resume class. You work one-on-one with a client and you see the real person behind the stereotype and see how they are trying to improve themselves and their lives. There are always life skills we can use on the resume and you feel like you have made a direct impact in helping them. I always leave riding an emotional high as I see that they are excited to take off on their job search. It is always a great day when I volunteer there.
Click here to submit a Diversity Leadership Circle interest form. You will be contacted by the staff manager directly.