Feb 11, 2021
ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
Challenging the norm in the world of science #WomenInScienceDay
Today is declared as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science by the United Nations. This day aims to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.
There have been long-standing stereotypes steering girls and women away from science or STEM-related fields. At present, about 30% of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education globally.
IMCD embraces diversity
IMCD is proud of its employees – they are our company's most valuable assets. IMCD fosters an international and entrepreneurial business culture that enables employees to develop within an inspiring atmosphere. It believes that diversity contributes to the overall performance and this is reflected in the composition of its workforce.
Based on IMCD’s 2020 figures, the company has a well-balanced employee base with 51% females and 49% males. For an organisation operating in the highly technical world of chemicals and ingredients, this is a testament to IMCD’s commitment to diversity. Education levels of the female employees are comparable to those of males, with 69% of them holding a Bachelor's and/or Master's degree versus 68% of males.
On this special day, five inspiring women from IMCD share their stories and journey in science.
I spent 15 years in polymer manufacturing, not related to plastics, and was looking for a change (without any clear ideas in mind). The opportunity came and the challenge of learning a new field from the beginning really attracted me. I started in VELOX as a Sales Manager for a variety of technical thermoplastics. In 2019, VELOX was acquired by IMCD Group while I was on maternity leave. After I returned from my leave, IMCD offered me a new role, Sales Representative and Local Product Manager for the flexible packaging market. Since then, I have received many opportunities to take on new projects and initiatives. In recent months, I have been involved in the Packaging Experts Team for IMCD’s EMEA region where I provide technical support to International Product Managers and Sales Managers. I am also the task force leader for our key suppliers and its flexible packaging products.
This is a challenging market: new regulations, new materials, new packaging combinations, among others but I must say that I made a really good choice. Every project is different; every day is a new discovery!
Feeling passionate about what I’m doing is very important to me. I enjoy the path of learning that I experience every day in IMCD with all the good and challenging moments. Sharing experiences with my colleagues and customers, and helping them when they need it, are what make my work worthwhile.
Chiah Wei Ching
Senior Business Manager
Personal Care, Home Care and I&I
Back in primary school, my science teacher sparked curiosity in me and influenced my passion towards chemistry. I still remember the fun science experiments that we would do revealing the chemical reaction of materials and how fundamental chemistry would apply to our daily lives. It felt like magic, back then. My favourite subject was organic chemistry, it is how I discovered that it adds value and helps to improve many aspects of our modern and comfortable lifestyle. I believe science is the backbone of making our lives better and for future generations. When we talk about science, it is chemistry, biology, physics, and technology altogether. These are all vital points that we study and research on to create a better community everywhere in the world.
Due to my interest in organic chemistry, I embarked on this journey of science and graduated with a chemistry degree. I chose to enter the personal care field as it is one of the most interesting and dynamic industries where there are always evolving trends and new discoveries. The excitement and fast-paced nature of the industry keeps me going. It is amazing to learn how blending surfactants, emulsifiers, preservatives, and fragrances can create lovely products, help boost confidence, and enhance appearances.
Elon Musk is my inspiration as I admire his entrepreneurship and his vision with Tesla and SpaceX. This is also the enticing part of working at IMCD where ‘entrepreneurship’ and ‘freedom to act’ are core values of our company. This has guided me in running the Personal Care, Home Care and I&I business in Malaysia which has broadened my experience and exposure.
Digital and Commercial Excellence Manager
When I was studying at the university, I spent my school breaks on placements at different companies. One of them was Airbus in Hamburg, where I worked with a contracting company to build hat racks and kitchens. Later on, I got the chance to work at Williams Formula 1 which was an absolutely thrilling opportunity as an engineer. It led to a permanent position in transmission design engineering and a five-year stint in England. It was a fantastic playground and it offered me the opportunity to learn more about how to get into details. Driven by my curiosity, I decided to move on and started my journey into the plastics’ industry – which has since been almost ten years.
Science has always amazed me. When I was a child I enjoyed dismantling things with my dad’s screwdrivers. When I was doing a customer facing role, I tried to understand their problems and needs, and finding the right solution through science and technology.
The chemical industry is undergoing a digital transformation. In IMCD, with the increased usage of technology to enhance our services and technical offerings, I seized on the opportunity to embark on my current role in digital and commercial excellence where I use my analytical skills to develop new processes and solutions with our digital tools. Part of my work is also to discover new features and optimise working methods for our commercial colleagues so that they can focus more on finding solutions for our customers. I’m learning new things every day and, with the help of technology, I strive to drive the business efficiently, while finding the solutions that best suit our customers.
I have always been very interested in different countries’ heritage and food culture. I’m also a foodie! Science to me is all about creating new values with new ideas. An opportunity came almost eight years ago, and I entered the food business through a referral. The food industry is so interesting and there are endless possibilities with manufacturers creating new tastes and new textures freely. I really like that this industry is rapidly and constantly evolving.
Coatings & Construction
When I began college, I was not initially a chemistry major. As I enrolled in more lifesciences coursework, I realized this subject did not come naturally to me. It is extremely challenging, but also invigorating. This inspired me to study harder and really focus on challenging subjects. As my knowledge of chemistry grew, I was fascinated in how often chemistry is involved in everyday products and most of our lives.
I initially began my career as a pharmaceutical chemist, working in quality control and research. After working as a quality control chemist for three years, I was recruited as a nutraceutical technical sales rep, utilising my technical skills in the field. While this was exciting, it was too close to my pharmaceutical experience and I felt the need for a completely different challenge in a new industry. I was recruited into the industrial coatings field and have been in this industry seven years now. My current role is, a Technical Account Manager with IMCD and the rest is history.
My husband is one of my top inspirations that defined my career path. We began dating in college and we were both chemistry majors with pharmaceutical career paths. He initially made the jump first, from lab chemist to technical sales. I soon followed and fell in love with coatings. I have also been very lucky to have two incredible sales managers, who continued to challenge me. These managers were very similar to me, in that they were exceptionally technical, while also easily relating to their customers. I attribute my leadership and business acumen to them entirely.
Science is always evolving and there is so much to learn about this topic given the sheer volume of how chemistry is involved in everything. From the epoxy coating that must handle salty beach environments to coatings on the international space station protecting against radiation. Additionally, even the Red Bull (I drink) that powers me through my day was developed and formulated in a lab for constant improvement. Many of us take these for granted without ever noticing.
When I started at HORN, prior to its acquisition by IMCD, I was an account manager, managing seventeen customers at once. I received a promotion more than two years ago and began to manage one of our largest coating’s accounts in the US.
IMCD has so many divisions and offer opportunities to grow within the company. Our online learning modules allow us to learn about so many different topics beyond our job roles. The culture of continued education has also had a huge impact on me. IMCD continues to facilitate eLearning’s, webinars and technical trainings on multiple topics weekly. This allows our team to be laser focused and have the newest technologies for our customer applications.
IMCD provides infinite opportunities
These five inspiring stories showcase women that have not been afraid to explore new ideas and push the boundaries, which has led them to pursue and excel in the world of science. On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, IMCD celebrates and recognises them, and the important role that women and girls play in science and technology.