Leading Through Our History with Jim Fitterling
Jim Fitterling on his upbringing, Dow Inc. and D&I

Todd Sears has a conversation with Jim Fitterling, CEO of Dow Inc. discussing Jim’s experience growing up in the midwest, his early years at DOW and diversity and including within and outside of Dow.

 

Life:

Jim grew up in a small town right outside Kansas City. His family was into sports and both of his parents were teachers. He was in the closet for high-school and college and came out to his roommate after college who turned out to also be gay. Growing up in the midwest meant you had to keep your LGBTQ status to yourself. Out of college he got a job at Dow and is now the CEO after 36 years at the company. He appreciates all the places he has been able to go for his job especially given how small his town was. 

Dow:

He was attracted to Dow because they had good camaraderie and a collegiate nature. In his early years he came out to his boss Andrew Liveris at Dow who was accepting of his LGBTQ status. He feels lucky that most of his bosses at Dow were also accepting and not discriminatory. 

Coming out:

He admits that his coming out process was quite simple and he recognizes that it is not the same for everyone. That being said he does say that coming out is one of the most positive things someone can do for themselves and one of the most positive things you can do to change an environment. 

Sustainability at Dow: 

Due to the heavy influence that Dow has on the environment, Dow has committed themselves to becoming more sustainable. He recognizes that building business and helping the environment contradict each other and that there is a gray area that needs to be found. He expresses that people want to ban plastic water bottles and he fully supports that but the alternative to plastic water bottles is even more harmful. He explains that sustainability is a never ending fight and that we have to keep doing the little things as much as we can so by 2050 we can be completely carbon neutral. 

Jim also speaks on the fact that capitalism has changed drastically in the past 40 years. In the past it was just about how much money you can make but as we all know that does not create an equity based world nor does it protect the environment. He expresses then importance that companies need to create internal programs that are there to help change how capitalism works so that our economic structure can flourish but not continue to disproportionately wreak havoc on many people as well as the environment. 

Diversity and Inclusion:

Internally, Dow is focusing on expanding their D&I but more specifically on inclusion. Jim explains that they are focusing on inclusion because if you don’t have the kind of culture that brings in and accepts women, POC and LGBTQ+ people then you might have diversity for a while but it will not sustain itself. Creating a corporate culture that values the voice and importance of all persons is a culture that will thrive and continue to stay prevalent into the future. 

Leading Through Our History with Jim Fitterling

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