Women in Coatings: Breaking Down Gender Biases in the Workplace

Wednesday, April 6, 5pm EST
Indiana Convention Center, Space is limited!

Sponsored by DOW

For more than half a century, traditionally male-dominated industries like manufacturing and engineering have made progress towards gender inclusion, but there is still a lot of work to be done. To truly transform the coatings industry, change is needed at the individual, enterprise,and societal levels. Fostering a more inclusive workplace means unpacking decades of unconscious biases and gaining the perspectives of colleagues from diverse backgrounds.

In this discussion, Sarah Eckersley, R&D vice president, Dow Industrial, Intermediates & Infrastructure, will talk with panelists from across the global coatings industry who will share their successes and challenges, their experiences in overcoming adversity, how they are championing inclusion today and strategies for breaking down gender biases and driving inclusion.

Sarah Eckersley, Ph.D.
R&D Vice President
Dow Industrial, Intermediates & Infrastructure

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Dr. Sarah Eckersley is the Vice President of R&D for Industrial Intermediates & Infrastructure (II&I) at Dow. II&I consists of two customer-centric global businesses, Industrial Solutions and Polyurethanes & Construction Chemicals, that develop important intermediate chemicals that are essential to manufacturing processes, as well as downstream, customized materials and formulations that use advanced development technologies. The II&I unit of Dow has over $16B in sales and offers customers value-added sustainable solutions to enhance comfort, energy efficiency, product effectiveness and durability.

Applications address a wide range of sections, including home comfort and appliance, building and construction and adhesives and lubricants, among others.Eckersley is also an executive member of the R&D leadership team atDowandis accountable for developing and setting organizational and technological strategy.Prior to her role leading II&I R&D, Eckersley was the Global R&D Director for Dow Coatings, Monomers and Plastics Additives.She collaborated closely with marketing and commercial organizations to identify high value initiatives for growth and profitability.In her expansive career at Dow, Eckersley previously held critical roles in Core R&D, Pharma & Food Solutions to Packaging and Specialty Plastics.

Eckersley is a proven leader with over 25 years of industry experience and an active member of the Technical Advisory Board for the Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Science and Technology Advisory committee of the American Coatings Association.Eckersley holds a B.A.S.cin chemical engineering, University of Ottawa and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, University of Waterloo. Eckersley has also completed programs in the Young Executives Residency,UNC Kenan Flagler Business School, and Women on Corporate Boards, Harvard Business School.

Jodi Allen
Global Chief Marketing Officer
Behr Paint Company

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Jodi Allen is the Global Chief Marketing Officer at Behr Paint Company and is responsible for the marketing vision and strategy across the $2.5billion paint company including advertising, e-commerce, product innovation, retail experience, corporate communications, and data and analytics for the portfolio of brands . Jodi also is an Executive Sponsor for the DE&I Council helping drive engagement and awareness for key initiatives across the organization.

Jodi has more than two decades of global experience in finance, marketing, general management, and mergers and acquisitions across highly competitive industries with top-rated consumer brands including Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Sealy Posturepedic and Behr.

Jodi led Whirlpool Corporation’s $1 billion dishwasher business as the General Manager resulting in all-time record levels of market share 45%+ and the highest operating margin business in the company. She was also a key leader in the integration of the multi-billion-dollar acquisition of Maytag.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Finance from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in Business Administration, Marketing from the University of Dayton. She also serves as an Independent Board of Director for one of North America’s largest consumer packaged goods manufactures.

Sean McKeon

David S. Bem, Ph.D.

Vice President, Science and Technology
and Chief Technology Officer

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David Bem is Vice President, Science and Technology and Chief Technology Officer at PPG. He oversees innovation across a portfolio of key segments to drive adoption of new paint and coatings offerings in products ranging from automobiles and airplanes to electronics and home care goods.

Bem began his career at UOP, a Honeywell Company, where his work was centered on the synthesis and applications of zeolites and microporous materials. In 2000, he became R&D director of Torial, a subsidiary of UOP, and developed and commercialized high-throughput tools for heterogeneous catalysis. In 2002, Bem joined Celanese Corporation as R&D director for acetyls, oxygenates, and acetone derivatives, where he was responsible for advancements in acetic acid and vinyl acetate technologies. In 2005, he became a member of the Celanese Corporate Executive Committee and R&D director for Engineering Polymers/Ticona.

Bem joined Dow Chemical in 2007 as the R&D leader for Hydrocarbons & Energy, Alternative Feedstocks and Basic Chemicals, and a year later became R&D director for Dow Automotive. Later, he served as R&D director for Core R&D, leading early-stage exploration of disruptive technologies and development of new businesses. Bem became vice president of R&D for Dow’s Advanced Materials business and was later named Vice President, R&D Consumer Solutions and Infrastructure Solutions. He joined PPG in November 2015.

Bem holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from West Virginia University and a Ph.D.in inorganic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds nine U.S. patents and has authored more than 20 publications.

Bem is active with many industry organizations and serves on the Board of Directors of Brady Corporation as well as the Pittsburgh Carnegie Science Center. In 2021 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional honors accorded an engineer.

Steven Jones

Sandy Berg
CEO, Pacific Resource Recovery
Vice Chair, California Air Resources Board

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Sandra Berg is a proven leader and experienced board member of private, public policy and non-profit boards.  As Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Resource Recovery Services, Vice Chair of the California Air Resource Board and past Chairman of the Board of American Coating Association, Ms. Berg’s leadership has successfully combined two worlds that are often seen as oil and water – the chemical business and air quality & climate public policy. Ms. Berg’s innovative leadership, proactive compliance and community outreach have been key elements to bringing a wide variety of stakeholders together to driver solutions.

Berg Family had 54 successful years in industrial & specialty coatings manufacturing in Los Angles under the Ellis Paint banner, with expertise in compliant coatings and recycling of paint related materials.  As the recycling side of the business grew, the Berg’s founded Pacific Resource Recovery Services, an EPA permitted TSDF facility managing flammable and related chemical hazardous waste.  In 2018, Ms. Berg completed the sale of Ellis Paint to Axalta and is proud her daughter, Jenn Lahoda is Co-President of Pacific Resource Recovery Services along with Veeken Tashjian.

In 2004, Ms. Berg was appointed to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) by Governor Schwarzenegger, reappointed by Governor Brown with a term expiring in 2022.  She was elected Vice Chair in 2015.  CARB is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in policy, innovative technology for both air quality and climate and driving green business to California for clean air & climate solutions.  Combining her leadership in business and community efforts, Ms. Berg brings a practical yet dedicated perspective to her board service.  In her capacity as a board member and now as vice chair, Ms. Berg has chaired several committees and advisory committee overseeing a billion dollars of public incentive funding dollars and facilitated key policy implementation groups as well as influencing policy to protect health and environment while keeping business strong.

Ms. Berg is married to Dan Sperling, a distinguished professor and founding director of Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, the proud mother of 3, an adoring grandmother of 8 and was delighted to welcome her first great-grandchild in February 2021. Sandy and Dan call Davis and Los Angeles home, love traveling, yummy food and wine and are avid learners.

Steven Jones
David Vanaken

Wenjun Wu, Ph.D.
Research Fellow and Global Waterborne Innovation Leader
Arkema Coating Resins

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Dr. Wenjun Wu received her Ph.D. from University of Southern California in 1995. In her 26 years of industrial experience, she has developed numerous technology platforms and successfully commercialized over 20 emulsion polymer binders and additives for applications in coatings, personal care, and aircraft anti-icing fluids.

Dr. Wu is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt. She has held positions as intellectual capital manager and research leader in The Dow Chemical Company and Arkema Coating Resins. She has earned 41 internal awards, including two best paper awards and two technology center awards from The Dow Chemical Company and two time Arkema CEO Performance awards. Wenjun has also been recognized by prestigious industry awards including Society of Cosmetic Chemists Award, the Roon Foundation Award, American Coatings Best Paper Award, Siltech Best Innovative Paper Award, European Coatings Award and Mattiello Lecture Award.

Dr. Wu is currently an Arkema research fellow and global waterborne innovation leader for Arkema Coating Resins.