AIChE Lauds Organizations and Leaders for Inspiring Women in Engineering

December 12, 2018
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Gala applauds inclusion initiatives of Pfizer Inc and Covestro LLC; awards Doing a World of Good Medal to business leader and chemical engineer Nance Dicciani

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) honored Pfizer Inc and Covestro LLC, along with those companies’ leaders, for their dedication to inspiring and empowering women in engineering, at an awards gala held in New York City on Tuesday, December 11.

Pfizer Inc was honored for “leadership in advancing women in the biopharmaceuticals sector” — in particular for the company’s empowerment of women in leadership roles, support for women-owned businesses, and for Pfizer’s international reputation as a “best company” for women in executive leadership, for working mothers, and for millennial employees. The honor for Pfizer Inc was accepted by Ian C. Read, its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Covestro LLC was recognized for “championing women in manufacturing, corporate leadership, and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.” This was exemplified in part by Covestro’s investment in global mentorship programs including Project SEED, Greenlight for Girls, and others. Covestro’s representatives at the gala included Jerry MacCleary, the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, who accepted the award on their behalf.

The gala also honored Nance Dicciani, founder, president, and Chief Executive Officer of medical-device company RTM Vital Signs LLC, who received the AIChE Foundation’s Doing a World of Good Medal, a prize that salutes the achievements of an individual who has advanced the societal contributions of engineers. Dicciani was commended for her dedication and personal investment in mentoring future generations of scientists and engineers.

In accepting the Doing a World of Good Medal, Dicciani reflected on her own career trajectory and the key role that mentors played in inspiring her own success. “Although I am a firm believer that our lives and careers are first and foremost our own responsibility, I also believe that those of us with experience have an obligation to share our insights and knowledge with those who follow,” said Dicciani. “We also have an obligation to create an environment where others can learn, contribute, and grow professionally.”

The 2018 AIChE gala raised approximately $570,000 to support efforts that expand women’s leadership programs, strengthen pre-college STEM education for girls, and improve the retention of women engineers at all stages in their careers, stated AIChE Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer June Wispelwey. “The theme of this year’s gala — to inspire and empower women in the engineering profession — emphasizes AIChE’s commitment to cultivating a diverse and innovative workforce where everyone is encouraged to contribute to their full capacity,” said Wispelwey. “This year’s exemplary honorees are examples of the fulfillment of this objective through their dedication to the establishment of diverse and inclusive workplaces.”

The gala's theme was also articulated in a short film prepared for the event.

The annual gala supports priority initiatives of the AIChE Foundation and its Doing a World of Good campaign, which focus on advancing chemical engineering and bringing that expertise to bear for the good of society. The campaign’s diversity and inclusion initiatives received a boost at the gala with the announcement of a new five-year, $5 million initiative: All for Good: Engineering for Inclusion — dedicated to programs that will attract and retain the best engineering talent from all walks of life for the profession.

The 2018 gala’s dinner chairs were Christine Bryant, Senior Vice President, Polyurethanes–North America, Covestro LLC; Karen S. Carter, Chief Inclusion Officer, The Dow Chemical Company; Bruce Chinn, President, Chevron Chemicals; Susan Ellerbusch, Chief Executive Officer, Air Liquide USA LLC; Erin N. Kane, President and Chief Executive Officer, AdvanSix Inc.; Kirsten Lund-Jurgensen, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Pfizer Inc; and John Y. Televantos, Senior Partner, Arsenal Capital Partners.

Receiving the audience’s applause, Pfizer’s Read remarked on the long history of women chemical engineers at Pfizer, and their lasting contributions to the company. Noting the many successful women engineers employed at all levels of the Pfizer organization, Read added, “We take our commitment to inclusion just as seriously as our commitment to innovation. To be honored for actions that are at the intersection of both is immensely rewarding and humbling for all of us at the company.”

In introducing the honor for Covestro and MacCleary, Ellerbusch cited the many activities that Covestro and its employees engage in to generate passion for STEM careers, including Ignite, Imagine, Innovate — Covestro’s own program “to fire-up young minds to become the innovators of tomorrow through hands-on learning, internships, and unique educational opportunities geared toward women and other underrepresented groups.”

For more information on AIChE’s 2018 Annual Gala and its sponsors, or for photographs of the event, visit

For information about the Leadership Workshop for Rising Star Women in Engineering, see our press release.

About AIChE: AIChE is a professional society of more than 60,000 members in more than 110 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontier of chemical engineering research in such areas as nanotechnology, sustainability, hydrogen fuels, biological and environmental engineering, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at