Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are Core to Solving Technology and Innovation Challenges

Alexa Dembek says being open to new perspectives spurs innovation and personal growth
Industry Matters Newsletter
Alexa Dembek, Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer, DuPont
Alexa Dembek, Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer, DuPont

Dr. Alexa Dembek, Chief Technology & Sustainability Officer, DuPont

Alexa is a born problem-solver, innovator and education advocate. Through her leadership, she actively champions the company’s purpose – to empower the world with the essential innovations to thrive – while building enduring partnerships with customers and strategic partners.

The business success Alexa has achieved is emblematic of her passion for enabling innovation to flourish, a consistent theme spanning her 30-year career at DuPont. Among her many accomplishments, she transformed the company’s centralized R&D model to a more responsive, market-oriented innovation engine embedded within each business unit.

Today, Alexa leads business, innovation and sustainability strategy alignment to make the most impactful portfolio choices for DuPont. She is passionate about elevating the role sustainability plays in guiding investment and growth decisions. Through her leadership, Alexa established DuPont’s 2030 Sustainability Goals ensuring sustainability is embedded in the company’s enterprise-wide strategy for long-term growth and value creation.

Alexa joined DuPont as a research chemist and a technical manager, with increasing levels of responsibility in supply chain, operations, sales and marketing. She held business leadership positions in Advanced Fibers Systems, Building Innovations and Performance Polymers. In addition, she served as Global Business Director for the corporate new business development venture in Energy Storage and led the company’s Central Research and Development function before being named to her current role.

Both in her work for DuPont and her personal endeavors, Alexa is a passionate champion of talent development and mentorship for the next generation of innovators. Through her involvement in education initiatives, she creates opportunity through diverse, cross-generational collaboration. She serves on the dean’s advisory board for Penn State’s Eberly College of Science, is a member of the Board of Directors for the Delaware Innovation Space, and serves on CoorsTek’s Board of Directors. She also received the Penn State Alumni Fellow Award in 2020.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Northern Illinois University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Chemistry from Pennsylvania State University.

Companies everywhere have renewed their commitments to advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I). Amid this cultural shift, we’ve seen proof positive that driving DE&I is not only the right thing to do, but also a prerequisite to solving technology and innovation challenges. But, and this is an important but, it will take all of us, all in, to succeed.  The good news is we’re witnessing a transformational shift right now as teams work through trainings and interactive exercises to challenge their perspectives, hear each other’s voices and ignite innovation. 

Still, I think we can agree there’s MUCH to learn and MORE to implement. Be open to new perspectives and paths. This is not only foundational to innovation, but also personal growth. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Do I have the freedom to fully be myself at work?
  • Am I aware of my differentiating strengths?
  • Do I embrace  the unique capabilities that define me?   

Be a champion for change:

Think about your company policies and advocate for higher inclusion.  Team up with colleagues to shift the culture in a direction that mirrors your vision. Make an impact.  

Accelerate success: 

By focusing on strengthening an inclusive culture, you’ll not only improve performance but, moreover, broaden your opportunities, experiences, and connection to purpose. Your confidence and career will accelerate. Why? Because you’ve heard the call-to-action and realize it begins with YOU.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.

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