Small Gifts Can Make an Outsized Impact

Carolyn Ribes frequently shares Belgian chocolates when visiting overseas colleagues
Industry Matters Newsletter
Carolyn Ribes, Business Analytical Leader, Dow Chemical Company
Carolyn Ribes, Business Analytical Leader, Dow Chemical Company

Carolyn Ribes, Business Analytical Leader, Dow Chemical Company

Carolyn Ribes is a Business Analytical Leader for the Dow Chemical Company, responsible for creating and implementing the business analytical strategy for the Industrial Intermediates and Infrastructure businesses. Carolyn has worked for Dow Chemical for a total of 30 years with roles in Manufacturing and R&D. She is currently based in the Netherlands.

Carolyn is an active volunteer leader of the American Chemical Society at the national and local level. She also serves on the Dow Benelux Women’s Innovation Network steering team which focuses on attracting, developing, promoting, and retaining women in her workplace. 

What is the one essential piece of personal tech you always travel with? 

A tablet – provides information and entertainment in multiple ways. 

Window or aisle?

Traditionally aisle. 

Where would you dream business trip take you? What appeals to you about this destination? 

I would like to visit some of the sites in Asia that I work with but haven’t visited. Working with people on 6 continents, I’m always happy to meet colleagues in person and to get to know them. As a student, I didn’t anticipate how much of the world I would be able to visit as a chemist! 

How do you pass the time while flying?

Due to the constant motion on the plane, I can’t work on a laptop. I typically sleep, read, or watch movies. 

Favorite ACS meeting site?

It’s hard to pick only one. I like San Diego for the great weather, proximity to restaurants and attractions, and there are great options for adjacent vacations.  

What do you do to alleviate jet lag? 

I sleep as much as a I can on each flight. When I travel west, I try and stay up late the first night and then adopt the new time zone as quickly as possible. Traveling east, it’s best if I can stay awake and active the first day. The second day is usually the hardest – so I try and schedule something fun and active that second afternoon. If needed, I do take something to help me sleep at the right time.  

Was there a business trip you have taken that went particularly badly? What happened?

I’ve been very fortunate on my travels with minimal problems. When we moved to Argentina, we checked several bags to cover the first month of the stay. They made it through customs in Buenos Aires, but our bags were not transferred during the connection to Bahia Blanca. It was extremely difficult getting confirmation from the airline that they know where the luggage was. They were finally delivered several days later. 

Your best business travel tip for readers of ACS Industry Matters?

Learn something about the place you are visiting and try to schedule at least 1 local cultural or fun activity. Invite your colleagues to join so it becomes a bonding event. Bring small gifts to share with them – I typically take Belgian chocolate.

This article has been edited for length and clarity. 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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