When it’s tough, rise to the top


Illustration of virtual board meeting

[Willie] was at his best in games in which we struggled. When it was tough, he rose to the top and took our … people right along with him.

Last week, Willie Davis passed away. He was a Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman. He was also a highly-valued and incredibly impactful member of the Dow board from 1988 through 2006.

In the foreword to Willie’s book, Closing the Gap: Lombardi, the Packers Dynasty and the Pursuit of Excellence, Bart Starr, a fellow member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, wrote: “He was at his best in games in which we struggled. When it was tough, he rose to the top and took our defensive people right along with him.”

Aren’t those the kind of people we’re all looking for right now? Someone who is at their best when we’re struggling? Someone who rises to the top and brings us – their teammates – along with them?

When we’re facing adversity, we often look to the people around us to help us push through to the other side. I know I do. And I’m thankful to be surrounded by so many people who help inspire, support and guide me – to help me rise to the top – especially during times like these.

I’m inspired by Team Dow’s collaborative spirit and all those on the front lines working to get us through the current COVID-19 crisis – those who ‘find a way’ to meet our world’s needs in new and innovative ways. I’m grateful for all they do each day to represent that #DowStrong spirit with our customers, communities, and colleagues.

I’m also grateful for the guidance and partnership I get from our Board of Directors – the very team Willie was a part of and helped to guide the direction of the company for more than 18 years. I am certain Willie would’ve been proud of the team helping carry on his legacy of toughness. The strength and diversity of the Dow board is a critical element to both helping guide our company through these challenging times and ensuring we are well-positioned for the future.

Dow's first-ever virtual Board of Directors meeting

Dow's first-ever virtual Board of  Directors meeting

During our annual meeting on April 9th – which we held in a virtual format for the first time in Dow’s 120+ history – it was a privilege to welcome Jill Wyant to our board. Jill is the executive vice president and president of Global Regions at Ecolab Inc., and her election will add fresh and relevant perspective from a parallel industry, enhancing our diversity of experience and providing innovative new approaches.

Jeff Fettig, a board member since 2003, was also selected as independent lead director. He will continue to bring extensive experience and knowledge of corporate governance, international business operations, manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution, which are all particularly important given the global presence and nature of our operations. And, due to his history and experience, he also understands the importance of building resiliency.

Lastly, we were able to honor the service of Ruth Shaw, who retired after serving on our board for almost 15 years. She worked tirelessly to advance diversity, equity and inclusion – a key part of our ambition as a company, a hallmark of our Board of Directors, and a fundamental duty in delivering value to our stakeholders.

When I reflect on our Board of Directors, both legacy and new, I know that all the elements of Dow’s ambition – innovation, customer-centricity, inclusion and sustainability – are well-represented… that our team has the best interests of all our stakeholders in mind when making decisions… and that, just as I said in our annual meeting with our shareholders, the fundamentals of Dow’s business remain strong and we are well-positioned to emerge even stronger when the global economy rebounds.

I know Team Dow will rise to the top because we’re tough… just like Willie.

Jim Fitterling, Chairman and CEO


This article originally appeared on Jim Fitterling’s LinkedIn profile.