Photo caption: Chemours’ President & CEO Mark Newman and Chief Brand Officer Alvenia Scarborough join the company’s first ChemFEST school partnership awards recipients.
Below is a conversation between Chemours Chief Brand Officer Alvenia Scarborough and Chemours CEO Mark Newman.
Alvenia: Mark, as Black leaders at Chemours, we share a deep commitment to inclusion, diversity, and equity. But for us, it’s not just about reaching targets for the sake of diversity. There is real value inside the company, within our industry, and in our society if we elevate a more diverse workforce and create an inclusive workplace. Can you explain how Chemours is tapping into that value?
Mark: You make a great point. You cannot innovate or grow as a company without bringing together people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. At Chemours, we created an Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Council to embed these ideals in our culture and every aspect of how we operate. Beyond the council, we are also investing in people and programming that strengthens every employee’s ability to realize his or her full potential and developing leaders who embrace advocacy and allyship of a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Alvenia: And to build on that, Chemours also has several employee resource groups that represent the diversity of our workforce and provide perspectives that strengthen the fabric of our Chemours family. In fact, when you first came to Chemours as CFO, you became the first executive sponsor of the Chemours Black Employee Network (CBEN). And now I am proud to follow your lead in that role, where we’re doing great work to mentor our members and drive programs that benefit the entire company, such as the Future of Chemistry Scholarship.
Historically, the chemical industry has had a real lack of diversity, which I think provides us an opportunity to do better and be better-and Chemours is leading that charge within the industry. Real change comes from making strategic investments to nurture future STEM talent in communities that have been underserved, under-resourced and overlooked. How is Chemours championing this change?
Mark: Chemours is going into communities near our operations to help inspire the next generation of innovators and leaders. We’re doing this through programs like the Chemours Future of Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology School Partnership Program, or ChemFEST, where we’re investing $4M to build a community STEM hub and providing hands-on experience with STEM education to middle school students to build early excitement for the sciences. We want to be a leader on this front, and I believe we’re well on our way.
Alvenia: Now I want to pivot to a more personal note. You come from a cross-cultural upbringing. Could you speak to how that has shaped your journey to become one of the only Black CEOs in our industry?
Mark: I was born in Jamaica to a Jamaican father and a Canadian mother and was raised in a biracial household. Early on in life, I was exposed to people from many different backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities, and I grew a deep appreciation for the value that diversity brings to solving any problem. And that’s the type of environment we’re building at Chemours.
Alvenia: What does it mean to you to be recognized as one of Savoy’s Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America?
Mark: First I want to congratulate you on earning this recognition as well. It’s a testament to your leadership at Chemours, as well as your commitment to being a powerful voice for diversity, inclusion, and equity. As for me, I consider it a tremendous honor, but also a reminder that as Black leaders we have a responsibility not only to our company and employees, but also to our communities to help pave the way for the next generation. Although we have more work ahead of us, I look forward to working alongside you to ensure Chemours continues to create a better world through the power of our chemistry, while leading the way on inclusion, diversity and equity.