To offer a drop-in solution to overcome the PA66 shortage, we developed an alternative material: The Akulon® IG series is a portfolio of material grades made by combining the strength of PA6 and PA46 – two materials that are fully independent of the Adiponitrile/hexamethyldiamine supply.
People of DSM Engineering Materials: Lydia Swan
We recently sat down with Lydia Swan, Sales Director of Specialized Industries for DSM Engineering Materials Americas, to learn more about her role at DSM and discuss the importance of continuously improving strengths and giving back to the community.
1. Tell us a little bit about what you do at DSM.
I lead a talented sales and engineering team for our specialized industries and distribution business in North America and Brazil.
In specialized industries we focus on six major markets, including: electrical & electronics, outdoor power equipment, agriculture/heavy equipment, medical, home building, and oil and gas.
As a sales team, we believe it is our responsibility to differentiate through the customer experience, so we try to constantly encourage curiosity to discover new customer needs and insights. We also pride ourselves on developing industry intelligence and thought leadership to share best practices from the solutions we develop.
2. What has been the best part of the role you are in at DSM?
I work with a highly talented team of people, and I love that I get to come to work and have the opportunity to learn something new every day from them or our customers. I also enjoy working on professional development to help them achieve their own personal goals.
3. What is the best part of working in DSM Engineering Materials?
DSM is focused on driving safety, sustainability and a culture of empowerment for our employees around the world. So, it’s great working for a company that truly cares not only about its employees and customers, but also its responsibility to do well by doing good.
Within the commercial team for engineering materials, we get to see this amazing evolution from chemistry to products we use every day. For example, if you are reading this on your smart phone, there’s a good chance you are holding some of our materials in your hand!
You are one of Plastics News’ Women Breaking the Mold 2020. In the Plastics News article, you mention that you are constantly reinventing yourself. Can you explain how you go about doing this (how you are constantly evolving)?
I was very humbled and flattered to be recognized with such an incredible group of women leaders in our industry. Our world—both within the materials business and for everyone on a personal level—has been changing so much in recent years and it has only accelerated during the current pandemic. So, I think personal reinvention is essential.
Since I’ve always been a learning junkie, I do this by always trying to set aside time for reading relevant industry news, engaging in social media, and even taking some courses when it makes sense.
When we talk professional development, sometimes I think there is too much focus on improving weaknesses, but I believe reinvention is about finding new ways to improve and leverage your natural strengths.
4. You have been very successful in your career endeavors. How have you given back to the community?
I have worked with young girls in a big sister program to help troubled teenagers.
The SISTER2sister mentoring program is an evidence-based and trauma-informed youth development program that provides structured mentoring, psychoeducational workshops, welfare support and crisis intervention services to vulnerable or disadvantaged teenage girls (Little Sisters) from 12 years old and up.
Within DSM, I am also I have also been actively engaged in our efforts to promote diversity, inclusion, and employee resource groups.
5. What have you learned by being involved in this youth development program?
When I did this program, I did not have children of my own, so I can say the fist thing it taught me was patience, but the real lessons came as we worked together and learned more about each other and that there is good in all people.
These girls just need a chance to talk with someone that they can trust to give unbiased, honest and open feedback. Sometimes some of us can take this for granted. Because of this, my leadership style certainly continues to evolve and that you have to be a believer in your people first and foremost. You need to take the time to get to know them, understand what they need and help them on their journey.
To learn about another Person of DSM Engineering Materials: Taneisha Deans, click here.
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