Join us on April 20-21 for Connections to Contracts, a procurement-focused event connecting Women Business Enterprises (WBEs) with corporations and each other. As part of this virtual offering, Lori Ryerkerk, CEO of Celanese will give a keynote address. Read below for more information on Lori Ryerkerk as well as how women-owned business can stand out when networking at events like Connections to Contracts.  

Celanese is a global chemical and specialty materials company that creates a wide variety of products essential to everyday living. They help provide solutions using chemistry and specialty materials with their partners.

Celanese prioritizes supplier diversity by offering opportunities to local and regional businesses in areas to help them grow. Recently they have launched a vendor database that allows them to increase the visibility of WBE’s and other diverse owned businesses, and to search the capabilities of companies to fill or support a business as needed. In 2020 they supported $48 million in wages and 777 jobs to small businesses and businesses owned by women, people of color, and veterans!

We reached out to LaTisha Brandon, the Senior Leader of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, for advice on how WBE’s can stand out and gain business with corporations like Celanese.

How does Celanese prioritize Supplier Diversity and working with women-owned businesses? What are you proud of that your supplier diversity program has been able to accomplish?

  • At Celanese we recognize that we live and operate in communities where our company is a primary source of commerce and employment, and we are proud to offer opportunities to local and regional businesses in these areas to help them grow. Through the Celanese Supplier Diversity Program we work to develop and include small and diverse-owned businesses in our supply chain, specifically those with a majority owner who is a woman, person of color, veteran, person with a disability or LGBTQ+. We also use our influence with our primes and customers encouraging them to share our commitment to vendor inclusion.

What can a WBE do to make themselves stand out at an event like Connections to Contracts?

  • To differentiate themselves at events like Connections to Contracts, WBEs should be clear on their value proposition – that means understand our business, our needs, and how what you have to offer will add value.

She also encourages WBEs to register their company in the Celanese Supplier Portal to receive periodic updates about their supplier diversity program, connect with them at events like Connections to Contracts, and always follow up with an email or phone call!

Meet Lori Ryerkerk

Lori J. Ryerkerk is the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer & President of Celanese Corporation.

Ryerkerk’s expertise in the energy industry spans three-plus decades. She combines deep technical and commercial skills with a passion for the manufacturing business.

Previously, Ryerkerk was the Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing, the largest business in Shell Downstream Inc. She led a team of 30,000 employees and contractors at refineries and chemical sites worldwide.

Before joining Shell in 2010, she was Senior Vice President, Refining, Supply and Terminals at Hess Corporation, where she was responsible for two refineries, 21 terminals (and distribution network) and supply and trading. Prior to that, Ryerkerk spent 24 years with ExxonMobil where she started her career as a process technologist at a refinery and took on a variety of operational and senior leadership roles around the globe.

Ryerkerk is a graduate of Iowa State University, where she completed her Chemical Engineering degree. She actively supports a variety of organizations in her hometown of Beaumont, Texas.

Connections to Contracts is our annual signature procurement event, connecting WBEs with Corporations. The day will feature a welcome reception, corporate “roundtable” procurement discussions, a c-suite executive keynote address, corporate industry-focused sessions, WBE success stories, mindfulness moments, exhibitor booths featuring select sponsors, small group networking, and one-on-one networking. Click here for more information and to register.