Our final week in Uberlandia, Brazil, was pretty emotional, to say the least. Saying good bye to the people we grew close to in Brazil was tough. Saying good bye to the 9 persons in our organization that we worked with or spent time with every day was tougher. I can truly say that each person I came in contact with impacted my life in one way or another. I learned so much in the short time I spent in Brazil, not just from the Brazilian people, but more importantly from the nine other outstanding people from our organization that made up the first ever CIIP team. Most of the CIIP team is writing about what they did in Brazil and about how great their experience was working with the NGO’s and the Brazilian people. I personally want to take a minute and tell you about the nine outstanding people from Celanese that I shared one month of my life with. . I want to use this opportunity to say thank you for the great times and the experience I gained from each one of these people.
Lizz Poole: I couldn’t have had a better team member to work with. We are a lot alike, very results oriented. We want to jump in get it done and see results immediately. We both had to learn some patience. I have to admit at first I figured that two strong personalities may be a problem; however, after we got started on our project, we jelled. We used our strengths to feed off each other and accomplished our goals. Lizz is a very hard and dedicated worker; she works until the job is complete and never accepts anything less than perfection. I have the upmost respect for Lizz and would take her on my team any time.
Barry Zhao (Bruce Lee): Once again, I couldn’t have asked for a better team member. While Lizz and I are high strung, Barry was the cool, calm person. He was the balance our team needed to function. Even though we all work for Celanese, we quickly realized we all take different approaches to getting things done. Barry is a great friend and a true asset to Celanese. His work ethic is second to none. I could always count on Barry for a good laugh; I really enjoyed talking to him about China and hope that I can visit him there on day.
Brian Melton: My sidekick and my best friend in Brazil. Brian is truly a pleasure to be around. I have known Brian for about five years; we have worked on several different projects together. While in Brazil, if you found Brian, you found me; we did pretty much everything together and everyone wanted to do what we were doing. I am thankful that he was selected to be on the CIIP team with me. When things were not always going like they should, I could always count on him to make me a laugh and get my focus on what we were in Brazil to accomplish.
Andera Davis (Phoebe): The best person in the world to have around you. No matter what she was doing, she was never too busy to take time for others. She was always willing to listen, give her opinion, provide feedback and support no matter what the issue. Her compassion for other people is amazing. Andera is a very unique person and I am thankful that our paths crossed.
Alex Kennedy: The most interesting person in our group. I enjoyed listening to the stories he had about his past volunteer work he was involved in. I will say when everyone else’s batteries were running low, we could always count on him to get us charged up with his humor and drive. Alex is a true professional and a great friend.
Wenjing Geng (Angela): The nicest, sweetest person that I have ever met in my life. Without a doubt she can find the silver lining in any storm cloud no matter how tough the situation. In the 30 days we were together, I can’t recall any time that she was ever sad or upset over anything. We all can learn a great deal from this and try to find the positives in life when we are faced with issues or situations in our day-to-day dealings. From Angela, we learned how to search for the positive things instead of worrying about the negatives.
Shu Yun Yen (Joanne): Another wonderful person that we all can learn a great deal from. Joanne is very smart and never backs down from any challenge — no matter how big. She has a great personality and anyone who knows her should consider themself lucky. There was never a dull moment when Joanne was around.
Dr. Meike Roth is a very amazing person. Her quick wit and magic tricks always kept us on the edge of our seats. I really enjoyed the conversations we shared about the many great accomplishments in her life. She is a very unique and intelligent person. I consider myself lucky to have had our paths cross.
Kasper Douwes: This is one dedicated individual. To begin, Kasper decided he would quit smoking the first week we were in Brazil; and congratulations to him for achieving such a great accomplishment considering the circumstances we were faced with. Most people would have given up, but he stood strong. Second, anyone who knows me, knows I am a diehard gym person. Kasper asked me if he could join me at the gym every morning. I told him yes, but that I start at 6:00 am. Most people would have gone a couple of times, but he hung in there and I could count on him being there at 6:00 am every morning ready to go.
In closing, I consider myself a lucky person to have come in contact with 9 amazing people that have impacted my life one way or another. I have learned something from each one of these people that will remain with me for the rest of my life. I can only hope I have left each one with something they, too, can use in the future. I truly appreciate Celanese for allowing me to take part in such a great program and for providing me the opportunity to make the world we live in a better place. This has been one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences in my life. I am grateful to be working for an organization like Celanese that is interested in helping improve our communities and the world.
Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a series of 10 blog posts by team members of the first Celanese International Impact Program to Uberlandia, Brazil.