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For director-at-large: Carolyn Ribes

by Carolyn Ribes
September 4, 2020 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 98, Issue 34


This is a photo of Carolyn Ribes.
Credit: Courtesy of Carolyn Ribes
Carolyn Ribes

Brazosport Section. Dow Chemical, Terneuzen, Netherlands.

Academic record: University of Buffalo, BS, 1983, PhD, 1989.

Honors: Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society, 2019; ACS Fellow, 2014; International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering, 2011; Phi Beta Kappa.

Professional positions (for past 10 years): Dow, business analytical leader, Industrial Intermediates and Infrastructure, 2019–; Dow Coating Materials, business analytical leader, 2016–19; Analytical Technology Center, business analytical leader, 2009–16; Analytical Sciences, R&D, technical leader, 2006–09.

Service in ACS national offices: Committee on Committees, 2016–21, chair 2018–20; Highly Effective Professionals implementation team, 2020; Task Force on Governance Design, 2017–18; Council Policy Committee (nonvoting), 2018–20 (voting), 2010–15, vice chair, 2011–13; Committee on Science, 2006–09, chair, 2007–09; Women Chemists Committee, 2000–05,chair, 2003–05, committee associate, 1999; Younger Chemists Committee, 1995–98, chair, 1997–98, committee associate, 1994; Progress Steering Team, 2002–05; International Strategy Implementation Group, 2008; Committee on Planning, 2010–15; Joint Subcommittee on Diversity, chair, 2006–07; Sustainability Stakeholders Steering Group, 2009–10.

Service in ACS offices: Brazosport Section: councilor, 2006–20, alternate councilor, 2000–05. Baton Rouge Section: alternate councilor, 1997, chair, 1992, chair-elect, 1991. Analytical Chemistry Division: treasurer, 1999–04.

Member: Member of ACS since 1983; IUPAC; ACS Divisions: Analytical Chemistry, Professional Relations.

Related activities: Committee on Chemistry and Industry, IUPAC, chair 2018–19, Secretary 2014–17; US National Committee for IUPAC, 2004–12; chair, 2010–11; US Representative to IUPAC Committee on Chemistry and Industry, 2007–12; Symposia Organizer for multiple ACS National Meetings and IUPAC World Chemistry Congresses; 7 publications and >100 Dow internal publications; two patents on analytical devices.

Ribes’s statement

Thank you for considering my candidacy for the ACS Board of Directors. This is a time for ACS to ensure that we live our core values, listen to our members, and lead changes to improve our world. Now, more than ever, we need to focus our advocacy and actions to encourage inclusive and respectful environments within the chemical enterprise. I look forward to turning the challenges we face into solutions for our members and communities.

Disruptions often result in innovation. In our day jobs, we’re all finding new ways to connect with our colleagues and our customers, deliver our work products, and provide training, services, and value using different mechanisms. Applying a “what if?” mindset to ACS programs and activities can improve our agility and ability to engage members. We are, after all, an organization of professionals that are great at identifying gaps, designing experiments, and providing solutions.

What would I bring to the Board of Directors? My passion for ACS, a strategic mindset, and years of experience with highly effective global and cross-functional teams, both inside and outside of ACS. Throughout my roles in governance, my vision and leadership have resulted in positive impacts for our members and volunteers. I joined ACS as an undergraduate 37 years ago to learn more about career opportunities, practical applications of chemistry, and access to chemistry-related information. I continue as an active volunteer because of the role ACS plays in professional and personal development, science policy, and improving our world. Serving my local sections, divisions, and national committees has resulted in a deeper understanding of our society, how it functions, and where we can improve.

Core values: Our culture and core values guide us through the best and worst times. We use these values as a lens for evaluating circumstances, options, and consequences of policies and actions. As an industrial chemist with a strong safety mindset, I believe that safety is a priority and that ACS must be a leader and set the standard for safety across our profession. This encompasses physical, emotional, and psychological safety so that each of us can be our authentic self, free from harassment, discrimination, and intolerance. I led the effort to write the first ACS policy statement on diversity and have served on several diversity units in ACS. Data and current events demonstrate that improvements are still needed to achieve equitable opportunities and improve inclusion and diversity within the chemical enterprise, and ACS needs to be at the forefront in this area.

Membership: The diversity of our membership has increased, and we need to embrace and use the strengths that diversity brings. Membership demographics and needs are evolving, and our value proposition must evolve, too. We currently have more international members and fewer industrial members, and our members have more complex needs than when I joined ACS over three decades ago. Our members are more diverse and represent four different generations, and we should recognize that their needs, communication styles, goals and values may be expressed differently. We need to meet our members where they are and provide the range and level of services that they need. I will listen to the “voice of the customer” (members and potential members) to understand your needs, requests, and interests.

Improve our world: The role of science and scientists in addressing the world’s challenges has become more evident this year. There seems to be a new dawn in appreciation of science. Ensuring the safety, health, and wellness of the global population requires global scientific collaboration and communication. The way we conduct science and disseminate information must evolve. Our emphasis on providing chemical-related information must support the new paradigms. We need to understand how the economic stress on the chemical enterprise may impact employment, funding, and members’ needs and how ACS should react and lead. ACS entered this challenging year in a position of financial and operational strength, and we need flexibility, innovation, and leadership to maintain that strength now and for the long term.

When determining who to vote for, you may be asking yourself “who will make a difference?” I have demonstrated a strong combination of strategic thinking and execution in multiple ACS roles, and demonstrated that I can make a difference. You can read about my experience and accomplishments at Based on my track record, experience, expertise, strengths, and passion, I hope you will cast one of your votes for me.

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