In My Real Life


6 Employees — 6 Views

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Cenia del Pilar Macias Lozada

Rubén Juárez

Michele García

Paulo Itapura de Miranda

Antonio Escobar

Victor García


First a word about home. »I love my Colombia,« says Cenia del Pilar Lozada. »Hardly any other country in the world has more exotic plants, animals, and landscapes than we do. That’s why I promote striking a balance between economic growth and environmental protection. We need this balance and have to think about future generations. After all, we’re not alone on this planet.« 

That’s just how she is: clear, committed, feisty. A woman who cuts her own path and proves herself in a field supposedly dominated by men. Mathematics, chemistry, physics – those were Cenia’s favorite subjects at school in Barrancabermeja, where she and her five siblings grew up. She was the only one to leave the city where they were born, completed her studies as a chemical engineer, launched her professional laboratory career, made her mark as a broker of chemical products, and, in doing so, discovered her passion for sales because »sales is about people.« 

Colors are her subject matter. And have been for 19 years. That is how long she has been at Clariant, where, in the BU Pigments, she is now in charge of not just Central America but Venezuela and Ecuador, as well. Some of her favorite products include the new easily dispersible pigments. Particularly since this innovation ushered in numerous sustainable effects: lower energy consumption, less use of machines, shorter production times, greater flexibility, considerable cost savings while also providing »an excellent product.« 

Salespeople love stories like these. They are about progress, about ingenuity. Cenia composes the accompanying text on her many business trips throughout the region and on her mountain bike. She is a role model to her two daughters, Sofia, 13, and Juliana, 11: athletic, competent, and perfectly organized. »The latter, in particular,« she says, and gives her long, black hair a shake. »That’s where women have an advantage over men. Children, household, family, work – we manage to keep it all under control pretty well. And we do so without having to sacrifice our femininity.« Anybody who sees her is sure to say: »How true.«



Time to rethink things. In Mexico, too. Rubén Juárez is fascinated by the »ecological awakening« his society is undergoing, the transformation in how people are thinking, the new behaviors they are adopting in day-to-day life. For him, riding a public city bike through his home quarter of Colonia Roma is only natural and his wife knows each and every one of the many new organic stores. »But,« says Ruben, »we still have a long way to go in the Mexico City metro area, home to 23 million people.« 

His work at Clariant is the best yardstick for how quickly fundamental changes can be brought about. There he is in charge of ICS and that is where he experiences paradigm shifts on a daily basis. He knows all about the needs of large, multinational customers who place great importance on safe, resource-friendly manufacturing methods for the special chemicals they require. For them, he implements production processes in accordance with their own corporate sustainability specifications while also making the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines of Clariant’s own sites compulsory for all suppliers. »Nowadays the determining factor isn’t just price alone,« says Rubén Juárez, »it’s all about quality and overall performance.« Represented not only by Santa Clara, but the Coatzacoalcos site, in particular, which was expanded between 2010 and 2012. This port in the Mexican state of Veracruz is a key ICS production site, »exemplary in every respect – from safety to cost effectiveness to its state-of-the-art equipment and efficient energy management.« 

Its biggest environmental asset might be the two-kilometer stretch of railway tracks. They lead directly to the site’s supplier of raw materials. This new arrangement has dispensed with the need for hazardous materials transports to Mexico City, along 600 kilometers of track and in part through densely populated regions, which used to be the norm. And one more thing makes »Coatza« stand out. Construction left flora and fauna largely untouched. The beneficiary of that approach is currently an alligator that lives in a biotope on the site. »Extremely symbolic« for Rubén in the sense of striking a balance between man and nature.



With people, for people, among people – it all boils down to people: If you ask Michele García, nothing is more exciting than being human. And for this psychologist with a master’s degree in human resources administration, she, is the very best example of how vibrant life can be. Just recently she slipped into a new role and is now mother to a little girl. According to her, »that’s a whole new kind of experience. Just as much an obligation as it is fulfillment.« 

The same holds true for her career, as well. Her desk stands in the HR offices of Clariant’s Suzano site. There she spends her days managing job postings and applications, conducting interviews and trying to find out whether candidates meet all the requirements. It goes without saying that she not only looks at a person’s qualifications and ability to work in a team, but also factors in issues such as personal integrity and respect for other people. 

»Clariant’s core values lay the foundation for my work. When recruiting new employees as well as at training sessions,« Michele García emphasizes and adds: »My message is also our vision: Clariant is a company that welcomes you. It values your work and your contribution and if you want to do your very best, you can do it here. We, as a company, are also at your side at all times.« 

That last sentence is underpinned by her own experience; when Michele’s mother fell seriously ill, the company assisted her in every conceivable way. A sense of tact and a charming personality help Michele García build bridges in conflict situations and reach a common accord. You have to address things objectively and resolve issues jointly – that is her pragmatic approach. »I have a good feel for people.« 

Is the company like family? »Yes, precisely. In Suzano we share a great sense of solidarity. That’s a feeling I get quite frequently on the weekend. Sometimes I’m in town, shopping or something, and happen to bump into a colleague – we spontaneously decide to sit down to a cup of coffee. That amazes my husband Mauricio because it just wouldn’t happen where he works in São Paulo.«



Willpower alone is not enough: Sustainability efforts also call for a financial commitment. »It’s not a self-seller,« stresses Paulo Itapura de Miranda, »and it most definitely isn’t a simple matter of expenses. In fact, it’s a sensible investment in the future.« 

Building on that premise, this former company doctor works continuously to advocate sustainability and luckily knows that he’s not alone. On the contrary, his support comes from the very top because »Clariant’s Group management holds the work we do for the environment, health, and safety in high esteem. They support us in every conceivable way.« 

Nevertheless, the task is an ambitious one. Particularly in Latin America, which is, as Paulo Itapura says, »a huge, very heterogeneous region.« Whether the differences are social, economic, cultural, or linguistic in nature – they need »binding ESHA standards at a high level for all of our sites.« And this needs to start with a direct line of communication to municipal committees (keyword: transparency) and extend all the way to coordinated emergency management procedures. 

Itapura and his team (80 employees throughout all of Latin America) drew up a road map that helps minimize environmental risks, makes it possible to protect not just individuals but the general public, as well, and also »makes it clear that we’re not alone, rather that each and every one of us has a responsibility. Responsibility not only for their own wellbeing but also that of the company and its stakeholders.«



Life is full of colors. At least Antonio Escobar’s life is. This chemical engineer with an MBA in business administration works with tiny color granules — he is Clariant’s »Mister Masterbatches« in Colombia. His private life is also full of color: the »entirely organic« peaches and plums he cultivates during his free time are not only a true treat for the eyes but a delicacy, too. 

Antonio Escobar studied at the University of America in Bogotá, at the foot of the famous Monserrate mountain (3,152 m), and has been working for Clariant since 1998. After getting his start in Colombia, he transferred to Mexico for six years, where he gained sales management experience in the BU Masterbatches for Mexico and Central American countries. »It was a fantastic opportunity that only a multinational company could offer, and if there’s one thing that holds true for Clariant – regardless of country or market – it’s that we enjoy great trust and renown the whole world over.«

If you ask Antonio Escobar, Clariant’s position as a »global masterbatch leader« not only bears witness to »our products’ quality and our innovative strength« but also to the Clariant Production System (CPS program), which is geared toward sustainability. The key words of this best practice method are: »How and where can we improve? What can be optimized, how can we boost our savings potential in terms of water or power consumption? « 

Antonio Escobar’s desk stands in Cota, near Bogotá. Clariant’s Colombia site is Latin America’s second-largest masterbatches production facility and supplies Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, and the Caribbean countries in addition to its own domestic market. Another focus of Antonio’s is Brazil, yet for entirely personal reasons. His daughter Camilla, 13, is a gifted swimmer and is currently preparing to take a stab at meeting the Colombian qualifying standards for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. »She’s already on the extended national team,« Antonio boasts with fatherly pride. As you can see, his life will stay exciting. And colorful.



Your career can also be your calling. Just like it is for Victor García. Not only does this chemical engineer have decades of experience, he also wears the »Black Belt« of Clariant’s Excellence initiative and joins French politician André Malraux in saying: »Whoever wishes to read the future has to leaf through the past.«

Victor García is a »Black Belt« in project management according to the Six Sigma concept, a methodical approach that is aimed at optimizing economic and environmental processes.

»The Santa Clara site, that’s my world,« says García. After nearly 25 years at the site, he knows the plant inside out and considers himself, more than ever, duty-bound to »the environment and future generations.« His creed reflects that conviction: »If we don’t do the right thing and take responsibility for our actions, then it’s all over for us and our planet.«

Victor García was born in Oaxaca and has the blood of the Zapotec, Mixtec, and Aztec tribes flowing through his veins. His facial features, dark skin, and black hair leave no doubt as to the fact that he is the progeny of a culture dating back to 1500 B.C.; that might also be one of the reasons why he is repeatedly drawn back to the significant showplaces of his own ethnic history. »I’m especially fascinated by the pyramids of Teotihuacan,« says this father of two sons. »When I’m there, I always ask myself: What will bear witness to our presence here someday?«

Apart from his professional qualifications, he has two qualities that help him shape a better, more sustainable future. Those are his willpower, which he acquired through karate training (brown belt), and the endurance of a passionate marathon runner. He knows many stretches of asphalt, including New York City’s, and long-distance running teaches him over and over to »think positive and, above all, keep on going – until the finish line.«

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