For displaying a leadership style that is empowering and transparent; for developing a diversity strategy to hire and retain top talent; and for business acumen that champions diversity.
Senior Director Avani Patel is leading process research and development (R&D) for Dow Consumer Solutions (DCS) business, a multibillion-dollar division that supplies silicone-related sustainable products for high-growth market segments such as electronics, mobility, building and infrastructure, home, and personal care. Patel reports to the vice president of R&D for DCS and leads a global organization that comprises 10 locations with more than 200 people, including scientists and engineers.
Patel is a key member of the silicones cross-functional senior business leadership team. She collaborates with commercial and technology leaders to establish technology strategy to meet Dow Consumer Solutions’ decarbonization and growth goals. She has managed the commercialization on an average of 80-100 products annually from lab to production scale.
With her role as senior director came the integration of Dow Chemical and Dow Corning. To ensure a smooth transition between the divisions, Patel visited the sites of all the global teams — China, Germany, Belgium, Japan, Korea, and across the U.S. — meeting members individually and as teams. To better understand career aspirations, address differences in culture, and assess areas of strengths as well as gaps within the new division, she met with members both socially and in the workplace.
Working with Dow human resources leaders, Patel also prepared and executed a diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy to ensure equitable promotion criteria and to hire and retain top talent, including women. This approach has resulted in her global workforce consisting of 28% women, up from 20% in 2018. Patel’s direct leadership team comprises 45% women, providing visible role models for young women.
She has promoted a “one team” approach to aid the team in working together effectively, leverage their expertise across geographies and technologies, and increase their engagement and a sense of belonging in order to deliver innovative business results. She presents a leadership style that is transparent, empowers others, and nurtures in every dimension, especially for women of Dow and those whose backgrounds are different from her own.
Patel began her career with Dow in 1996 through a summer internship that led to a position as a research engineer in process development. Training and growth opportunities within Dow led to assignments of increasing responsibility and leadership.
An inventor on seven granted patents, Patel has authored more than 60 internal research reports. She is an active member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and has served on the institute’s career and education operating council and continuing education committee. She currently serves on the office of societal impact operating council. These committees are instrumental in developing new training activities and engaging students in the institute’s work.
Patel holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Michigan State University; a graduate degree in medical technology from Gujarat Cancer and Research Center in Gujarat, India; and a B.S. in biochemistry from St. Xavier’s College of Gujarat University. She is a certified Six Sigma black belt.
She is married and has two daughters. In her free time, the Midland, Michigan, resident enjoys reading, gardening, and visiting with her daughters.