Women Working in Epoxy

In celebration of the International Women’s Day, we are putting the spotlight on the incredible women working in the epoxy sector and their valuable contributions to the field. Senior VP of Westlake Epoxy, Ann Frederix; Global Regulatory Issue Manager of Huntsman, Ines Emminger; Global Product Stewardship Lead of Olin, Silke Tenbrock; and SPOLCHEMIE technologist, Ing. Lenka Filipova, share their tips for building a career in STEM, what they enjoy most about their work and much more. 


Ann Frederix

VP, Westlake Epoxy

What is your role in the company?

I am the Vice President at Westlake Epoxy. My role is to find solutions together with my team, for short and long-term challenges. Our ultimate objective is to serve our customers with innovative and sustainable solutions that enhance people’s quality of lives all over the world.

The team I lead consists of department heads which are responsible for diverse teams in Europe, Asia and the US in the fields of Manufacturing, Sales, Research and Development, Marketing, Finance, Human Resources, Engineering, Safety, Health and Environment, Procurement, Quality and Supply Chain.

What do you enjoy about your work the most?  

My passion for science and business has been an important driver right from the beginning of my career.

Today, I enjoy combining good entrepreneurship with making a difference for our customers in reaching the goals our society sets for a better world. Together with my team, I enable more sustainable solutions. I feel privileged to work with that talented team and being recognized as a global leader in specialty technologies.

The diversity of skillsets and making sure everyone uses his and hers full potential is to me the most fulfilling part. Nothing gives me more energy than seeing the miracle of individual growth and teamwork to the benefit of not only Westlake, but also the customers we serve and the lives we touch with increasingly sustainable epoxies.

Epoxy products have wonderful qualities, and their technology is still fascinating to me. Allowing to build light-weighted and extremely strong composites for wind turbine blades or using them for coatings to protect assets are only a few examples where they are touching everyday life.

At the end the satisfaction comes from true successful teamplay and contributing to a better, safer and more sustainable world.

What was the turning point in your life which inspired you to make your career choice?

When I started my commercial career after my experience in R&D I had to realize the short-term nature of commercial success!  I had to adapt to a new way of working. Commercial being very different from R&D where the projects are longer term oriented, and with higher risks. Taking the next step to business director has been very attractive and exciting since I was part of the total picture and could connect the dots to future market projections as well as look at daily operations and dynamics.

What will be your message to young girls to encourage them to take up careers in STEM? 

Don’t be shy! Believe in your skills and in you, try it and never give up! Compared to the time when I started, I am very delighted to see that today the young women generation is more present in our business and I really hope, that in the future even more young women will join us.

From my experience I would recommend young girls: Allow yourself to grow, chose an inspiring environment, find your strengths, dare to take on challenges outside your comfort zone, surround yourself with sponsors.



Ines Emminger

Global Regulatory Issue Manager, Huntsman

What is your role in the company?

I am the Global Regulatory Issue Manager. Together with my team, I ensure that our products remain compliant with global Regulatory requirements.

What do you enjoy about your work the most? 

In one word, diversity. Working in a global company I have colleagues from all around the world that bring new views and perspectives all the time which is amazing. But it is not only the people, epoxies are also a cool type of chemical! Barely anyone knows about them, and I must confess I was quite annoyed when I had to synthesize an epoxy resin in a polymer chemistry lab during my time at the university. The other students had way cooler stuff, or so I thought. Little did I know that this “boring” colorless liquid in my flask kept tomatoes in cans, planes in the air and my computer running to just name a few things!

What was the turning point in your life which inspired you to make your career choice?

Admittedly it was an accident. When I finished my PhD I was advised to practice writing job applications so when I had to apply in earnest I had some routine. One day I read this amazing job advert, Ciba Specialty Chemicals was looking for a Head of the Laboratory for Central & Eastern Europe. “Wow, that is my dream job but no way they hire a student” I thought, “but perfect for practicing!”. Well, guess what, they did hire me. And a good 20 years later I am still at the same company and have come a long way since I first joined

What will be your message to young girls to encourage them to take up careers in STEM?

If you want something, go for it. What will happen if you fail? Likely not much! But if you do not even try you are 100% guaranteed to not get it.



Silke Tenbrock

Global Product Stewardship Lead, Olin

What is your role in the company?

I lead the global Product Stewardship team working with 6 brilliant women from 3 different jurisdictions. We ensure that product stewardship principles are adhered to and communicated well including customer communications of product hazards and safe use. We also deal with various regulatory requirements around the world

What do you enjoy about your work the most?

I really enjoy the wide variety of issues and subjects. The regulatory world is evolving very quickly to an extent that it upsets me at times, but it is anything but boring. Discussing all these issues, trying to implement them or advocate against them, within the company with customers or in associations, all this is a lot of fun. Taking up this job I discovered for myself a certain affinity for regulatory subjects, I like to review and interpret. I never thought this would be of much interest in my time as technical engineer or analytical specialist.

My chemistry teacher at school got me interested in the subject, completely unknown in our family. I really like chemistry, but I had my years in the lab with hands and arms in chemicals and plastics, so I enjoy today to deal with that from my desk. Recently I took over this new leadership role and it’s another steep learning curve not just in terms of administration but of social skills, supporting everybody and keeping up motivation. I like to learn new thinks so enjoy this very much.

What was the turning point in your life which inspired you to make your career choice?

I chose chemical engineering just because it was my favourite subject at school. Dow Chemicals at the time was looking for a lab engineer. I was very happy; they took me as this was one of the biggest chemical companies of the world. Getting through different stages in the analytical lab, technical service, and R&D, I finally got into a Product Stewardship role, and really found “that’s it”. This is the stuff I really like doing. A business part of Dow was sold a few years ago to Olin, and I jointed and that’s where I am till date- a diverse global company and workplace nestled in a beautiful location in Switzerland.

What will be your message to young girls to encourage them to take up careers in STEM?

Follow your own interests, don’t think STEM is a man’s world. The world of science is huge and growing every day and there is such a variety of jobs and subjects. It needs more women, also in leadership positions. Engage yourself and be ambitious. You will find your place, just go, and take the first step.



Ing. Lenka Filipova


What is your role in the company?

I work in SPOLCHEMIE as a technologist. I graduated from the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, Department of Natural and Synthetic Polymers. After finishing my master’s degree, I wanted to devote myself fully into applying my studies into my work. The technical field in which I currently work combines not only chemistry and the knowledge gained from it, but also the field of technology, in which now I can improve thanks to the job opportunity I was given.

What do you enjoy about your work most?

I really appreciate the variety that my job offers me. While working as a technologist, I encounter various tasks not only in production, but also in areas related to it. I can use my skills, logical thinking and knowledge gained from school. The benefit of my work is to ensure smooth operation, introduction of new technological processes into production optimization.

What was the turning point in your life which inspired you to make your career choice?

Chemistry is generally a less popular subject among students, but if you have a chemistry teacher, as I did in elementary school, chemistry will become a fun for you, a hobby that you want to not only study but also apply in practice. Ultimately, there is chemistry all around us, in the products we make in the company to the ones we use in our everyday life.

What will be your message to young girls to encourage them to take up careers in STEM?

I would like to tell them to not be afraid to take the first step and go study technical subjects. It will allow them to find quality work with better financial evaluation. Courage and believing in yourself will make you more successful in life.

“To do what we fear is the first step to success” – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.