Putting ability first

For Production Manager, Maribel de la Peña in Mexico; R&D Global Business Process Lead, Cristina Stoica in the Netherlands; and Management Assistant, Teeramate Chivattanapaiboon in Thailand; work isn’t just a way to pay the bills. It’s a passion.
Botan Aksoy in factory

Maribel de la Peña

Based at our Powder Coatings site in Monterrey, Mexico, Maribel joined AkzoNobel as Production Manager in April 2022. Armed with a Masters Degree in Manufacturing and a 25-year career in continuous improvement and project management, she’s determined to be in charge of “the best site in the world" and singles out a passion for honesty, work and collaboration as her driving forces. Site Manager, Juan Garcia, comments that: “Maribel looks after her team, takes full responsibility for their decisions and results – and always exceeds expectations.”

Maribel has “a passion for learning and sharing skills every day. When I don’t have experience in a particular process, I invest more time on the production floor to talk to the people who do. And it's great to see that people are always willing to share their knowledge.”

Christine behind her desk

Dr Cristina Stoica

That drive for self-improvement is something that Cristina – who works for AkzoNobel’s Automotive and Specialty Coatings business – understands well. She joined the company as an R&D Project Manager on Valentine’s Day and “fell in love” with her job.

Over the years, she’s developed an impressive range of skills in areas such as software implementation support, quality management, cross-functional business processes, data management, compliance and global reporting. So what does she love most about her current role as AkzoNobel’s Global Business Process Lead in Sassenheim? “The diversity. There’s never a moment when I can say I’m bored. I get to talk to colleagues from all over the world. And I love being able to say: ‘I can’t do that, I’m sorry. But if you give me time, I’ll learn.’ That’s a super strength.”

 Nam Le Thanh in factory

Teeramate Chivattanapaiboon

Teeramate has been working at AkzoNobel’s Chonburi site in Thailand for over ten years now – starting as a receptionist and HR Assistant, before moving on to become a Site Admin Officer and Management Assistant.

He’s “so happy and proud” to have been a part of the Culture Change Network team that recently won two Winning Together Awards. And “consistently goes above and beyond in his work,” observes Site Manager, Bongkot Prapapetch. 

Creating a more inclusive workforce


Maribel, Cristina and Teeramate are brilliant at their jobs and share a burning passion for their work. What isn’t as obvious is that they also share mobility challenges.

Maribel was a keen runner before a serious car crash almost ended her life. It took nine months to learn to walk again. Around 300 painful rehabilitation sessions later, Maribel’s determination shines through: “My physical limitation isn’t a barrier to achieving my goals. I give my best in this second chance at life.”

Cristina has difficulty walking, but she felt unable to tell people that things like dashing between floors or buildings to attend meetings were making her physically and mentally exhausted. All that changed with the pandemic, when AkzoNobel introduced home working arrangements and she felt able to be more open about her needs. “Someone with a disability will be their own hero without realizing, because we always push our limits,” she explains.

Teeramate lost his right arm and both legs due to severe burns he sustained in an accident seven years before he joined AkzoNobel. But wearing prosthetic legs didn’t deter him from travelling by fishing boat to a remote island to take part in his site’s local coral reef planting program. “It wasn’t easy, but my team never lets me give up!”

Creating a more diverse workforce that reflects the society in which AkzoNobel operates requires us to find a way to talk constructively and openly about disability. Join the conversation and let's work towards more inclusive workplaces in which everyone can thrive.

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