Media release

AkzoNobel Elevates Women to Achieve Equity

March 8, 2023

AkzoNobel (AKZA; AKZOY) continuously elevates women to create equity in the workplace. In celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, Amy Smith recently spoke about her role as part of AkzoNobel's Integrated Supply Chain (ISC) team as the Engineering Manager at the company’s Pontiac, Michigan factory and her work in a traditionally male-dominated field.

Amy’s recent vlog encourages women to join the supply chain industry, describing the rewards of a career in industrial manufacturing and her impact that has contributed to the success of AkzoNobel. Karen-Marie Katholm, AkzoNobel’s Chief Integrated Supply Chain Officer, stated: “This past week, I had the opportunity to visit many of our resilient employees at sites across the U.S. Diversity is crucial for the success of our business and while I see many great examples of workplace diversity, there is still work to be done. AkzoNobel is working to close the gender gap by bringing more visibility to female leadership and opportunities. In celebration of Women’s History Month, I hope my role in ISC and as a member of the Executive Committee will encourage women to make bold career moves and enjoy the opportunities we have available at AkzoNobel.”  

Karen-Marie Katholm, visits with Integrated Supply Chain employees at sites across the U.S. during Women’s History Month.

AkzoNobel’s Women Inspired Network (WIN) North America Chapter presented a panel discussion to help all colleagues become better allies to women in the workplace. The panelists discussed why they are passionate about being allies to women in the workplace, why it matters that senior executives are active allies to women and explored ways that everyone can contribute to the advancement of women at work.

"When women are empowered, they lift their communities with them," said Michelle Sullivan, Vehicle Refinishes sales manager for the U.S. East Region and the company’s Women’s Inspired Network North America Board president. “Our programing for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month aligns with the theme ‘Elevating Women’ and showcases how women are influencing the paint and coatings industry which has historically been male dominated. We are excited to share women’s journey from within our company and externally, where involvement in industry organizations inspire women across North America to reach their full potential."   

AkzoNobel's goal is to have 30% of females in the workplace holding leadership-level positions by 2025. The company recently conducted a region-wide town hall discussing the importance of men holding one another accountable for uplifting women and being their allies. A study by the Boston consulting group found that when men become directly involved in gender diversity, both men and women believe that their company is making much more significant progress in achieving gender parity. The data showed that among companies where men are actively involved in gender diversity, 96% report progress. Conversely, among companies where men are not involved, only 30% show progress.

Senior male leaders in the ally panel discussion emphasize the best way to support their female colleagues is first to take responsibility for their actions, research why women need allies in the workplace and constantly challenge themselves daily to be better by taking time to self-reflect. Dr. Pam Wilson, Product Sustainability manager for the Industrial Coatings business and WIN NAM Board member, stated: “One example of how men can be an ally in the workplace is by providing opportunities to elevate women into leadership roles.” Forging gender equity isn't limited to women solely fighting the good fight. Allies are essential for women's social, economic, cultural and political advancement. Join the conversation with us this month on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as we discuss the impact women are making at AkzoNobel using #EmbraceEquity. 


About AkzoNobel

We supply the sustainable and innovative paints and coatings that our customers, communities – and the environment – are increasingly relying on. That’s why everything we do starts with People. Planet. Paint. Our world class portfolio of brands – including Dulux, International, Sikkens and Interpon – is trusted by customers around the globe. We’re active in more than 150 countries and have set our sights on becoming the global industry leader. It’s what you’d expect from a pioneering paints company that’s committed to science-based targets and is taking genuine action to address globally relevant challenges and protect future generations.

Abbey Dennis

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Communications Business Partner - North America 

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