Ascend Inspiring Across Generations Conference
EmPower: Leading with Impact
Mr. Patel joined LyondellBasell in March 2010 and as executive vice president successfully led the restructuring of the company’s O&P – Americas, O&P – Europe, Asia and International (EAI), and Technology segments, focusing on achieving best-in-class operational and commercial excellence. In this role, Mr. Patel led early stage development of the company’s plan to capture the U.S. shale advantage. This plan, which began with debottlenecks and capacity expansions, has progressed to major organic growth projects and continues to guide the company’s strategy today. Prior to becoming CEO, Mr. Patel was responsible for all of LyondellBasell’s manufacturing facilities in EAI and commercial operations for the O&P – EAI and Technology segments. In 2011, he led the effort to establish a new business model for the O&P – EAI
segment which structurally repositioned the business, increasing overall competitiveness, efficiency and earnings.
As CEO, Mr. Patel has focused on leading the next phase of the company’s long-term growth strategy, including the 2018 acquisition of A. Schulman, Inc., which made LyondellBasell the world’s largest manufacturer of compounded materials. Under his leadership, the
company has made several strategic acquisitions in growing markets and is building new production facilities around the world, including a new world-scale high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant and the world’s largest propylene oxide and tertiary butyl alcohol (PO/TBA)
plant. The company has also recently expanded its market presence in Asia by forging new partnerships in China and extending existing Joint Ventures in Korea and Thailand.
Under Mr. Patel’s leadership, LyondellBasell was named to Fortune Magazine’s “world’s most admired companies” list for three consecutive years, beginning in 2018. Previously, Mr. Patel held positions of increasing responsibility at Chevron Corporation and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company for more than 20 years. Over the course of his career, Mr. Patel has held
leadership positions based in the Netherlands, Singapore and the United States.
Mr. Patel is a member of the Business Council, and he serves on the boards of the Greater Houston Partnership and Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas. Mr. Patel is also on the external advisory council of the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University and the
Board of Visitors of the Fox School of Business at Temple University. Mr. Patel serves on the board of directors of Union Pacific Corporation. He earned a Bachelor of Science in chemical
engineering from The Ohio State University and he also holds a Master of Business Administration from Temple University.
Former Chief Diversity Officer (CDO)
Following retirement from the United States Army after 33 years, Jason was privileged to work for a great company that over the course of nearly 11 years gave him the opportunity to lead in six uniquely different roles each requiring individuals and teams from diverse cross-functional domains and business units to work together as one team to make optimal results possible.
Drawing from shared experience gained by working with all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. State Department, and over 30 foreign militaries and governments to transform the way disparate organizations and cultures can align on a common purpose then jointly train and operate, Jason similarly brought to the business a joint enterprise perspective and approach to strategically plan and operate through cross-functional / cross-line of business coalitions, enrolling talent, and aligning shared resources to enhance competitive advantage.
Both in the military and out he has always been a strong champion for individual and team development. The accomplishment for which he is most proud after over a decade in business is a professional job rotational internship program he pioneered to boost career development of entry-level call center employees through immersion in staff functions such as marketing, underwriting, data analytics, risk management, and human resources. A leader’s legacy is enormously important, and for Jason it’s never been simply about quantifiable improvements made to the business - ultimately no one will remember. Rather, legacy is about human impact and changing the trajectory of lives and careers. It’s about the environment you create where everyone - regardless of differences - can be themselves, embrace the qualities that make us unique, and inspire a sense of belonging so that there is maximum opportunity to achieve full potential.
Jason is a native of Hawaii and the son of a World War II veteran of the all Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team which earned the distinction of being the most highly decorated combat unit of its size during the war. He holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Gonzaga University (magna cum laude) and a master’s degree in National Security Affairs from the United States Naval Postgraduate School. He is also a graduate of Harvard University’s executive program for senior military officers of the United States and Russian Federation. He and his spouse reside in San Antonio, Texas.
Omar is a Business Tax Services (BTS) Partner in KPMG’s Houston office. He began his career at KPMG in 1999 after completing his graduation from the University of Houston. Omar has considerable experience in managing large corporate tax engagements which includes corporate and partnership taxation for domestic and internationally based clients, tax accounting methods and the preparation and review of tax provisions among other experiences. Omar actively supports various firm organizations supporting diversity and inclusion such as: Houston Involve Committee, Asian Pacific Islander Network (APIN), and KPMG’s Network of Women (KNOW). He has been the lead for Lymphoma Leukemia Society (LLS) alliance and recently took the role of KPMG’s API BRG Partner Champion for the Houston office.
Lara A. Dolnik
Executive & Leadership Coach
Lara is a Certified Leadership & Executive Coach, as well as a sought-after Trial & Communications Strategist. She works with executives, professionals and thought-leaders of tomorrow who want to succeed and to play bigger in their worlds. For the past 20 years, Lara has empowered these pioneers to find their authentic voice, claim their story and tell it compellingly, especially under hostile, crisis conditions. Lara’s clients hail from Australia and the APAC region, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, as well as the United States. They have been involved in a variety of industries including: accounting, banking & finance; engineering; entrepreneurial endeavors; higher education; information technology; insurance and re-insurance; law; manufacturing; medicine; medical technology; oil & gas and technology.
Willet, co-owner of 'burger-chan,' has been cooking professionally for over 12 years and has worked in a wide range of restaurants. Willet received his training from ‘Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin’ and immediately put his skills to use. His professional career has ranged from working in Houston institutions such as ‘Oxheart’ to heading ‘The Grumpy Pig’ in Shanghai and even stints as a private chef for athletes. Currently, he’s enjoying family time at home, working on YouTube videos, consulting, and doing private events all while planning a Galleria location opening of 'burger-chan' in early 2021.
Chief Public Strategies Officer
Houston Area Women's Center
Chau Nguyen is the Chief Public Strategies Officer for the Houston Area Women’s Center, tasked with managing and expanding key partnerships, while positioning HAWC as thought leaders in order to drive broad awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault, with a goal of reducing interpersonal violence and changing cultural norms about how survivors are understood.
Prior to her executive leadership in the non-profit space, Chau spent 15 years as a television news journalist and last served as an anchor and reporter with KHOU TV. She is the first Vietnamese American journalist to receive an Emmy Award for her documentary series covering a medical mission in Vietnam, and the Houston Press has named her Reporter of the Year.
A native Houstonian, Chau is passionate about staying connected to her community, having serve on numerous non-profit Boards. She is a American Leadership Forum Class 47 Senior Fellows, currently sits on the Boards of Catapult and The University of Houston Friends of Women’s Studies, and she is on the advisory board of Houston Achievement Place.
Chau is a Master Social Worker and holds a Masters of Arts in Social Work from the University of Houston and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of St. Thomas.
She has received numerous awards and was most recently honored as one of Houston’s Most Influential Women. Chau is frequently asked to emcee events, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Inauguration. Chau is the proud mother of two young girls, Ryan and Myles, a Yorkie named Peanut, and she is an active member of Unity of Houston.
Executive & Leadership Coach,
Shveta is a Leadership & Executive Coach with over 20 years of experience as a leader and advisor to small businesses and global Fortune 500 organizations across a variety of industries. Shveta has coached and advised clients on multiple facets impacting executive leadership and employee commitment to business goals and outcomes, including business readiness, organizational structure, executive alignment, communications, and employee experience. Her career span includes working with leaders from entrepreneurial start-ups to global, multi-national organizations. Shveta’s clients come from the APAC and EMEA regions as well as the United States. They are involved in a variety of industries including: oil & gas, pharmaceuticals and wholesale distribution.
Vice President, Customer & Employee Experience and Communications
Oracle North America Cloud & Technology
Prior to her current role, Susan worked for the Office of the CEO at Oracle, responsible for special projects related to Oracle’s sales strategy and operations including millennial attraction & retention; inside sales maturity assessment; and solution engineering transformation. Over her 20 year career at Oracle, Susan has held a variety of positions including head of industry marketing, head of global program office for Oracle Insight, and data warehousing solution specialist.
In addition, Susan is a sponsor for Oracle’s Women’s Leadership in San Diego and co-sponsor for Oracle’s Professional Asian Leaders nationally. As a life-long learner, she is currently learning how to play the piano and is always learning new baking recipes. Susan holds a BS in both Business and Journalism and an MBA in Finance from San Diego State University.
Executive Advisor, Ascend
Independent Board Director, Enviva Partners Partner (Retired), KPMG LLP
Janet S. Wong, CPA, is an experienced strategic business executive with a demonstrated ability to lead people, processes and organizations. She is an independent Board Director and Audit Committee Chairman of Enviva Partners (NYSE: EVA), a leading global energy company manufacturing sustainable wood bioenergy. Janet also serves as an independent Board Director of Lumentum (NASDAQ: LITE), a market-leading manufacturer of innovative optical and photonic products and Allegiance Bancshares (NASDAQ: ABTX), a financial services company. She was a senior partner with KPMG, a global professional services organization, where she spent the majority of her career based in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices.
She volunteers as Lead Executive Advisor to Ascend, the largest non-profit business organization for Pan-Asians in North America and Canada where she also leads Ascend Pinnacle, the largest network of experienced and aspiring corporate board directors. Janet co-developed Ascend’s Executive Insight for Asian Women program. She is a co-author of two recent reports published by the Ascend Foundation, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Asian American Leaders in Silicon Valley” and “Lost in Aggregation: The Asian Reflection in the Glass Ceiling”. Janet serves as a Board member of the Thirty Percent Coalition, a non-profit organization advocating for diversity on corporate boards, promoting women and people of color.
In October 2020, she received the Houston Business Journal award for Women Who Mean Business. Her past honors and recognitions include Directors and Boards magazine “Directors to Watch”, Louisiana Tech College of Business Alumni of the Year, Silicon Valley Business Times Women of Distinction, and the Ascend National Inspirational Leadership awa
Newton is a Managing Director at Deloitte and has twenty five years of management, business integration and technology consulting experience. He has served government and public service clients throughout the country – which has afforded him the ability to experience the different cultures within our own country. Based out of the Austin office, he is the Diversity and Inclusion Lead for Deloitte’s Central Texas Offices.