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March 13, 2018
NANCY HENDERSON: Okay, so they apparently have a pretty special announcement to share with us, so I thought Mark -- maybe Mike could let us in on what's going to happen between the LPGA and Dow.
MIKE WHAN: Have I known you for nine years and you called me Mark?
NANCY HENDERSON: You know, it happens.
MIKE WHAN: So as the slide shows you, we're announcing today that the LPGA and Dow are coming together, and Dow will be the official marketing partner of the LPGA.
You might be saying to yourself, What does Dow, a large multi-national chemical company and the LPGA have in common?
I think for those of you who follow us week in and week out, you'll realize when you start to meet the people from Dow how consistent our businesses are, even though we focus on different products.
When you talk to Karen for three minutes, you are going to hear words like "customers." It's all about the customer at Dow and getting their product out to impact the world through their customers.
They talk about being global. They have a home, like the LPGA has a home, but they really affect the world's consumers. We like to think the LPGA does the same thing.
I think probably the third tenant that comes through when we started talking is diversity and inclusion it at their core. It's who they are. And I think you don't have to walk the LPGA very long to realize it's at our core as well.
I think there is so much we have in common. I have never actually said this in a press conference like this: In my nine years we've announced a lot of partners. I can't remember being more excited about a partner than I am about Dow. One, your stature lifts us up. I mean, who Dow is as a company and the way you treat people and employees, diversity. Makes us a better brand.
The second thing is just having short conversations with so many different staff members I realize that you're already thinking bigger. You're already thinking about how to take this to the next level, get customers involved, how to really integrate with the LPGA.
I just hope we can keep up with your fast thinking, because it's brands like you that give the best female golfers in the world the platform that you're giving us, so thank you.
NANCY HENDERSON: Now that Mark has had time to share (laughter.) Karen, from your perspective, a little bit about the synergy between Dow and the LPGA.
KAREN S. CARTER: Absolutely. First of all, we at Dow are thrilled about the new partnership. Thank you for all the great comments.
Like you said, we're both global organizations. We are also extremely diverse, just like the LPGA. You mentioned customers are central to everything that we do, and the vision for our company going forward really is to be the most customer-centric, innovative, inclusive, and sustainable material science company in the world.
So that's exactly the kind of things I know that the LPGA are very interested in. What we really want to do is work together to strive to make the world a better place to live, work, and of course play.
So we see this partnership really aligning to both our corporate and societal goals going forward. It's also a really unique opportunity for us to connect with our customers, but also our employee and the communities in which we live and serve.
For example, we intend to utilize specific events to entertain our customers in places of course like Illinois, Florida, Indiana, but also around the world. So I'm really excited to go to places like Malaysia, Korea, and China where of course we have significant presence there.
I also personally look forward to autolyzing the partnership to engage with women in our organization at summits like of course the KPMG Women's Leadership Summit that is in Illinois, but also the Wal-Mart Women's Summit in Northwest Arkansas.
So as a businesswoman, of course being part of these conversations are extremely critical. It's important to encourage inclusion in everything that we do, but also for everyone, particularly women. So we intend really to make the biggest impact possible through this partnership.
NANCY HENDERSON: Speaking of impact, what does this partnership mean to the LPGA and to our fans?
MIKE WHAN: I think, as is said in the beginning, when you have brands and companies of this stature joining the LPGA, we like to think it says a lot about the LPGA. We hope you agree. It's exciting for us.
I think the good thing is, as you listen to Karen talk about it, this isn't going to be a brand we see in Phoenix or we see once a year. This is a brand we're going to see all around the world.
Excited about having a travel buddy as I head internationally, and we're excited about hosting Dow customers virtually all over the world.
For us, when you find a partner that's business is like our business, where we want to make a difference and do it through partners and do it in virtually every corner the world.
I mean, you'll be excited to hear that on our Symetra Tour the tour to try to make it to the LPGA, there are 46 different countries represented. It wasn't too long ago that 46 is how many people televised the LPGA, and now 170 countries televise us every single week.
So I think when we can find brands who already think the way we think and have already succeeded on a much larger scale than us, the upside for our players, members, and fans is pretty significant. I only spent a couple of lunches with Down, and like I said, when they start talking about where to go from here, it gets on a pace that's fun.
We both are talking about where we can go from here, and I think up side with a company like Dow is limitless.
NANCY HENDERSON: Dow is also a founding partner of our LPGA Women's Network. That is a new digital platform that the LPGA launched this year to unite all women in golf.
I know, Karen, that's important to you, both personally and also with Dow's presence.
KAREN S. CARTER: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for saying that diversity and inclusion are at our core, because it's absolutely true. I am personally quite passionate about the inclusion of course of all people, but particularly the inclusion and advancement of women as well as girls.
It's important to our company as well. At Dow we believe in an inclusive environment for everyone where they can really bring their total selves to work. So I see that golf is not only a great game to play, but is a critical business tool. I've worked at Dow for over 20 years now, and clearly golf has been very critical to some of our most important business conversations.
We obviously talk about women needing to have a seat at the table. In this case, I would say it's also critical for women to have a club on the course. So as a fairly new golfer myself, I'm committed -- committed -- to utilizing the LPGA women's network for my own growth in the game.
You can see me hesitating here because I'm making significant commitment. I am committed. No, seriously, because, again, having been a business leader for over 20 years, I've been in several situations that had I been able to play better, then I would've been able to engage in the conversation better. There are a lot of critical conversations that happen on the course.
So I personally look forward to reading some of the feature articles, the inspiring stories and tips from some of the biggest names in women's golf.
I also want to take a couple minutes to talk to you about why I'm personally passionate and I why wanted to be involved in this partnership. We know due to a host of factors that by the age of 14, girls drop out of sports twice as often as boys.
We also know that for women that make it to the C suite, most of them played sports when they were young. There is a connection between sports and confidence, sports and a positive self- image, but also sports and being successful.
So through this work that we're going to do through the partnership and also through the game of golf, I believe we can have a tremendous positive impact on not only business, but on society. We can make a tremendous difference.
If I could talk to my ten-year-old self now, I would tell her get into the game. Get into the game.
MIKE WHAN: She's good. You're going to be just perfect for us.
KAREN S. CARTER: I'm not good at golf yet.
MIKE WHAN: You need to be good at golf; everything you said is perfect.
NANCY HENDERSON: But she's agreed to do a video series for LPGA Women's Network following her journey in golf, and it starts today on the driving range with a lesson from our LPGA/USGA Girls Golf founder, Sandy LaBauve.
I know I am looking forward to watching your progress and watching you tee it up one day in a pro-am.
KAREN S. CARTER: Thank you.
NANCY HENDERSON: Questions for Mike or Karen?
Q. How did it come about with Dow? What was the initial contact here?
MIKE WHAN: Well, thank you for the question, Barbara. (Laughter.) If I was being honest with you, in my nine years as the commissioner, we have been talking about -- you probably didn't even know this -- about Dow with Dow with some outside contacts at Dow for probably eight of my nine years.
We've been overwhelmingly impressed with how when Dow gets involved, it's more than just involved. When they get involved, they do it in a big way. I have played in enough pro-ams with Suzann Pettersen and saw that logo staring back at me and had those conversations.
We knew that they had a lot in common with us, you know, that they were truly global. They do their business through customers; we do our business through customers. When they get involved, especially when they get involved in sports properties, the customer involvement is as high as it gets.
I feel comfortable in saying that I don't think there is a better sport in the world from a customer interaction than the LPGA. Occasionally we need to introduce ourselves to a Dow and prove it, because I think their standard for that will be high. We look forward to making sure that they feel as good about this in five years as they do sitting here today. We know we've got to earn your business every day, and not just the day in which we sign an agreement.
I think the ability to make sure we can help them move their business with their customers I think is really what the LPGA -- that's at our core.
KAREN S. CARTER: It's just such a natural partnership because we share many of same core values. You talked about inclusion and diversity being at our core. They are a global organization; we're a global organization. We're both very, very passionate about the advancement of women.
Again, we view golf as a critical business tool for us. It's a true opportunity for us not only to engage our customers in a unique way, but also the women in our organization. We believe knowing the game of golf is vital to our success going forward.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention again that the customers, customers, customers are a critical part of this partnership. It's an opportunity for us to engage them in a creative way, not only domestically, but around the world. That's a very important piece of this.
Q. What's your benchmark? Where are you starting with your golf? Any handicap yet?
KAREN S. CARTER: How high can you go?
Q. Do you have specific goals in mind?
KAREN S. CARTER: You know, so my dad played. My farther, who's unfortunately now deceased, played when I was a child and he was a great golfer. My husband is an outstanding golfer he would say; other people would say he's quite good as well.
My goal is to be an example, quite frankly. I have two granddaughters who are ten and seven years old. I really want them to be engaged in the game of golf. I will tell you that my first experience with gold, and it's probably why I have this mental block today, is my first experience with golf is at Medina.
Yeah. So let me just pause there for the affect.
MIKE WHAN: Playing experience?
KAREN S. CARTER: Playing experience. Dressed to a T. I thought that was going to help. I had the matching bag, the hat. I looked really good. It was a business event. I showed up to the course and everybody thought I could play.
That was like a bad idea. Never should have done that. I get up to the tee box and I am thinking if I can just hit it as hard as possible...
It was quiet. You know, it was quiet on the set, and I could have sworn there were a million people watching me and I swung as hard as I could and I missed the ball.
It was extremely intimidating. It's why I didn't continue. I would contend it's why a lot of people don't continue. So my goal is really just to be able to play. There are so many analogies for me in learning this game of golf. I think it's not about -- you can correct me if I'm wrong -- it's not the about swift or the strongest, but it is the one who can focus, who can practice, and who can endure.
So my goal is quite frankly to beat myself, to really be able if play with a certain amount of capability. I would love to be able to play with my husband. I think he's going to be quite surprised.
The other mistake I made was asking him to give me a lesson. I only lasted for like half a lesson before someone walked by and said, Are you guys married? The guy said, Yes, and he said, She might want to take a lesson from somebody else.
But I'm really excited again not just to be able to play, but to be able to engage in the important conversations that happen on the course. Again, hopefully be an example to not only young women, but also many professional women who haven't taken it up for one reason or another.
To answer your question, What's the highest handicap, and that's probably where I'm starting.
MIKE WHAN: No handicap. By the way, my first pro-am as commissioner I hit a wedge into a volunteers chest and had to be helped into the medical tent. It's all uphill from there.
KAREN S. CARTER: All uphill, all uphill.
MIKE WHAN: But I think your point about what golf can mean to young women is so important. I can't tell you the number of times players have come up to me and said, Hey, Commish, thinking this might be the end of my career, but I really don't know what else I can do. All I really know how to do is golf.
I say, Well, let me help you figure this out. So you're one of the best female athletes in the world in your sport. Your self-discipline is almost like no other person you or I know. You've overcome incredible obstacles throughout your career to stay at this elite level. You know that you will practice until you've got it right.
For all of us in the corporate world, when we're sitting in an interview, we're just praying we can find those traits. Players don't get that. They just think, I'm a great player. I don't know what I'd do.
But when I'm interviewing any young talent to join the LPGA, I'm just praying that they're self-disciplined, they can overcome obstacles, they have perseverance, and the game teaches that.
I think if you can learn that at a young age, no matter what you decided to for a living, it's going to make it better.
NANCY HENDERSON: All right, thank you both. We look forward to watching your progress.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports