Ashland’s Carolmarie Brown tapped for top Women in Business by Delaware Today and the Delaware Business Times

08 December 2023

The annual award singles out women whose contributions to the Delaware business community are both unique and impactful; the depth and breadth of Carolmarie Brown’s experience at Ashland, DuPont and more underscore the powerful impact women can have on business 

As a female business executive, strategist, marketing and communications expert and philanthropist, Carolmarie Brown understands how to shape the brand and reputation of multinational companies, drive business growth and put the power of Ashland’s people and products in the hands of customers and communities around the world. 

Brown, Ashland’s VP corporate affairs, marketing, brand and business communications has a passion for problem-solving that is well-served in a company whose purpose is to responsibly solve for a better world. But what makes her different is her unique ability to jump across functional lines, from the boardroom to the STEM classroom, from communications to business operations, and from philanthropy to employee engagement with both ease and understanding. Brown has led the development of a comprehensive philanthropic strategy, Responsible Solvers, that allows Ashland leaders and local employees to customise their philanthropic community programmes to fit the unique needs of countries and cultures from Thailand to Texas and Newark to New Delhi. It’s a business philosophy that has paid significant dividends with a focus on bringing more women and minorities into the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) that taps the business leaders of tomorrow today.

When Ashland took on a new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy that drove those disciplines deeper into the company at every level, it was Brown who spearheaded the communications plan, bringing a technical strategy to life, and shining a spotlight on the people behind the products, employees who are experts in manufacturing, sourcing, sales and research and development. By 2022, Ashland’s ESG presence became a defining feature of the $2.5 billion company, with a digital presence whose audiences increased by more than 1700 percent in one year alone.

Throughout her career, she has helped companies achieve strategic objectives with marketing know-how and a keen eye on the bottom line. She’s a brand builder with business acumen, who led the evolution of the Ashland corporate brand strategy, positioning and creative identity, post-IPO of Valvoline. The work won a REBRAND® 100 Award of Distinction and an Ashland Chairman’s Award.

Prior to Ashland, Brown’s business accomplishments include a 25-year career at DuPont in various roles, including marketing, sales, communications, issues management, public relations, new business and product development, brand management and licensing. She was responsible for some of DuPont’s most profitable brands, including Teflon®, Lycra®, Corian®, and STAINMASTER®. Carolmarie began her professional career as a child model and in broadcasting and advertising, and previously worked with the Kraft Dairy Group and Dow Consumer Products. All of this gave her a foundation to build a powerful and influential career.

“I am deeply honoured by this recognition,” Brown explains. “The truth is, I am a part of an amazing team of solvers from every corner of the world in a company that enables everyone to bring their authentic selves to work. The fact that I get to help create and shape these strategies is a testament to our CEO, whom I deeply admire, and to the mentors, both women and men that I have had throughout my 35-year career. And that passion for problem solving at Ashland means we get to work on some of the most profound problems facing the world from climate issues and disease to sustainable sourcing and diversity. But nothing is as rewarding as seeing young women today, aspiring to business leadership, who like my own daughters have become interested in STEM. These young ladies are our future – the next generation of solvers, and I am happy to help them on their paths as leaders and as women.”

“Carolmarie is modest about her accomplishments, but the reality is the knowledge, visionary creativity and passion she brings to her job and to her life inspire more people than she knows,” said Guillermo Novo, chair and CEO, Ashland. “She is an integral part of Ashland’s executive team and of the surrounding community. While we are not surprised by this recognition, we are proud that others see the breadth of who she is and all she has accomplished.”

Brown and 39 other women will be recognised at a ceremony on December 6, 2023 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront, Wilmington, Del. The honorees were chosen from more than 300 entries spanning a wide range of industries and roles across Delaware.

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