- Degree type: PhD
- Specialisation: Chemistry
While working on her thesis on organometallic chemistry, Despina enjoyed the camaraderie of being part of a PhD team, but she wanted to branch out from research, yet still be linked to ground breaking technology. A friend’s accounts of the opportunities for professional growth he had been exposed to Dow Chemical (Australia) and his business travel made an impression. Despina joined the huge science-driven company two weeks after she submitted her thesis. Twenty-six years later, she is still working and continues to thrive at Dow.
Despina started in the technical services division that handled Dow’s range of epoxy and composite resins. After two years, her role was expanded to the Asia-Pacific region. Having a graduate diploma in Japanese helped her in Asia, as did her PhD.
"I knew when I finished my PhD in chemistry at Monash, I wasn’t destined to wear a lab coat forever."
After three years in her first role, Despina approach her supervisor and indicated she was seeking further challenges. As a development opportunity, she undertook a concurrent financial assignment, becoming the right-hand person to the group’s business analyst. This gave her a new set of commercial skills and a broader understanding of how the company ran, and saw the start of her movement through Dow to more senior roles, both here and overseas.
A firm believer in continuous learning and mentoring others, Despina is also a keen advocate in promoting the study of chemistry and science at local high schools and at Monash University. A new role as Regional President for Dow Central Europe based in Greece is proving to be “a fabulous opportunity, both personally and professionally,” for Despina.