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Acclaimed Harvard professor Dr. Mahzarin Banaji will deliver the keynote at the 60th annual conference

WASHINGTON (June 20, 2017) – The Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) of the American Chemistry Council today announced Dr. Mahzarin Banaji, a renowned Harvard University psychology professor, will deliver the keynote at the 2017 Polyurethanes Technical Conference on Oct. 2, 2017. Dr. Banaji will examine the importance of diversity and inclusion in relation to the STEM disciplines, with special relevance to the plastics and polyurethanes industry, and how companies can help plan a course of action to differentiate our industry from others. The conference will take place from Oct. 2-4, 2017, at the New Orleans Marriott in New Orleans.

“We are excited to have Dr. Banaji share her experience on how the polyurethane industry can drive innovation and attract and retain new talent in this evolving world,” said Lee Salamone, senior director of CPI. “I am grateful to CPI member BASF for its support of this keynote presentation.”

Dr. Banaji is Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, where she has been named Harvard College Professor for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Prior to teaching at Harvard, she was Reuben Post Halleck Professor of Psychology and was awarded Yale’s Lex Hixon Prize for Teaching Excellence.

She currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard on Faculty Development and is the Chair of the Department of Psychology at Harvard University.

Her presentation, titled: Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, is based on the science of how humans make decisions and is intended to broaden mindsets, change behaviors and spark interactive discussion with leaders in the polyurethane industry.

In addition to delivering the keynote, Dr. Banaji will also be the featured guest at a follow-on workshop on diversity and inclusion. This interactive session is meant to explore key issues and help companies plan a course of action to further distinguish the polyurethanes industry and enable the ability of member companies and audience members to attract, develop and retain key talent and drive innovation. Dr. Banaji will share information on best practices, what is working and what other companies have done in the past to address diversity concerns. Audience members from the keynote interested in having more opportunity for interaction and Q&A, the broad range of conference attendees as well as corporate diversity and inclusion officers are all encouraged to join this interactive session on Oct. 2 from 12-1:30 p.m. Seats are limited for this luncheon workshop.

The conference features more than 60 technical presentations by industry experts and government officials, as well as 14 technical sessions on a range of topics, including automotive applications, construction applications, polyurethane chemistry and renewables, among others. Register before August 31, 2017 to take advantage of early-bird registration.

The 2017 Polyurethanes Technical Conference, the longest-running polyurethanes conference in North America, will also feature CPI’s Polyurethane Professional Development Program, the Polyurethane Innovation Award and a Table Top Exhibition. For a full schedule of events, click here.

For more information on the conference, visit CPI's website. Get the latest updates and conference news on Twitter by following @accpolyurethane and using the hashtag #PolyCon2017 to join the conversation. You can also share information about the conference with your network on LinkedIn.

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