Volunteer leadership is the backbone of the American Society of Safety Professionals.
That’s why we work hard to showcase our volunteers’ contributions every single day and support their initiatives. National Volunteer Week (April 7-13) gives us a great opportunity to highlight these passionate and important individuals and to encourage all volunteers to take a well-deserved bow. We polled ASSP volunteer leaders this month to see how they stay inspired. The answers indicate that our members are showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, 73 percent of respondents said their volunteerism is driven by these four important factors:
- A commitment to “paying it forward”
- Having a voice in the future of the safety profession
- Networking with peers
- Honing their leadership skills to succeed at work
Many volunteers have advice for future leaders, often derived from experience making workplaces safer and stronger. Here’s what some ASSP volunteer leaders said.
1. Collaborate with and recognize your team.
“Our ability to influence the future of safety is interdependent on others who have a passion to make a difference. We can make a difference acting as one, but we can influence a revolution acting together to make our future a safer place.”
-T.B., Texas, U.S.
“I know [one] thing that motivates greatly, and that’s recognition, which can take many forms, but seems to be 100 percent effective and great for morale!”
-C.M., Ohio, U.S.
2. Keep your eyes on the ultimate prize.
“Volunteering is a great way to inspire, not only others, but yourself to do more, be more and experience more. I find that volunteers get more out of it than they give. There is nothing more gratifying than knowing you are making a positive difference in this world, and there is no better way to do it than to raise your hand.”
-J.R., Massachusetts, U.S.
“Contributing to the success of others in keeping every individual safe and sound is the ultimate prize in the health and safety field.”
3. Volunteer to further your professional development.
“If you can lead a team of volunteers, then you can lead almost any team in a traditional work environment. You also learn to manage a process, establish budgets and problem solve. Volunteer leadership is an amazing way to learn, give back and expand your professional network.”
-D.R., Kansas, U.S.
“I enjoy the opportunities to both mentor and be mentored through interactions in the organizations I volunteer to support.”
-D.L., Idaho, U.S.
4. Let others benefit from your background and experience.
“I can now give back, not only helping resolve problems here and now, but also in the future with improved safety standards, recognition of best practices and applying lessons learned from good event/incident investigatory procedures.”
-T.H., Connecticut, U.S.
“I’m always looking for opportunities to give back, especially to inner-city/urban students from underprivileged backgrounds.”
-J.P., Arizona, U.S.
“I have been helped and mentored by so many volunteer leaders. I want to pay that back.”
-T.P., Pennsylvania, U.S.
5. Lean on and elevate your ASSP member network.
“I have been an ASSP member for 28 years. I work to share expertise and mentor new leaders where possible. The ASSP network has provided a long-standing group of peers to share expertise and friendship.”
-J.B., California, U.S.
“The community of ASSP volunteers is really great and I enjoy being part of it.”
-A.W., Massachusetts, U.S.
6. Share practical tips and techniques with colleagues.
“Being a volunteer leader raises my profile in the profession and enhances my technological capability and credibility with clients. It works!”
“There is so much to be gained by volunteering. Exposure amongst your peers and being recognized as a leader is probably the best reason. At that point, you’re participating in the community that drives the future of the profession.”
7. Practice your leadership skills.
“When I first got involved with ASSP, it was to help out in a small way. As I progressed on this journey, there were opportunities to help the chapter and region while gaining leadership skills (negotiating, taking initiative). It was an opportunity to try things in a safe and supportive environment surrounded by other passionate safety professionals that I consider my friends.”
-D.S., Minnesota, U.S.
“Volunteering takes individuals from around the world and places them together for a bigger cause to help others. I have been blessed as a safety professional, and volunteering gives me a chance to help others succeed with their safety profession goals.”
-M.R., Oklahoma, U.S.
8. Know that your actions affect others.
“Safety is a field where I can be proactive. One never knows how many injuries were avoided due to information shared or actions taken.”
-W.M., South Carolina, U.S.
“Service to others is a two-way street, and it feels good to serve others while experiencing nothing in return.It’s like feeding someone who is hungry and sharing a meal.”
-K.M., California, U.S.
9. Use ASSP conferences to recharge and recommit.
“My involvement with ASSP truly began when my chapter president sponsored my attendance at the Leadership Conference. . . . Volunteering is truly the gift that keeps on giving and helps us grow as safety professionals.”
-R.K., Michigan, U.S.
10. Celebrate each step of your professional journey.
“The work I have put into ASSP has paid me back one hundred fold. It has been a wonderful experience.”
-H.E., New York, U.S.
“Giving back to the industry is part of the commitment I made long ago. Knowing that I can continue to serve the industry, beyond who I meet with every day, is part of my professional purpose.”
-R.M., South Carolina, U.S.
Interested in serving as a volunteer leader?
Fill out this quick form and tell us how you would like to be involved.