Last fall, ASSP formed the board-level Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force. More than 80 members with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives applied. We ultimately selected 12 members who have experience with DEI initiatives or have led organizational change efforts: Kristin Amlie, DeAundra Brabham, Ryan Clayton, Tiffany Felix, William Geddings, Bryce Griffler, Kahlilah Guyah, Krystle Hodge, Massimo Navarretta, Oscar Paredes, Monique Parker and Christine Waters. I cochair the group along with ASSP CEO Jennifer McNelly.
The DEI Task Force is charged with guiding the development of a recommended strategy and action plan to help ASSP better support our increasingly diverse membership. In the past few months, task force members have shared their experiences, participated in leadership education and reviewed ASSP structure. The group has also developed a list of DEI definitions, provided input to our existing DEI Society Operating Guideline (SOG), approved a DEI framework and identified potential action items in three categories: 1. ASSP culture; 2. organizational policies/procedures; and 3. business operations. Examples of these items include clarifying the role of chapters in promoting DEI; reviewing policies for selecting instructors; and collecting diversity data and developing accountability metrics.
Based on that work, task force members and all of those who applied to join it were surveyed to prioritize the action items and the categories. The resulting recommendations will be presented at the April 15 board meeting, along with the revised SOG and a proposed communications plan. Any board-approved priorities will then be assigned to specific member work groups that will carry these important efforts forward.
I am incredibly thankful for the work of the DEI Task Force. Below, read quotes from several members of the group about the kinds of changes they expect to see in the Society during the next few years.
Although the task force itself will be sunsetted after the board presentation, all task force members and those who have expressed interest will continue to be engaged, as DEI is fundamental to how the Society supports our members. This is a long-term effort that will take time just like any culture change. But it is critical to the success of the Society and our profession. We are committed to DEI as an integral part of everything we do. Let’s each commit to welcoming all members, making connections and respecting their experiences.
"Just as every worker deserves to go home in the same condition or better than when they arrived at work, I believe every safety professional deserves the same, and that includes our mental and emotional well-being. One way we can help with that is to create an environment of belonging within our Society. Every person should be treated equally, with kindness, respect and as we would each want to be treated." William Geddings
"I hope we are able to raise awareness among our ASSP colleagues so that we can be mindful of our cultural differences in the workplace . . . and we can hold each other accountable." Oscar Paredes
"Practicing inclusion and acknowledging/closing equity gaps will drive ASSP to continue to be the premiere OSH organization. I expect this journey to be reflected in the innovative programs that ASSP offers, as well as in the faces and backgrounds of those individuals who sit in leadership positions." Bryce Griffler
"I desire an ASSP that instills appreciation for the challenges that make us unique. I look forward to being a part of a culture that not only makes members feel included but is involved in leveraging our differences to provide increased safety awareness and professional development for its members." Christine Waters
"I believe ASSP as an organization and within leadership roles will look more like the employees we serve every day." Monique Parker
"To fulfill our mission of elevating the value of the safety profession, ASSP must create a community where all members are valued. We will need strong leadership and active participation from all members." Kristin Amlie
"I expect ASSP to provide the communication and leadership skills/tools that promote diversity education and communication guidelines. I then expect these practices to become a requirement for all leaders within the organization." Ryan Clayton