Our Women in Safety Excellence (WISE) Common Interest Group has a long-standing mentoring program that matches emerging professionals with seasoned professionals. For Michelle Arias (right), the program provided a significant career boost.
“The mentoring program was the bridge that led me to an amazing opportunity offered to me at The Walt Disney Company,” she says.
Arias started her OSH journey in 2020 when she enrolled in the OSH bachelor's degree program at Columbia Southern University (CSU).
“During the start of my program, I learned about ASSP and became a member of both the Pensacola and Mobile chapters,” Arias says. “Student members receive wonderful benefits, one of which allowed me to sign up for the WISE Common Interest Group. I attended meetings and events, which allowed me to network with local safety professionals in different fields.”
In early 2020, Arias returned to Orlando, FL, but continued her education through CSU’s online program.
“With that move, I transferred to the Central Florida Chapter and retained my WISE membership. I came across the mentoring program on the WISE webpage and decided to sign up,” she says.
Soon after, she was matched with mentor Gabriella Pace, a safety professional at Walt Disney World, and they began to meet one-on-one each month. That relationship led to an opportunity to shadow her for a day.
“Through Gabriella’s mentorship, I learned about the Walt Disney World Professional Intern program,” she explains.
After applying and being accepted, her first opportunity to participate in the program was Spring 2022 but that coincided with her maternity leave. She reapplied and was accepted again. Arias began her occupational safety and health internship with Disney this month.
“I have ASSP, the WISE mentorship program and my mentor, Gabriella, to thank for this wonderful opportunity," she says. If I could give students in safety any advice, it would be to not only sign up for the ASSP, but to sign up for a Common Interest Group and/or attend monthly meetings. You never know who you may meet and what opportunity is in store for you!”