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The Power of Saying Yes

Pamela Walaski, CSP, FASSP, 2024-25 ASSP President and ASSP Foundation Chair
Jul 03, 2024

Pam WalaskiAs I start my year as ASSP president, one of the themes I want to carry forward is engagement. I have long been focused on contributing to the greater good, making connections and expanding my impact beyond my daily tasks.

Throughout my career in safety and as a volunteer leader in ASSP and other organizations, I have experienced what I often call “the power of saying yes.” In my experience, accepting a volunteer opportunity or pursuing an elected volunteer role in ASSP has presented a tremendous opportunity to create a ripple effect in my career, my network and our profession.

We often think of volunteering as a selfless act of giving back. While it absolutely benefits others, it also delivers many personal rewards. When you volunteer, you open doors to new opportunities and experiences that can shape your professional journey in remarkable ways.

I would like to share a couple of personal anecdotes to illustrate my point. My “say yes” mindset is what led me to run for an elected position within ASSP. While I was uncertain if it was a good fit initially, several colleagues encouraged me to think about it. I ultimately decided to go for it and served as director-at-large on ASSP’s board from 2018 to 2021.

After those 3 years, I realized I had more to give. While it took a couple of tries, I was elected ASSP’s senior vice president, succeeding after 3 years to my current role as president, a position I am truly honored and humbled to hold.

None of these outcomes would have been possible had I shut the door on those opportunities. I recognize that not everyone shares the same aspirations or is able to commit the same amount of volunteer time. That is one reason we have created a wide range of volunteer opportunities within ASSP, many of which offer time-limited commitments. There are countless ways to get involved. Whether you have a few hours a month or can commit to a larger project, there is a volunteer opportunity waiting for you. The key is to find something that aligns with your interests and availability because when you volunteer for something you care about, the experience becomes more rewarding and impactful.

Throughout my career, I have viewed volunteering as on-the-job training that offers a great return on investment. Let me highlight just a few tangible benefits you will experience as a volunteer.

Be at the Forefront of Our Profession

  • Learn about trends. Connecting with OSH colleagues will give you insight on cutting-edge ideas and best practices.
  • Develop new skills. Volunteer roles enable you to practice project management, improve communication and build leadership skills.
  • Gain valuable experience. Volunteering on committees or projects directly translates into tangible skills you can leverage in your career.

Connect With Your Colleagues

  • Grow your network. Sharing ideas and experiences with fellow professionals creates a strong support system and fosters a sense of camaraderie.
  • Gain mentors. Experienced volunteers offer guidance, support and open doors to new experiences.
  • Interact with influencers. Building these relationships can lead to future collaborations and even job prospects.

Shape Our Future

  • Advocate for change. As a volunteer on committees or task forces, you help shape industry standards and practices.
  • Nurture the next generation. As a mentor, you share knowledge and inspire future professionals.
  • Promote OSH as a rewarding career. In your workplace and local outreach, you can showcase the value and impact of our work as OSH professionals.

Volunteering is so much more than another to-do. It is an enriching, transformative experience. Whether you are a seasoned member or just emerging in our profession, you can discover a wealth of value through active participation in our Society. Please take a few minutes to consider how you might “say yes” to volunteering. Be sure to visit to learn more. By contributing your time and talents, you will not only make a difference in the lives of others, you will also enrich your own life and career in countless ways.


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