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Thriving Together

Christine Sullivan, CSP, ARM, 2022-2023 ASSP President
Jul 01, 2022

As my term as ASSP president gets underway, I am excited about the opportunity to work with and represent our members and the OSH profession. I am also proud to reflect the increasing diversity in our profession, and I am honored to continue our Society’s work to improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) throughout ASSP and across our profession. As some of you may know, DEI is not only something I support professionally, it is also an important element of my family life.

In recent years, ASSP and our Board of Directors have made strides in demonstrating our Society’s commitment to the principles of fairness, respect and equitable opportunity for all. Across our organization and within each of our member communities, our goal is to create safe and welcoming environments where differences such as race, ethnicity, class, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ability and education are not only accepted but celebrated. We want all members to be treated with respect, particularly those who are most frequently marginalized or silenced in other areas of their lives. We want to nurture a culture in which all stakeholders embrace opportunities to learn and grow so everyone can excel.

A fundamental goal of our ongoing efforts to update our operations, policies, culture, elections process and governance structure has been to remove barriers to engagement. We want to create an environment in which diversity of thought and experience is recognized and valued and in which our members feel welcome, safe, seen and heard. We have made progress, but there is much more to do.

In addition, as safety professionals, we must all work to integrate DEI into all aspects of our lives and approach every situation with that lens of empathy and acceptance. Doing so will enable us to influence change in our organizations and create lasting improvements in organizational performance.

Research clearly indicates DEI is a differentiator in business outcomes. In fact, according to research published by McKinsey and Co. in 2020, “The business case for inclusion and diversity is stronger than ever. For diverse companies, the likelihood of outperforming industry peers on profitability has increased over time, while the penalties are getting steeper for those lacking diversity.” Organizations that embrace diversity also report greater innovation and creativity, an ability to address problems more efficiently and make better decisions, and higher employee engagement and lower workforce turnover. 

In April 2019, we published “Women and Safety in the Modern Workplace,” a report based on our October 2018 summit that focused on key challenges facing women in the workplace. It includes recommendations on actions OSH professionals can take to create an inclusive culture, influence our organization’s hiring and retention practices, and establish formal forms of support such as mentoring, sponsorship and allyship. Each of us can use these recommendations to improve our efforts to support all workers.

ASSP is also committed to helping you deepen your understanding of DEI and how it affects workplace safety. Several sessions at our recent annual conference addressed this topic, including a plenary session that specifically explored equity and its role in improving worker safety. We also hosted a PPE fashion show in the exposition hall to highlight the need to go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to protective gear.

In addition, the Board of Directors recently appointed a task force to organize a virtual DEI summit. This group is chaired by Kimberly Gamble and its members are Christopher Hicks, Christina Roll, Bill Geddings, Stephanie Johnson, Robert Sharp, Ana Cammarata and D. Scott Vaughn. Please look for more details on this event soon.

ASSP’s motto is “Working together for a safer, stronger future.” To me, its message is clear. When we come together, work together and support one another, we can achieve many great things, including making the world of work safer for all.


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