This March, Canadian Occupational Safety magazine recognized women who are thought leaders in the OSH field with the Top Women in Safety 2021 awards. Two ASSP members were honored: Denise Howitt, CRSP, CRM, and Eldeen Pozniak, CRSP, CMIOSH.
The awards were presented during the magazine’s second annual Women in Safety Summit. Nominators were asked why they thought the person they nominated was a woman of influence; how the nominee has contributed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the safety and health sector; and additional details on why this person should be considered for the distinction.
Howitt is a member of our International Chapter, and Consultants, Global Operations and Public Sector practice specialties. She is also a member of our Women in Safety Excellence Common Interest Group.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as a top woman in safety,” she says. “This became even more meaningful when I learned that the initial nomination was submitted by the worker cochair of the university’s joint health and safety committee.”
Howitt stresses that staying informed is the best way to succeed in the safety profession. "One of the best ways to do this by getting involved with professional associations,” she explains. “Volunteering provides immeasurable opportunities to enhance personal and professional competency. It is also the best way to build a solid professional network that you can call on when you need information, advice, support and mentorship.”
Pozniak is a professional member of ASSP's Arizona Chapter, as well as a member of our Consultants, Global Operations and Risk Management practice specialties. “I am honored and humbled. Most of us do not go into safety to win awards or be recognized; we are in this profession to make a difference,” Pozniak says. “My purpose in life is to make the world a better place, a safer place. This honor means that I am living my authentic self and being visible in attitude, action and results. This tells me I am on the right path of making this world a better place.”
Pozniak describes how she does this through her professional activities: safety consulting, where she works to ensure that everyone goes home at the end of the day; keynote speaking, where she works to inspire, motivate and educate people; and volunteering with her local and global community to elevate the profession through her work with ASSP, Canadian Society of Safety Engineering and other safety organizations.
“This really honors all the strong inspirational women in my life, as I want to continue their example and build on the opportunities they gave me to set my path and embrace my epic grand adventure of life,” she says. “Being recognized in such a way just motivates me and inspires me to continue and to give more.”
Pozniak describes how safety is a passion driven career and says that young women should not be afraid to show that passion to help people go home better at the end of the day. Her advice for women entering the workforce is to be curious.
“Continuously expand your technical and leadership knowledge, expand and grow your emotional intelligence and your capabilities,” she recommends. “Be curious about your workplace and what they need from you. Look deep to uncover opportunities for improvement, to critically think finding solutions and add value.”
Like Howitt, Pozniak also recognizes networking as a valuable skill. “By building relationships you can collaborate and elevate your capabilities and your causes,” Pozniak says. “You can then leverage your networks as it brings strength and knowledge, and it will lead to amazing opportunities that you may not have had if not.”
To women in the OSH profession, Pozniak recommends “surround yourself with those who will lift you up. You need mentors to help you through those unsure times, you need champions who will speak your name when you are not in the room, and you need to be those for others in the profession.”
Member News stories share how our members and communities are connecting with safety, each other and their communities. Let us know about your activities and community projects.
Connect with us.