You may have seen Wyatt Bradbury’s name in a few different places recently. That’s no accident — this ASSP member has been actively seeking out ways to reach a larger audience.
“When I learn something new, see the world from a different perspective, or have a story that needs to be shared, I want to get it out through any means available,” says Bradbury, M.Eng, CSP, CHST, CIT, a professional member of our National Capital Chapter.
Bradbury coauthored an article with Daniel G. Hopwood, titled “Critical Considerations for Mentoring Relationships: A Phase Model Approach,” which was published in the June 2021 issue of Professional Safety; wrote the article “To Teach or To Coach: Navigating Through Approaches,” published in the April 2021 issue of Professional Safety; was featured on the Ted Speaks podcast in an episode titled, “To Teach or To Coach”; and contributed to the conversation on the Dust Safety Science podcast in an episode about the advanced safety engineering management program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Asked about his recent work, Bradbury offers his perspective on the importance of sharing messages about safety with a larger audience through these different mediums. “For me, I am passionate about the work that we do as professionals and want to help others impact the world in the biggest way possible,” he explains.
Bradbury sees a lot of value in sharing safety information through different mediums. “Just like we need to develop training for a diverse array of learning styles, I believe ideas should be communicated through a variety of mediums,” he says. “Some professionals might not prefer or have the time to read but can listen to a podcast while driving to sites. Others like to receive their development through live events and webinars like the PDC and other ASSP events.”
He says that a variety of mediums can enhance different aspects of the message. “Writing and presenting are suitable to a more academic approach whereas the podcast needs to be stories, microlearning and smaller bite-sized nuggets of information,” Bradbury says. “Stories come alive differently depending on the medium used and some emotions are more easily communicated through one approach or another.”
But how can someone get started doing all of this? In Bradbury’s case, he says he never expected to have so many articles published at this point in his career.
“As a graduate student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, my first graduate professor, Carla Silver, shared that I needed to begin looking at publishing an article,” he says.
Shortly after that, he says fellow ASSP members James Boretti and Hopwood encouraged Bradbury and his colleague Matt Law to share their experiences and ideas about mentoring and volunteer leadership succession planning through an article.
“We sat in the airport following the last day of Leadership Conference and had a draft knocked out by the time our delayed flight was boarding,” Bradbury says. That article, “A Changing of the Guard: Preparing the Next Generation of ASSP Leaders,” appeared in the July 2018 issue of Professional Safety.
That first article inspired Bradbury to go further. “Shortly thereafter, I took Professor Silver’s advice and turned one of my graduate papers into my second article and the first I wrote alone. From there I was hooked,” Bradbury says. “I found that I really enjoyed taking diverse ideas and examples from the world around us and linking them to safety; football coaching trees, swimming, the history of mentoring, my time working as a student, and other experiences yet to be shared present a story that contain a valuable nugget of insight for safety professionals.”
Bradbury has some words of encouragement for anyone interested in writing articles. “Just as we are a diverse collection of individuals, we need to maintain a diverse collection of ideas,” he advises. He encourages those who want to pursue writing to share their own particular voice and perspective. “Someone is bound to benefit from your ideas regardless of who you are, where you are in your career, or how polished you think you might be,” he says.
Another suggestion he has for safety professionals is to write within their capability. “Too often, I see my students writing with an unnatural voice because they think there is some need to impress,” he says. “The ASSP editorial team and technical writing committee exist to help you polish your ideas. Be genuine and share your experience, stories and lessons learned." Bradbury also recommends finding a partner to work with. "Find an established writer who you respect or someone who is looking to develop in the same way you are and collaborate utilizing your collective abilities, experiences and knowledge,” he says.
It’s often said that writing and publishing an article for your profession can help you gain recognition and advance your career, but Bradbury sees an even greater benefit. “This is a unique accolade that has probably one of the longest lasting impacts when compared to awards or even a presentation,” he says. “Writing for Professional Safety means that your ideas, insight and experience are captured, disseminated worldwide and then stored in academic databases that the next generation of safety professional can benefit from.”
For Bradbury, this influence on future practitioners through writing is linked to the OSH professional’s commitment to safety in the workplace. “Educating safety professionals and helping to develop our profession should not look all that different from the approach we take with our workforce,” he says. “Safety professionals have similar needs, desires and approaches to learning as everyone else.”
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