Atthe age of 30, this ambitious young woman has already achieved more than many ofhercontemporaries. Now she'ssuccessfullyorganised several international conferences for C-level health&safety professionals. Starting the project from the bottom up, she has literally made the HSE Excellence Series the brand it is today.
You started working in the B2B field 4years ago as a producer of oil &gas conferences. What turned you on to HSE? Was there something about it that you couldn't resist?
The first spark of interest occurred back when I was tasked solely to work on Oil & Gas conferences. Being the industry with the highest risk factor, safety was clearly a huge issue. After several months I started to see that OHS people were very different, ambitious yet humanistic and ready to go the extra mile in their jobs. That was when I realised that their profession was something that clearly needed more focus.
Among health and safety professionals, the series has definitely rung a bell. What do you think has made them so successful?
Without any doubt, the hard work and dedication of everyone who has ever gotten involved with planning the event, starting with my management, who gave me enough space and understanding to be able to create something different and extraordinary;
Was there a memorable presentation or speech that you still like to look back on?
For sure I will never forget Jason Anker and his motivational talk in 2012. A young man who was left paralysed after a 10 foot fall from a ladder. His speech was the first, ever, which brought me to tears, right there at the conference.
One of the most enjoyable debates was also a Q & A session in 2013 with Professor Sidney Dekker from Safety Science Innovation Lab, Cary Cooper a distinguished Professor of Organisational Safety and Health, and chaired by Andrew Sharman.
There are usually some stereotypes regarding the professions of certain people. Finance people are said to be more conservative and reserved, IT guys geeky...Have you noticed something that is typical for HSE people?
These people are truly fun to be around. They love to talk, share their opinions and push boundaries. They have a witty sense of humour and are very concerned about giving back to the community. On top of that, they really love what they're doing, so you can feel the passion and dedication when speaking with them. They are simply trying to achieve what their profession strives for, to make the world a safer, healthier and happier place.
What was your biggest personal safety fail? Have you ever done anything, that is clearly against HSE norms?
Well, of course – safety wasn't on my mind when I was 25 :). I love to travel to developing countries, and as you might well be aware, safety is often not the top priority in many of these locations. I am sure that you have seen viral pictures of major safety fails at construction sites across Asia or grossly overcrowded public transportation in South America.
Unfortunately, people often tend to behave more recklessly while on vacation and I wasn't an exception. Nevertheless, speaking with safety guys & gals for such a long time has made me more risk aware and less anxious to speak up and inform people what can arise from certain situations. It's not always well received, but if it saves just one life, it will be well worth it.
Of all the big names in the field, who's the one you are really looking forward to meet in person and maybe have a chat with?
Well, this year I definitely look forward to meeting Dr. Jukka Takkala, and then of course Dame Carol Black who has dome some impressive research in the field of work and well-being, Dr. Walter Eichendorf, Jan Chmiel... Actually I really hope I will have the opportunity to speak personally with all of the speakers, because they have really interesting and ground-breaking things to talk about.
Coming up this May, HSE Excellence Europe will usher in its 8th Annual. What's the vision for the future?
We would like to get official support from ILO and EU-OSHA, which will help us develop the event further and cover some of the issues on their agenda as well.
And, of course, to grow the event not only in numbers, but in quality too. Despite the fact that our delegates claim the events excel, I do believe that we have still a lot to learn and improve in order to achieve true excellence.
The session you look forward to the most this year?
I am really excited about about all of our keynote debates, as they will provide a unique environment to discuss some of the most pressing issues relevant to a wide variety of stakeholders. Also our unique case studies from a diverse set of industrial leaders - Johnson & Johnson, Molson Coors and Lisi Aerospace.
On top of that, I'm really thrilled to meet Mr. Cesar Gamio from the Chopra Centre and witness his session on well-being and stress. As we know, stress is a major factor in the business these days, we have to put up with lots of deadlines and are constantly faced with working under pressure...He's a real “guru” in teaching people how to effectively handle stress & anxiety, which is something I am really looking forward to hearing.
I really believe that this year we've prepared the perfect mix of topics, speakers, special features and case studies so that all the attendees will leave enriched with both new knowledge and relevant perspectives that they will be able to benefit from.