October 3, 2016
On September 21, 2016 the Northwest Center Continuing Education Program hosted a course called “Leadership in Health and Safety” designed to bring together students and professionals to learn about effective leadership in the field of health and safety. 45 participants spent the morning hearing from leadership thought leaders John Fauver, Fred Hutch, and Molly Breysse Cox, UW Foster School of Business Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking.
During the course students and professionals broke out into groups to practice establishing group norms, and to discuss failed leadership examples and potential solutions. Attendees were encouraged to reflect on their values, strengths, weaknesses, to identify their skills as leaders and areas where improvements could be made towards more effective leadership.
Students and professionals shared their personal stories of leadership failures in small groups, to help each other understand potential solutions for the future. Student Lauren Frisbie shared the challenges she faced training employees on proper Personal Protective Equipment and tools use in the field. She discussed with her group the difficulties of training youth, and received feedback on techniques she could use in the future to ensure understanding and create a positive learning environment. Lauren said, “being able to discuss leadership ideas and experience with people in the field” was the most valuable part of the course. The experience helped her “compare [her] perspective and hear about experiences [she] hadn’t thought of.”
Student Qinxue Li felt that the self reflection portion of the material was the most valuable to her. “I learned that reflection is as important as the experience itself…one can waste the experience of success or failure if he has no time of introspection” said Qinxue.
“I will push myself to practice what I learned form this course deliberately. For example, I’ve learned self-reflection is very important, I’d like to reflect on what has happened in the last few months or memorable experiences in the last few years and attempt to learn from them. I will keep practicing this until the process becomes an integral part of my way of thinking.”
Attendees at the course also heard from DEOHS graduate Stephanie Wong in the afternoon. Stephanie completed her BS in Environmental Health in 2008 and her MS in Exposure Science in 2010. She started working as a safety specialist at Boeing in 2010, and in 2012 transitioned into a position as one of the site’s industrial hygienists. After two years of industrial hygiene, she started working for the Design for Environmental Health and Safety group on Boeing’s newest airplane development program. Stephanie shared her leadership experiences since earning her MS, and inspired current students with her success stories. Stephanie talked to attendees about how she is working to “systematically incorporate Environmental Health and Safety into the DNA of the production system.”
Mike Ellis, Corporate Safety Manager for Apollo Mechanical, and Curt Malloy, Administrator for the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at Fred Hutch, also spoke to course attendees about their experiences in effective communication and safety leadership.
You can view course-related resources on the Continuing Education website, osha.washington.edu