Ever since I can remember I have been fuelled by a persistent burning desire to grow, evolve and expand what people think is possible.
Starting as a young and enthusiastic 20-year-old HSEQ (health, safety, environment and quality) Coordinator eager to make a big impact, I quickly realised that there was a strong negative association with HSEQ.
From people’s response to HSEQ team members showing up “what have we done this time?!” (said in a negative and indifferent tone) to the disdain on people’s faces when a new piece of paper was shoved in their faces’ or a new slogan was spruiked across the business (‘safety first’, ‘zero harm’, ‘safety is our number one priority’…yep you get it!).
All this in the name of ‘health’ and ‘safety’?! I must admit I was bewildered! I thought my role was going to be about human connection, people’s wellbeing, listening and caring about people and make a real difference in the world.
As someone with a high degree of care for the wellbeing of others and a desire to see them thrive, it was very disturbing to witness through my interactions with workers in the field the dysfunction of traditional HSEQ practices and how they negatively impacted the same people they were supposedly trying to help.
I was determined to find a way to create a win/win. I believed there had to be a way to benefit both the wellbeing of individuals and improve the performance of organisations, and I was driven to find it, no matter what it took.
Born with natural curiosity, eagerness for learning and ability to think critically and creatively, I sought solutions from various fields of study, innovating multiple new ideas and strategies to carve out a unique path as a leader within the HSEQ profession.
I became passionate about learning from and developing a cross-disciplinary approach to improving work, safety and performance drawing on solutions from various fields including safety science, behavioural, social and positive psychology, neuroscience, organisational design, business management, complex system thinking and so on.
The more I learnt and the more connected I was with other practitioners and thought leaders the more inspired and driven I became. As someone who wants the best for individuals and organisations, I realised that there were so many opportunities to improve our profession, our industry and our organisations.
I decided to collaborate with thought leaders, researchers and academics and partnered with universities, organisations, industry groups, and practitioners globally to improve health and safety research and practice so together we could move the industry forward.
One of the greatest challenges I’ve found in trying to help organisations improve is a problem I call the ‘translation gap’.
The ‘translation gap’ is the difference between the most effective practices determined by the latest evidence-based research and the practices that companies are actually employing and trying to implement.
I realised that companies tend to hold on to, invest in and implement, strategies that are outdated and no longer relevant to today’s complex workplaces. At best, this results in certain practices being ignored (becoming the thing people should do but no one really does) or at worst, highly unethical practices that result in people’s lives being negatively impacted.
To find a solution to closing the ‘translation gap’, my focus has been on developing a high level of skill and leadership in the ability to listen deeply to current challenges, learn from them, and innovate new evidence-based solutions to activate positive change.
Of course, this hasn’t been easy. Companies and careers have been built on these very practices that myself and others are trying to evolve into something more practical, more effective and more HUMAN.
With every hurdle to be jumped and ever difficult conversation to be had however is an opportunity for growth. An opportunity to make greater sense of the world together and find a more valuable way forward.
In doing so this has led to considerable progress being made either by way of significant-high impact/high-value strategies being employed or small “2-degree shifts”. After all, change happens one conversation at a time.
Fast forward to the present moment and I continue to have a burning desire for constant learning, improvement and evolution so I can implement as much of the new research as possible into organisations. My passion for change is always driving me forward to help improve outcomes for others.
I believe it’s my role as a leader to extract the immense wisdom and greatness that is unique to every individual and to help create the conditions for people and organisations to thrive.
I am a knowledge seeker and free thinker who is daring greatly to affect change.
Will you join me in the arena?