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Engage in ASSE Member Communities

09/01/2017
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By Jim Smith, M.S., CSP, 2017-18 ASSE President 

One of ASSE’s goals is to help our members reach the highest level of performance. Through our member communities, ASSE connects great resources and great people, which enables each of us to engage with others on a global scale. Through our member communities, we have opportunities to put our passion to work at the local chapter level, at the industry/practice level, and across common interests related to characteristics such as age, gender and ethnicity. Each ASSE community offers a distinct opportunity to engage with other members. Let’s take a closer look at each and explore ways you might get involved.

Local Chapters

ASSE has long had a strong foundation of local chapters. Currently we have 147 chapters in the U.S. and nine global chapters. Like many of my colleagues, my first experience as an ASSE volunteer was at the local level. I was beginning my career and looking for ways to build my network, so I volunteered to serve as treasurer of the Gold Coast Chapter.

As my volunteer involvement grew over the years, I began to attend various regional operating committee meetings. To this day, I am inspired by the stories chapter leaders share about the programs these groups provide to members. These volunteer leaders make a difference by coordinating technical education programs, discussing emerging topics, sharing Society news and information, and so much more. Collectively, these volunteer chapter leaders represent the Society and reflect who OSH professional truly are.

As the new Society year unfolds, I encourge you to ask yourself some questions: “When was the last time I attended a local chapter meeting?” “Have I volunteered to speak on a technical topic at a meeting?” “Have I offered to host a technical tour at my plant?” “Could I contribute an article for the chapter website or newsletter?” Getting involved is easy. Even if you have limited time, your chapter has a role for you. Just raise your hand and say, “Let me lead, coordinate or assist with that.”

Practice Specialties

Practice specialties are another important ASSE community. Based on specific industries (e.g., utilities, construction) or practice areas (e.g., engineering, training and communications), these groups create networking opportunities and provide platforms for information exchange. 

Let me share a personal anecdote to illustrate the power of involvement in this community: To help a client address an issue related to sanitation truck blind spots, I reached out through my practice specialty network to find a member with expertise in this area. That member responded with a standard of practice and the name of a recommended vendor that consulted at no cost with my client and provided a solution.

Practice specialties also offer us tremendous opportunities to grow our expertise and develop as leaders. For example, we can contribute to the body of knowledge, participate in a webinar panel, provide insight on government affairs issues, comment on standards within an area of expertise, or deliver a practice-specialty-sponsored session at the annual conference. 

Common Interest Groups

ASSE’s common interest groups (CIGs) represent some of our Society’s fastest-growing member communities. These groups provide another means for us to network, share resources, and enhance our knowledge and skills. These groups are working to partner more closely with chapters to provide mentoring and leadership development opportunities at the local level. This is another opportunity for you to get involved.

ASSE connects more than 37,000 OSH professionals in 80 countries to a vast range of peers, resources and opportunities. Through these connections and our active participation in these communities, we are growing the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to create a safer, stronger future for workers around the world.

 

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