September 2014

As chief elected officer of the Society, ASSE's president promotes the advancement of the Society and the safety profession, and represents ASSE before members, other relevant professional societies and various governmental agencies. Professional Safety shares his latest thoughts on the Society, the profession and its practice.

Read past messages in the President's Message Archive.

President's Message - August 2002

Our students and young professionals need dedicated, experienced members to help them with the daunting task of getting and succeeding at their first job.

2002-2003 ASSE President Mark D. Hansen, PE, CSP, CPE

Growing Our Young Professionals

At the House of Delegates meeting held recently in Nashville, we approved the addition of an eighth goal to the Society's strategic plan: "Establish and maintain a structured program to recruit, retain and nurture student members." This action recognizes the need for our members to step forward and mentor students as they join ASSE and enter the SH&E profession. Our students and young professionals need dedicated, experienced members to help them with the daunting task of getting and succeeding at their first job. I urge each of you to give back to our profession by guiding an eager student.

Before you take that step, consider these seven principles.

Teachability. Before agreeing to mentor someone, you must determine whether that person is teachable. Is s/he willing to learn and be open-minded? Humility is crucial in this process. The mentoree must be willing to be taught and willing to consider other people's experiences, judgments and viewpoints.

Persuasion. Diplomatic persuasion and the art of listening are close allies. By listening carefully, you can use another person's rationale to support your own point. This requires that you listen without interruption-and without simultaneously formulating a rebuttal or response. As a mentor, you must teach this diplomatic approach. A young professional often wants to "conquer the world" with his/her talent. You must help teach this up-and-comer to choose battles carefully-and fight them to win.

Patience. This attribute is often lacking in today's immediate-need society. To teach patience, you must illustrate the ability to use knowledge and leadership skills to intervene at the appropriate time. The ability to strike with an elegant response at the most-opportune time is a valuable skill.

Gentleness. A mentor must be meek, which is not to be confused with weak. Meekness is the judicious use of power. This attribute requires humility as well. As a mentor, you are not focused on yourself, and you must teach your mentoree the same.

Acceptance. In mentoring, this means that you unconditionally accept the other person. This helps the mentoree develop a positive belief about him/herself and his/her potential. Unconditional acceptance means you desire the best for the mentoree, do not judge him/her and give him/her the benefit of the doubt. What you get in return is loyalty.

Kindness. This means being caring and thoughtful, and acting with consideration, civility and concern. It means being kind when it is the hardest to do so-which is when a young professional needs it the most. Remember, you also teach kindness through your own behavior.

Integrity. Integrity is another attribute in short supply today. A young professional must learn to match his/her thoughts, feelings and beliefs with actions-s/he must learn to walk the talk. Again, you demonstrate this through your own behavior; if you are disingenuous, your true colors will eventually be revealed. Remember, the greater the integrity, the greater the power.

Mentoring is a lifelong process. Do it right and you are never done. I urge each of you to become a mentor in order to help nurture a future safety professional. The satisfaction you gain will remain with you forever.

Mark D. Hansen, PE, CSP, CPE