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April 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 - October 2011

Stepping Into Our Future

2011 ASSE President Terrie S. Norris, CSP, ARM, CSPI

Over the past year, we've been looking back at where we started and how far we've come. In 1911, ASSE was a small group of insurance inspectors in New York City. In 2011, ASSE is a diverse group of more than 34,000 members in more than 70 countries. We've grown from a local group into a global organization. We no longer have "national" committees, we have "Society" committees composed of members from around the world. The term national no longer encompasses who we are or the members we serve. It's exciting to see how far we've come.

ASSE is strong thanks to the foundation laid over the past 100 years. Our history provides us with a road map that guides us toward achieving our vision to be a global advocate of safety professionals and a leading voice of this profession. ASSE emerged in the wake of the devastating Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The tragic deaths of 146 young workers moved people toward meaningful action and forever changed workplace safety. That was our beginning. Our founders knew that more could be done to protect workers. And it is that spirit which we proudly carry on today.

Many things have changed since ASSE was formed. Our lives no longer resemble those of our founding members. But the fundamental vision that brought them together—the desire to create and sustain safe, healthy workplaces—continues to unite us all. Thanks to the efforts of ASSE and its members, corporations around the world are embracing safety as good business. This has spurred the need for safety expertise across all business sectors and around the world.

Getting where we are today did not happen by magic or happenstance. It took planning and the hard work of thousands of members volunteering their time and sharing their passion to make a difference. It was best said anonymously, "The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created—created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating."

One of our goals for the future is to be the recognized source of SH&E knowledge and resources, to raise the bar on the practice of safety through knowledge sharing. This month, we will take another step toward that goal when we launch ASSE's body of knowledge tool at the Leadership Conference. This tool will compile current knowledge in one location where it can be easily searched and accessed. Think about that for just a moment. How many times have you searched for SH&E information on the Internet only to find yourself drowning in useless information that left you starving for knowledge? Our body of knowledge tool is a life preserver in an ever-growing sea of information.

When the tool launches, it will contain papers gleaned from ASSE professional development conference proceedings, practice specialty newsletter articles, Professional Safety articles and more than 200 articles gathered from other sources. It will also incorporate glossaries from ANSI A10 and Z359.0. To facilitate quick retrieval of pertinent information, it is searchable by more than 2,300 keywords.

This is only the beginning. Our knowledge tool will offer new features as technology evolves. Its value and resources will continue to grow as our members create new materials and as new content is added from other sources.

Back in 1911, our founders probably wondered what ASSE would look like in 2011 and beyond, much like we all wonder what ASSE will be in another 100 years. But as Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, "As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it." Our future is bright, not because of magic or happenstance, but because of each of you and your imagination, passion and commitment.

"The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created—created first in mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating." --Anonymous

One of ASSE's goals for the future is to be the recognized source of SH&E knowledge and resources. This month, we will take another step toward that goal when we launch ASSE's body of knowledge tool.

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