Two years ago, I was entrusted by you to lead this organization. It was an honor I took very seriously because of what this organization has meant to me, both personally and professionally.
Along with the NAEM staff and officers, we set out to meet new economic challenges, while continuing to provide quality professional development and networking opportunities through innovative programming; an enhanced networking community; and realization of NAEM as the “go-to” organization for environmental, health and safety (EHS), and related sustainability resources.
During this time, NAEM has become the largest professional community for corporate EHS and sustainability decision-makers. We now have over 1,500 members, about 75 corporate sponsors and have recently completed the best-attended Forum in our history. The continued stability of the organization during a time of on-going economic challenges is a testament to the values the organization and the trust placed in us by you, our members.
Although much of the work done over the past two years was “behind the scenes,” it is now possible to see the exciting changes that have occurred to better position our organization for the future. Below is a brief summary on what we’ve achieved together:
- Innovative Programming: Our professional development programs have always been (and will be) by, for and about in-house EHS and sustainability practitioners. We’ve changed how our programs are delivered, however, by providing more online training opportunities, more targeted programming and by coordinating programming with the local chapters through our “un-conferences.” Our partners on the Affiliates Council also have started sharing best practices through web seminars and white papers.
- Enhanced Networking Community: NAEM is an active network where practitioners can openly share best practices and solutions to today’s corporate EHS and Sustainability management challenges. Our new website, electronic newsletters, social media tools and even this blog are some of the new ways we have begun to expand and enhance this networking community. The new website provides a tremendous opportunity to host discussions on relevant pressing topics and even enables us to do some small-scale benchmarking. We are also restructuring the chapters to remove much of their administrative burden and allow them to function as the great local networking groups they were initially set up to be.
- Realization of NAEM as a destination for EHS and related sustainability resources: For more than 20 years, NAEM has been advancing the best practices in corporate EHS and sustainability management. Yet surprisingly, we were not well known to the broader business community. Over the past two years, we’ve brought expertise in public relations and communications into the organization and through their efforts have begun to receive better recognition in the business community. We will also be using these efforts as a basis to reach out to the next generation of EHS and sustainability managers.
While my involvement with NAEM has been one of the highlights of my professional career, it has also impacted my personal life. Those of you have been to our events know that we are a tight-knit community that enjoys spending time together. Not only have I had the opportunity to network with some of the best minds in the profession, but I am proud to consider many of you my close personal friends.
So thank you again for giving me the opportunity to serve as your President and to give back a little to a group that has given me so much. I look forward to seeing you at the next event!