Ask the NAEM Board: What is the one skill you use every day but didn’t expect to?

Ana Fernandez

I started in college as a pre-Veterinary student with a major in Chemistry. Little did I know that after completing an internship in a Veterinary Hospital and completing a semester of animal science courses, I would realize I could not handle the “biology” of the practice (I couldn’t stand the site of blood). After leaving the pre-Vet program I stayed on course with the bachelors degree in Chemistry because I really liked it but I had no idea what to do with my degree after graduating.

After a year of teaching High School science (Chemistry, Biology and Physical Science), I realized I was not ready to teach science let alone to very young students, so I started looking for a job where I could use my Chemistry degree. More than 20 years later, I still love science and I am still in love with the environmental field that launched my career. Moreover, I still love teaching and do so on a daily basis.

Teaching is an essential part of my job and I enjoy it and love instructing the associates in my company. The training I do is not in a structured classroom setting but rather through the interaction with the different locations and associates during project meetings and audits. The interaction really goes a long way in creating understanding and compliance at the end of the day.

I never thought after that first year as High School Science teacher I would become a science instructor for the better part of my career and will probably end up teaching in a classroom again some day.

About NAEM Staff

The National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM), is a non-profit professional association that empowers corporate leaders to advance environmental stewardship, create safe and healthy workplaces, and promote global sustainability. As the largest network for environmental, health and safety (EHS), and sustainability decision-makers, we provide peer-led educational conferences and an active network for sharing solutions to today’s corporate EHS and sustainability management challenges. Visit NAEM online at

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