Taking a New Approach to Professional Development for Our Multi-Disciplinary Function

As the co-chair of the Forum planning committee, I am excited to see the Forum program shaping up to be one of the best ones yet. To make this year’s experience fresh for those of you who know us well, and to meet the needs of those of you who are new to us, we’ve looked at the process in a new way.

The first innovation was in our collaboration. This winter the planning committee assembled in Dallas to spend a day talking through the leading edge ideas that the group had.

What came out of that brainstorming were four tracks that focus on the business needs that are driving our decisions, rather than on specific roles and responsibilities. This means that you won’t see a track on compliance or a track on sustainability because the professional challenges are more complex than that.

In the beginning, sustainability may have been abstract program that we had to deploy. Today, it is a part of our multi-disciplinary function that we manage, and an integrated part of our business. The real questions we all face, therefore, are not unique to sustainability or specific to EHS, but management challenges such as: How do we influence our leadership? How do we develop our core value strategy? Or what kinds of innovations do we see in sustainability? How do we get integrate our programs into our businesses?

Another key theme this year is leadership. Because many companies are no longer providing the type of training that our members need to become leaders, we have built in a number of sessions on this topic. It’s a need that NAEM has traditionally met, and one that will become increasingly important to the next generation of leaders who seek mentoring and support from our community.

We’ve also taken a fresh approach to the second day by including a set of interactive discussions that are sure to get you talking. One of these is a simulated stakeholder dialogue about a banned chemical, which I think will be a fun way to observe theories of stakeholder engagement in action. On Friday, we’ll take some more time for working group meetings and a tour of a Bell helicopter facility. I hope you’ll extend your trip to join us for these enriching learning opportunities. We have an amazing agenda with two keynote speakers announced. I am very excited to see both Andrew Savitz present about talent integration and sustainability culture and John Englander address our group with though-leading perspectives on climate science and the effect on financial and social impacts.

As always, the Forum will offer something for everyone, but I think you’ll find that this year’s agenda takes a fresh approach that will add unique value. If you haven’t done so already, I hope you’ll review the agenda, check out our lineup of speakers and register to join us in October.

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller is the Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety for Dean Foods. He is a past member of the NAEM Board of Directors and the co-chair of NAEM's EHS Management Forum planning committee.

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