Each year, The Synergist asks candidates for the AIHA Board of Directors to participate in a candidates’ forum. This year’s candidates were asked to respond to the following question: AIHA’s 2023 member survey revealed that only 15 percent of early-career professionals receive all the resources they need and that many seek training in leadership skills and the latest technologies. Many also face barriers to engagement with AIHA, including time and money constraints. If you were elected to the Board of Directors, how would you recommend AIHA address these needs for both students and early-career professionals? The candidates’ responses to this question appear on the following pages. For more information on the results of the member survey, read AIHA CEO Larry Sloan’s post on SynergistNOW.
This year’s ballot includes two candidates for vice president, one for secretary-elect, and four for director. Instructions on how to vote in the election will be emailed to members this month. For more information, please contact Thursa Pecoraro.
Srinivas Durgam, CIH, CSP Director HSE, CBRE Global Workplace Solutions
As a global industrial hygienist in a multinational company, I've harnessed AIHA resources to mentor four CIHs in emerging markets, an incredibly fulfilling endeavor. AIHA serves as a catalyst for talent development, championing connectivity and community building for students and early-career professionals (SECPs).
Expanding student local sections, a dedicated SECP committee, and mentoring program creates a rich tapestry of global networking opportunities for SECPs. AIHA just doesn’t offer resources; it fosters transformative experiences. From leadership workshops to technical committees, these platforms provide safe “learning, seeing, and doing” opportunities for SECPs. My personal journey—serving as a chair for technical committees, establishing a local section in New York, and graduating from AIHA's Future Leaders Institute (FLI)—highlights the profound impact of these opportunities on leadership growth. AIHA offers affordable SECP memberships, discounted publications, and global accessibility to OHS content.
I believe in building upon AIHA’s strong initiatives. I envision inspiring SECPs by showcasing personal success stories to encourage involvement in local sections and committees, thereby accelerating their leadership journey.
Investment in an enhanced digital experience (mobile and easy to navigate) and targeted communication will amplify SECP engagement. A tiered membership model for SECPs is worth exploring.
Finally, forging partnerships with content providers in areas like data engineering and leadership unlocks new learning and growth avenues for SECPs and AIHA alike.
Nancy M. McClellan, MPH, CIH, CHMM Principal Industrial Hygiene Expert and CEO, Occupational Health Management Inc.
Growing our very rewarding profession is at the heart of all my volunteer efforts, and I know that the future AIHA is up to the challenge of providing student and early-career professional (ECP) resource and leadership training solutions that are multifaceted and collaborative with critical stakeholders.
To begin, I know from my work with multiple university IH programs that students do indeed seek professional resources and guidance upon entering the workplace from their university, AIHA local sections, and professional connections. Making currently available and continually emerging technical resources and leadership training opportunities glaringly apparent and truly economical is an AIHA leadership challenge. AIHA leadership will work with stakeholders such as the professional development committees, university student and local sections, and AIHA membership staff to amplify the efforts to meet this challenge in a meaningful and measurable manner. One such solution is the newly launched AIHA Principles of Good Practice (PGP) Initiative. The PGP initiative provides ECPs guidance on what is technically and professionally expected of them. I wish I had PGP for all the practice areas when I was an ECP! Early-career professionals must also have a voice. Offering students and ECPs a significant place at the leadership tables dovetails, in very meaningful ways, with diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives already in progress at AIHA.