Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Where's ASSE

2012 ASSE President Richard A. Pollock, CSP
The easy answer to the question posed by the headline is Des Plaines, IL. But that's really only a small part of the answer. Yes, Society headquarters is located in Des Plaines, but, at its core, ASSE is you and me: safety professionals dedicated to creating a culture of prevention. ASSE is our knowledge, our beliefs, our passion and the value of our work. It is located inside of each of us, across the country and around the world. We are ASSE.

I've often been asked, "What do I get for my dues?" That's a natural question, but it's really the wrong one to consider when discussing ASSE membership. It is easy to believe that ASSE is some "place" where Professional Safety is created, the website is managed, conferences and webinars are produced, surveys are distributed, standards are written and books are published. Certainly, those products and services are vital to our mission. Yet, it is members like you and me who write the books and articles, speak at the conferences and webinars, help develop standards, advise government, and establish Society goals and work to achieve them. We collectively create the body of knowledge and bring it to life.

Over the past 2 years, I have been invited often to speak about ASSE membership and "what's in it for me?" During those talks, I focus instead on what each of us can do for ASSE, the profession and ourselves to increase our value, and how we each can invest in our own success. I guess I have taken the lead from John F. Kennedy's famous inaugural call to action: "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country."

Consider this short tale from Charles Osgood. "This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done."

As members, pitching in is our responsibility. I urge you to view it as an expectation of membership. Across our 152 chapters representing members in more than 75 countries, hundreds of members step forward each year to volunteer their time, talent and resources to help others succeed. Through their service, they learn and grow, and increase the value of our profession.

ASSE needs each member to embrace volunteerism. I know firsthand that work and life demands pull us in many directions and that time is precious. But I also know that you will gain great personal and professional returns if you get involved. As an active volunteer, you will meet many knowledgeable professionals and develop a diverse network, putting solutions only a text, call or e-mail away. You will receive far more in return when you pay it forward. Investing in ourselves through ASSE involvement can pay big dividends, especially when we share our knowledge to help others to learn and grow.

Imagine the energy and creativity that ASSE could generate with nearly 35,000 members committed to developing and sharing ideas and innovations across our global community mobilized to create a safe, healthy world. Together, we can create a new ASSE culture that maximizes our strengths and creates exciting new opportunities. 

We are ASSE. We are the voice and thought leaders of this profession, and key contributors to our body of knowledge. Be part of a global community in which each member actively contributes and ensures that our profession remains vibrant. Invest in your membership and increase your value. Together, let's move off the plateau of complacency, create a culture of volunteerism and forge an even stronger future. Let's make this vision our reality.

ASSE needs each member to embrace volunteerism.You will gain high personal and professional returns if you get involved.

"I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody."
Lily Tomlin

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