Encamp has launched a campaign we call Women of EHS, and I’m honored to be one of its first contributors. The campaign’s aim is to highlight women in our industry who’ve accomplished amazing things — and who continue to do so.
Are we “trailblazers”? Perhaps, although most women in this industry don’t view themselves that way. For other women like me, we simply believe the environment must be protected, and that what we’re doing to protect it is important. That’s why I made environmental science my career. It’s also why I came to Encamp.
For Tier II and EPCRA reporting, Encamp developed a first of its kind Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for compliance management “end-to-end.” To date, the Encamp platform has made us the largest third-party filer of EPCRA Tier II reports in the world.
More than that, however, Encamp has put women in some of our company’s most strategic roles. Senior Environmental Scientist (there are two of us). Director of Compliance. Solutions Engineer. In an organization of just 30 people, we might not be trailblazers, but we are certainly cornerstones.
And within the EHS industry, we’re not the only ones.
For our Women of EHS effort, several other women have already agreed to share their stories. We also invite you to tell yours. Here’s mine.
How did you get into the environmental space? A passion / fell into it?
Like many in the industry, I’ve always had a passion for the environment and a love of animals. I began my journey in college at Texas A&M (whoop!) wanting to become a veterinarian, but after two years, I realized that career path wasn’t my true calling. I shifted my focus on studying Environmental Science and haven’t looked back since. I knew immediately I had found my niche. I started my career at an environmental consulting company shortly after graduating.
Did you have any mentors along the way? Anyone you looked up to? Other women in your field or at the company you work for?
I’ve had the honor of working with some incredible, smart, inspiring women over the years. I now get to work with quite a few of them again at Encamp!
Find the right mentor…
- Know what you want to accomplish professionally
Work SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound — to create effective goals. Increasingly, women are assuming greater EHS roles. Why not be next?
- Make the ask
Be clear about your goals, why you think this person is the right mentor for you, and what you expect from them. Many high level EHS professionals are extremely willing mentors.
- Be a good mentee
Set an agenda, meet regularly, and be open to constructive as well as positive feedback.
Source: npr.com, The Right Mentor Can Change Your Career
If you have one trait that makes you excel in your position, what is it?
I’ve found that being a good multitasker and careful with details has helped me the most. In EHS it’s a battle to stay on top of everything, with the constantly changing daily scope of tasks. So being able to switch gears on a dime and re-focus my attention has been very helpful for me.
Any challenges you’ve faced? How did you overcome them … or are they still a challenge?
I’ve faced many challenges throughout my career; starting in this industry as a young woman proved to be very difficult. My opinions and thoughts were often overlooked and undervalued. But by working hard, learning to speak up and educating myself on the regulations, I found my own sense of value and self-worth, which inspired me to be an advocate not for only women in EHS but for everyone who deserves to be heard.
Remember, women have a voice, too.
Organizations led by male-dominated management teams often lack the fresh perspective needed to tackle certain projects. (This definitely applies in EHS circles.) A mix of different genders and backgrounds leads to greater diversity and overall “better decision-making.” Most companies further admit that women offer more “creativity, innovation, and openness.” So, yes, make your voice heard.
Source: Inc. Magazine, The Hidden Advantage of Women in Leadership
What are your thoughts on the future of EHS? Technology or tools … challenges?
The future of EHS is technology and that’s why I’m so excited to be a part of Encamp. I’ve seen so many people in EHS struggle with tracking and organizing information on spreadsheets or using archaic programs that aren’t efficient and prove to be a struggle for team collaboration. Being at Encamp I can see how technology will be an extremely powerful tool to help EHS managers be more efficient and break away from a lot of the struggles they face today.
How can the EHS space improve for women?
We need more women and diversity in the industry and in executive roles. Women need to feel like they can speak up and should be a part of decision making. We have to give women a seat at the table and space to thrive and excel in this industry.
Women boost business outcomes.
In a 2019 International Labour Organization survey, nearly 60% of businesses said involving women in decision making “improves business outcomes,” including profit gains of 5% to 20% when more women are in management positions. EHS isn’t necessarily about profits, but making better decisions could sure help avoid a lot of fines.
Source: ilo.org, Women in Business and Management: The Business Case for Change
If you could give another woman advice on how to get where you are today, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and your opinions. Set boundaries and learn to say no if you have too much on your plate, your time is valuable. Work hard, learn the regulations and know your value.
If you could give your “past self” advice, what would it be?
Stick up for yourself and speak up. Trust your intuition.
We’d love to share your Women in EHS story.