When National Safety Council CEO Lorraine Martin thinks about the last 18 months and the world of occupational safety, an experience she had while in the ROTC comes to mind.
In opening remarks at the NSC’s Safety Congress & Expo 2021, Martin told a story about ROTC officer training school before her junior year.
She traveled to Abilene, TX, but her luggage didn’t … at least not for the first three days she was there.
She had no uniform, no boots and none of her clothes. For the first three days, she performed all her basic training exercises in civilian clothes. Martin said she really didn’t have a choice, so she made the best of it.
First lesson in resilience
By the time graduation from training came around, Martin said she’d forgotten all about her temporarily missing luggage.
But her commanding officer remembered. He told Martin, “You were thrown quite a curve ball, but you handled it well and you didn’t let it derail you. Keep up the good work.”
Martin says up until then, she didn’t think “keeping calm and carrying on” was actually a valuable skill. It was her first lesson in resilience.
Safety pros need resilience more than ever, Martin told those gathered in Orlando and listening online.
“You were the ones people trusted to keep them safe on and off the job,” Martin said.
“We need resilient leaders because we still have some big safety threats,” she said. “In the workplace, we continue to square off against COVID-19.”
Martin says she took the NSC’s advice and got vaccinated. “Everyone can be a safety hero by leading by example,” she said.