Ann works with organizations around the world in building strategic plans to achieve desired outcomes. Streamlining operations, through creating a common language. She believe in simplifying the complicated, and building common knowledge in operations.
Anne has over 28 years experience in managing projects, health & safety and leadership development.
By: Stacey Godbold
Celebrating Women’s Month
Women In Safety: Spotlight
Ann Lindsey – Consultant; Speaker; Safety Leader; Facilitator
1. How did you get started in the safety industry? What interested in you in this field?
When I was in high school, I’d done science fair projects on water pollution and chemical exposures, so when touring a local University, who’d been in touch with my high school, they introduced me to their Hazardous Materials Management Program – and I was hooked!
I was lucky, that the University – The University of Findlay – had an industrial side and trained occupational compliance and emergency response courses. My timeframe in college was just after Hazard Communication had become law under OSHA. (If you think about it, we were cleaning up SuperFund sites under CERCLA and still didn’t have the right to know what we were working with!) I got to see first-hand the effects of chemical exposure, improper PPE usage etc. In particular, I met a young guy, no more than 20 who was still in some burn wraps – he’d been caught in a methane flash up during a confined space entry. His supervisor was with him, to write for him – their company had to ensure he passed the course as a result of the compliance / fines they were issued – this young man would never be whole, and it was so preventable! I saw that I could make a difference and was already making a difference in the workers understanding. – It was a powerful ‘Why’ it mattered to me, and it gave me my purpose for the career field I’d chosen, quickly moving from environmental focus, to a worker focus.
2. The numbers show there are less women in the safety field than men. Do think there are challenges that come from it.
I have had my challenges, yes, I was always the only woman on site, even interning out of college, the mandate from the company was ‘two to a hotel room’, didn’t matter if you were the only girl. First job out of college was in the Pittsburgh oil and gas field – above ground and underground tank work in the early 90’s. I quickly has the respect of the crews. It was typically companies I interacted with that had more problems seeing me as a supervisor. I believe these experiences made me stronger and resulted in who I’ve become. I never believed in special treatment, I chose this field – and proved myself time and again, in the process, I’ve created amazing relationships around the country. (It probably helped that I was highly competitive and wanted to do better.)
3. What is your favorite part about our career?
Making a difference – I’m always asked why safety? – It truly is who I am. I’ve seen the bad outcomes, done the investigations and believe we have a chance to change those outcomes, build knowledge and truly help.
When I leave a group, I always ask myself – honestly, did I leave them in a better place than they were before I came? It’s not about what I know, it’s about engaging them and coming to a higher understanding that is not dependent on whether I’m present or not.
4. What is one of your biggest “failures” or challenges that helped you be better?
I don’t believe anyone really ‘likes’ to be challenged… and I’ve been challenged a lot – and it’s made me better. I’ve had to present differently, analyze more… – I’ve had to gauge what was needed (not simply wanted) – get leaders to ‘see’ what it takes toward achieving desired outcomes to make a path forward. Yes, it can be frustrating for sure, but now – I see that these challenges have given me a true strength and courage.
5. What is your biggest professional and personal achievement?
Professionally, hmm… there’s been many things I’ve been proud of accomplishing, being an operating engineer is one… but the one I come back to, is a plumber/pipefitter who’d suffered a great deal of damage to his shoulder and neck in a workplace injury –– He was not able to use his arm and hand, couldn’t button his shirt, pants… he walked as though he were paralyzed on one side of his body – was horrible to see him this way. Through great efforts (it’s a long story), he’s near whole today – you wouldn’t be able to tell he’d even had a problem – and he continues in his career! I’m so proud of him, he stuck with it, and being able to be there for him, being trusted, and helping to clear the way for his success – He continues to inspire me, and these types of successes keeps me focused.
Personally – I’m very proud of my 4 amazing kids, Sierra 21, Makayla 18, William 17, and Skylar 12. My oldest is in the fire services and serves as a Volunteer Firefighter in Ester, Alaska. They challenge me daily and have made me a better, more patient, intentional person. And of course, my husband, Dade, without whom, I would not be where I am today – his support and ‘can do’ attitude has spurred our family on a great many adventures around the world, and allowed me to impact the lives I’ve worked with along the way.
6. What random stranger has had the biggest impact on your life?
I had been asked to look at a remote site that had received many worker complaints and was experiencing extreme weather, along with being a very physically demanding job. We had a stand-down, addressed many concerns, and instilled controls. One morning, I stood on a hill looking over the project, and a young man came up to me and said, “You know… every morning they (site supervisors) tell us to ‘be safe’… can you tell me what that looks like?” Wow! Hit me like a ton of bricks – he was so right! Since then, I’ve thought of him every day, and see his face in my head – with every program we write, procedure we put in place and training we give – are we making the frontline worker safer? Are we making the job more defined? Ultimately, – do they know what ‘safe’ looks like?
7. What is your favorite thing about being a woman?
Being a mom.
8. What movie or show character are you most like?
9. What period in time has the best fashion?
I’m kinda liking it now… comfy professional…? Not sure what I’d call it – pj bottoms and a professional top? Lol
10. What always sounds like a good decision at the time but rarely is?
An emotionally charged response in the moment. – Might make you feel really good in that moment… but hindsight will typically show it could have been handled better.
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