Outgoing ASSP President Looks Back on Past Year
Christine Sullivan, CSP, ARM, reflects on some key initiatives from her term and shares what she’ll be doing going forward.
- By David Kopf
- Jun 07, 2023
American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) President Christine Sullivan, CSP, ARM, will soon draw her term as President to a close on June 30 and noted that it’s been a year of “amazing opportunities.”
“It’s been great,” she said. “I’ve had a fantastic board to work with. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve met incredible people that I hadn’t had the prior opportunity to meet before.”
One of the opportunities from her term that Sullivan highlighted was the association’s work to lead Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in workplace safety. Those efforts reflect the fact that many companies in industries involving workplace safety have been implementing DEI. As a result, Sullivan noted that the ASSP’s DEI initiatives represent an ongoing effort.
“It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon,” Sullivan said. But I think what we’ve done from a DEI standpoint, and the openness and the willingness of our members to do things that are sometimes uncomfortable, has been amazing. And the support we’ve had for the things that we’ve done has been really good to see.
“Every person is not the same,” she continued. “In safety, you have to be able to recognize all those differences in people and organizations. You need to understand that different people have different needs. The diversity of thought is so important. Being able to recognize that in an organization and move processes forward, I think, is something that’s critical.”
Another key initiative during her term as President was the ASSP’s governance change, Sullivan said. The ASSP changed from having a house of delegates to an advisory committee, which she said has increased representation for the association’s members.
“Our advisory committee has been actively involved in everything we’ve done. It’s really allowed us to get more of a ’member voice,’” Sullivan explained, adding that through the advisory committee, members have more direct involvement. We’re currently working on the next strategic plan, and we’ve used the advisory committee to give us input into things that the members need.”
Once her term is over, Sullivan says she will continue her work with the ASSP as well as her primary job as Senior Vice President and Risk Control Services Director, Global Risk Solutions for Sompo International Insurance. That said, after serving as President and being on ASSP’s board of directors for 10 years, she says she is preparing herself for the transition.
“I intend to stay involved,” Sullivan said. “I will be chairing the Nominations and Elections Committee for a future board. So, I’ll be working to make sure that we have great candidates and candidates that are a good representation of what we as a society need today.”
James Thornton, CSP, CIH, FASSP FAIHA, will become the ASSP’s 109th President on July 1. Sullivan wished Thornton, who has more than 50 years’ experience in workplace safety and health and is an ASSP Fellow and President’s Award holder, well in his term and his work in executing the association’s upcoming strategic plan.
“My advice to Jim was to have fun, be yourself, and continue to do the great work the board’s been doing,” she advised. “Like I said at the very beginning, this has been a fun year. I always tell people, have fun with what you do.”
David Kopf is the publisher and executive editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine.