My Story: Nicole Moonier
If you had asked me years ago if I could see myself as a safety professional, you probably would have laughed at the face I likely would have made.
To be honest, I had no idea what a safety professional was. What do they do? Where do they work? What kind of training is required?
It wasn’t until I accepted a position with DHL Supply Chain as a safety and training supervisor that I would begin my journey and learn what it means to be a safety pro.
When I started my career with DHL, I had no formal safety education. I was trained by the outgoing supervisor on his responsibilities. Was that adequate? No. Did I feel like I was in over my head at times? Most definitely. However, I had the drive to improve, solve problems, help others and do the best that I could at my job.
I didn’t have a team of leaders to guide me; I learned a lot on my own. I did a lot of research, leaned on those who were the “experts” in their jobs and asked questions – maybe too many at times. I learned from my mistakes and always challenged myself to do better. There were many times when I felt defeated, misunderstood, unqualified and worn out. I questioned whether safety was right for me.
It wasn’t until a new general manager was assigned to our site that I would truly understand what it meant to be a safety pro and what I had to do to be successful at it. Through continued coaching, learning, networking and pure determination, I had found my team and my place. I began to enjoy the challenge of making changes and problem-solving. I didn’t spend my time recreating the wheel – rather, I reached out to the network to find a solution. I created programs and solutions that were sustainable and was excited to share those best practices with my network.
I went from feeling inadequate, uneducated and incapable to being confident, educated and an expert in my field. Finally, my hard work paid off. I had proven myself and others took notice. The true reward is watching my work drive success at other facilities, relieving others of the same burdens that I had endured and, ultimately, knowing that the workplace is safer because of my efforts.
Is this profession for everyone? No. Heck, I never saw it as my profession. Although it can be extremely difficult to navigate, it can also be extremely rewarding. You have an opportunity to educate others on ways that they can perform their jobs, to ensure they work safely and go home to their families.
Throughout my journey, there were key mentors who supported me. Each taught me valuable lessons and challenged me. Those with whom I remain in contact have shown true leadership and allowed me to grow and further my career. Without them, I’m confident that I would no longer remain in the safety profession.
Citizens Electric Corp.