My Story: Tammy Rayner
When I tell people that I work in the risk and safety field, I’m often asked, “What do you do?” My response: “I sell a by-product of volcanic ash to clean up spills and prevent slip and falls,” which is often followed by a look of confusion.
When I went to massage school at age 18, I had no idea that within two years I’d be working with retailers to help them prevent slips and falls in their stores. The knowledge I gained from these retail risk management and safety professionals has proven to be an incredible educational experience.
I began working for Impact Absorbents when I was 21. Now, 20 years later, I’ve had the opportunity to experience firsthand the care, concern and love that safety pros have. “Love” might be a strange word to use, but really, to work in safety, you must love people. Our entire goal as safety pros is to prevent pain and suffering. Only an empathetic person would choose this path as a career. This brought a new depth to my job. I wasn’t just selling “a by-product of volcanic ash,” I was selling a solution that could literally prevent someone from injury or death. I knew then that I wanted this job to be more than a sales job; I wanted to really help people.
I remember, at my very first trade show, a woman came up to me after watching a few demos and with tears in her eyes said, “Last week a man slipped in one of my stores, hit his head and died.” She was absolutely devastated. And although she didn’t own the stores, she felt a personal responsibility to that man and his family. I never forgot that moment. I made it my goal to not just be a salesperson selling a product, but to learn as much as I could about risk and safety in the brick-and-mortar industry. I hung on every word at safety meetings I was invited to. I joined retail safety groups that met regularly to discuss their biggest issues, and I made myself available 24/7 to offer help and advice wherever I could.
I’m proud to say that I fell into a job that has allowed me to connect with some of the most compassionate people in retail. I don’t see the product we sell anymore as “a by-product of volcanic ash.” Instead, I see it as a “slip and fall prevention” product that lets families go home safe after their shopping trip. And really, isn’t that the most any safety pro could ask for?
Director of Corporate Sales
Impact Absorbents Inc.