www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/14828-leadership-keynote-speaker-addresses-overcoming-tragedy-in-the-workplace
Corrie Pitzer

Leadership Keynote speaker addresses overcoming tragedy in the workplace

October 19, 2016

Anaheim, CA – To this day, Corrie Pitzer remembers the distinct sounds he heard as he prepared to tell families that their husbands and fathers died in mining incidents.

He remembers the sounds of children playing that turned into questions when he arrived at their homes to deliver the terrible news. He remembers the screams of wives.

Pitzer recalled those memories Wednesday morning during the Leadership Keynote at the 2016 NSC Congress & Expo. Pitzer, the founder and CEO of safety consulting company SAFEmap International, told heart-wrenching and inspirational stories about his time as a human resources manager of a mining corporation in South Africa.

“It’s not the ones you save or inspire that you remember for a long, long time – it’s the ones you miss, the ones you don’t save. They will stay with you forever,” Pitzer said. “So my challenge to you is not only when was the last time you saved someone’s life, but when will be the next time you save someone’s life?”

He explained how his supervisor transformed into an “inspirational leader” while accompanying him on these visits to families of deceased miners. Every visit was heartbreaking, but Pitzer saw his supervisor admit he should have known about faulty mine conditions and was motivated to do better.

An inspirational leader “empowers others, shares passion and bolsters hearts,” Pitzer said. In describing such a leader, he played a clip from the 2002 movie “We Were Soldiers” in which Mel Gibson portrays Lt. Col. Harold “Hal” Moore.

“We’re moving into the valley of the shadow of death, where you will watch the back of the man next to you, as he will watch yours,” Moore says in the film.

“Isn’t that what safety is all about?” Pitzer asked the audience.