December 13, 2019 / Gouhar Nayeem

Once Upon a Member…

Many years ago, a determined young woman named Chris Laszcz-Davis was busy pursuing her Master of Science in Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota graduate school. Throughout her life Chris has carried with her two basic philosophies that helped guide her in all her successes: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart” and “Believe in the power of one—one person can truly make a difference.”

To help get connected, she joined AIHA in 1975. Over her thirty-year career in government, industry, management consulting, and pro bono work all over the world, she used AIHA membership as a launchpad for further opportunities. She was also one of only a few female industrial hygienists at a time when men dominated the profession.

Despite many obstacles, she went on to become president of her local section in California and then chair of AIHA’s Local Sections Council. She then joined the AIHA Board and served as president of the Academy of Industrial Hygiene. When asked why she does it, she replied, “Its powerful networking, its friendship, its collegiality. It opens up a lot of doors you just wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Support and opportunity for women in the profession is the reason why AIHA launched the Women in Industrial Hygiene Community in 2018, a career resource and mentoring environment for women in IH and related fields. The Women in Industrial Hygiene Community promotes career development and leadership skills and shares information relevant to women in the IH profession.

For thirty years, Chris was able to take advantage of all the opportunities AIHA provides its members. She started at an early stage in her career and quickly developed herself in leadership positions within the association as she gained more experience. She also developed a powerful network of colleagues and friends through her active engagement as a member.

These leadership and volunteer opportunities are available to all AIHA members, but you have to engage in order to take advantage of what’s available to you. The best way to start is by being active on Catalyst. Thanks to a recent redesign, Catalyst is a lot easier to use, visually more appealing, and easily accessible on mobile devices. From there you can join communities that interest you, volunteer for leadership positions, add your point of view in the open forum, and meet new colleagues and industry experts.

What’s the moral of Chris’ story? Take advantage of your membership by joining a local section or volunteer group, attending conference, being a mentor, and trying for a leadership position. If you haven’t already renewed your membership, you are at risk of losing all the benefits you enjoyed this past year, so renew online today. There are only a few weeks left to receive a free copy of our new Essentials of Exposure Assessment IV e-book valued at $19.95*. If you renew before Dec. 31, we’ll invite you to tell us why you’re proud to be an IH. The first 26 responses will be showcased on Catalyst in 2020!

*We will follow up with your free e-book download upon its release in January 2020. This offer is valid only on renewals received before Dec. 31, 2019.

Gouhar Nayeem

Gouhar Nayeem is AIHA’s membership marketing specialist.


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