This will be my last Break Room column. It's also the last EHS Today print issue I'll help push through production, my last time proofing pages and my last time working with some of the amazing team members who make this magazine such a success.
That's right – after spending 6 years writing, learning and talking about occupational health and safety, I'm moving on from EHS Today. I'm saying goodbye.
Working at EHS Today has been one of the best career moves I've made so far, and making the decision to leave was by no means easy. But in the end, I recognize that it's time for a change. Just as EHS professionals need to find ways to keep their work fresh, I'm ready for some new challenges and experiences in my own career. So starting this fall, I'll be attending Bowling Green State University's MFA program in fiction. Creative writing has always been a big part of my life – and my debut short story collection, Living Arrangements, was published in 2011 – but I now have the opportunity to spend 2 years focusing on my creative pursuits while being supported by a teaching assistantship.
But I won't forget EHS Today or its readers. I have many fond memories from the last 6 years, a time that for me was full of professional growth, networking, and plenty of fun, too. There were all those safety conferences I attended in cities ranging from San Diego to San Antonio, Anaheim to Orlando, Denver to Toronto and beyond. I also look back with fondness on our string of America's Safest Companies award receptions, from my very first in Chicago in 2007 to our 2012 ceremony, which returned to Chicago but this time as part of our very first conference.
And I can't forget the time I was hitched into the air on a fall harness in an OSHA 10-hour training class, or how I had a hand in choosing America's Safest Companies winners from hundreds and hundreds of applications, or the pleasure of making congratulatory phone calls to Future Leaders in EHS scholarship winners. I'm certainly grateful for the chance to have met, whether in person or via email, so many engaged and inspiring leaders of the EHS community. Most of all, I won't forget all the work, creativity and collaboration that went into producing this magazine and its web site.
Many smart, hardworking people join forces to publish EHS Today and EHSToday.com. From editorial to art direction to audience development to marketing to e-media to research services to the sales team and beyond, it really takes a village. I'm tempted to name all the coworkers who have made my work experience here so positive and productive, but I'll keep it simple by offering my thanks and farewell to the two people I worked with most closely on the print magazine: our art director, Samantha Himes, who always responds cheerfully when I pester her for yet another last-minute image, and our editor-in-chief, Sandy Smith. Sandy and I make a great team (if I do say so myself) and her editorial leadership is a large part of why I so enjoyed this job. Thank you, Sandy. I'm sad not only to say goodbye, but also that my departure disrupts the dog-person/cat-person balance we presented in our author photos. I'll miss working with you.
In addition to all the personal and professional memories I'll take from this job, working here has also changed the way I think – about safety, workplace morale, wellness, workers' rights and more. These are lessons and perspectives I'm confident will follow me throughout the remainder of my career no matter where I end up. So I thank all of you, the hardworking EHS professionals and stakeholders who have contributed to the community we create here at EHS Today.
Until we meet again, work well and stay safe.
She might be leaving EHS Today, but you can still find Laura at lauramaylenewalter.com.