As a finalist for the “Women in Safety Excellence, Safety Professional of the Year,” award, Louise Vallee CSP CIH CPE, AVP Risk Engineering, Crum & Forster, is a safety leader that’s team-oriented, dedicated, inclusive, dynamic, agile, responsive, and she knows how to get results, too! In her current role, Louise leads risk management, middle markets, and the contractors risk engineering team. She also works with internal and external customers to support business objectives including profitability, customer acquisition and retention. Her key focus areas include workers’ compensation, fleet/auto, construction, risk management, and umbrella, and more. Talk to Louise and you will immediately notice her passion for safety and health. (No wonder Louise was recognized with the 2016 ASSP Women in Safety Engineering Safety Professional of the Year (SPY) award and is the 2019-20 NJ ASSP Chapter SPY.) Keep reading our spotlight of her to see the piece of advice she received that’s helped her shape her leadership, how she is involved with diversity inclusion and professional development, and why she will never ignore a window of opportunity.
What’s a piece advice you have been given that resonates with you? Who gave it to you?
My very first boss (A Vietnam Vet and hero) encouraged me to discover a unique expertise specialty and also to go after certification. This resonating advice encouraged a joyful career of continuous learning, intelligent and collaborative consultation, and professional advancement. It is truly important to like the work you do, do the best you can every day, and feel you are making an impact. Being blessed by having a good boss is a significant component of career happiness. Professional organization engagement and officer roles brought beneficial networking and leadership opportunities that rounded out career highs and lows. I love being a manager and have the best staff I have ever worked with. Along with high technical and soft skills, each has unique expertise specialties that promote team and individual success. It is important to spend time with staff and clients for discussion, needs assessment, same paging, recognition, and giving thanks. That initial advice has this resonated throughout my career.
Have you ever had an incident that changed you and how did you approach it with your role?
Being part of the first (small) wave of women safety professionals provided opportunities and challenges leading to a large number of “firsts.” I am forever grateful for my acceptance into Harvard School of Public Health’s MS program, a life changing event in terms of knowledge acquisition, hard work, and self-confidence development. I feel both blessed and lucky to be a part of both, diversity and safety professional advancement. These opportunities and challenges cemented my lifelong commitment to diversity inclusion and professional development. I have mentored many throughout my career. I chair the ASSP WISE Mentoring Program, highly successful due to the talent, commitment, and hopes of mentors and mentees. We are a firework and we are “SAFETY STRONG”!!
Do you have any mantra you live or work by?
I maintain a high level of persistent enthusiasm and believe that hope springs eternal! I like to follow up and try not to let things fall between the cracks. My successes have at least tripled because I didn’t ignore various windows of opportunity. Another mantra is “give thanks” to those around you and also spiritually.
What do you love about your job?
My current job, boss, and management team are my favorite ever! My boss is a quick study and an expert at removing obstacles and fueling progress. There is a high level of communication and support right from the top and transparency and collaboration are expected. Decision-making is thoughtful and nimble. The positive atmosphere, inclusion, and spirit of teamwork removes obstacles and promotes success. I love my team! My staff/team all pitch in to complete growing workload arising from a fast paced division growth track. Staff continually contribute great ideas to advancing business objectives and efficiencies and they are all successful problem solvers. This success has led to a demand for more services and additional staff hiring. It just feels great to be valued, included, and supported! My team makes an impact every day and are in big demand!
What is your superpower?
My kaizen sense of commitment and kindness are my superpowers as demonstrated by hard work, collaboration, openness to new ideas, and inclusion.