Madonna Ledford is a passionate, forward-thinking safety leader. As Safety Director for Gray & Pape, a heritage management firm, Ledford is responsible for implementing a proactive, safety-based culture. Throughout her career, Madonna has earned multiple certificates, including safety fundamentals for General Industry and Construction. She also maintains OSHA training authorizations for both fields.
Ledford’s goal is simple: To implement an effective safety-based culture to ensure her people go home safe each and every day.
Why did you choose your profession?
I didn’t choose safety – it chose me. After working at Gray & Pape for over 25 years in a variety of technical and management positions, the firm’s president asked me to take on the role of Corporate Safety Director. Our industry has been slow to adopt formalized safety programs, but our clients are increasing the scrutiny of their consultants’ safety records.
I enthusiastically accepted the position, eager to lead Gray & Pape toward a stronger safety program, for the benefit of our employees and our clients.
What’s important to be effective in your role?
I believe that field experience is critical for safety leaders to be successful. I have an understanding of the work we do in the field, lab, and office, and our employees know that and respond to it. My previous experience provides a common ground from which we can address challenges. Our teams know that I’ve been in their shoes and that I understand the situation from both a first-hand perspective and a management perspective.
It’s also really important for safety leaders to stay up-to-date with industry knowledge, guidelines, and best practices.
Have you ever had an incident that changed you and how did you approach it with your role?
Luckily, I haven’t faced a safety incident that has impacted my career or changed how I approach my job. But I have found that the best way to meet challenges is to educate myself, learn from others, engage coworkers, trust my instincts, and just stick with it!
What do you want everyone to know about safety?
Safety professionals care about their workers – let us help you! We have been trained to identify potential hazards and find solutions that allow employees to get their work done safely. In most cases, solutions are straight-forward and practical, not complicated and burdensome. We strive to send everyone home from work the same way they came to work.
It’s a “win” for everyone: employees, safety professionals, and employers.
What is your superpower?
Genuinely caring about the people I work with. That genuine care has led to strong working relationships with all of our Gray & Pape people. The relationship that I have with our teams is critical for our success. I trust them to do the best job for our company, and they trust me to do the best job that I can to keep them safe.
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