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Spotlight on Women in EHS Leading the Way

Putting a spotlight on three women with diverse backgrounds, all at different points in their EHS careers, all advocate for strong leadership through accountability, communication, and collaboration.

Environmental, Health, and Safety; introduced in the late 90’s, the term ‘EHS’ encompasses the daily responsibilities required to make the industry a positive space for people, place, and the environment. As an environmental compliance software, Mapistry supports the niche industries of construction, manufacturing, transportation, waste management, and more; we also recognize that these businesses are historically male-dominated. 

Similar to the acronym EHS, women are relatively new to the industrial space. As more and more women step into industrial leadership roles, we acknowledge that the diversity they bring is integral for progress and success.

All of our customers are essential – but as we reflect on the workers who rose up to support their teams during the pandemic, we want to shine a light on some of our conversations with women leaders. In this blog, we want to spotlight three women with diverse backgrounds, all at different points in their careers. They work in different industries and specialize in very different things, but something they all have in common is advocating for strong leadership through accountability, communication, and collaboration.

Mary Jo Press, Tesla 

In general, women bring a unique perspective to the workplace.  As a leader, Mary Jo Press , the Senior Staff Program Manager at the Global Safety Center of Excellence at Tesla, is focused on developing policies that work for a variety of people. In a conversation with Ryan Janoch, Mary Jo stated that she “makes the assumption that not everything works for everyone.”

Her role is focused on elevating EHS culture for all Tesla divisions, so bringing this mindset to her position is vital for a global perspective.  Mary Jo is an intuitive leader who is performance oriented rather than solely statistics based; she realizes that in order for workers to be successful, they must identify their passions. Her strategies promote personal growth, and her leadership style is one of equality.

Mary Jo places a big emphasis on the fact that anyone can be a leader; in fact, true leadership often comes without the title or stature. The best way to grow a team is through learning equally from all players.  As highlighted above, leadership requires flexibility and the ability to learn as you go. This is even more true with EHS best practices in industry, which requires rapid response and organized programming.

As industrial companies recognize more and more the power of a diverse workforce, they are rewarded with the impact it can bring to the team; this includes diversity in level of experience. 

Nikhita Jingar, Graniterock

Companies benefit from bringing on new workers with a beginner’s mindset. 

Nikhita Jingar recently started her career as an Environmental Engineer at Graniterock, after graduating with a degree in civil engineering. In this position, she brings a high level of focus and coordination. Her tool-kit includes not only technical engineering skills, but also, an ability to listen, collaborate, and learn as she goes. Having an environmental position in an industrial company presents many opportunities to problem-solve, as Nikhita is tasked with providing environmental support for four of Graniterock’s industrial sites.

A large part of her current role is interpreting policy and supporting her team by helping them understand what they need to do from a regulatory standpoint. Not only does Nikhita need to digest technical information, but she must also have the patience and openness to work with diverse people and explain complex policies.

Fortunately, Mapistry has supported Nikhita with organization and efficiency; she uses the tool to gain a better understanding of each facility’s operations, but also, establish accountability among site personnel. Mapistry supports these goals by increasing transparency and assisting with collaboration. 

After a year with Graniterock, Nikhita celebrates the contributions she can bring to her team. The different values and perspectives women add to the worksite each day are what makes a company unique and resilient. As women become leaders in building materials or manufacturing, they bring a new perspective to an old industry and add diversity to a formerly male-dominated industry. 

Dianne Dejolsvay, 3M

As the industry becomes more flexible and inclusive, companies are evolving to include more women and develop tools for them to be successful in various fields of environmental engineering, safety management, and other EHS responsibilities. 

3M is a company that supports diversity through spending time and energy to empower women in leadership positions. Dianne Dejolsvay is the EHS manager at 3M for their Film and Materials Resource Division. With 16 years in consulting prior to spending the last 15 years at 3M, her track record is impressive.

As a PE, CSP, and CHMM, she brings a depth of EHS knowledge and technical expertise to 3M’s program; her career growth is due to her enthusiasm for new experiences and the foundational support of organizations who encourage professional development.  As a leader, Diane encourages growth of a similar nature.

In a recent conversation with Ryan Janoch, she emphasizes the benefit of broadening your career, following your passions, and deeply understanding the industry you have chosen. Diane supports diving into a role before expertise has been established; through experience, we are likely to find what we truly enjoy. These values are supported by her own experience.  In her current role, she has developed a lot of projects of a collaborative nature.

If a problem needs to be fixed and resources are lacking, cross-functional teamwork becomes critical. Similar to Nikhita, Dianne is a civil engineer by training – and look at how she has evolved!

On paper, Diane’s impressive career seems to have been planned out, in true engineering fashion. After our conversation with her about her choices and decisions, we understand that her career path is a product of a fearless attitude towards new opportunities, a dedication to teamwork and collaboration, and an ability to listen to herself and others. 

Why Diversity Makes a Difference

There are undeniable differences of being a woman in the industry, but the values and contributions of these three women make a huge difference in day-to-day operations. 

An EHS manager has one of the hardest jobs in the industry; it requires problem-solving, clear communication, and true collaboration. Fortunately, we have more women stepping into this role of responsibility, bringing with them creativity and diversity.

In a field once dominated by men, women can revolutionize an old industry through new ideas!  Aside from using tools to help support collaboration, Mary Jo, Nikhita, and Dianne all emphasize the need to find our passion, in whatever work we do.

In order to be a pioneer, as all EHS women are, you must be passionate about what you’re working towards! Whether you are a female scientist beginning your career path or a seasoned manager who has worked her way up in leadership, women are integral to pushing progress for industry. 

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