This month we introduce you to Joette Bailey-Keown, Director of Environmental Health and Safety at Ball Corp., one of the members who helps make our network so unique.
1. Why did you join NAEM?
NAEM events allow me to interact with other people who are in similar situations. We’re all trying to manage our risk but there are different ways of doing that. I think it’s every couple of years, the focus changes – one year it’s green products and another year it’s sustainability-- it’s interesting to see how people are responding to the different initiatives.
2. What do you like about your job?
I like that it’s so varied. I get to work on due diligence, remediation, compliance and safety culture change among other issues. It’s just a huge variety that the profession offers. That’s what I like the most.
3. What is your biggest challenge in your current role?
I think the biggest challenge is safety. With health and safety, you have to consider the behavior, cultural and operational aspects of the job. Environmental mostly involves managing operational aspects. I like to think that I can control things, but with safety that’s not always the case because managing human behavior can be challenging.
4. What motivates you at work?
I’m passionate about doing a good job. I like to be thought of as someone who is doing the best she can to keep employees safe, keep our business in compliance and minimize risk. I work very hard at this.
5. What advice would you have for someone entering the field today?
The advice I would have is to become the expert because people will recognize you for that expertise. You also need to pay attention to details, because in our world, it’s hugely important to the task of maintaining compliance and implementing programs. If you don’t manage the details, the implications of little things slipping between the cracks can be huge.
6. What makes you happy?
I like seeing different places and learning about different cultures. I also like quilting. That’s what I do during my downtime because when I’m at a sewing machine I can block out all of the other things I have to do. I make them for friends and family, but at the end of the day, I hate giving them away because they’re such hard work!
7. What are the three words your spouse/colleagues/best friends would use to describe you?
Work-intense, project-focused, wants things in order
8. What aspect of environment management interests you the most?
I’m not the tree-hugger type, but I tend to think that our environment can only take so much abuse, whether that means climate change, water pollution or whatever else. We ought to be responsible about how we handle the only place we live because at the end of the day, this is the only place that we have to live. We tend to take for granted the fact that we have clean air and clean water, but we should understand that it’s finite and to the extent that we manage it better, it will serve us better.
9. What are the topics you're most looking forward to discussing at NAEM events?
What I like is that people at NAEM dare to think outside the box. I went to one presentation where they weren’t just talking about being compliant or even becoming zero waste to landfill -- they were talking about going beyond zero waste to landfill. NAEM members tend to work for companies that are cutting-edge and their work challenges you to push yourself, too.