Leadership is Action

NAEM Staff
May 2, 2019
2018 NexGen Leaders Award winner Lesley Clarke with Carol Singer Neuvelt and Sandy Nessing
Lesley Clarke was one of NAEM's six NexGen Leaders Award recipients in 2018. Learn more about NAEM's Excellence Awards here.

As a young girl, I was always running through streams, collecting rocks, going for hikes — which in high school led to a love for environmental science. It was there I had a really impactful high school teacher who really taught me how you can have sustainable practices, how industry and nature can coexist and be in balance, and how you have to have respect for nature while still having business. And, really, that just led me down my path of secondary education in geology, and then to a career in environmental consulting, and now environmental management.

What advice do you have for those who want to follow in your footsteps?

The biggest piece of advice I have for anybody is, realize that leadership isn't a defined role, it's not a job title — leadership is action. So it doesn't matter your schooling, or if you're six months into your job, six years into your job, 16 years into your job...nobody's going to ask you to be a leader, so you really have to put yourself out there. One of the things I was taught was, leaders always go first. So you have to step out of your comfort zone, be yourself and see where the chips fall.

What does it mean to be recognized as an NAEM NexGen Leader?

I'm on cloud nine! It's just the recognition for the things that I just do. A lot of the things I do, I do because I think it makes common sense to me — but really, it's making big changes because I'm always looking for efficiencies. So I'm extremely honored and humbled at the same time.

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About the Author

NAEM Staff
The National Association for Environmental, Health and Safety, and Sustainability (EHS&S) Management (NAEM) empowers corporate leaders to advance environmental stewardship, create safe and healthy workplaces and promote global sustainability. As the leading business community for EHS&S decision-makers, we provide engaging forums, a curated network, peer benchmarking, research insights and tools for solving today’s corporate EHS&S management challenges. Visit us online at naem.org.

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