The Role of Safety Professionals in Getting America Back to Work with Diana Stegall, President of ASSP

The time has come for us to consider what it will look like to return to work once stay-at-home directions are withdrawn. How are employers preparing workplaces to ensure the safety of employees, and what role do safety professionals play in getting America back to work? In this episode, host Jennifer McNelly speaks with Diana Stegall, president of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), about how they’re helping to prepare workplaces for employees to return safely, both physically and psychologically. They cover topics from the roles and responsibilities of safety professionals at this time and how COVID-19 has changed those roles within organizations to the hierarchy of controls and how it is applied in direct ways in large companies versus small companies. Diana explains systems thinking like Plan-Do-Check-Act, and the importance of having scalable and flexible solutions, as well as the role that trust and communication plays in the psychological safety of workers. For some practical advice for business leaders aiming to not only survive but thrive coming out of the pandemic, make sure not to miss today’s episode!

Diana Stegall-cropped (1)

Meet Our Guest, Diana Stegall

Diana Stegall, CSP, CFPS, ARM, SMS, CPCU, became the 105th president of the American Society of Safety Professionals on July 1, 2019, serving a one-year term. She has been an ASSP member since 1990. Stegall is executive vice president of Rivendell Safety Consulting. She was the first woman named ASSP’s Safety Professional of the Year in 2005 and is a two-time recipient of the Society’s Charles V. Culbertson Outstanding Volunteer Service Award. She resides in Oro Valley, Arizona, and is a professional member of the Southern Arizona Chapter. Her previous ASSP roles include Region V vice president and chair of the Professional Development Conference Planning Committee, Council on Member and Region Affairs Education and Training Committee, and the Leadership Conference Planning Committee. She also was a member of the Council on Professional Development as well as the Governmental Affairs and Bylaws committees. She was recognized as Safety Professional of the Year by two ASSP chapters and two regions in addition to her Society-wide honor. Prior to working at Rivendell Safety Consulting, Stegall was a senior loss control specialist at United Heartland and a loss control manager for Chubb. She also worked at PMA Insurance Group, Reliance Insurance and United States Fidelity and Guarantee Co. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Wake Forest University.


Meet Your Host, Jennifer McNelly

Jennifer McNelly is the chief executive officer (CEO) of the American Society of Safety Professionals, stepping into the role on Aug. 16, 2018. She is the eighth executive director since ASSP was founded in 1911. McNelly has 30 years of association, government, regulatory, and business experience.

As CEO, McNelly advances the organization’s mission to create safe work environments worldwide through the prevention of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. She works with the Board of Directors to execute ASSP’s strategic plan for growth while building on the Society’s legacy and addressing the evolving needs of the professional occupational safety and health community. She leads 75 staff members and more than 38,000 safety and health professionals around the globe, strengthening the Society’s position as a leading voice while fostering a collaborative culture of member engagement, performance, accountability and innovation.

Prior to ASSP, McNelly was president of Indianapolis-based 180 Skills LLC, an online career and technical education company aimed at closing the manufacturing skills gap and transforming organizational and individual performance. McNelly also served as president of The Manufacturing Institute, the nonprofit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and the national authority on attracting and developing world-class manufacturing talent. Over nine years with NAM, she was a national champion in changing the perception of manufacturing careers and re-establishing the United States as the global leader in technical education. McNelly launched the national STEP Ahead™ initiative to increase the engagement of women in manufacturing and co-founded National Manufacturing Day™ to engage the next generation workforce.

McNelly served at the U.S. Department of Labor as director of the Business Relations Group and administrator of its Office of Regional Innovation and Transformation. She has testified before Congress on manufacturing and workforce training and is past chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Manufacturing. A University of Maryland College Park graduate, McNelly earned the Secretary of Labor’s Exceptional Achievement Award and was named among the 100 Women Leaders in STEM. She also interviewed numerous accomplished women in manufacturing who inspire the next generation of industry leaders by serving as host on The WAM Podcast.