I was fortunate enough to attend the FLI program this past weekend hosted by the AIHA. It brought together a great bunch of people from diverse backgrounds, roles, and cultures, but we all had one thing in common which was a drive and a passion for our profession as industrial hygienists….which therefore made it one of the best weekends of my professional career!
I will admit that if I hear the term, “group exercise” or “group assignment”, I normally go into a state of depression and frustration. But there were many group exercises as part of FLI, and they were actually pretty awesome. They seemed to centre on the fact that we all needed to know each other better and by continuously changing up the mix of who was in the group, and the number of people in the group, it became very engaging and actually pretty interesting.
The program was facilitated by Jeffrey Cufaude who was absolutely fantastic, made even more amazing with his heavy awesome accent which I adored. Jeffrey went to great lengths to help us along our “leadership journey”, and although he couldn’t promise that we’d be leaders in 30 days (must sign up for that course!), he definitely steered us on to the right path. I especially loved the “conversation cafe” which was on the morning of the last day – a great idea!
I was inspired to take on new challenges and to engage others on that journey. I learnt how to be a better listener and how to go about a better way of doing things by having a greater appreciation of how others may view the situation at hand. I was motivated to continue to do my best to promote our profession given the many people who came up to personally thank me for getting this blog started and for offering their feedback and suggestions, and assistance in the future (thanks for the support!).
I was also in a tad state of #hygieneshock (yes, new term) as we were treated to an afternoon session with some AIHA luminaries (aka #hygienegods). After conversing with a lovely man next to me for a bit, I almost fell over when I realised it was Billy Bullock (from “Ignacio & Bullock” fame). You will probably really only know what I am talking about if you are an IH, so to put it into perspective, it’s kind of like meeting Einstein, if Einstein was clever enough to be an industrial hygienist. Yes I did ask for an autograph. Yes I had to convince him I was serious. Multiple times.
I was also very excited to find out that out of a group of around 35 people, that another Aussie was also lucky enough to be part of it. Amazingly we have both worked in the profession for a long time, know many of the same people, and have been to the same AIOH Conference many times. It was a bit sad that we both had to fly over 22-hours away to meet each other, but we got there in the end! Here is Andrew Bennett and I in front of the White House, which was part of the Washington D.C. night tour held on the second night which was amazeballs.
I personally took away a great deal from the program and am very grateful to the AIHA, the FLI Advisory Panel, and to the numerous sponsors who supported the program to make it a reality. Now one of the challenges for me is to figure out how to channel this great experience to help other hygienists along their leadership journey…so stay tuned!