Katie Stryker is approaching 17 years in insurance. She spent her entire career with CNA Insurance, a worldwide commercial and specialty insurance business with over 5,000 workers in the US, Canada, and Europe. As a risk control trainee, she assessed CNA’s commercial clients’ risks. She then led the risk control home office from the field. She oversaw the department’s US industrial hygiene technical training and consultancy services.
Katie became the Associate Vice President of Risk Control for Workers’ Compensation/Employers’ Liability and Auto at CNA Risk Control. She manages technical skill development, risk assessment priorities, and consultative skill solutions for the department.
Katie joined us for our newest Faces of EHS profile to discuss her career, emerging EHS technology, and EHS-ESG integration.
How did you start in the field?
In my final year at Purdue University, I decided I wanted to work for a manufacturing with an occupational health degree. CNA contacted one of our lecturers to recruit Risk Control Trainees. I applied despite knowing nothing about business insurance or the sector. After interviewing, I thought this was a great chance to learn about different sectors and a wonderful career start. I eagerly accepted their Baltimore office offer.
I often wonder how my job came together, but I know my openness and flexibility helped. I’m back in Bloomington, IN, and I’ve learned a lot about insurance since I started, but one of the nicest things about my job is that I can keep learning and growing.
Don’t overlook non-work opportunities. I found that my non-required work at CNA has been the most rewarding and rewarded. These initiatives drive the “why.” Reach out to peers, senior executives, and people in fascinating professions or vocations.
Q: Who is your biggest industry influence?
My major inspiration is women leaders. I respect my female safety and leadership role models. My firm had a panel of women executives a few years ago, and that event showed me that there are leaders like me in Risk Control and other departments. The panelists, my management, and many of my peers are my major influencers.
Q: What was your best mistake?
Pretending to know more. I recall assuming that because I had technical ability from my formal schooling, I could accomplish anything others did. Fortunately, that perspective never led me into trouble. I could have handled those early trips alone, but experience is more than technical competence. Once I set aside my ego and was willing to learn from individuals more experienced, with fresh insights, from a different background or field, I could genuinely progress and achieve in my job. I wish I had learnt that sooner.
Q: What do you like and dislike about your job? Any changes?
I love witnessing safety trends and their effects on communities while working with insurance. We learn about innovative safety and technological solutions early on. We see company operations. Sharing our views and implementing solutions based on our expertise and observations is a fantastic aspect of the work.
Seeing trends and correlating safety solutions is one of my favorite parts of my job, but getting buy-in is difficult. We know loss patterns and why events happen, but getting corporations to buy in is hard. We realize driving tasks expose all firms. Risky driving causes accidents, according to research, loss cases, and safety business insights. Nonetheless, corporations must accept that safe driving are a daily problem. When a company recognizes these safety issues and improves, it’s excellent.
Q: What safety problems should EHS programs prioritize?
Understanding and implementing NIOSH’s Whole Worker Health® philosophy. Implementing and integrating TWH’s framework is essential to a healthy workplace, thus I don’t promote it for publicity. Several TWH features aim to make workplaces more equal.
- Overtime to feed the family
- Changing in the vehicle since your employer lacks women’s changing rooms
- Misusing PPE because an employer does not provide a suitable solution
- Being a company’s sole minority employee
- Concealing addiction to avoid job loss
- People encounter these situations. Not unusual. They’re simple to label HR issues. I’ll be happy when EHS professionals own the relationship between these scenarios and safety, productivity, and success of the businesses we deal with.
Q: How would ESG principles affect EHS?
I hope it showcases EHS talent as industry leaders. ESG principles encompass several EHS concepts. The “E” is same! Many in our field follow environmental values. “S” impacts employees and communities. EHS “health and safety” also involves humans. Finally, “G” discusses governance techniques. This aligns with EHS’s core mission of ensuring our partners comply with safety and health regulations. I think this is our next chance to shine as EHS professionals collaborate with company leaders to adopt ESG principles.
Q: How will new safety technology affect EHS workers?
Technology can capture so much data. I’m excited to see this technology’s safety applications. When used properly, technology is invaluable.
Drones may inspect rooftops and other high-access sites. We reduce height-related effort by performing visual checks from the ground. Every percentage risk reduction is a success. Technology isn’t all-or-nothing.
Vehicle telematics is another. Telematics can improve driving behavior, call for help and reroute drivers in the case of risks or poor weather, and even verify at-fault parties in accidents. This technology can be a significant tool for promoting safety and addressing safety demands in the ever-changing legal scenario.
New technology, like any new process, may introduce new dangers and risks, thus a risk assessment is needed to identify and manage them.
EHS personnel must be open to improvements and solutions. I’d want to see more discussion on how to discover a quality EHS solution that meets needs.
Q: Your greatest accomplishment?
Most proud of my career and personal progress. I have four wonderful, distinct children that push me daily. I’m pleased of my work and parenting. I aspire to raise confident and courageous kids who become confident and courageous people, and I’m pleased of the route I’m showing them professionally.
Q: Any career advice?
I assumed there were three occupations growing up. All were doctors, lawyers, or teachers. Science was fun, but medicine was not. After graduating, I thought industrial hygienists had a limited scope. I now know that safety specialists exist in almost every sector and operation. Combine your EHS and other interests. Artistic or athletic? EHS experts are needed in athletic and cultural events in universities, local communities, governmental and commercial organizations, and independently contracted or national firms. We work in volunteer and professional organizations, facilities, and Super Bowl halftime shows! Literally, sky’s the limit.
I recommend networking with other EHS experts. Volunteer and join professional organizations. The EHS professionals you meet will provide you insight into their job and may help you build a career. Their distinct experiences and traits can affect your job path. Everyone wants to go home healthy and injury-free.
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