Spotlight on CSSE Members
It was a chance, and serendipitous, encounter with a CSSE volunteer that cemented Manitoba Chapter member Shawn MacLellan’s decision to advance his career in occupational health and safety (OHS) — and introduced him to the CSSE.
“In 2016, I attended my first CSSE Professional Development Conference, in Vancouver. And it was there I met Bob Montgomery (CSSE former National Director of Education). We had an hour-long conversation that really changed my direction and focus. He challenged me, and for somebody who I'd never met, I was really intrigued. So following the conference, I took my first CHSC course, in Saskatoon that November. I still remember the dates.”
Shawn had worked in the OHS field since 2012, after completing the Occupational Health & Safety Program at Red River College (RRC) Polytech in Winnipeg. Before that, he had worked in emergency services, after which he owned and operated a family business for more than 15 years.
After completing the RRC program, Shawn worked in wholesale-retail for a large company in western Canada. He is currently the Risk Manager and Biosafety Officer at the CRONOS Group, a fermentation facility that creates and develops rare cannabinoids in the cannabis industry.
Shawn earned his CHSC through CSSE in early 2019, a process that he describes as transformational. “I liked the CHSC because it put me in a room with other professionals. I’m not only an auditory learner, and a visual learner, but I need to learn from the experiences of others. I find it much easier than learning from a six-inch binder on my own.”
The CSSE’s professional development events have also been a real draw for Shawn. “The networking events are fantastic. The Munch ’N Learns, morning meetings, and coffee and drop-in chats — before COVID, I loved going to them. And since COVID, where the chapters have opened them up nationally to other chapter members, I've participated in meetings in Ontario and British Columbia. And I wouldn’t have that opportunity if I wasn’t a member.”
Going forward, Shawn is optimistic about the future of CSSE and the strategic planning process the Board is undertaking. “There is always room to grow and improve. I am part of the Manitoba Chapter, and part of their executive. And I’ve seen some change happening in the last 6 to 18 months. There is now a more concise leadership, I think, and more focus on becoming better. Because you can't just rest on what you have. You have to grow, whether you’re a person or an organization, because you’re always looking to succeed further.”