November 2019 – The XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work is coming to Toronto, Canada, on October 4-7, 2020. We’re creating a dynamic and interactive programme, showcasing experts, thought leaders and innovators.
Health and safety professionals will be working behind-the-scenes with Session Organizers to take the Congress programme from vision to reality. We had the opportunity to talk with Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Carefoote, the Congress Programme Lead, about the World Congress Session Coordinators.
What is a Session Coordinator?
Congress Session Coordinators are senior health and safety professionals recruited from across Canada, who are volunteering their time and talent to help promote and support a dynamic and interactive XXII World Congress.
What will the Coordinators do?
Our Coordinators will be assigned or “matched” to one or more of the Technical or Symposium sessions. Their role will be to support the Organizers to design and deliver sessions that are dynamic, interactive and align with the Congress theme and the topics. Coordinators will be part of the resource hub that we are putting in place to support Organizers.
The Congress is organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA) in partnership with Canadian hosts: the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). These organizations will be appointing Organizers, from around the world, to lead Technical and/or Symposium sessions.
How were Coordinators selected?
As Canada is the host country for the Congress in 2020, we looked for health and safety professionals that work and live in Canada. Confident in the talent that Canada has to offer, we conducted a national search for the Coordinators. To our knowledge, this is the first time that the World Congress has used this type of recruitment process.
We asked leading Canadian health and safety organizations to notify their members and networks that we were recruiting volunteer Coordinators. The notice provided a clear description of the role and invited individuals from the health and safety community to submit an application. Applicants were required to submit a letter of reference, as well as a letter of support from the organizations where they worked. Applicants were interviewed by a member of the Programme Team and to date, we have confirmed 35 Session Coordinators who are committed to working with us over the next year.
What were you looking for in Coordinators?
We were looking for health and safety professionals from diverse settings and roles who had experience working with provincial, national or international leaders outside their own organization. We wanted individuals that were confident, well respected in their sphere, and strong communicators with good interpersonal and relationship skills. A positive attitude and commitment to advancing the theme of the World Congress was a must. We were not disappointed in those that stepped forward – they are an impressive group.
How would you describe the group of Coordinators that you have recruited?
We are incredibly pleased with the caliber of individuals that came forward. They came with diverse perspectives: researchers, consultants, CEOs and Presidents, Board Chairs and other health and safety professionals. Comprised of an almost 50/50 ratio of men to women, the Coordinators collectively speak 10 languages. An overwhelming majority have more than 10 years’ experience in health and safety and more than half have a Masters or Doctorate degree. Many also have a health and safety certification or designation.
I am excited and privileged to work with a remarkable and talented group of individuals. And, I am confident that they will be a tremendous support to Canadian and International Organizers. They stand ready to proudly represent Canada and make a significant contribution to the success of the XXII World Congress.