Future Leaders Stories

We’ve asked our members to share their thoughts on the Future Leaders Community. Our Future Leaders come from a wide range of backgrounds and have experienced varying routes into the occupational safety and health industry and IOSH Membership. Check out the stories below.

Ella Hunt on embracing imposter syndrome

For the past two-and-a-half years, I have worked as a health and safety advisor in the energy industry and, on a regular basis, I feel like an imposter.

I suffer from what is known as imposter syndrome. This is when you feel like you don’t have the knowledge, skills or experience to do your job, and often you feel an ‘imposter’ when comparing yourself to colleagues. Sound familiar?

That’s because, without doubt, we have all felt this at some point, be it on day one of our occupational safety and health (OSH) professional journeys or as you progress and take on more responsibility in your career. What is important is to recognise the self-doubt and discomfort imposter syndrome makes us feel and then act upon this.

When I’m suffering from imposter syndrome, all I want to do is take a step back and let someone else manage it. However, it often means I’m just out of my comfort zone and this is when I can learn and grow the most. So, instead of taking a step back we must step forward.

When we step forward, we can be inquisitive and use the opportunity to learn from others. Ask what you think might be the ‘stupid questions’… Why? How? Explain to me?

These simple open questions generate a dialogue of learning, allowing you to develop, but also to share your knowledge and experience, which you might not have thought relevant at first. This open environment of learning, which you create by asking questions, allows for diversity of thought to be aired – this can then give rise to an environment of new thinking and idea generation leading to improved health and safety. Not only are you likely to gain from this interaction but those around you will as well.

Imposter syndrome gives us the opportunity to really concentrate on our competency and career development. Because when I feel like an imposter, it gives me clarity on the specific areas I need to focus my learning and development. This opportunity to prioritise means time taken to do training and-on-the job learning can be more valuable to you and the business. 

Just know that you don’t always have to be right and know everything. Often, the best OSH professionals are the ones who ask all the questions. Therefore, embrace your imposter syndrome and see where it takes you.

Learn more about imposter syndrome, including why we experience it and ways we can deal with it, at the IOSH Career Hub. Sign up to take advantage of this free member benefit. Not a member yet? Join now!

Cindy Bell  "The Conference is an amazing opportunity to meet and network"

The Future Leaders Community provides me with the opportunity to network with other like-minded Future Leaders and to involve directly in the shaping of the community.

As a Future Leaders Steering Group member, I was encouraged to share my views in the shaping of the community which helps IOSH to establish contents that are relevant and invaluable for Future Leader members’ personal and professional developments.By attending the conference, you are supporting young members’ involvements in Health and Safety.

The Future Leaders Conference in November 2019 provided myself and other members the opportunity to gain information on the key skills required in becoming the Future Leader. The conference provides the opportunity for members to learn from the speakers, exchange ideas / experiences with other members as well as to seek advice from other senior members.

The Conference is an amazing opportunity to meet and network with other members from various industry. Above all, you will be able to meet the IOSH team who work relentlessly in making the community a big success as it is right now.

Cindy Bell  | SHE Advisor (North Region)

Joanne Lund "I believe this community can really shape the future of health and safety"

If you’re thinking of joining the Community, don’t hesitate! And don’t have any nagging doubts.

There is a forum where we can introduce ourselves and from there the world can be our oyster.

IOSH has provided us with a platform to meet like-minded and passionate people who can work together to become the future face of health and safety,” she explained. “The more people who engage with the Future Leaders Community, the more of a powerful position we’ll be in to make a real difference to the future of the profession.

I would recommend the Future Leaders Community to any new professional out there. The community is an incredible platform for new and aspiring health and safety professionals. 

Together, over the years, I believe this community can really shape the future of health and safety and this is such a perfect platform, one which I am so thankful to be part of. Thank you IOSH!

Joanne Lund  | Interim Site Health and Safety Projects Coordinator with Allied Bakeries Stockport

Dominic Jackson "Health and safety can feel quite intimidating when you are just starting your career"

IOSH has been a crucial support throughout my journey right from the start. There is so much support available: from regular news, magazines and information updates; local and national events; competency assessments; and mentoring opportunities, you couldn't really ask for a better support network within an industry community.

I think IOSH's Future Leaders Community is a fantastic initiative to promote, influence and support fellow OSH professionals emerging into the industry.

Health and safety can feel quite intimidating when you are just starting your career, but this fantastic community helps you to develop and build life-long support networks and enhance your skills and knowledge.

Dominic Jackson  | Health and Safety Advisor at Dyson


We’d also love to hear your thoughts on the topics you feel strongly about. Our new series of first-person pieces offers members of our community an opportunity to write about their experiences – such as issues that have impacted their studies or careers and how they have overcome them – with the aim of helping their fellow Future Leaders.

To find out more about the Future Leaders Community make sure you read the information provided here. If you would like to share your story then email us at FutureLeaders@iosh.com.