NAEM Leadership Spotlight: An Interview with an EHS Rock Star

NAEM Leadership Spotlight: An Interview with an EHS Rock Star

On June 20-22, women leaders in EHS & Sustainability will gather together at the NAEM Women’s Leadership Conference in Portland, Oregon. They will listen to inspiring speakers, connect and share best practices with one another. With many female leaders on our team, Gensuite will be sponsoring the event. This event is unlike any other we’ve ever sponsored in that all attendees are women, and that is something that is unique in this industry. I work in both Environmental, Health & Safety and Sustainability and in IT, both of which are male-dominated fields. I’m inspired by leading women in these industries and believe that their passion and dedication to their work is worth sharing.

Between being the Senior Director of Gensuite’s Customer Services & Development team, innovating environment-saving applications, heading the company’s largest event of the year and coming home to spend time with her son and husband, Amanda Petzinger has learned how to balance work and home life while excelling in her career.

Who is Amanda Petzinger? An innovator. A mentor. A mother. At Gensuite, her responsibilities in her role include leading growth initiatives across Gensuite’s subscriber community and serving as director of Gensuite’s Sustainability & Energy Management suite of applications. Amanda has 10 years of expertise implementing, configuring, designing and supporting Gensuite’s 65+ web-based applications, as well as extensive experience supporting Gensuite’s customers in their quest for Environmental, Health, and Safety operational excellence. In addition to her growth-related responsibilities, Amanda also coordinates Gensuite’s Customer Conference, an annual event that Gensuite hosts for its subscribers to discover new releases, meet and collaborate with other Gensuite subscribers, and share best practices and ideas. How does she do it? I had the chance to find out during this one-on-one interview with an Environmental, Health, and Safety rock star.

Ma Joelle: What has been the most fulfilling experience in your career?

Amanda: For a long time, (Gensuite’s) entire New Subscriber Development team was all women, and we had a mostly relationship-based approach to building our Subscribers’ community. For me, it has always been really rewarding to have an open ear and build relationships with our customers, and I think that says a lot, that our strategy was built from a team of women and the skills that we have. I love listening to customers’ struggles and challenges and what they want to accomplish, and really being able to not only suggest a solution but to work with them to make it a reality. Ultimately, it is rewarding because the customers we speak with are trying to make sure that they are keeping employees safe, and that they are being good environmental stewards, and in that, I feel that I have a stake in keeping their workers and the environment safe and sound.

Ma Joelle: What is the biggest challenge in your career?

Amanda: The biggest challenge has been balancing my work life with my personal life. I love to work, but there is a point that you get to when you have other commitments in your life other than just your job.

Ma Joelle: So what do you do to separate the two?

Amanda: Now that I’m a mom, I have a very different perspective on it. I have to be much more diligent about my time and priorities. You have to understand what stuff can wait until tomorrow. Before I had a baby, there were many late nights that I spent working. This year, since having my son, I’ve probably gone online at home a handful of times.

Another challenge that I have faced, especially in learning how to use my time wisely, is learning how to properly delegate tasks. Sometimes, it is hard to trust your team members, but it is something I have developed since being pregnant and having a child. I can’t do everything, it’s okay to ask other people for help, and that relates to my personal life as well. They say it takes a village to raise your child, and it takes a village to grow your team and your “babies” (projects) at work as well. You have to look at your team members and their skill sets and find ways to help them grow and take on greater responsibilities.

Ma Joelle: Who is your biggest inspiration?

Amanda: From a career perspective, I am very fortunate to have Natasha Porter (Gensuite Customer Development Officer & Executive Vice President) as my boss and mentor. She always is very organized, she delegates super well, she’s really great at following up with her team. And earlier, when I was talking about developing your team and mentoring others, I’ve learned all of that from her. And I am still learning. She has pushed me to reach the position I am in today.

My cousin’s wife is a big inspiration to me as well, although she probably doesn’t know it. She has two kids, she’s a news reporter, she is devoted to writing a blog. It seems on the outside that she is a super mom, and when I ask her how she does it, she tells me that she knows how to ask for help, which is something I am learning. I love to write. And if she can carve out time to do it, I know I can too.

Ma Joelle: What do you like to write about?

Amanda: I write a lot about baseball. I also have a lot of crazy stories that happen, usually when I travel. When I was traveling in New York and had to go to Boston, the train that I was supposed to take derailed. All trains and buses were canceled or full, and I had to figure out how I was going to get from New York City to Boston on St. Patrick’s Day. I ended up randomly encountering four women that also had to get to Boston, and we ended up driving together. It was a great example of the community that women can create for each other. We are all women of varying backgrounds and we learned a lot from each other that day. It was a fantastic group, there wasn’t a silent moment the entire drive. They don’t know it, but those women really inspired me that day. I still have to write my final story on that.

Ma Joelle: What advice can you offer to other women seeking success in their own careers?

Amanda: Find someone that you admire and learn all that you can from them. There is a lack of women in certain fields and part of that is that there is a lack of women leaders in those fields. It’s really important to find those people, whoever they are, and learn from them. Natasha, my high-school soccer coach, my college advisor are all people that have qualities that I want to emulate. They are women that I can go to for answers to tough questions and women that I look up to. It is hard to be a woman in a male-dominated field (EHS & IT) and even looking at our own customers, I see women who have made it in their own careers and they inspire me as well.

As a young, female professional, I certainly look up to Amanda and appreciate her candidness with me about her experience as a woman in a leading position. What we do in Environmental, Health, and Safety is truly a life-saving career, and I am proud to know that there are strong women, like Amanda, paving the road in this industry for women like me.


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