Safety FM with Jay Allen
Emily Cunis
March 30, 2021
Today on The Jay Allen Show, Jay speaks with Emily Cunis. Emily Cunis is a safety professional that is doing things the way she fit to serve a greater purpose for the safety community. Emily discusses during the interview, how she got involved in safety, being in Alaska and how she is involved with one of the largest entertainment companies in the world, all in the name of safety. Hear it all today on The Jay Allen Show!
Today on The Jay Allen Show, Jay speaks with Emily Cunis. Emily Cunis is a safety professional that is doing things the way she fit to serve a greater purpose for the safety community. Emily discusses during the interview, how she got involved in safety, being in Alaska and how she is involved with one of the largest entertainment companies in the world, all in the name of safety.

Hear it all today on The Jay Allen Show!
Thanks to Safety FM+ for sponsoring this episode of The Jay Allen Show.

[00:00:02] spk_1: this is this show is brought to you by Safety FM. Well, hello and welcome to another edition of the J. Allen show. Well, as you already know, it is Tuesday. So we are going to talk about the things that we talk about because that's what we do on Tuesdays, a little bit about everything. But I have to tell you, this particular interview was quite exciting for me, slightly different more than what I expected. And I always think that's a good thing. But I had the great opportunity of sitting down and having a conversation with Emily Cooties. Now she has recently acquired her CSP, and I want to talk about the process, how it has been through her career to this point, and that's what the conversation will be about today. So if you're kind of new to the industry, or maybe even have some time inside of the industry and been thinking about getting some certifications, we're going to have that discussion here today with Emily Kunis. I hope you enjoy it here today on the J. Allen Joe. The

[00:01:08] spk_0: show is

[00:01:09] spk_1: streaming now on safety FM dot life. I will tell you I will ask the important question. That is always the most obvious question. Why did you decide to get into the world of safety?

[00:01:20] spk_0: Yeah, so I actually didn't really even know about the world of safety or that safety was even a thing until I got into college. I prior to college, was kind of interested in maybe being a veterinarian. But there's a lot of, like, emotional things involved with animals and the care of animals, and that was a little too much. And then, um, possibly also interested in, like, the world of health care, but didn't really know much beyond health care as it presents itself as doctors or nurses. Um, in those kind of medical support staff roles. And so when I was in college, I, uh, you know, needing to choose some additional courses and I ended up discovering environmental health, I really liked the public health and not yet known to me safety aspect of really trying to get ahead of the game and helping people in their health and well being. Um, so, after one of my first courses in environmental health, where I learned for maybe a day about safety, um, I Yeah, it was, You know, in the introduction courses are always like, let's see how much information we can cram into one. You know, one semester. Really? And so I figured I would do some sort of internship in public health and safety. And so I ended up working for, uh, Tribal Health Organization, based in Fairbanks, Alaska. And I was paired with, uh, environmental health specialist or an engineer. And every week we

[00:03:04] spk_1: hold on, hold on, let's back up real quick, cause that's gonna be important to the story. We're currently in Florida. So were you in Alaska, like, personally, in Alaska?

[00:03:13] spk_0: Yeah. Yeah, I was four months. Yeah.

[00:03:17] spk_1: And so so prior to moving here, from what I could find, you were in Colorado, if that's correct. So that's it's okay. So So you went from Colorado to Alaska for four months, so you must really like these changing sceneries. I mean, at least Colorado's There's some similarities, but of course, Alaska is probably a little bit more cold. So how do you find this? And, uh, I mean, let's just be realistic. One, some one day, one semester, All of a sudden, you've fallen in love with safety. You go to Alaska. I mean, you're freezing over there. I would assume at this point, and all of a sudden you're going after this and you're serving four months now. Is it during that weird time of portion of the year where it's dark, all the time or daylight all the time? Or is it still day and night as it goes about?

[00:04:00] spk_0: So it's light outside all the time. And, um which is, you know, I I was I was in college and I didn't really have any commitments, and the opportunity came up. It was kind of through my university. Uh, and I was like, Well, you know, I've never been to Alaska and now it's a chance to do it because it's only for a few months. And if I don't like Alaska, then that's it. Never have to go to last. But

[00:04:26] spk_1: But I mean, but you're leaving everything behind your packing up. We're going for four months. I mean, this is a life changing event. Even I know some people were like, Well, it's only four months. It's still four months. You're giving up everything. So you had already fallen in love that much with the world of safety in regard to environmental safety and health that you're deciding to do this. So as you go out there, what are you learning as you're doing this?

[00:04:48] spk_0: Um, So I'm learning a lot about really what it means to be a great I guess partner in public health and safety, Um, and how to serve a very diverse and, um, you know, a very diverse and, you know, breadth and depth of different safety and public health concerns. And so we would basically fly out to these small villages, um, tiny, tiny little planes. I think the smallest one was probably like a two seater plane that I was on and or just three seater with the pilot. And, um yeah, and we would they would they would. Actually, a funny thing was, um, they would weigh us and all of our stuff and us and all of our stuff couldn't be over a certain weight before we got on the plane. Um, so we would bring with us, you know, some textbooks, because there there is no cell service or Internet in a lot of these places, so you can't just look something up on the Internet real quick.

[00:05:53] spk_1: So when I said life changing event, it was no joke. You're talking. Okay, so let's let's kind of go through some of that because I have to have a very good understanding. So, at any point, did you were you overweight for the plane? Where they said Okay, you have to drop this off and you can't go forward with anything because of because of the weight?

[00:06:12] spk_0: No. No. So, um, I basically survived off of like, uh, those tuna fish packets and granola bars because it didn't weigh a lot. And I could put it in a backpack. No, but we were never, like, over that way. And I mean, we would even bring with us, you know, uh, noise dosimeters. We bring with us different industrial hygiene equipment. And we bring even Rabies vaccines with us for, uh, dogs in the community.

[00:06:44] spk_1: So when you're going, So when you're gone for these trips, how long are we talking? Length of time? Just ballpark. I mean, it doesn't have to be every single one, But when you're going to these communities, are we talking days on end before you're actually heading back? Or is it a day trip? How does it end up working?

[00:06:58] spk_0: Um, anywhere from about, like, 3 to 4 days was kind of the average, so we would stay overnight in these communities as well. Um, and, uh, which was, I guess, you know, great for the folks who we worked with because they had unlimited access to us for a few days. Right? And it wasn't just the 9 to 5 access. That's

[00:07:19] spk_1: the next question. Of course. So what are we talking about? In regards of shift, I would imagine it's some level of shift work. So are you looking at it where you're doing? 16 hour shift, 12 hour shifts. What are we talking about here, or is it the whole It's the commitment of the whole time you're actually there.

[00:07:35] spk_0: Um, it's basically the whole time we're actually there. And so I mean, obviously there's breaks for eating and sleeping. Um, but sometimes they would have community gatherings right where we would go and speak on different topics. Um, or we would be invited, you know, uh, to dinner, right, to eat with these folks who are in, like, communities. And, um, it just really depended, and it's, you know, but it was unlimited access for those few days,

[00:08:06] spk_1: so I would I would assume that it's very similar to like a doctor or nurse. Going through a residency at a hospital is what it sounds like. Then, when you're going on on these trips because of the constant access to you, Yeah, you might have a break to be able to go to sleep or go to eat, But it's kind of a limited time before you actually come back. Would that be about accurate?

[00:08:23] spk_0: Yeah,

[00:08:25] spk_1: so? So what was? So when you come back, you're gone for the four months. All of a sudden, where's your passion Leaning? Is this where you say Okay, I want to continue to do something along these lines. Or was this a little bit? Maybe a little bit too intense. Where you go? Uh oh. Let me kind of maneuver it a little bit of a different direction.

[00:08:42] spk_0: No, I think I had really fallen in love at that point. With public health and safety. I hadn't really, because it was so diverse in the work that we were doing, I hadn't really picked kind of the specific area I was interested in at that point, but I knew it was going to end up being something in public health and safety at that point.

[00:09:03] spk_1: So after you do that, you decided to take on another internship, correct? So you all of a sudden are still in. So now you're back in Colorado, You take another internship. What? What is the internship there? Who are you with? If you can talk about them, of course. And what exactly are you doing?

[00:09:19] spk_0: Yeah, So I end up working for the city of Fort Collins, which is where I went to university at. And while I was there, I worked with a phenomenal team. And they, um it kind of worked with all different groups and that within the city, I believe they're about 12 different groups such as the police. There were parks and recreation, HR people as well. And so, working with each of those groups to address any sort of safety concerns that they had, um, we did a lot of health and safety communication work. Uh, that's where I really kind of delved into safety. But I really, really enjoyed my time there because again, of the diversity within safety. And so every group had their own set of safety needs or kind of safety wants and wishes as well.

[00:10:12] spk_1: Um, yeah,

[00:10:15] spk_0: yeah, yeah. And so that was just a, really, you know, a great opportunity to look into, see like, Well, here's all different types of safety that I can end up doing. Um, you know, within the safety sector.

[00:10:29] spk_1: So as you go through it and you're seeing all these different sectors and you're going okay, I can see where this can kind of go, and you're you're looking in and out. Is there something in particular of the aspect where you're going? I'm falling more and more in love with this particular section inside of it because I mean, safety does cover a large gamut of things. But are you going? This is what I'm really interested in. And this is where I'm thinking about leaving at the time. Or is this something a thought later down the road?

[00:10:54] spk_0: Um, I would have to say it was probably more of the people interaction portion of safety because there is so much of safety that is really program development, um, developing standards and that kind of work. Uh, but I really, really enjoyed interacting with the employees of the city. And so I think that's kind of where I knew I wanted to head within safety. I did really, really like how different the work was because it was so many different groups. Um, so I knew that it was definitely the direction I kind of wanted to head after graduation.

[00:11:33] spk_1: So knowing that you wanted to do that, how all of a sudden does the Orlando market the Florida Central Florida market land on your lap all of a sudden that you go? Well, I did. Alaska. I've been in Colorado. Let's go to extreme heat. Next. How does this come about?

[00:11:51] spk_0: Yeah, So I actually had a friend who, uh, just before again, I I graduated. Came back from an internship experience in Central Florida, and she absolutely loved it. How to phenomenal time. It wasn't necessarily in anything health or safety or even stem related. Um, but she just had such a great experience and really enjoyed Central Florida as a whole. Um, and I really valued her opinion. And so I figured, you know, why not let me look to see what's out there because, uh, you know, I'm sure there's safety roles and opportunities available. And, um, worst case scenario, it's just for a little bit and I can come back. So

[00:12:39] spk_1: so But let's go through that because, I mean, it's a life changing event as well. You're moving several 100 miles over 1000 miles for sure to make it here to Central Florida. You make it to Central Florida, you're you're putting a gamble. You're going into a totally different environment where it's not dry heat. It's actually this, you know, this this nice, humid 80. You're not familiar with hurricanes at the time. So now I'm sure that you, you know, you definitely got it down Pat now. But as you're taking a look at this and you decide to to take this risk on coming here because, of course, you have given yourself Did you know anybody in the local area besides the person that you were just referencing a few moments ago? Or was this full on on your own?

[00:13:22] spk_0: No. It was full on on my own. So she actually had moved back to Colorado, um, to be with her family and so there was no one here. Um, but it was part of the fun, right? You gotta

[00:13:34] spk_1: Yeah,

[00:13:36] spk_0: there and create your own community. What

[00:13:40] spk_1: is your What is your family telling you at the time? What is your family saying to you going? Are you off your rocker wanting to, You know, I mean, you've already lived this really interesting experience in Alaska, but now you're going to Well, I mean, a pretty well populated area. Central Florida's pretty well populated and you're going into, you know, a destination experiences what it boils down to. So what's what's the thought process there? What are they telling you?

[00:14:04] spk_0: Yeah, well, there have been, like, great and supportive through this whole entire experience. And I think they were like, Oh, it's an opportunity to go to the beach. And it's an opportunity to go to the destination experience. And now we have an excuse. So

[00:14:17] spk_1: So they were planning ahead. So that's that's interesting. You get it. So you get in there and you start off as an intern inside of that general area, like you decided that you you you end up staying longer and you actually get into we'll say inside of the safety world inside of there inside of this entertainment group. So now that you're inside of there, how was the intern experience to now actually being quote unquote an employee?

[00:14:43] spk_0: Yeah. So I think it's been a pretty seamless transition for me. I mean, I decided to remain with my current employer because of the really the experiences I had as an intern. And one of those key things was just the access to safety resources. And, you know, really people we have a very large safety team. Um, So there are a lot of experts in certain fields generalists, um, and folks who have a wealth of safety, experience and knowledge And there are those folks to lean on. Um, and so being an intern and being still very new to safety, um, I've leaned on them. Then I continue to lean on them now, Um, and it's just been a really, really great way to learn.

[00:15:37] spk_1: This is Jay Allen show. Hey, have you ever wanted to hear what's going on around in the world of safety and you're not able to do so? Have you ever wanted to take a listen to what exactly is going around in the world of safety? What if we called that thing around the safety pod we told you month over month what is happening in the mix? Would you care to know? What would it be worth to you? Now? Here's the fun part. Besides that, you can find out exactly what's going on inside of the world of safety. There's also other information available there stuff that you can start using as early as today. How about you give us a look? Go to our website safety FM plus dot com at safety FM plus dot com to find out what exactly is going on inside of the world of safety around the world of safety and inside of the world of safety. And don't forget to tell them J. Allen Center. I'll see you on the other side. Make sure to join the Revolution. We are back on the J. Allen show on Safety FM well over the last year, especially as I would imagine that it's been a learning experience for both because you have been leaning on these people. But all of a sudden, now we have something going on of course is that everybody has been affected by with a pandemic. So all of a sudden you're seeing these different changes in environment and the people that you lean on. Our inexperience with this I would assume, because a lot of us are inexperienced with when it comes to pandemic don't really know a lot of people that have a lot of familiarity with it when it comes to the world of safety with this. So what have you learned during this? Uh, in regards of what they've been able to teach you and what you've been learning all also at the same time?

[00:17:17] spk_0: Um, I would have to say being very, very adaptable, um, is probably the key point and being able to explain adaptability to folks who may not be as keen on being adaptable, Um, I always get a lot of questions about. So why did it change this week and why did it change this week and why are we doing this now? And so, um, you know, really, I think I've been probably a lot of not only experience but practice and knowledge with explaining to folks about Well, you know, here's why we need to be adaptable. Here's what it means to be adaptable. And here's where it could potentially get us, you know, in the future.

[00:17:56] spk_1: Well, and here's what I find interesting. So you're going through these different experiences. You're you're becoming adaptable to the environment that you're in. But I guess you decided that you were bored to an extent during this timeframe to where you decided to go after your CSP, which is a very highly coveted certification. And you decide to do this during this timeframe. So how did you How did you manage to be able to pull off both at the same time? Because I would imagine there was a lot of different things going on. This is just my imagination. You can tell me if I'm wrong, where all of a sudden you have to change of Hey, this is what I had planned to. Oh, no, I have to do this for work instead. So how did you make the time to be able to to go after the certification all at the same time?

[00:18:34] spk_0: Yeah. So I I knew I wanted to apply. Uh, just about a year ago, um, and then all of the shutdowns happened and the quarantine happened, And so I was like, Well, maybe not. The timing is not super great because we don't know what testing and person looks like, you know, potentially. Um and so I had kind of started around that time, really? Just having conversations with folks who I work with about Hey, like, I'm I'm thinking of signing up and taking the CSP. Like, you know, I'm going to be asking, like, a million and one questions at this point just because I'm trying to study and learn and, you know, all aspects of everything that's on the CSP. Um And so basically, after, you know, I we kind of got into um yeah, so basically, after we kind of got into a more steady stride at work, Um, I figured, Well, like, I'll sign up and I'll make a commitment to an actual date of taking the CSP right. And I think one of my strengths for quite a while has been time management. Luckily, uh, and so I really just made sure to carve out the time to study and then take what I studied and at work even talk to other safety professionals about it and say, Hey, well, like I was reading about this, like, what are your thoughts on it? Like, What do you What do you know about it? What are your experiences? Um and so that's I think you know how I got to where I was. But of course, there were some days where I was like, Well, I was going to study, but everything happened at work or in my personal life, and now it's, you know, no longer happening. But again, being being adaptable, right, Well,

[00:20:28] spk_1: let's talk about some of your adaptability because you're going through all of this. But also at the same time, I mean, let's kind of not leave this out. You're volunteering at an organization to help out what their social media, which I've heard you say. And outside conversations outside of this one where you said I didn't really know much about social media at the time. So you're taking on this adaptability stuff that you're trying to do it at your place of employment, Also studying for the CSP, also having a personal life and then running for this organization helping this organization out, um, the A cfs here in Central Florida. We're doing all their media with something that you're learning at the time. You have to tell me the magic trick because there has to be something that you're doing. I mean, how you said you're really good at time management. You're gonna have to give us a secret on how you do it.

[00:21:14] spk_0: Yeah, I mean, so I like I like to stay busy as well. Um, I think I do my best work while I'm busy. Not necessarily under pressure, but while I'm keeping myself busy. Um and so I my secret probably really is just it's writing things down. I have, like, my calendar, my planner, and really just sticking to what I've written down and as much as as possible.

[00:21:44] spk_1: So would you say then you do hard cuts. So let's say, for instance, lets us use this as an example. We have this time set aside for this interview currently so saying, for instance, if I was starting to go over hypothetically, would you be like, Okay, I'm I gotta go. No, seriously, because I mean, sometimes for time management, you have to do things like that. So a lot of people say that they're really good at time management. I know. A very few that will go. Okay, Hard dead. We're good. We're good. I have to move. Yeah,

[00:22:13] spk_0: yeah, yeah. I mean, it's a big part of that, too, I think is, uh, respecting each other's time because it's I always Whenever I have either meet and greets or one on ones and I said half an hour an hour of time aside And even though the conversation might be really great, you know, towards the end, I'm always like, Hey, like, I know we're coming up on time and you're a really busy

[00:22:35] spk_1: person.

[00:22:36] spk_0: You know, if I have the time, I'll stay. But if not, you know it's more can be scheduled in the future. So

[00:22:45] spk_1: But let me ask a couple questions and because I'm very curious about this because you have just recently went through a couple of different experiences, what would you tell for people that are interested in actually acquiring the CSP newer into the profession, You know, with everything going on right now, how would you encourage them? Or what information would you share with them that you've learned through your experience? that you would say, Hey, you should probably focus on this.

[00:23:08] spk_0: Yeah. So, like I said, I had a lot of conversations with other safety professionals. Um, about, uh, being really open and honest saying, Hey, this is something I'm going to pursue. And I'd like your help if you don't mind me asking you a ton of questions. Um, so there are so many people out there who do have their CSB or who are very well, Expo have a ton of experience as a safety professional, and so leaning on those folks to ask those questions. But I I think that conversation part of it, at least for me and how I learned was really important because it made it stick in my brain, um, as opposed to Okay, let me open this textbook and, you know, read 100 pages. Right. Um, so any kind of learning styles that work for you I would stick to you for the CSP. Um and then definitely setting that kind of commitment for yourself, like I'm going to do this. It's going to happen. And, um, you know, a global pandemic can happen, and, like, I'm still going to do it so it might not happen exactly when I thought, but it will happen.

[00:24:19] spk_1: So let me ask the question here of I know there's some other options as well There are available. I believe the A s P is one of them, and I'm gonna screw this up because I think the GSP is another one. But don't hold me 100% to the lettering. Why did you decide to go straight to the big one? Because that's I mean, the CSP is the big one. I know of a lot of people that go a sp first. Then they'll go to the to the CSP. Why did you decide to say okay? I mean, I I know you didn't know that everything was going to go to the way that it did, but why did you decide to go directly for the for the big one is something

[00:24:50] spk_0: So I actually did take the I S P um yeah, so it's, um but that was a man was probably two years ago. Now you're making

[00:25:01] spk_1: it seem like a lifetime ago. I know the last year seems like times 10, but I understand.

[00:25:06] spk_0: Oh, yeah. So it was about two years ago. But I know a lot of folks who will wait and they will take their SP and CSP kind of back to back because it is a lot of studying and you are studying some of this like some similar concepts. And so why study for it? Twice essentially, um, but because of, like, the requirements for work, I hadn't had enough years of work experience yet to take the CSP. Um, so I and I, uh, beyond the folks who you know, I work with, I didn't really know a lot about the SPR, CSP or the rigor or the amount of time it took to study. And so I figured we'll be fine if I space them out, because then I'll I have plenty of opportunity to study and it will be plenty of time. Um and so that's kind of why I spaced it out the way I did. But there's other folks that I work with who have graduated with their GSP. Um, my university didn't offer, uh, an option like that. Um, and

[00:26:12] spk_1: they were still a very great school. Let's just make sure that

[00:26:15] spk_0: it is, you know, they don't unfortunately offer the GSP. Uh, so

[00:26:22] spk_1: right now if somebody came to you that was getting into the industry or just recently graduated, um, and is going into the safety field and they were going to ask you about either doing the the SP first or just going directly to the CSP. What route would you recommend? Especially because you've already been through the journey.

[00:26:40] spk_0: Yeah, I would recommend probably if you're going to do the ESPN, the CSP taking them a little closer together. Um, it was a lot of studying, like separate kind of chunks of time. And

[00:26:54] spk_1: would you would you recommend the A S P or would you just say do the CSP straight?

[00:26:58] spk_0: Yeah, I would. I definitely would. So it's I I found a lot of benefits in just the information that I learned. I was able to learn about, uh, certain concepts and certain, um, standards that I don't deal with on a day to day basis just because of my role, Um, and what was required of me at the time. And so I think it helped me grow as a safety professional just to learn about stuff I didn't have to use every single day.

[00:27:28] spk_1: Okay, well, I I mean, I'm always curious because I never knew I always go. I look at these things. I was like, There's so many different certifications one day, actually, me and another gentleman that actually is part of the network. We were taking a look around, and I think that we figured out there was about 350 different designations, and I'm always like I don't even know where to start. I mean, like, like, do you go just after the one that a lot of people look at among the industry as the biggest one that's out there? So, of course, when I get ahold of somebody who's who has multiple of them, I always go, which which way would you go? So I think it's important information. Now, if people want to know more about what you're doing or would like to get in contact you, is there any particular way that they can? Are you big on linked in? Do you hang out on the social media and respond to anybody or what goes on?

[00:28:10] spk_0: Yeah. Yeah. So Lincoln would probably be the best way to get a hold of me. It's just first name. Last name. Um, so my last name is pretty unique. So I think there's there. Should be too many Emily Kunis is out there. Um, but that would be the best way. Yeah,

[00:28:23] spk_1: well, I do appreciate you coming on to the show today.

[00:28:26] spk_0: No, thank you very much, Jay.

[00:28:29] spk_1: Well, there you go. This brings another episode of a J. Allen show to an end. I really do hope that you enjoyed my conversation with Emily Cooties here today. As always, if you want to know more about what we have going on here at safety FM, you can go to safety FM dot com also just for references and just to talk about it real quick. Right now, we have a contest going on for an event that's being put on by nipping Anant and Todd Conklin. Go to safety FM dot com forward slash contest for more information. Thank you for always being best fire to safety FM, and that is the listener. Safety FM is the home of real safety talk. Don't worry. We'll be back with another episode of the J. Allen show before too long. Goodbye for now once more of the J. Allen show, go to safety FM dot com safety FM, changing safety cultures, one broadcast and one podcast at a time.

[00:30:01] spk_0: The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are those of the host in its guests and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the company. Examples of analysis discussed within this podcast are only examples. It should not be utilized in the real world as the only solution available, as they are based only on very limited in dated open source information. Assumptions made within this analysis are not reflective of the position of the company. No part of this podcast may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means mechanical, electronic recording or otherwise without prior written permission of the creator of the podcast,

[00:30:40] spk_1: Jay Allen. Okay,