Leading a Healthy Working Environment

Seramount, a professional services firm dedicated to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, named Baxter to its list of Top 75 Companies for Executive Women. We are committed to broadening representation of women at all levels, especially the advancement to leadership roles.

We spoke with Tressa Chambers-Milton, Senior Director — Safety and Occupational Health, to get her perspectives.

Q: Tell us about your role at Baxter.

Tressa: Under our Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability (EHS&S) global function, I have enterprise-wide responsibility for leading Baxter’s safety and occupational health efforts globally. My primary role involves mitigating employees' risk of injury and illness by making sure they're using the proper safety measures and equipment. Another key piece is maintaining compliance with all the necessary health and safety regulations around the world.

Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the EHS&S function and your role specifically?

Tressa: My focus over the past two years has been helping to manage Baxter's response to COVID-19. I work closely with our team of medical experts, which reviews guidance from institutions like the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend precautions, policies and measures for Baxter. I also think the pandemic has permanently changed the EHS&S function as a whole; it forced us to become more agile and creative in finding ways to quickly deal with unprecedented challenges.

Q: From your perspective, how does Baxter empower and encourage women to succeed? 

Tressa: I think Baxter does a great job of cultivating a culture in which diversity and inclusion are valued, and employees are expected to make their voices heard. For women specifically, we have a wonderful mentoring program that connects newly hired or newly promoted women leaders with senior women executives. I was invited to participate shortly after joining Baxter and found it to be a great way of making connections and building meaningful relationships right from the start. I also think our Baxter Women Leaders Business Resource Group is an excellent advocate and resource for the advancement of women in their careers.

Q: If you could travel back in time to the start of your career, what advice would you give yourself?

Tressa: I'd tell myself not to try and be perfect because mistakes are inevitable: the key is to fail fast, learn from your mistakes, and move forward.

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