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#36: Krista Geller at NSC 2019

September 11, 2019 | 47 minutes 26 seconds

Krista Geller talks with Jill James about the importance of pets in our lives, growing up in safety and research, and Actively Caring for People.

Links and Show Notes

AC4P - Actively Caring for People | https://activelycaringpeople.org

Transcript

Jill:

This is the Accidental Safety Pro live at the 2019 National Safety Congress and Expo in Sunny San Diego. My name is Jill James, Vivid's, Chief Safety Officer. And today I'm joined by Krista Geller, president of Actively Caring For People. Welcome to the podcast, Krista.

Krista:

Thank you very much Jill. I appreciate it.

Jill:

So Accidental Safety Pro meaning how everybody's telling their story about how did safety find them in some sort of way. And by degree you're behavioral psychologist. Right?

Krista:

Right, right.

Jill:

So yeah, let's go on the way back machine. How do you go from behavioral psychology into safety?

Krista:

It's interesting story. It really all I have to pay all the credit to my father mostly. I started off going to school, doing the school thing, trying to figure out what I want my degree to be, what can I do, what do I want to do? And I just kept getting roped into all of his experiments.

Jill:

So if people aren't familiar with, when you say roped into your dad's experiments, what does that mean?

Krista:

Well, he would either say, I'll give you $10 to do this experiment or he would say do it and there was no choice and he would have some sort of experiment for me to do. One of them, the most noted one really is probably when my sister was 14, I was 16 and another lady was 18. He got the three of us together and he made us go around the town of Blacksburg and buy cigarettes. And the goal was to figure out, if we were going to be carded. Because I mean, I was a young 16. I mean, I probably didn't look a day over 12 and my sister, she definitely didn't look over-

Jill:

The 14 year old. Yeah.

Krista:

Right. So we recorded for sound and sound in our pocket. So we were recording the conversation. We would go up to the attendant, we'd go to 20 different stores. We'd go to the attendant, ask to buy the cigarettes and see if we would get carded. And out of the 20 stores, I did not get carded once. The 18 year old did not get carded once. My sister got carded twice only because it was her basketball coach that was working at both stores. So he knew she was not of age to be smoking. So he went to the newspapers and they came out, it was called the Sting in Blacksburg.

And there was a front page picture of the three of us sitting behind a big large stack of cigarettes and it blew up Blacksburg. I mean, we really, we stopped the tobacco buying process in Blacksburg. And what did kids do when they go to high school? They smoke, they dip, they do all that tobacco stuff. But we shut it down. We lost a lot of friends. He said he comes to us and he goes, "I want you guys to go back to those stores. See if you get re-carded. What's going on. Let's do a followup to the research." So I walked into a Wade's and there on the wall was a giant blown up picture of the three of us and it said, do not sell to these girls.

Jill:

Just you?

Krista:

Yeah. And I let the cigarettes ride the conveyor belt and I stood there for a minute and she told me off. He said, I'm not selling you these cigarettes. And so yeah. The reaction was quite big in our town. Our town, of course, is a lot bigger now. It's Blacksburg Virginia or Virginia Tech. Much bigger town now with all the students. But this was way back when, 1993 or so. So it's a little bit more compact. So everybody knew what everybody was doing. And yeah, cigarette study, yeah, definitely ruffled some feathers in the town of Blacksburg.

Jill:

So you're part of research and for people who don't know why your dad would be conducting research maybe give a little blip on who your dad is, to give some context to any listener who has no idea what we're talking about.

Krista:

So my father is Scott Keller and he's been a professor in psychology at Virginia Tech. He's in his 50th year. So he's been in one university for 50 years and he's run research study after research study. And to this day I still think I probably was an experiment. So he pulled me on board and just started sending us out to do research. I mean I did a lot of alcohol research with him for a while. I did safety seat research. I rode along with Coca-Cola drivers. Did lifting behaviors. I did driving behaviors. We work on the road rage reducer. So I was in so many different experiments with hi because it was fun.

Jill:

And he was paying you sometimes.

Krista:

Sometimes. Yeah. I actually did in the, when I started going to college when I was a freshman at Radford University, I continued and I picked up a part time job with him as a research assistant. So I stayed a research assistant with him probably until I graduated with my PhD. I was always in and out of his research projects and it was something to do. It was a couple of bucks on the side and it was just, it really was just fun. I mean, we would go down to Blacksburg and we would hide in one of the little nooks of the party scene and we would take people's blood alcohol content.

Jill:

Wow!

Krista:

We would give them a survey-

Jill:

The two of you?

Krista:

No, him.

Jill:

Other research assistants.

Krista:

Yes. Other research assistants. Sometimes he would follow us to a fraternity party. So I can say that I've been to a fraternity party with my father. I'm not sure if that's a cool statement or not.

Jill:

He was there to watch to make sure you're okay.

Krista:

He was there. My father has been to, I've walked Bourbon Street with my father's hand. So yeah, so we would give these students a survey and then we would take their blood alcohol content and figure out how intoxicated were they. We would ask them questions on, would they drive a car? What kind of behaviors would they engage in? We would ask them while they were intoxicated so that we would see how the answers would differ and see are people willing to take the risks when they have a blood alcohol content of .1 or something like that.

Jill:

So while you're doing this, since you're a little kid all the way through college, what kind of degree were are you working on?

Krista:

Well, it's very interesting because when I went to Radford University, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I took a lot of psychology courses. I was really interested in it. My mom was a professor at Radford university in the special education department. I grew up with educators in my house. I knew I liked psychology, so I stayed in the psychology area. I doubled in biology. I just kept going back and forth. But I really stuck with psychology. And then I loved media studies. So what I ended up doing was I became the New River Valley news reporter for Radford University. And I used all of my dad's research studies as my stories.

So we would go to Walmart and we would have a safety seat check. So we would check all the child safety seats, make sure they were they recalled, were they not recalled. We had multimillion dollar grant. We would go straight into Walmart, buy a brand new child safety seat and install it in the car for these people. And it was great. What a purpose, what a great process. And I did a news report on it. So then I would take every research project I was involved in and make it into a new story. And his students loved it, especially the ones that were getting their thesis or dissertation because then they could use my news story as part of their research process. So then I was like, "Okay, this is kind of fun."

So I ended up double majoring in psychology and media studies. But then when I graduated from Radford, I was just, it was kind of what do I do now? Just not sure what I would do. And I remember sitting in his office, my dad's office at Virginia Tech and where I was most of my life, what am I going to do? And I looked over at the school of Human Development. Which human development is, in my dad's words, the touchy feely side of psychology. Human development is less putting people in boxes. It looks more at the person. How is the person developing, what kind of knowledge, skills and expertise does that person have. And I loved it. So I dove straight into the human development piece and that's where I got my PhD in.

Jill:

In human development.

Krista:

Yeah, I continue with my masters thesis and my PhD. And I remember driving with my dad, because when you have to decide what kind of research you're going to do. And I was driving down the road and I was like, "What am I going to do?" Because you want to find something unique that you can spend your time reading. You're going to spend a year just being-

Jill:

You've got to be in love with it.

Krista:

You've got to be in love with it. You've got to be in love with it. Because the process is not fun. And he said, "What about the power of pets." And that that was it. And I remember sitting across from my professor, I had to write a proposal and we had to put our topic in and she laughed at me for 20 minutes.

Jill:

What!

Krista:

She laughed at me for 20 minutes.

Jill:

Was she not a pet person?

Krista:

I couldn't tell you. I couldn't tell you if she was pet person. But I will tell you I was not happy with her reactions. And she popped up a couple of times, she said, "I'm not laughing at you. I'm just laughing at your idea." Thank you. That makes me feel so much better. Thank you very much. And so I went with it. I hit the course running with power of pets. And it was after my thesis, one of my professors that was on my chair in my committee came up to me and said, he went out and got two dogs just based on the research, the statistics that came back on my thesis.

Jill:

Whoa. So tell us about it.

Krista:

Well the power of pets. So my thesis, I focused on how animals influence family relationships. What do they do for a child in a family? How do they help you? How do they forge relationships? How do they forge communication? What do they do for you? And it's all positive. If a child doesn't feel comfortable talking to their mom or dad, they will talk to the pet. So if that pet is available, and it doesn't have to be a dog or cat folks, it can be a snake, can be a fish, it can be a bird. It doesn't have to be a big animal. It can be a pretty simple animal that pulls the love out of us. And so for my thesis I focused on qualitative research. So it was paragraphs and paragraphs of people telling me why their pet was important and what they thought about it. So I did a content analysis on all of the research and it came back as it was a companionship. They provided companionship.

So when I jumped into my dissertation, I said, "Yeah, I'm going to continue with this." And I developed a pet attachment scale, which kind of looks at how attached are you to your companion animal. And it came back that there were two things, we see them as companionship and emotional fulfillment. I mean, I think of my animals today as my children. They do not get anything less than my child would get in my home. They are just as loved as everybody else. They're part of the family, period. And that is the power of pets. They love me unconditionally. And I've traveled the world really with a lot of my jobs. And one of the funnest things I've found to talk with people about is pets. In fact, if you're sitting with somebody and the conversation might be stale or you don't know where to go from there. If you take the time to ask somebody, "Hey, do you have any animals at home?" Wow. If they do, you've opened up a whole new avenue of conversation because it's amazing.

Jill:

It's a whole thing. So what kind of pets do you have?

Krista:

I currently have four dogs and two cats. And then, I had a pony that I grew up with and I actually dedicated my master's thesis and my dissertation to her. She was unbelievable pony, lady Champagne short pump sugar shack. She had a long name. She had a long name, she was famous. And very special animal. And she really, she protected me. She taught me how to love, very important. And when I got my master's thesis, I decided, well, I was about to get it. I had a year to go. I got her pregnant. I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this for her. It was my way of giving her, letting her experience another part of her life. I'm going to let you have a child, see how you do.

She did great. She loved it. It was fantastic. And the baby was born when I graduated with my master's thesis. So then when I get my master's thesis and started going into my PhD. I thought, "You know what, I think I'm going to do it again." So I got her pregnant again. Same boyfriend, same father. Got her pregnant again. And that baby was born when I got my PhD. So I still have her two children. She has since passed, several years ago. Which was a real defining time in my life. I lost a very dear friend. Very dear friend. But, I do have her babies.

Which my dad, he is starting, he knew the power of pets, but now he's reading my research and coming up with me and editing my research. He's realized how significant animals are. And you look at PetSmart and you look at what we do for our animals and what we've offered. It's amazing. So he is going to write a book with me. We are getting my masters thesis and dissertation together. I do have a chapter out there in one of his applied psychology books on the power of pets. But we're going to look at how animals are at the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Self-transcendence, we're at the top man. And so that's what it is, is we care for someone else that is unconditionally cares from us.

Jill:

Yeah, it's magical. I was not a pet person until about nine, eight years ago. Got My first pet. It was accidental, kind of like being an accidental safety pro. I was asked to take care of someone's cat for two weeks while they went on a trip. And I'm like, "Cat." I'm the crazy anal retentive clean person who like straightens the fringe on the rugs. Yeah. I'm not that anymore. Not since having a pet. Anyway, so took care of this cat and at the time my son's little and he's an only child and I see what happens with the pet in the house. So I'm like, "Crap, we got to get a pet and cat seems to work because I travel." Cats can take care of themselves kind of.

So we got this, we have our cat Jack who's been with us. And right before you and I started this podcast recording today. My son called me to tell me that he was checking in on Jack and he was giving me the whole download on what Jack was doing and it is a communication piece. It is a [crosstalk 00:15:24] and he'll be leaving for college next year and his biggest fear is that something will happen to Jack and I somehow won't tell him while he's at college. So He's already made me pre promise a year in advance that if something happens with Jack's health, he'll immediately be like lights and sirens all the way home.

Krista:

That's actually really funny that you say that because my mom was like that. She used to have to say the dogs. Okay. And there was a time where she waited two weeks before she told me that I had lost an animal. And I remember I led into her for that because I'm that same way that your son feels it. Isn't it interesting that bond your son has developed with that cat. The research out there says that actually petting a dog or cat lowers your blood pressure. And one of the reasons they have fish in dentists office and doctor's office is that watching them swim actually lowers your blood pressure and calms us down. I mean, it's just unbelievable. I did a research study, actually, I had a little pug, his name was Kodiak. And we have a trail, the Huckleberry trail in Blacksburg Virginia and I would walk the Huckleberry trail.

My research wise, I would walk the trail without Kodiak and with Kodiak. And I would take research on how many times, how many conversations that I engage in when I had Kodiak and when I did not have Kodiak. When I did not have Kodiak, 100% of the time, no conversations, maybe a smile or a wave here and there. When I had Kodiak, 100% of the time I had conversations. And so they are social piece. And at Virginia Tech, one of my degrees is in Gerontology and it focuses on the older population and that's social that they often miss out on. And so having a pet, going out and just walking your pet, you're socializing, you're talking with people, you're forced into conversations. You're also forced to take care of something as well as yourself. So sometimes if you have an older person that has to remember to feed a cat, well they also have to remember to feed themselves. It's like a two fold thing that works together.

Jill:

So have you found a way to connect the power of pets with workplace safety or safety in general? How is that look?

Krista:

Well, when I look at it, I look at it as actively caring for people. So that's what I've started with. Is dad has been very passionate about actively caring for people and I really believe I pulled him into that through my behavior and my degree.

Jill:

He got into the mush gushy stuff that he didn't. He got into it.

Krista:

Yap. He got into that mushy gushy stuff by reading and editing all of my mushy gushy articles. And so now we're going down the human development track and I pulled him into it. And so now we're actively caring for people. But now when you look at the health of people and sometimes when you go to a job site and you're working with people you know, somebody doesn't look so well, they're not doing so well. Do we take the time to figure out what's going on in their lives? And sometimes an animal or a pet could be the uplifting piece that that person might need. I mean the relationship that you can have with an animal might be what it is. So I consider, so when I think about safety, I think about our health as well.

So I think about how our health plays into safety. So when you go to the job site, you're not feeling so well. Much like my scratchy voice, I'm not feeling so well. So when you go to the job site and not feeling so well, you might not put your best foot forward. Or you might be blindsided or not have your mind on the task at hand because you don't feel good. And so that's your health. But your health is also in how you live your life. And sometimes a pet can increase that health. So you are going to work feeling healthier because you do have a pet at home. You have somebody that loves you unconditionally. So when you come home from work, you have that relationship to tend to. That's how I see it bleeding into safety.

Jill:

Yeah. Yeah. So you mentioned, and we mentioned at the outset president of Actively Caring For People. I want to hear the story about how that was born. But we need to go back to how did you get into safety again? And what happened after college?

Krista:

Safety, that's an interesting question. Because after college I went and I taught college for a while. I taught at Virginia Tech, when you're a graduate student they want you to teach a class because you're cheap. And the first class I had, I had 250 students. I had the entire Virginia Tech football team and the topic was human sexuality. And I didn't look a day over 21, well I probably was 22. And I taught this class and I taught this class for the next few years at Virginia Tech. And it took that many years to used to teaching.

To get used to really giving up myself and kind of making sure that my students walked out of my classroom with nuggets of information with learnings. And I'd learned all that from my mom and dad, both professors. I learned, okay, what does it mean to teach? And so I started stepping out into the world. And it was funny, I was an adjunct professor, but the other job that I got was running a conference, a safety conference. And I got into the safety conference because it was a safety conference that used to give my dad keynotes.

So I Kind of got into the safety and started talking safety with people. And it was funny, dad had been in safety for so long that I could have an ES&H position open, ES&H manager. And somebody would see, is Krista Geller looking for a job? Well come on over, we'll hire you. And my background was not in environmental health and safety. But my last name was Geller. In many ways they thought, okay, well maybe she'll bring what I need to the table. And in some situations it worked out. In some situations, the jobs were not quite what I wanted them to be. But I started as an adjunct professor and I always had that in the background, but I could never get a full professor job. Never. The only full jobs I was getting safety jobs.

Jill:

And it was the one you didn't go to college for.

Krista:

Yeah. So I couldn't fathom it. I was like, wait a minute, I'm a teacher. And so when it started bleeding into was, okay, I can make this work. I'm going to be a teacher of safety. So now I just have to learn safety. I guess my teacher is in my back backyard. Maybe I need to learn from him. So I got a couple of ES&H manager gigs and started learning what it meant to work in the field.

Jill:

You feel like that was the universe sort of conspiring you, like just kept happening and you had to listen to the nudging?

Krista:

It's a great question. That's a great question because before I did my presentation yesterday, I had a lady tell me, "You are born into this. You are born into this and you were born for this." And it's like, well, maybe. I am trying very hard to continue his message forward but I do know it was a very hard road for me in many ways because dad is a professor, he is an academic. And he has great theories, he has great ideas. Now do all those great ideas and theories rollout onto the job site the way you want them to? No. And you've got to look at the culture that you're rolling that theory, that idea out onto.

So dad has the idealistic perfect theory up there in the clouds and then I am boots on the ground. So I pull it out of the clouds and I show you where it can work in the field. And that's what I learned from all my training. I really consider my second PhD to be in culture because my last job, I was the people based safety and human performance global manager. And I traveled the world and I went to job sites in different cultures and I looked at how do you make this safety process work with this group of people? What do you need to do? How do you need to change it? Because it might work in Texas, but it's not going to work in Tbilisi, Georgia.

It's not going work in Istanbul. It's not going to work in Kosovo. So what do we need to do to tweak it in order to fit that culture? And that was one of the best educations I got because I got immersed in all those different cultures and then boots on the ground. So dad will roll out his ideas and his theories to me and then I will tell him exactly how those ideas and theories will go out onto the field. Because you talk to a lot of professionals and we all want an easy button. We'd love to hit that easy button, rolls out in the works. And you can't do that. You have to have a flexible program that is able to move. Move and change me and.

Jill:

Adapt.

Krista:

Yes. If it doesn't adapt to the culture that it's working in, it's not going to do what you want it to do. So that was one of the biggest things. A big challenge for me in my last position and how to do that. And then I started getting moved around a lot and I thought, you know what, I need to do this seriously. I need to do this safety gig. I need to pull this off the shelf and I need to go out on my own with my father because I had been doing it for all these other companies. So I'd been making money for all these other companies and getting the message. All these other companies were doing it, but not quite to the extent it needed to be done at.

You wouldn't believe the roadblocks I would come to. And safety, it can't be about the money. It's about the lives that you're saving. It's about the message. It's about the value of that person. And so often it turns into, no, you can't afford this, can't do this. So I was running into those roadblocks of, wait a minute though, we have to do this. And so I decided, I can't do those roadblocks anymore. I can't look to the right or look to the left and ignore it. I've got to jump straight in. So that's when dad and I started my company, GellerAC4P. So it's actively caring for people.

We have our webpage up and stuff and we're trying to spread the message of actively caring for people. It's not just about safety, but it's about those acts of kindness. Just telling people thank you. Because many times we just don't take the time to communicate. I mean I think our technology is great. Twitter, Facebook. I mean if we had Twitter and Facebook back when I was doing all those experiments with my father, I would be in a padded cell. So it's good, it's good that I've moved into this realm and Twitter and Facebook is great but we've got to remember that we still need that one on one communication. And this actively caring for people with the wristband and passing it forward and having that conversation with somebody allows you to have that one on one communication.

Jill:

So how long have the two of you had actively caring for people?

Krista:

So dad started doing actively caring for people probably back in the 90s and then it really hit strong in about probably about when I started getting my gigs and I was an ES&H manager. So it's probably been about 20 years. We've been toying with it, playing with it, but it's only been about the past two years that we've really said, "This is it." This is where the world needs to go. This act of positivity, this act of good communication. This is where we need to go.

Jill:

And so this is your full time gig now?

Krista:

This is my full time gig now. Absolutely.

Jill:

And I've recorded a podcast episode here at NSC with Your dad yesterday and he talked about actively caring for people, but if people are listening to this podcast for the first time and haven't listened to your dad's episode, let's talk about what it is. Let's talk about what that movement is from your perspective and what you're teaching and training or educating.

Krista:

Actively caring for people. Well, it's all about caring for people. So it started with behavior based safety. We had behavior based safety out there on the job site. And then dad, dad coined behavior based safety back in the 1978 or 79 and then he started people based safety. And the people part is the person, the expertise, the knowledge. Who is that person that the behavior is going through because that person is going to impact how that behavior is going to be a minute. So for example, when you see a police car, do you have a physical reaction when you see police lights on the road?

Jill:

Yes.

Krista:

I do to. Does your heart beat fast?

Jill:

It depends on what's happening. Yes. Usually it's like an awareness of is there something I need to do? And is this about me and is there something I need to do?

Krista:

Yes. That's such a good response because that's exactly what it should be. Police officers are great. You see those police lights and it reminds you to slow down or it reminds you to buckle up. They're an activator. So they're kind of filtering through the person. So you react the same way I react, I'm going to check out the environment, what's going on, what do I need to know? So that's people based safety. But now actively caring for people takes it another step further and it takes talking to people, caring about that other person. So for example, not texting and driving and not just for yourself, but to allow other people on the road to be safe as well.

If you're at a red light and people are texting at the red light so they don't even see the lights gone green. Aint that just such a lack of awareness. Such incompetence to not be aware of your environment and care about the people around you. We've got places to go to. So get off your phones and pay attention. So actively caring for people is about being aware of your environment, the people around you, and actually taking the time to make a difference. Because sometimes in the workplace, we'll see something happen and do I have to move that cord or do I have to clean up that spill? That's not my job so I'm going to walk around it. And I can't do that. I mean, I can't see something that needs to be tended to and ignore it. I have to go do it.

Jill:

It's wired into us. Especially as safety people. How many times do you walk past something that's plugged into an outlet that's kind of hanging out and you just walk by and you push it all the way in. Like constantly. Right. I mean it's all that little stuff, but yes.

Krista:

Even trash on the ground.

Jill:

Yes. Trash on the ground, yeah. Straightening a rug.

Krista:

Yeah. That honestly is picking up the trash is actively caring for the environment, straightening the rug. When I talk about actively caring for pets, there was a dog, he was a pit bull and this guy tied him to a fence and doused with gasoline and caught him on fire. And what happened was that the mess went viral and they called this dog Tommy. Mess went viral. The dog finally did pass away due to those injuries. And they passed a law. So because everybody came together and actively cared for Tommy, we've now got a better law out there for people who abuse animals. So it's really about coming together, whether it's for safety, whether it's for the environment, whether it's for animals, it's about coming together and making a difference and working together as we often need to do.

Jill:

So in a workplace setting, actively caring. Like you said, your dad thought this was all mushy gushy stuff years ago, now he doesn't. But you're going into work environments where people may think this is mushy gushy stuff. How do you teach? How do you do this so that people are like, get past that mushy gushy part.

Krista:

Yeah. It's funny. Really be surprised how much appreciation actually comes out of it. People are actually, especially, anybody can say thank you and anybody can give a wristband and say, "Hey, thanks for doing what you do." It's the message that goes along with that wristband. So many of times we have incentives where we give money out. I just think, "No. Don't give me money. Give me a token." And this is a token of my appreciation is this wristband. But what's so much more important is the message. And I've watched guys give messages to each other and you're talking mushy gushy message and these guys are actually reacting. They're having a physical reaction because they're getting for the first time the genuine thank you that they've needed.

And it's really surprising how many genuine thank yous we do need in our office, especially around the workplace. And I've worked with safety managers. There was this one safety manager, he was one of the best I've ever seen. He knows the names of everybody's children. He's asking, "Hey, how's your child today? Did they win their soccer game?" Or whatever it is. He's having those conversations with them actually genuinely cares about that person. So that when something at risk does come up, he can have that candid conversation. I saw you doing this. But one thing we need to remember in the workplace is when we see somebody doing something at risk, we need to not automatically think they're doing it on purpose.

Jill:

Because who sets up for that?

Krista:

Exactly.

Jill:

You don't set out to try to hurt yourself.

Krista:

No, they're unconsciously incompetent. They don't know what they don't know. And so when you approach them, if you're going to give them the wristband, you're going to give them feedback. We have to remember to coach to care. We have to be care when we coach and let them know that I care about you. And that's why I'm giving you this message. And that's actively caring for people.

Jill:

So talk more about what the wristband is for people who don't know what we're talking about.

Krista:

So the wristband says actively caring for people on it. It has its own individual unique number. And so the wristband is simply a token. It's a nice green color and it's simply just a token of my appreciation. And so when you see an act of kindness, you can pass your wristband forward and you can say, "Thank you so much for holding that door for me back there. My arms were full. I really appreciated it you took the time out to hold that door for me. And I just want to say thank you." It could be something that's simple. And then you give them the wristband and then they can go onto our website, which is www.ac4p.org and they can enter the wristband number along with the story. Because it's talking about acts of positivity rather than all the negativity we have on the world. Start paying it forward with the positivity that we have. Let's start talking about being positive.

Jill:

So are you using those stories for qualitative research?

Krista:

Those stories. We have so many stories on there.

Jill:

They've got to be so fun to read.

Krista:

Well, some of the funny story is actually is when I go off and do presentations, and if I do a workshop, one of the things I'll ask my class, and I love it. If it was a workshop, the first thing I do is ask them, let's go around the room and tell me one actively caring for people's story that either happened to you or that you did. And those are the best. Because of course I love reading, but these guys are telling me the stories with the emotion. I mean, you're getting, some of them are breaking down on the class because they're that good and then that emotional about it. And that's what you want. You want that emotional piece to the fact that of actively care.

Jill:

It connects us. Could people read the stories on the website?

Krista:

Yes. Yes, you can read the stories on the website. Yep. And if they want more information on that, they can go to my website, which is just simply Gellerac4p.com. And that has the books and that has a link to the storage website to, but you can get more information from the books. And that's where the Power of Pets book will be eventually, when it gets completed.

Jill:

So your life's work right now is teaching about actively caring.

Krista:

Yep. Teaching you about actively caring for people and the safe behaviors we have on the job and. So I could come to your company, I can do a safety cultural survey, figure out where is it that you're struggling. Where are the areas that we need to tighten up? We need to look at more depth. And so after my survey would come a focus group. So I'm going to talk to people in depth because I really like qualitative research. I want to get those qualitative answers. I want to figure out what are you doing? How are you doing it? Why are you doing it? Why did you answer the question this way? And then figure out, okay, what is our safety road map going to look like so we can improve the culture on this company.

And I really believe that that's AC4P. I believe no matter what data comes back with what is telling me, I believe the roadmap is AC4P. It'll depend on what kind of teachings seem to be imploded, but it'll be actively caring for people in the workplace. Whether it's ergonomics, whether it's observational data out there on the job site. Because we can't forget about our office workers. The ergonomics piece is also important. We forget we have our field offices and we have our office workers that they may not step onto the plant or the job site, but they still encounter that risk behaviors on a daily basis. And we need to be sure that we pay attention to them too because that ergonomics is so huge.

Jill:

I think the easiest ergonomic thing when people are like, safety, I'm in an office that doesn't apply to me. And I'll say, "Can I see your arm." From wherever they've been mostly and if they have a nice straight kind of gouge from the edge of their desk in their arm. I'm like, "Does that sore? Do you know you're kind of restricting blood flow there. And let's move your mouse and how about we adjust this and how about we do that?" And like suddenly, safety is just by saying, can I see your arm.

Krista:

Yep, absolutely. That was one of my first injuries on the job. I had one of those trackball mouse and I was reading a bunch of data and I would just leave my fingers up in the air. And what was happening is my middle finger ended up swelling and I got a large swell underneath it. And it was a workplace injury. And from that point forward, I got into ergonomics, adjusting the desk. And if you've ever gone to someone's desk where they've been sitting for 20 years and tried to adjust it.

Jill:

It's a thing.

Krista:

It's a dangerous thing. So yeah, that's workplace safety right there. Adjusting someone's desk. Yeah. It's really important that you have that desk because you wouldn't believe the difference it can do in your shoulders, in the chair. So we can't leave out our office workers either. It's very important and just caring about them, that's what it is. It's actively caring.

Jill:

So Krista, I feel, I'm curious to know how you feel about this. I feel like the safety profession is kind of going through a shift, not only in its demographics by way of the people who've been doing the work for so many years who are retiring out. It feels like we're seeing the next generation starting to emerge. What are your thoughts on that and what do you see for our professional?

Krista:

It's funny that you ask that because I've been side by side with my dad probably since I was about 15. So I grew up with Charlie Morecraft. I grew up with Aubrey Daniels. I grew up with Dominic Cooper. I grew up watching these safety professionals of the years and now they're getting to that age where I'm kind of sitting there thinking, "My gosh. Now I need to carry this torch forward. How do I keep this message going?" And so it's, for me right now it's been finding as many of those safety professionals that kind of live the same creed that I've been living for the past 40 years. Okay. Can you help me carry this torch? Because this is a big torch to carry.

I mean, Charlie Morecraft, Scott Keller, Aubrey Daniels, we got to carry this torch. So my goal now has been finding these people and making sure that all of the teachings and learnings that we have from, let's call it our baby boomers, is going to be injected into our next generation that we are carrying that forward. Because the research about baby boomers, Gen x and millennials is there's a miscommunication between these groups. And we've got to be sure that before we lose our baby boomers that we're pulling as much information out of them as we can. So that has been my goal is where can I go forward with my father? What can I do? What else do I need to pull from him? So that the safety world doesn't lose such a gem-

Jill:

That tribal knowledge.

Krista:

Yes. I mean his knowledge and his understanding and Charlie Morecraft, he is so compelling. The story is so touching, so emotional. And there's a lot of stories out there about injuries and such, but still not one that touches you like Charlie Morecraft. So let's not lose that. Let's get that mentorship that we need from these two gentlemen. Let's get the mentorship we need to move forward so that we don't lose the momentum. And I think that's where, when I go to these conferences and I look at that, I'm looking at these older generations and I'm thinking, "I don't want to lose them." Because I mean I grew up with them. So I mean, it's running in my blood. So it's finding those others that it's in their blood and pulling them along with me.

Jill:

Well, I think we had one of those others on the podcast earlier to do with Jacey good. On a different generation, has a compelling story, not unlike Charlie Morecraft. Yeah. But is definitely compelling. And she's certainly solidly from another generation. So maybe she's one of those torchbearers.

Krista:

Yeah, she's someone that, her message is so important because the cell phone is only going to get easier and easier and easier to use behind the wheel. It's going to be harder and harder and harder for us to put it down. Harder and harder. And she's one that I really want to pair up with in terms of carrying that message forward because her torch, I think is bright and I think there's several bright torches. But we need to be sure we're under that umbrella of these experts because we can't do it wrong. We got to carry it forward. We got to pass it forward.

Jill:

And it's a good career to get into.

Krista:

It is, it is. It is a good career. I mean, you see all the wonderful people around here and motivated to learn. They want to be here. I mean, the people that were in my class yesterday, they just, they want to be here and they're hungry for it. We've just got to make sure that the information that we share with them is correct. And that's why I always lean on my father because he's been my educator for 30 years. He's been the one teaching me. When he's not here anymore, I've got to make sure I've got the right information and that I'm sharing it and I'm getting it out there.

Jill:

I think you've got it, Krista. You've got it. At NSC here, you're doing some education. So what were you doing?

Krista:

I did a workshop with my dad, which was just awesome. And then both of us had presentations yesterday. I did mine from one to two and he did his from four to five. So yeah. And that's all we've got for this conference. But we'll be presenting at the ASB conference next year. We've got a workshop there. Hopefully we've got industrial hygiene, got that conference there. So we're trying to spread further, see how far we can spread the AC4P movement. Let's get people on board. Come on, let's actively care for people and let's not forget our pets. I'm sorry, I'm very much a pet advocate and I think they do for us as much as we do for them.

Jill:

I agree. I agree. So as we're winding up our time today and knowing that you're a parent now, have you already put your child through any sort of research? Do you think your child's going to be part of research as you were part of your dads?

Krista:

That's a fantastic question. He absolutely will be. One of the research things that I want to run on him, is I want to do the marshmallow test. I really want to do the marshmallow test. I want to see if he can, can he hold back? They started at four and he's only two right now, so I've got to wait a little bit [inaudible 00:44:33].

Jill:

So for our audience who's listening, who might not know what the marshmallow test is do you want to describe it.

Krista:

Yeah. So the marshmallow test is, you put a marshmallow in front of a child and you say, "I'm going to give you that marshmallow. And then if you can wait in 20 minutes, I'll come back and I'll give you a second marshmallow." And then they leave the room and they're behind a glass mirror so you can watch what the child does. And what they've done is they followed these children and found that they did better. They were conscientious. And it's holding back that gratification and leading. The children that don't eat that marshmallow are really proved to have a little bit more success in life because they can hold back the gratification. So I want to see if he's going to eat that marshmallow.

Jill:

Does this sort of make you nervous?

Krista:

Yes. Terribly. Terribly. Because my sister and I argue, I believe my sister would have eaten the marshmallow. She argues that she would not have eaten the marshmallow. I'm not sure what that's going to be, but I am afraid he's going to eat it. I'm afraid he's going to eat the marshmallow and I don't know where I'll be then.

Jill:

How old is too old to do the marshmallow test?

Krista:

I'm going to keep doing it till he doesn't eat it.

Jill:

Okay.

Krista:

So if he's 25 and be like, "Don't eat it, please let me walk out of this room. Do not eat this marshmallow."

Jill:

20 minutes. You can do it kid.

Krista:

Yeah, you can do it.

Jill:

God, Krista, thank you so much for doing this and thank you for the work that you're doing all over.

Krista:

Absolutely.

Jill:

Yeah, and carrying the torch forward.

Krista:

Absolutely. Thank you for this. And all you do with all the experts that you talk on and getting people's words out there. I mean, that's so important. You're the link between, you're the link that we need to spreading our messages. So thank you for spreading our positivity.

Jill:

Thank you for that. Power of story. Power of story.

Krista:

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Jill:

And the power of pets.

Krista:

Yes, yes.

Jill:

Thanks Krista. Thank you all for spending your time listening today. And more importantly, thank you for the work and contributions that you do, making sure your workers, including your temporary workers, make it home safe every day. If you'd like to join the conversation about this episode or any of our previous episodes, follow our page and join the Accidental Safety Pro community group on Facebook. If you aren't subscribed to the podcast and want to hear past or future episodes, you can subscribe in iTunes, the Apple podcast app or any podcast player that you'd like.

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