Meet a HSE People Champion – Karen Hewitt

HSE People is proud to be working with a team of Champions to raise the profile of the HSE industry and to support our members. Today we speak with Karen Hewitt, Founder of Leaderlike Ltd.

What is your job title, where do you work and what do you do?

I wear two very complementary and lifesaving hats:

I am the Founder of Leaderlike Ltd, which helps companies turbocharge Employee Engagement in health, safety and wellbeing, and make it stick so hard it transforms the rest of the business. The key elements behind this are Communication, Strategy and Transformational Leadership and of course the Build, Buzz, Bake® formula outlined in my 2021 book ‘People Power – Transform your Business in the Era of Safety and Wellbeing’.

I am also very proud to be an Executive Consultant for Krause Bell Group, a specialised consultancy focused on the development of research-based intervention methods to improve safety performance and prevent serious incidents and fatalities.

How did you get started in HSE?

Wow! Now this is a long story but let me give you the short one.  Having run my own communications agency and worked as a simultaneous interpreter for the United Nations, I was in-between roles and got offered the opportunity to work as a Health and Safety Leadership facilitator for a large organisation in the Oil and Gas sector.  I listened a lot, learned fast, and realised that I could use my professional communication skills in the best way possible, saving lives.  Over a decade later, I am both a Health and Safety and Change Communications professional, allowing me to bring both areas of expertise together in a unique way.

Why did you want to become an HSE People Champion?

It is my life’s mission to inspire as many people as possible to save as many lives as possible and joining forces with like minds in a powerful and positive forum like HSE people gives me more opportunities to make my mission a reality.  Being visible, being vocal, and finding the right words to influence others to take positive action is critical to Health, Safety and Wellbeing.

Who or what inspires me?

I take a lot of my inspiration from two areas – sport, and nature.

Sport, because I used to be an athlete myself (back in the day) and know what it takes to become excellent.  I admire the dedication, the discipline, and the willingness sometimes to put the team before oneself. 

Nature, because if you watch one of David Attenborough’s documentaries, or even sit around watching nature yourself for a few minutes, you can marvel at what even the smallest of creatures achieve, both individually and as a collective.  Look at the leaf cutter ant, for example, carrying leaves much larger than itself along a branch.  Can you imagine us humans trying to do the equivalent?  And as a health and safety professional, I’d say don’t try it!

What are you excited about for 2023?

2023 is gearing up to be a huge year for me, and I couldn’t be more excited.  The highlight is going to be putting my Build, Buzz, Bake® boot-camp on the map which I hope will fill a much-needed gap for Health, Safety and Wellbeing professionals to take a strategic and transformative approach to Employee Engagement in a critical and yet often undervalued area of the business. I’ll also be supporting the bootcamp with an online Lifesaving Leadership system for fast implementation of the Build, Buzz, Bake® formula.  All of this is coming in April!  Yep, I’m gonna be busy!

If you could have a superpower what would it be?

Oh, second wow!  It’s got to be mind reading.  As someone who prides themselves on being able to ‘read the room’ quite well, I would love to take this up a notch with a superpower in mindreading.  Can you imagine that?  I’d have to keep it secret though, or no-one would agree to have coffee with me.

Describe yourself in three words

Tenacious, quirky and kind, although sometimes have to have a word with myself!

Lovely to find out more about you Karen, thank you for your time.