For Pamela Isom, a traumatic event as a child unintentionally formed the beginning of a later career dedicated to saving lives and helping others. As the President and CEO of ICE Safety Solutions, Pamela's work ensures companies and their people are prepared to deal with emergency situations. Pamela talks to us about the 'Wall of Life' in her office and how she successfully started a tech division when no one believed in her vision.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
When I was 13 years old, my dad had a heart attack right in front of me. I thought about how we didn't really know what to do in the situation and became worried. Soon after that, I became a lifeguard and learned the basics of CPR and First Aid.
In my first career as a biologist, there was an incident at the lab, and I was chosen to be the in-house safety trainer. This allowed me to become well versed in CPR, First Aid, Blood Borne Pathogens, and Disaster Preparedness.
Then, after my first daughter was born premature, I spent a lot of time out of the office. I needed a new career that would enable me to juggle work and family. I knew I wanted to empower others to save lives. This was the crossroads of the founding of ICE Safety Solutions.
What kind of work does your role involve?
Every day is an emergency.
Every day we are solving big, hairy audacious goals with corporations as to how to keep employees safe, what training they need, what personal protective equipment they need, and what threats they face that could impact their lives and the life of the corporation.
What gets you excited about your industry?
Having a hand in saving lives!
In our corporate office, we have a WALL OF LIFE. These are pictures and stories of people who have utilized our training and equipment to save a life. There is no better feeling than meeting with someone who would not be here today without our services.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Since I was a little girl, my father would say, "Do what you love and love what you do." Being a business owner has allowed me to live my passion and share that gift with everyone in an innovative way.
There's no better feeling than having someone come up to me after a class and say, "I really enjoyed your training. I can't wait to teach my family and friends about this."
What's the best way to support aspiring leaders in your field?
I spent a lot of time mentoring and coaching women and minority women with their businesses. I have 22 years in my business, and I do not want others to make the same mistakes I did!
Every day is a new challenge. It takes a village.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
Safety and threat to life change daily.
OSHA guidelines, what's happening in the news and what our clients share are learning tools to continue to elevate our services.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
Starting a VR/AR division. Starting a tech division with no support or funding from Venture Capital Funds was a challenge. No one believed in the concept, let alone from a black woman. So, I took on the debt, self-funded and built the division.
Today the debt is re-paid, and we are profitable and successful!
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
Honestly, I don't know. I operate on the paradigm that I must be happy with the current state I am in. I don't say, 'if I had this or did this, then I would be happy'.
Happiness is the ups and downs of health, finance, business and the situations life presents to us.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I was a former professional runner so, if I can get in a run, I feel my mental health is at its best. When I'm running, no one can reach me, I can't answer my phone, and I have the freedom to simply RUN!
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
I wish the public would be more proactive about safety. Whether it's preparing for an earthquake, storm, fire, cardiac arrest, active shooter, etc.
The public tends to be reactive with their safety but, if we are proactive, then emergencies could be reduced, and these situations would be events as opposed to emergencies.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
How should people connect with you?
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