There I am: Paula Steven, wife, daughter, pet owner, trail rider, lover of the environment and all that lives in it.

As a person, I am a daughter. I was adopted by a single male service member who was my very best friend in the world until I met my husband. Now they must share that role, but my dad no longer claims to have liability. As a uniformed service member, he raised me with the values and moral dogma of a service member and an awareness of the importance of our freedom to include our right to a healthy workplace and a clean environment.

I am a wife. I am a registered Veterans Affairs Purple Heart Caregiver. My husband comes from a long line of uniformed service members and is a combat injured veteran who is also an OHS practitioner.

I am a trail rider and partner with my animals. You have to be a partner to the animals. You can only ask a 2000-pound animal to participate and depend on them to be willing. They have to respect you as a leader. You have to have a leader’s skills.

As for me, the only saint who’s ever been remotely interested in me was Francis of Assisi, friend of the animals. I prove this with the image of my draft horse not killing me when I take her to Mounted Police Basic Trainings. Don’t blink… I am getting prepared for something big with that skillset. One day when I retire, I plan to be a volunteer state park deputy.

There I am.

Paula Steven, M.S.Eng., CIH, CSP, REHS/RS (former licensed plumber, still a lover of the environment and all that lives in it). I have had plenty of people tell me that I wasn’t capable of getting my masters, telling me that I wasn’t capable of obtaining my CIH, and telling me that I just wasn’t good enough.

As we look at who I am as a professional, I am labeled as a subject matter expert, an instructor, a compliance professional, and a mentor. Although I have had several different career lifetimes, and plenty of unsupportive faces around my campfire, I thrive on my own positivity. I was a marine biologist in one lifetime and an environmental engineer in another. At the root of it all, I was always a lover of the environment and all that lives in it. I have always seen myself as an element of change.

And you guessed it. Change is hard. Changing careers was stressful.

Almost as stressful as riding an untrained repurposed plow horse through fire, I have changed my career many times trying to discover where I would bloom. I am a believer of the try-try-try until you can-can-can mantra, and I shape-shifted from careers in marine biochemistry, environmental engineering, and public health, to eventually a career in occupational health and safety where I thrive. Maybe we don’t always grow where we were planted. Although I didn’t have the interest of a saint for life-altering, career-changing events, I did have some great mentors wearing capes and tights that oversaw my journey as I discovered that OHS could be every bit as fun and rewarding as cleaning contaminated water bodies or measuring sea grass beds.

There I am.

Paula Steven, OHS leader creating OHS leaders and teaching others to do the same.

And as a leader, I am a board director, a BGC-credentialed Diplomate, and if you are an AIHF Fun Run advocate, you’ll see that I am a lifetime category scholarship donor supporting students that will continue my work to make this world a better and healthier place. Yes, that’s my little logo shown smaller than Amazon but larger than workplace health without borders. I am an active volunteer contributor to several professional organizations. We call it filling the pipeline. We mentor and support future leaders in our career fields.

I have felt very honored and proud to be selected by Assisi, and by my EHS and OHS career guiding mentors, but not as honored and proud as I feel about serving in a leadership capacity for this credentialing body. BGC is globally recognized for Environmental, Health, Safety, and Quality-aligned game-changing credentials that set the bar of professionalism.

I believe that everyone everywhere has a natural born right to clean air and clean water. I believe that by partnering with someone like you, who cares a whole lot, we can continue to make a difference. This Board and this Credentialing Body are fun, it’s worth it, and it has momentum. Not once have I ever left a meeting and not felt energized and excited about BGC credentialed Professionals making a difference by creating a healthy thriving world.

That’s who I am as a person and as a professional. Show me who you are as a person and as a professional by submitting a comment below. I would love to see a picture of you being YOU!

Paula Steven, MSE, RS/REHS, CIH, CSP
Director, BGC


The BGC blog is intended to serve as a professional discussion of the challenges faced by our certificants and a celebration of their accomplishments. Comments in support of that goal are welcome. It is not a general discussion forum and negative comments or airing of grievances will not be posted. If you have any comments, concerns, or other issues not covered by the blog, please email Thank you.