General Sessions

The General Sessions at Safety Conference and Expo are a special opportunity to come together and share in a common experience and message. The power of storytelling is a theme that weaves its way through each of the general and plenary sessions this year.

The opening general session kicks off Safety 2023 on Monday morning and sets the tone for the next three days of learning, sharing, and connecting. Our plenary session offers space to think and look forward to what’s next in safety. We come back together at the closing general session on Wednesday afternoon to pause and reflect before saying goodbye to new connections and old friends.

All General and Plenary Sessions will be held in the Stars at Night Ballroom.

  • Monday, June 5 | 8 – 9:30 AM CT

5 Strategies to Songwriting: AKA Building Valuable Relationships

Artbeat Live
Jimmy Yeary
Storyteller and Songwriter

You may not immediately recognize his name, but his music is all around you. Jimmy Yeary has spent the last 30 years writing #1 songs and lending his talents as the lead singer of the Grammy Award winning country supergroup Shenandoah. Jimmy has written more than two-thousand songs, many of which have been featured on albums selling millions of copies that have topped the charts and won Grammys. Recently, both the CMA and ACM awarded Jimmy Yeary with "Song of the Year" for “I Drive Your Truck,” that tells the store of a father of a fallen soldier and how he continues to remember his son.

Jimmy realized the parallels between his songwriting and storytelling and successful communication. Bringing emotional awareness, connection and shared experiences to the forefront means building more effective relationships and teams. Jimmy will set the tone for our three days together with a high-energy message and a song that will stay with you long after you leave San Antonio!

A Message from Kevin Brown,
Opening Keynote Speaker

Get to know Kevin Brown and get excited for our opening keynote with this message to our attendees.
  • Tuesday, June 6 | 1 – 2 PM CT

How We Can Lead Workplace Safety and Health in New Ways

Plenary Session

Many safety professionals have moved away from playing the “safety cop” in their organizations. Experience shows that when we treat employees with respect and actively seek and use their input, they become invested partners in helping create inclusive workplaces that embrace innovation, drive productivity, foster resilience and strive to ensure everyone returns home safely to their loved ones. To accelerate this shift in our profession, each of us must continuously review our beliefs, philosophies and attitudes and be willing to incorporate new ideas into our practice of safety.

Our expert panel of safety leaders will share how they have improved their impact using approaches such as safety differently, human and organizational performance, relationship-centered leadership and psychological safety. The group will share insights on how you can adopt a systems view and focus on building relationships as a foundation for change, rather than policies, rules, control and discipline. The group will also share practical guidance and suggestions that will help you become a more effective safety leader.


Pam Walaski, CSP, FASSP
ASSP Senior Vice President
Senior Program Director, Specialty Technical Consultants Inc.


Andrea Baker
Founder, The HOP Mentor
Ron Gantt, CSP, CIT, ARM
Director, Health, Safety and Environment - Americas, Yondr LLC
Helen Harris, MEng, CSP
Health and Safety Center of Excellence Leader, WestRock

  • Wednesday, June 7 | 10:30 - 11:30 AM CT

An OSHA Update

Doug Parker
Assistant Secretary of Labor

Assistant Secretary of Labor Doug Parker will discuss the latest OSHA activities to improve workplace safety, including updates on regulatory priorities, enforcement actions and outreach initiatives. The session will also include an interactive Q&A featuring questions submitted live by our attendees.

  • Wednesday, June 7 | 2:30 - 3:30 PM CT

The Power of Choice

Melissa Stockwell
U.S Veteran and Paralympian

An aspiring gymnast in her childhood, Melissa Stockwell dreamed of someday representing Team USA at the Olympic Games. As college approached, her patriotic dreams shifted to representing her country as a member of the U.S. Army. Upon graduating, she was commissioned and deployed to Iraq. It was there that a roadside bomb made her the first female American solider to lose a limb in active combat. What followed was a remarkable story of resilience and perseverance, and of the indomitable spirit of a woman who chose not only to survive, but to thrive.

Now a Paralympic medalist, a World Champion, a World Record Holder and an Ironman, Melissa’s emotionally powerful message will both redefine your perception of disability and inspire you to rethink your own limits.

  • Wednesday, June 29 | 1:45 PM CST

Just Keep Pushing

Devon Harris
Devon Harris
Closing General Session

Devon Harris knows the power and pain of overcoming inertia and pushing beyond. Devon's incredible story brings a whole new perspective on the quality of persistence and will close our time together at Safety 2022.

Raised in a violent ghetto in Jamaica, Devon could have allowed his environment to keep a chokehold on his life, but he learned how to push past the gangs and drugs by using the power of visualization to imagine greatness. His vision ultimately manifested in a life that took him from the ghetto to the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England, to becoming a three-time Olympian with Jamaica's original bobsled team. It was Devon's determined focus and persistent vision to achieve something greater that carried him farther than those who gave in to their destructive environment.

A Message from Devon Harris,
Closing Keynote Speaker

Meet Devon Harris and find out more about the message he’ll share with our attendees at the conclusion of the conference.

More Info