Meet the Honorees: Natasha Porter, Chief Customer Officer, Benchmark Digital Partners

by | Mar 25, 2022

The Environment+Energy Leader honoree program is an annual list that recognizes the environment and energy “doers” who break trail in creating new solutions, programs, platforms, best practices and products to help their companies – or other companies – achieve greater success in commercial and industrial environment and energy management. Meet the Honorees… is an ongoing series that will feature one E+E Honoree from 2022 each week. See the complete list of 2022 Honorees here.

Meet Natasha Porter, chief customer officer with Benchmark Digital Partners. Over the last 20 years working as a practitioner and leader in the EHS and digital solution space, Natasha has “had the honor of leading large organizational compliance and regulatory based digital initiatives for various global organizations.” Currently, she oversees subscriber services and strategic growth teams, and also leads the company’s customer success efforts to enable subscribers to accomplish their business process objectives more efficiently, effectively and collaboratively. In addition, she serves as a strategy advisor and expert for Benchmark’s solution offerings, including Action and Obligation Tracking, Incident Management, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, and Reporting, Analytics & Insights, working with various teams to develop and enhance the company’s suite of applications.

What do you see as organizations’ biggest environmental challenges?

Natasha Porter: Businesses spend significant resources manually recording, investigating, classifying, and analyzing incidents so they can mitigate workplace risks and improve safety performance. Manually identifying workplace risks is a time-consuming process requiring extensive precursor tracing to classify Potentially Serious Incidents (PSIs) and prevent any future occurrences. In addition, traditional risk assessment solutions often flag safety concerns based on their frequency of occurrence, missing out on indicators of serious injuries and fatalities. While infrequent, serious injuries can have catastrophic outcomes, potentially resulting in the loss of lives and damage to the environment and adjacent communities.

By leveraging the power of artificial intelligence, organizations can move beyond compliance to proactively flag the most serious workplace risks in real time and protect their most important asset—their employees.

In October of 2021, Benchmark launched PSI AI Advisor, a powerful new AI solution that enables organizations to enhance workplace safety by reducing the risk of PSIs. This solution enables occupational safety leaders to have a more holistic and comprehensive safety program and expedite what can often be a time-consuming manual identification process to determine if an incident could have been more severe with 85% or greater accuracy; thus providing a narrowed scope of PSIs, deep operational understanding of associated risks, and actionable insights to proactively improve workplace safety.

PSI AI Advisor analyzes data and trends in real-time, gaining insights into operational risk profiles, probability, occurrence factor, and related data points. Built on the Benchmark Data Ocean, an industry knowledge base of over 68,000 verified publicly available serious injury and fatality records, PSI AI Advisor enhances traditional event and incident investigation with machine learning to identify and prioritize activities and scenarios that have the greatest potential to lead to a more severe incident that might otherwise have been missed.

What was a successful project or implementation you worked on at your company that you can share?

NP: Over the last several months, my team and I have initiated an Innovation Workgroup for the PSI AI Advisor solution, comprised of a cross-industry group of organizations looking to disrupt the way technology is applied to safety in the workplace through the advancement and adoption of AI/ML technologies.

The thesis of this workgroup thus far has been that AI, ML and natural language processing, operations and safety teams can expedite what can often be a time-consuming, manual identification process to determine if an incident could have been more severe. PSI AI Advisor enables organizations to streamline the classification of PSIs, enhance operational processes, boost safety performance, and enhance safety culture by placing the frontline employee at the heart of safety decisions. Safety leaders can engage employees in a user-friendly and intuitive process of reporting any workplace incidents through integrations with Benchmark ESG’s Incident Management, Concern Reporting, Safety Observations, and Analytics Tableau modules, equipped with mobile capabilities for iOS and Android tablet and smartphone devices.

Benchmark’s subscribers find that the PSI AI Advisor solution encourages leaders to commit to prioritizing preventive safety decisions and keeping employees safe and healthy. An Environment, Health, & Safety (EHS) Program Manager whose organization subscribes to our AI solution commented that PSI AI Advisor has the attention of top leadership, as the solution clearly notifies leaders of near safety misses via email. The solution uses analytics to provide safety leaders with focused and actionable data to drive conversations around how such information can protect an organization’s employees from life-altering incidents in the workplace, thus boosting safety and saving lives.

What trends do you expect to see in the market in the next few years? What challenges will the industry face and what technologies or organizational changes will overcome them?

NP: The introduction of emerging technologies in the EHS space has brought with it the potential for significant gains in industry’s efforts to not only improve the safety performance of organizations but to greatly reduce the occurrence of significant incidents and fatalities in the workplace. In particular, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) hold great promise for technologies to derive insights and inform decision making not possible before. AI and Machine Learning have the inherent ability to progressively learn, mature, and advance. PSI AI Advisor has just begun its journey, but it’s bound to become more intelligent over time, and more accurate as it expands. Automation of these safety processes with sophisticated AI technology enables safety leaders to more quickly uncover hidden risks, accurately and consistency identify PSIs before they occur, and prioritize preventive action in ways that manual identification cannot. The PSI AI Advisor solution holds great potential for growth, as it will only get better at identifying PSIs and enabling safety leaders to make informed decisions that save lives and make workplaces safer.

Tell us about a favorite hobby, passion or book you’ve read recently that has had an impact on you and your work.

NP: My favorite hobby is dance. I started dancing when I was four years old and have done dance throughout my life in different ways, first with a focus on traditional dance including ballet, tap, modern, and jazz. That evolved into leading a dance group and cheerleading squad in high school and college where I choreographed various dance performances. After college this evolved into competitive Latin ballroom dancing. With two little kids dance is now playing out with my daughter and I’m currently exploring a coaching role for her cheerleading dance team going into 2022. A book I am currently reading is Activate Your Brain: How Understanding Your Brain can Improve your Work and Your Life by Scott G. Halford. I had an opportunity to hear him speak at a conference earlier this year and was fascinated by the presentation. I will have more to share once I finish the book this month.

Twitter: @BMD_ESG_Natasha

Editor’s note: nominations are now open for this year’s E+E Honorees. Nominate a colleague — or yourself — for the 2022 E+E Honorees today.

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