Why do you do what you do?
I’m passionate about my job, about protecting Louisiana’s wetlands and about sustainability more broadly. It’s essential, impactful work that leaves a positive imprint on the planet. But, for me, the best part of working here is the team. It’s made up of smart, hardworking, upbeat people. It’s their ideas and passions that give us the power to make real change – and they make work fun. I’m proud of my colleagues' growth and development. We are a team of experts, all of us driving each other on. It’s rewarding to be a mentor and part of their growth.

What are your personal highlights from working with ERM?
One of my most recent projects involved assessing marsh fish, shrimp, crabs, birds, and wetland plants, across thousands of acres of brackish and saline marsh wetlands. It was a huge undertaking that demanded the coordinated and collective efforts of a large team of young people. Day by day, we were developing and refining our fishing and bird survey methods, really pushing the envelope of our methodology. I have warm memories of the debriefs we’d have at the end of each day – discussing what we saw, learning from each other and sharing a moment. Team spirit like that is invigorating and refreshing.

And what are your passions beyond environmental risk assessment?
I have all sorts of hobbies and interests, but my heart is with my family – my husband, children, and granddaughter. They know me as someone who works hard at my job, and they’re there for me when I come home at the end of the day.

Quotation mark There’s home life, watching television on the couch with my family, and there’s ERM life, up to my armpits in sediment and swamp protecting the environment! Quotation mark

Helen Connelly

Technical Consultant Director, Toxicologist, Baton Rouge