Meet the Expert: Jaime Feinberg, Vice President of Partnerships for Insurance, Risk, and Safety
With a background in safety and risk avoidance in job settings ranging from factory floors to insurance companies, Jaime Feinberg is intimately familiar with the costs and pitfalls companies can face related to workday cannabis use. Now focused on applying recent use cannabis breath testing to reduce workplace risk and improve employee privacy and fairness, she remains fiercely dedicated to helping companies succeed.
We’re excited to share more about Jaime’s fascinating background and passion for reducing risk.
Thank you for taking some time to share your experience with us, Jaime. Can you please tell our readers more about your risk and safety background? How did you discover this career field?
I like to say that I am “classically trained” in public health and, like most in my field, I fell into safety (pun intended).
When I was in college, I spent my summer breaks working in a factory. During my first summer, I painted yellow lines throughout the plant to create safe pedestrian walkways free from forklift and overhead crane traffic. I did so well that I was “promoted” to working with the guys in the maintenance department and then in the tool and die shop. I learned how to drive a forklift, operate overhead cranes, and wire new equipment. I even helped install a metal press, assisting with every step from snapping chalk lines to making final adjustments before it ran its first product order. In each of these activities, the two questions I asked most often were, “Don’t I need to have training to do this?” and “Who climbs in this equipment to clean it when I am not here?”
I did some research and began learning about the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) and enrolled in my first occupational safety course in my junior year of college. I then interned in the safety department at the same factory and was later hired as the safety coordinator after I graduated.
What, exactly, do safety and risk managers do?
This is a great question. Safety managers and risk managers are two different roles.
Safety managers are a crucial part of a company’s risk mitigation strategy. A safety manager is responsible for overseeing and promoting safety within an organization to ensure the well-being of employees, customers, and the environment. A safety manager’s primary role is to create and implement safety policies, procedures, and training, as well as foster a culture of safety throughout the organization.
A risk manager is responsible for identifying, assessing, and mitigating potential risks that could affect an organization’s operations, finances, or reputation. Risk managers analyze various types of risks (employee and consumer safety, cybersecurity, financial, etc.) and develop strategies to minimize or transfer these risks. They usually play a vital role in a company’s insurance programs and coverage decisions.
What makes you passionate about helping companies address risk?
I have always been passionate about doing what’s right and protecting others. Being able to combine those passions led me to a career in the safety and risk industries. Keeping people safe and reducing risk allows companies to grow and provide more opportunities for their employees and communities. It allows employees to thrive and provide not only for themselves but for their families, too.
You mentioned your experience with insurance companies. What role do insurance companies play in assisting organizations with drug testing?
Companies in the insurance industry – whether brokers, carriers, or consultants – are seen as trusted advisors. They can protect their clients by promoting deterrence-based drug testing practices that help reduce the risk of employees using drugs during the workday. They can also partner with organizations like ours to help bring the latest technologies such as cannabis breath testing to their clients. Reducing risk is their number one goal. So, it is beneficial to all parties to promote drug testing programs that are fair to employees while maintaining safety in the workplace.
What are some of the most challenging safety trends confronting organizations today? What steps can companies take to begin mitigating some of these difficulties?
In the era of cannabis legalization, many companies have struggled with how to maintain a safe and drug-free workplace while also having policies that are fair to their employees. Some types of legacy drug tests like urine or hair don’t specifically isolate recent use. With these methods, employers can’t tell whether an employee consumed cannabis over the weekend or during their lunch break. This is forcing some employers’ hands to either not test or terminate employees who may be using cannabis off the clock. Those aren’t their only choices, however. By implementing a recent use test such as the HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER, employers can mitigate some of those difficulties.
In your role as a partnership advocate, how do you help companies navigate between their drug testing policies and programs and solution providers like Hound Labs?
In my role, I leverage my unique background in safety and insurance to help our partners and their customers. Most of the customers we work with are in safety or risk roles. They already know the value of our solution as well as the risks associated with avoiding action related to cannabis testing in the workplace. My job is to arm them with the tools to help them communicate the benefits of our solution to their internal teams. One tool I often use with our partners and customers is our Cost Savings Calculator. The calculator provides data specific to the company’s safety, human resources, and legal pain points. This allows safety and risk professionals to see their potential for a return on investment (ROI) after implementing an innovative solution to the challenges they are facing with legal cannabis.
One of the things you are widely recognized for is your ability to cultivate and maintain relationships with industry leaders and partners. How do you do this and what interpersonal skills would you recommend to others who are looking to improve their networking abilities?
You may not be able to tell in writing, but I am an extrovert. I probably overshare more than I like to admit, but this vulnerability allows people to get to know the real me.
I try to start meetings with a little chit-chat. Not everyone likes to do this, but you can gain some real insight about your partners through a little small talk. In my opinion, not every meeting needs to be all business, and people are more than just a title. They are parents to humans and animals, they are sports fans, they are musicians, etc. Take notice of little things, like a dog barking, an autographed jersey, kids’ artwork, or a guitar stand in the background. These are great conversation starters and will help you form great bonds that build lasting partnerships.
Meet More Experts
Learn about some of the other Hound Labs experts who are working to improve workplace safety and employee fairness, including Sammie Dabbs, Chief Revenue Officer, and Tamanna Prashar, Chief Operating Officer. If you’re interested in implementing the HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER, connect with our sales team.
About Jaime Feinberg
Jaime Feinberg, MPH, has served in a variety of roles in the safety profession for nearly two decades. She began her career as a safety coordinator in the manufacturing industry before elevating into corporate safety manager roles for Fortune® 500 retailers. Jaime then progressed into the insurance industry, overseeing safety and claims services for several group captive programs. As Vice President of Partnerships for Insurance, Risk, and Safety at Hound Labs, Jaime uses her unique combination of experiences to create strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations to support cannabis testing policies that balance workplace safety with employee fairness and privacy.
Jaime has served as an advisory board member for the National Safety Council (NSC) for several years and is currently a member of its Impairment Advisory Board. She is also currently serving a two-year term as an NSC delegate. Delegates support NSC’s board of directors by providing direction, guidance, and policy recommendations as well as helping to execute NSC’s strategic plans. Additionally, she is an active member of the ASSP Northeastern Illinois Chapter.
November 16, 2023
By TRICIA O'CONNOR
Director of Content