With a strong background in consulting and client management, Monica leverages her I-O and business background to focus on developing the systems, people, and resources needed to ensure that all clients, applicants, and references have an amazing experience and access to the right educational materials when working with our organization.
What led you into this field?
When I started my undergrad work, and even when I graduated, I didn’t think, “I want to be in I-O psychology.” Instead, it happened naturally over time. I started college pursuing a psychology degree because I liked helping others. I participated in volunteer activities around psychology, but something was missing.
After a year or two in college, I decided to get my business degree as well. There wasn’t a program for I-O, but I was able to take an I-O class. I graduated with both psychology and business majors. Looking back, I can see the interest in I-O was there because I gravitated toward both areas.
I began working in healthcare doing research, training, and program management for a pediatrics group. I really built out my project management skills, but decided I also wanted to develop my quantitative skills. I went back to school and got my master’s in experimental psychology, which has a high focus on statistics. I’m fascinated by being able to take a bunch of numbers, apply a statistic, and come up with something meaningful. In this program, I learned many pieces that were foundational for test development that I now use at OutMatch.
Shortly thereafter, I decided to make a career move that would focus on test development. I worked at one of the most highly acclaimed psychological test development companies in the world. It’s the organization that designs several critical tests that are used frequently in the field of I-O psychology. I was on the psychometrics team as one of the test developers. I would help design, validate, and finalize many of our products. I was also one of the statistical analysts on the development team for the intelligence quotient (IQ) tests.
When my husband and I decided to move back to Dallas to be closer to family, I thought, “I love my job and I love statistics, but I sit in a cube all day, and I’m a social person.” I like to interact with people, have variety, and engage with others, so I looked for a career in I-O psychology. My work in healthcare gave me the project management experience. And, my work in test development fine-tuned my analysis skills. I-O consulting was the field that leveraged both sets of experiences but allowed me to apply them in a business setting. Now, in my current role, I’m able to interact with other leaders and leverage my knowledge in the industry to drive results for our clients.
What or who has influenced your career the most?
I’m a pretty competitive, driven person. Because of that, I find that I compete with both myself and the successful colleagues, co-workers, and managers around me. I really think that challenges me to be a better person! I’ve also had some really great managers and role models throughout my career who’ve encouraged me to go back to school and supported me in my career choices.
My parents were also always supportive. There are times in your career when you know what you want to do, but maybe you don’t have the experience. Maybe an opportunity isn’t there yet so you have to create the opportunity. My family was always that support structure for me, saying, “Keep trying for it. We’ll help you through this process.” My father was also a person that I could get sound career and business advice from. I think that was especially helpful when trying to make big career decisions.
Another important influence was the director of psychometrics at the test development company where I worked. He was my supervisor—and one of the best in the world in his field. He’d continually reiterate to me and the team that the highest quality of work was what was expected. You strive to be great, work your hardest, work efficiently—if you’re working too many hours, you’re not working smart—and you have to be confident that you’re the expert.
What have you learned about yourself over the course of your career?
I have this drive to do my best and do the best for other people. I tend to be very analytical and extremely detail-oriented. I’ve learned to harness the attention to detail and focus it so it translates into helping our clients be successful.
I also learned that I have a strong interest in business operations. Why as a business do we make the decisions that we do? What challenges should we consider when consulting to our clients? How can we document the business value of our actions? What are the systems and processes we can put in place to improve the business? These are all important considerations when building strategic partnerships with our clients.
What’s something no one knows about you?
People probably don’t realize how much I love to travel. I also have a bit of an adventurous streak. Out of college, I backpacked Europe for six weeks, mostly by myself. It was a great experience. I learned a lot about myself and got exposure to a lot of different experiences and cultures. It was kind of crazy, but really fun!
My husband shares my interest in visiting new places and trying new things, too. We went to Costa Rica for our honeymoon and traveled all the way out to Poland for a wedding. We went skydiving for my birthday one year. My husband actually proposed while we were SCUBA diving, so our engagement video was shot under water!