Expert Spotlight – OutMatch https://outmatch.com Hiring, Keeping, and Developing Great Employees Thu, 19 Apr 2018 15:12:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 Meet Karina Freitag, PhD, Senior Talent Solutions Expert https://outmatch.com/meet-karina-freitag-phd-senior-talent-solutions-expert/ Mon, 26 Feb 2018 20:04:04 +0000 https://outmatch.com/?p=20543 Karina provides talent acquisition and talent management expertise to clients across various industries including healthcare, retail, restaurant, and financial services. She plays an instrumental role in designing talent solutions around OutMatch assessment, competency modeling, and selection and validation. Where did you…

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Karina provides talent acquisition and talent management expertise to clients across various industries including healthcare, retail, restaurant, and financial services. She plays an instrumental role in designing talent solutions around OutMatch assessment, competency modeling, and selection and validation.

Where did you grow up?

Puerto Rico. I love going to the beach and enjoy the sun, palm trees, and coconut water of this tropical island. I also spent many childhood vacations visiting family in Colombia.

Are you married? Children? Pets?

I’m married to a wonderful Brazilian man. We met while attending Penn State University. Go Nittany Lions!

What led you into this field?

Prior to working for OutMatch, I was in the advertising industry where I advised Fortune 500 clients on global media strategy. After six years in the business, I decided to pursue my passion for understanding human behavior and maximizing human potential in the workplace. I took the plunge and became a full-time graduate student in industrial and organizational psychology.

What or who has influenced your career the most? 

I’ve been fortunate to have amazing people around me. They’ve inspired me to reach higher and pursue a purposeful life. Among these people, I count my husband, my parents and siblings, friends, as well as mentors who continue to inspire my career vision and direction every day.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?

I enjoy learning. This job provides many opportunities to learn about different client industries, situations, and technologies. What I find most challenging is also part of what I love – dealing with people. People are always changing, and so our approaches must also adapt.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?

The ability to relate to our clients’ concerns, needs, and vision. It’s also key to have a true appreciation for translating the science of behavior and psychological principles into relevant and actionable strategies to support our clients’ success.

What are some of your most significant career accomplishments?

My most recent and significant career accomplishment was successfully defending my dissertation and completing my Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. My doctoral degree not only strengthened my professional foundation, but it also rounded out my life through greater self-awareness and personal growth.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

“I never lose. I either win, or I learn.” – Nelson Mandela. I use this piece of advice as a core principle in my life. It fuels my growth mindset and allows me to approach challenges as opportunities.

What’s your most valuable professional tool?

My cell phone because I can access my calendar, emails, and chat with coworkers without being desk-bound.

Passion? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?

Traveling, running, visiting spas and hot springs, yoga, scuba diving, reading self-development books, and learning and applying positive psychology principles in my life.

What is something no one knows about you?

I meditate twice a day. It’s a crucial part of my life. For me, meditating translates into cognitive efficiency and peak performance.

Favorite TV show? Why?

Mad Men because it reminds me of my previous career working at an ad agency. I also find its character development quite interesting. It transports me back to the 50s and 60s in NYC – a socially interesting era. I also love the fashion and hairdos of those decades.

Last book you read?

As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen. It’s a quick read on the power of our thoughts and how they determine our character and behaviors, and how we ultimately perceive our life.

What’s your favorite lunch?

I love salted codfish (“bacalao” in Spanish, “bacalhao” in Portuguese, “baccala” in Italian). I love it in all its shapes and forms, especially when paired with a nice glass of Riesling. Yum!

You work hard, but personal time is important too. What’s been your best vacation spot ever? 

I visited a small undeveloped island off the coast of Brazil. I took a plane, a bus, a small boat, and a tractor through dirt roads to get to our lodge in the middle of a forest reserve. It was within steps of a pristine beach.

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Meet Chelsea Petrie, Talent Solutions Expert https://outmatch.com/meet-chelsea-charron-talent-solutions-expert/ https://outmatch.com/meet-chelsea-charron-talent-solutions-expert/#comments_reply Wed, 07 Jun 2017 13:55:49 +0000 https://outmatch.com/?p=15178 Chelsea partners with clients to develop assessments that help them hire better employees and develop talent internally. Where did you grow up? Houston, Texas Married? Children? Pets? I’m engaged and getting married in October. We have one dog named Ari.…

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Chelsea partners with clients to develop assessments that help them hire better employees and develop talent internally.

Where did you grow up?

Houston, Texas

Married? Children? Pets?

I’m engaged and getting married in October. We have one dog named Ari.

What led you into this field?

I originally planned to become an attorney, but after working in the legal field for several years, I discovered that I didn’t enjoy that environment. At the time, I had a personal interest in learning all things related to the budding field of positive psychology and wanted to find a way to apply those principles as a career. That’s when I learned about I/O psychology and pursued a Master’s degree to launch my career.

What or who has influenced your career the most? 

When I was working in oil and gas, I had a manager who saw my potential and gave me projects that were beyond my experience level. This was empowering and provided because he was confident enough in my ability to tackle these projects independently, while still providing guidance to ensure I was successful. I am grateful that he helped accelerate my skill set, experiences and career.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?

I enjoy learning about the different industries, and the companies within those industries. It’s fascinating to understand how each company has unique nuances, strengths and opportunities, and how the people within those companies work together to make the organization successful. This is also what makes my job challenging. The nuances that make each project interesting also make it impossible to apply the same solution in the same standardized way to each client. We have to understand the unique culture and challenges of our clients so we can provide custom solutions that address their needs.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?

There are several factors that include:

  • Perseverance and frustration tolerance – data doesn’t always work the way we want it to, and people don’t always respond the way you want them to.
  • Emotional intelligence – to build good relationships with clients and to be an effective coach (needed to deliver meaningful insights in a way that will help individuals achieve their career goals)
  • Teamwork!

What are some of your most significant career accomplishments?

I designed and implemented a new succession planning process within a major oil and gas company and then helped to facilitate the development of the succession plan. I also developed a successful and cost-efficient leadership development program by leveraging knowledge sharing and internal mentors within a major oil and gas company.

Tell me about an interesting problem you’ve faced in your role and how you dealt with it.

Recently, I completed a re-validation project that produced unexpected and undesirable results. The scales that were predicting success in the initial validation were no longer predicting success today. After taking into consideration the nature of the role, its changes over time, and the various confounding variables in the metrics, we were better able to analyze the data and create an even more effective assessment.

What are some of the industry-specific challenges you see for the future?

It’s predicted that technology will replace several of the roles that OutMatch supports in the near future – and companies won’t need selection assessments for roles that no longer exist.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

Listen more than you speak.

What’s your most valuable professional tool?

The Internet (typical millennial answer, and only somewhat facetious – LOL).

Passions? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?

I’m passionate about learning and discussing social and intellectual issues. As for hobbies, I enjoy listening to podcasts (especially comedy podcasts), boating, water sports and traveling. I also really love brunch.

What is something no one knows about you?

I dabble in creative production from time to time. I had my own podcast and I’m currently trying to write a book.

Favorite TV show? Why?

New Girl – because sometimes your brain just needs a break from all the serious issues, to-do lists and work. It’s nice to just ‘veg’ out to silly, but relatable comedy.

Last book read?

The Woman in Cabin 10. I enjoy psychological thrillers and mysteries.

What’s your favorite lunch?

Does brunch count? Pancakes, breakfast tacos and mimosas!

You work hard, but personal time is important too. What’s been your best vacation spot ever? Why? Do you have a dream destination?

So far, my best vacation spot has been Hawaii, but my dream destination will be my honeymoon – Australia. We’ll be exploring five different locations with just the right mix of plans and downtime to really experience the culture.

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Meet Rachel Aguilera-Vanderheyden, MA, Manager of Talent Solutions Delivery https://outmatch.com/meet-rachel-aguilera-vanderheyden-ms-senior-talent-solutions-expert/ https://outmatch.com/meet-rachel-aguilera-vanderheyden-ms-senior-talent-solutions-expert/#comments_reply Mon, 18 Jul 2016 16:40:22 +0000 https://outmatch.com/?p=13546 Rachel works with clients to help them solve hiring and development issues. For example, she helps to make leaders more effective. Where did you grow up? Mostly Minnesota, but my family spent a lot of time in Boston too. Married?…

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Rachel works with clients to help them solve hiring and development issues. For example, she helps to make leaders more effective.

Where did you grow up?

Mostly Minnesota, but my family spent a lot of time in Boston too.

Married? Children? Pets?

I’ve been married for more than four years. I recently realized we got married on Star Wars Day— “May the 4th Be With You.” LOL. We have no children or pets.

What led you into this field?

I learned about this field during the last semester of my senior year in college. I had studied math, but realized I liked people too much to focus my career on it. When I learned about I/O psychology, I knew this was for me. I liked that I could combine data and people.

What or who has influenced your career the most? 

My professors during my graduate work. They showed me how I could apply my knowledge outside the academic world. I also taught freshman psychology while getting my masters, and I made sure these students knew about I/O before the end of their college career.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?

I enjoy the people I work with—internally and externally. Getting to know clients’ jobs, as well as their organizations, is enjoyable and challenging at the same time.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?

Two big things—the ability to build relationships and trust, and the ability to apply data to the real world and to communicate and translate that information to others.

What’s a recent job challenge you’ve faced and how did you deal with it?

I had a client who was really interested in creating a streamlined candidate experience. I worked with them to tailor all portions of their selection process, assessment, interview and onboarding to reflect a consistent theme. It was really fun to partner on the entire employee lifecycle!

What has been one of your most significant job accomplishments?

I had the opportunity to travel to Ecuador with a colleague. We led a conference workshop for a distributor, and I was able to use my Spanish speaking skills coupled with my psychology background. It was a great experience, and there were many moving parts.

What are some of the industry-specific challenges you see for the future?

On average, people change jobs every three years. Developing ways to keep top talent is key.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

There are many great examples of leaders. Learn from them, but do so embracing your own unique style.

What’s your most valuable professional tool?

The Microsoft Outlook calendar. It helps me to stay organized and I’m always learning new tips and tricks.

Passions? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?

I recently took up photography. I’m learning about the different settings on a more sophisticated camera I just bought. I no longer just point and click.

What’s something no one knows about you?

I speak Spanish fluently and I volunteered for one year after college teaching English in Chile.

What’s your favorite TV show?

I just started watching “Bones.” I like the investigative nature of the show coupled with humor.

What’s the last book you read?

The Alchemist.

What’s your favorite lunch?

I’m a big taco fan—mostly fish and chicken.

You work hard, but personal time is important too. What’s been your best vacation spot ever? Why? Do you have a dream destination?

I studied abroad one year and was able to steal a few days in Patagonia. I’d love to go back when I have more time. It had an other-worldy landscape. My husband also wants to visit Hawaii. I was there as a kid, but would like to go back there with him.

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Meet Courtney Gear, MA, Senior Talent Solutions Expert https://outmatch.com/meet-courtney-gear-talent-solutions-expert/ https://outmatch.com/meet-courtney-gear-talent-solutions-expert/#comments_reply Tue, 12 Jul 2016 14:53:42 +0000 https://outmatch.com/?p=13507 Courtney partners with clients to develop assessments that help them hire better employees and develop talent internally. Where did you grow up? Carrollton, Texas (a suburb of Dallas). Married? Do you have children? Pets? Six years ago, I married my…

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Courtney partners with clients to develop assessments that help them hire better employees and develop talent internally.

Where did you grow up?

Carrollton, Texas (a suburb of Dallas).

Married? Do you have children? Pets?

Six years ago, I married my college sweetheart, Tyrel. We have a five-year-old chocolate lab named Lola Brown.

What led you into this field?

After my undergraduate work, I traveled for a year as a Leadership Development Consultant for my sorority and loved it. I really enjoyed developing college students to become effective leaders and to help them understand the nuts and bolts of a variety of organizations. My contract ended and I moved back to Dallas where I accepted a job as a college recruiter. I continued to travel a great deal. I thought recruiting would be more of a temporary career move until I went to graduate school, but I ended up staying for six years! Time flew by, and even though it was a lot of fun, I knew it wasn’t going to be a long-term career for me. I wanted fulfillment in a different way—I wanted to see the impact of my work. I had a great mentor who challenged me to make a move into I/O psychology. So with a huge leap of faith, I moved to Minnesota, got my master’s degree, and then landed this job.

What or who has influenced your career the most?

I have a great mentor in the I/O psychology field in Dallas who basically told me I was wasting my time as a recruiter, working long hours for a job I wasn’t passionate about. She told me to apply to a strong master’s program, move away for two years, and then apply the knowledge I gained as a recruiter to bring a unique perspective. It really forced me to reevaluate my career goals, and in the end, I’m so glad I did. The support she gave me as well as the support of my husband and family was integral to my success.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?

I love learning about people’s jobs and the way organizations are structured. I also really enjoy doing leadership development work—when you get to learn more about what makes a person tick, and then use those things to their advantage—that feels like you are making a real impact. As for challenging, it would have to be trying to quickly pick up company nuances and interpreting the lingo.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?

It’s important to ask good questions and to try and put yourself in your client’s shoes. It helps you to get a better understanding of their obstacles and considerations.

What are some of the industry-specific challenges you see for the future?

We need to remain relevant and keep up with technology in a way that won’t compromise our integrity. It’s all about balance.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t take a job for the money. Take the job you want and the money will come.

What’s your most valuable professional tool?

Outlook and Excel—I’m a total nerd when it comes to using technology to get organized!

Passions? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?

I love anything wine-related. I enjoy visiting wineries and vineyards. I also love animals, so activities that allow me to include my dog are awesome. We take long walks and go to the dog park. I also enjoy traveling to new places.

What is something no one knows about you?

I originally wanted to be a forensic psychologist, so I took a job as a researcher in a lab that studied inmate behaviors and tattoos. I quickly decided it wasn’t the field for me. I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky person and I found it too depressing.

Favorite TV show?

I get sucked into all sorts of TV shows, so it’s hard to pick just one, but currently I’m loving Grace and Frankie on Netflix—it’s super funny.

What’s the last book read?

“Bitter is the New Black” by Jen Lancaster. It’s laugh-out-loud funny!

What’s your favorite lunch?

Mi Cocina is my favorite restaurant (I really missed Tex Mex while living in Minnesota), so I would say anything from there would be my favorite!

You work hard, but personal time is important too. What’s been your best vacation spot ever? Why? Do you have a dream destination?

As for best vacation spot, it’s a toss-up between the Black Hills of South Dakota and Boston, Massachusetts. They’re very different places, but I enjoyed them equally. My dream destination is Italy. I want to travel around drinking wine, eating tons of pasta and bread, and checking out the sites.

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Meet Gary Ito, CFO https://outmatch.com/gary-ito-cfo/ https://outmatch.com/gary-ito-cfo/#comments_reply Wed, 01 Jun 2016 13:00:39 +0000 https://outmatch.com/?p=13289 As CFO, Gary is responsible for the company’s financial records, reporting, and management. Where did you grow up? A suburb of Toronto—Pickering, Ontario Married? Do you have children? Pets? I’ve been married for 28 years. I have three kids and…

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As CFO, Gary is responsible for the company’s financial records, reporting, and management.

Where did you grow up?

A suburb of Toronto—Pickering, Ontario

Married? Do you have children? Pets?

I’ve been married for 28 years. I have three kids and two dogs.

What led you into this field?

My whole career has been in finance. For more than 30 years, I’ve worked with publicly traded and privately-held companies to implement innovative financial and business strategies. I’ve served as CFO in various industries, including eCommerce, ocean shipping, energy trading, and risk management. This is my first experience with human capital management and I’m excited about it. Finance is a transferable skill.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?

They key is the people. Over the years, I’ve experienced good and bad. I really enjoy the working relationship I have with our CEO, Greg Moran. It’s great to work on bringing the companies, Assess Systems and Chequed.com, together to create a unique culture for OutMatch. That’s also been the challenge, bringing together the best of both worlds.

What’s been a career accomplishment that you’re especially proud of?

I started as CFO at Quadrem in 2004. For the previous four years, they’d been struggling financially and losing money. I was able to help put the company back on the right financial track. Over the course of the next seven years, the company went from $20 million a year to about $75 million, then was sold to Ariba. Typically after an acquisition, the CFO gets let go, but I was kept on, in addition to the entire management team. The company was then sold to SAP in 2012. I’ve been able to apply what I learned there and embrace organic growth.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?

You need to have a good balance of art and science. Many people have a difficult time understanding financial concepts, so being able to break things down in a way they can quickly grasp is key.

What are some of the industry-specific challenges you see for the future?

Human resources is one of the last areas to automate. But this is a challenge that presents tremendous opportunity for our company. There’s a lot of white space to address.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

It wasn’t so much advice as it was an action. Nortel, a previous company I worked at, did long employee evaluations each year—four to five pages of questions. My manager boiled these evaluations down to the most important questions, like: “Did you do a good job last year? What will you do next?” He taught me the importance of simplifying things, boiling down the essence, and he also showed me how to work outside the box a bit—how to think outside, but work inside. He showed me how you can challenge the system.

What’s your most valuable professional tool?

The ability to network. It’s so important to be able to bounce ideas, ask questions, and share information.

Passions? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?

I love hockey! I still play about four to five times a month. I’m also a big sports fan in general. You can’t live in Dallas and not support the Cowboys or the Stars. I’m a season ticket holder to the Dallas Stars. I also play golf.

What is something no one knows about you?

I’m a semi-accomplished piano player. I took lessons for 10 years.

Favorite TV show? Why?

I really don’t watch TV… Maybe CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360??? I do go to the movies occasionally. The last one I saw was “Specter.”

If you could order anything for lunch at your desk, what would it be?

Sushi.

You work hard, but personal time is important too. What’s been your best vacation spot ever? Why? Do you have a dream destination?

Because of the companies I’ve worked for, I’ve been lucky to travel around the world. If I had to come up with a favorite all-out relaxing beach vacation it would be Phuket, Thailand. It was an idyllic island and the water was bluer than blue. I also really enjoyed Rio de Janeiro, Brazil—the people were wonderful and the place is beautiful. And, while I have been to Paris several times, my wife never has. I want to take her there one day.

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Meet Casey Johnson, PhD, Senior Research Scientist https://outmatch.com/meet-casey-johnson-senior-research-scientist/ https://outmatch.com/meet-casey-johnson-senior-research-scientist/#comments_reply Fri, 27 May 2016 14:55:11 +0000 https://outmatch.com/?p=13238 As Senior Research Scientist, Casey handles statistical analysis for the company. By staying current on advances in HR analytics, he helps clients better understand and solve their hiring problems. Articles by Casey. Where did you grow up? I was born and raised…

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As Senior Research Scientist, Casey handles statistical analysis for the company. By staying current on advances in HR analytics, he helps clients better understand and solve their hiring problems.

Articles by Casey.

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Gainesville, Texas—about 80 miles north of Dallas.

What led you into this field?

My undergraduate degree was in Public Affairs and Administration. This area of study was data heavy, and my senior project was a statistical analysis of the bureaucracy in universities. This led me to a graduate program in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Research, Measurement, and Statistics. After completing my master’s, I immediately went back to complete my doctorate degree.

For a researcher, the field of education is great because of the huge and diverse datasets available. The datasets I’ve been able to work with at OutMatch can rival these at times. The field has allowed me to do what I love—use the knowledge and expertise I’ve developed and actually make meaningful changes to the company and the world.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?

I love the people I work with. We’re a small company (and growing!), but it’s still possible to know everyone. My coworkers are the most eclectic, fun, and genuine group of people I’ve ever met. If you need help, there’s always someone who’s willing to lend a hand. If you’re looking for growth opportunities, there’s always somewhere in the company to go for a new experience.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?

It’s most important to be flexible. It’s also important to multitask, solve problems (or better yet—anticipate problems before they become problems), provide attention to detail, and be tolerant of criticism. And doesn’t hurt to be super intelligent. LOL.

What are some of the industry-specific challenges you see for the future?

Almost on a weekly basis, I’m asked, “How do we mitigate applicant impression management or cheating on assessments?” I’m also concerned with item saturation, which is the idea that an assessment question won’t always be a “good” question if it’s overused.

Both of these issues can be remedied with Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT). This essentially means that the sequence of questions is dynamic and will change based on responses to previous questions. With large item banks, and continually rotating items, item saturation will become a thing of the past. Impression management will still be an issue, but by using CAT, it will be easier to diagnose and mitigate.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

“There’s a difference between the best, and good enough.” There’s always a gold standard for “best” in almost every problem, but it’s a matter of learning where you can compromise and where you can’t.

Here’s an example of a problem I run into a lot: if we’re going to do a role validation, I would love to test every single employee, but it’s not feasible. From a statistician point of view, I’d like to have 500 incumbents in the study. Again, not easy to do, and we can still get good, statistically significant results with half that number.

What’s your most valuable professional tool?

R and R Studio. This is a powerful statistical software engine that allows me to handle any number of analyses. The software is free, and there are endless online resources. The language is a little difficult to pick up at first, but once you learn the basics, the possibilities are endless.

Passions? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?

I enjoy working with my hands. I’ve built many things, including wreaths, benches, dining tables, and a shuffleboard table. I’ve refinished furniture like chairs and dining tables. I find it relaxing. It feels good to have a physical and tangible accomplishment after all of the theoretical and digital ones.

What is something no one knows about you?

I hate being late. If I’m going to be late, I’d almost rather not go. If someone tells me to meet me at a restaurant at 8ish, I’d be annoyed by the lack of specifics, and I’d likely be there before 7:45.

Favorite TV show? Why?

Doctor Who. The show is witty and funny, while maintaining some action. Most episodes are suspenseful, and take until the last scenes before you figure out the twist.

If you could order anything for lunch at your desk, what would it be?

A bowl from Chipotle. I love those things. They’re the perfect meal to eat while you pretend to work at the same time.

You work hard, but personal time is important too. What’s been your best vacation spot ever?

Kauai, Hawaii. The island is beautiful, remote, and tranquil. You can truly disconnect there.

And in case you didn’t believe it, here is the amazing shuffleboard table that Casey built for the OutMatch office!

Shuffleboard side by side

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Meet Nikki Cunningham, MS, Senior Talent Solutions Expert https://outmatch.com/nikki-cunningham-m-s-talent-solutions-expert/ https://outmatch.com/nikki-cunningham-m-s-talent-solutions-expert/#comments_reply Wed, 25 May 2016 17:08:13 +0000 https://outmatch.com/?p=13183 Nikki has a background in I/O psychology and works with clients to find the most impactful solutions to support their talent selection and employee development needs. She helps organizations to identify top talent across all their jobs, and then maximize…

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Nikki has a background in I/O psychology and works with clients to find the most impactful solutions to support their talent selection and employee development needs. She helps organizations to identify top talent across all their jobs, and then maximize their talent potential through targeted development solutions.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes (a.k.a. Minnesota). It was a wonderful place to start my life and I still visit Minneapolis frequently. I do NOT, however, miss those frigid winters (I’ve traded them for 100+ degree summers in Texas instead).

Are you married? Children? Pets?

I am engaged! I’m in the midst of the wedding planning madness and am looking forward to having both of our families and friends together for a weekend in the Texas Hill Country this October. My fiancé and I are huge animal lovers and we have two cats and one dog.

What led you into this field?

As an undergraduate, I knew I wanted to pursue a degree that would ultimately allow me to help others. I decided to major in psychology and minor in counseling. I planned to follow the clinical path, but during the first semester of my senior year, I took an Industrial-Organizational Psychology introductory class and got involved in I-O research. I fell in love with the field.

What or who has influenced your career the most? 

A manager I had right after graduate school. She challenged her team, but also made everyone feel safe enough to take risks. This pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to achieve things I didn’t think I could.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?

I enjoy conducting one-on-one development feedback sessions. During these sessions, we review assessment results with employees and discuss how they can leverage their strengths (and overcome innate challenges) to become better at what they do and/or prepare for future opportunities. These sessions are insightful and I love seeing those light bulbs come on! The most challenging part is definitely knowing when to shut down for the day (or when to say “no” to new projects). When you love what you do, it can be difficult.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?

It’s important to do what’s in the client’s best interest. It’s about sharing best practices while also realizing that a one-size-fits all solution isn’t always the right one. The ability to build strong, meaningful relationships is key.

Tell me about an interesting problem you’ve faced in your role and how you dealt with it.

Viewing failure as an opportunity. We talk about this all the time in our leadership programs, but it isn’t always easy to make this shift in mindset. I’ve started to realize that I need to take risks (and will sometimes fail) if I truly want to grow.

What are some of the industry-specific challenges you see for the future?

Providing real-time analytics on the impact of selection and development processes and tools is something that is already important now, but will become even more important in the future. Ensuring that this data is meaningful and can be used to continuously improve the organization is critical (it’s great to have a bunch of data, but you have to know what to do with it!)

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t wait for someone else to tell you what you should be doing—be proactive and look for opportunities to add value to your organization.

What’s your most valuable professional tool?

Prioritizing. I really try to be intentional about laying out the key things I need to complete each week (both in terms of my personal life and at work). Microsoft Outlook and OneNote are life savers.

Passions? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?

Like many others, I enjoy traveling and try to fit it in as much as possible (even if it’s just quick weekend trips or exploring new areas in Dallas). I love seeing new places, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures.

What is something no one knows about you?

I sing loudly in my car. I like to keep myself entertained while I’m stuck in traffic.

Favorite TV show? Why?

A British travel documentary/road trip comedy series called “Idiot Abroad” (available on Netflix).

If you could order anything for lunch at your desk, what would it be?
Chipotle. It never gets old.

You work hard, but personal time is important too. What’s been your best vacation spot? Do you have a dream destination?

I spent a month in Europe a few years ago and it was life changing. I visited Spain, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and France. I don’t have a favorite because each city was so different. Italy’s Amalfi Coast has to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I’m looking forward to exploring Australia and New Zealand on my honeymoon!

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Meet Carol Jenkins, PhD, Chief Analytics Officer https://outmatch.com/expert-spotlight-carol-jenkins/ https://outmatch.com/expert-spotlight-carol-jenkins/#comments_reply Wed, 18 May 2016 14:00:04 +0000 https://www.assess-systems.com/?p=6507 As Chief Analytics Officer, Carol is focused on building the next generation of analytics-based hiring and development technology. Carol oversees the Research and Science team, and works closely with many of our clients. She has extensive experience in industrial and organizational…

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As Chief Analytics Officer, Carol is focused on building the next generation of analytics-based hiring and development technology. Carol oversees the Research and Science team, and works closely with many of our clients. She has extensive experience in industrial and organizational (I/O) consulting, and worked with Assess Systems for 19 years before it became OutMatch.

What led you into this field?

I actually served in the military as a behavioral science specialist where I received extensive training in interviewing, active listening, and probing skills. While the training was fantastic, I realized the path I was on to become a to a military clinical psychologist wasn’t for me. After the military, I returned to college and took an intro to I-O psychology course… That’s when I knew this would be the job of my dreams.

I got a Ph.D. in I-O psychology with a business minor, and my first “real” job was Assess Systems! It’s hard to believe that someone could stay in one job for as long as I have, but with the great people and clients and the variety of projects, it’s very fulfilling and I can’t ask for much more.

What or who has influenced your career the most?

That would have to be Dr. Moe! My social psychology professor was extremely passionate about his work and this really showed in the classroom. He would weave stories and analogies into his lectures and the things I was learning really stuck with me. I realized when you have that much passion, you can really engage with people and it doesn’t feel like work. The class inspired me to follow through with psychology and pursue my career. We published our first paper together, and we’re still friends to this day.

Another inspiration for me was Dave Bigby, the founder of Assess Systems. Besides being one of the smartest people I know, his presence was calming and approachable. His care for people, clients, and doing the right thing encouraged not only me, but a team of people to build a business that felt like their own. As my first real boss, Dave Bigby not only taught me about visioning and drive, but also how to balance that with compassion.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?

I like the way we apply best practices and innovation to the solutions we design for our clients. I think it’s most interesting when we’re challenged with a problem that’s unique to one client. We get a chance to solve that problem, and also find a meaningful way to apply that solution to other clients. Working with our clients and learning from them is the best part of the job. It’s like having a resource of really smart people all working toward a goal of improving their businesses. I’m lucky to get exposure to that cross section of great thinkers.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?

I believe it’s important for me (maybe because of my curiosity) to understand things at a deeper level. Some people tend to operate more on the surface level, managing departments without really knowing the core functions of what makes the business successful. For the greatest impact in operations or the future vision of the company, you must truly understand things at a deeper level.

Our business involves applying psychology and science to assessments via technology. But if we don’t know enough about the technology and how technology plays a role—if we’re disconnected from how technology impacts our customers—we won’t be able to best serve them and provide solutions that work in their situations. By knowing all aspects of the business, even those that don’t directly impact our jobs, we can be better problem-solvers and make sure that we’re aligned across departments.

What are some of your most significant career accomplishments?

My most significant career accomplishment was finishing my Ph.D. It was very difficult, but I knew the impact it would have on my career and family. I’m a big believer in education and encourage all young adults to complete college.

I’m also proud to have been with the company this long—seeing it grow from a small organization to where it is today, having the loyalty to stay as long as I have, and still keeping the passion I had when I started.

What are some of the industry-specific challenges you see for the future?

Clients’ expectations have shifted over the years. They want a better, faster, cheaper solution. They want an assessment that predicts success more accurately, that takes less time to complete, and that produces ROI quickly. The fun part is that we’ve been able to address these challenges by taking knowledge from our client experiences and creating more tailored options to meet specific client needs.

Passions? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?

My most recent hobby is playing pool. I’m not a pool shark, but my competitive nature and last year’s lucky Gold Medal win in the city of Richardson’s Corporate Challenge has sparked a new interest and love. After work, I hang out with my family and we compete against each other. It’s pretty fun and bonds us together.

What is something no one would guess or know about you?

Both of my parents are Cuban, so I’m first-generation Cuban. I’ve never been to Cuba myself, but now that things have opened up a bit more with the relations between the U.S. and Cuba, I hope to go.  My parents, however, have strong opinions and doubts about what is happening. Hopefully one day they will be comfortable going back and seeing the land, friends, and family they left behind over 50 years ago.

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Meet Christina Sherrod, PhD, Director of Talent Solutions https://outmatch.com/meet-christina-sherrod-talent-solutions-manager/ https://outmatch.com/meet-christina-sherrod-talent-solutions-manager/#comments_reply Thu, 03 Mar 2016 14:00:25 +0000 https://www.assess-systems.com/?p=7560 Christina works with clients to understand their needs from a talent selection and development perspective, and then partners with them to find and implement the right solutions. Articles by Christina. Where did you grow up? Eastern Kentucky–the land of basketball…

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Christina works with clients to understand their needs from a talent selection and development perspective, and then partners with them to find and implement the right solutions.

Articles by Christina.

Where did you grow up?
Eastern Kentucky–the land of basketball and bourbon.

Married? Children? Pets?
I married my high school sweetheart, Scott. We’ve been married for eight years and have a daughter, Paige. She is six going on 16. We also have a few cats who are enjoying lounging around in the sun during their senior years.

What led you into this field?
In college, I took a class in social statistics and really loved it. Seriously, who loves statistics? I did. I decided to major in psychology and became involved in research around personality assessments and gender-related stereotypes, which really fascinated me. When I finished my PhD, I started out in the field working on the clinical side of things, but realized that was something I did not want to do for the long-term. As a result, I made a move, and took a position in research and development that centered on identifying and developing assessment solutions in a way that people could really benefit. After a while, I decided to pursue a more forward-facing role and moved into I/O consulting. This area really allowed me to bring together my interest in understanding and predicting behavior and my passion for connecting with people.

What or who has influenced your career the most?
Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege to work with many wonderful people. During my undergraduate and graduate work, I was fortunate to work alongside and be mentored by some key figures in the personality and measurement field. They shaped how I viewed personality and human behavior, and were really instrumental in sending me down this career path.

As my career has progressed, I’ve created connections with some strong and successful women who have and will continue to remain in my network. They’ve been really inspiring, professionally and personally, helping me to find that ideal balance between work and home.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?
What I enjoy and what I find most challenging are one in the same. I really enjoy the variety of work and the different types of clients. It’s a dynamic field and constantly evolving, which is energizing and allows me to continue to learn and evolve professionally. I love to partner with clients to fully explore and understand their needs and develop a lasting solution that has the desired impact on their business.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?
You need to enjoy developing relationships with people. It’s important to quickly build trust and demonstrate your willingness to do what is in the best interest of the client. Strong communication skills are key. You should thrive on a fast-paced work environment, too.

What are some of your most significant career accomplishments?
Completing my PhD in Clinical Psychology–that was a big one. But small moments matter too. Everything from mentoring someone to developing a new assessment–it’s the culmination of those events that leads to an overall sense of accomplishment.

Tell me about an interesting problem you’ve faced in your role and how you dealt with it.
A client was undergoing a shift in strategy and was looking for help pointing their team in the right direction. First, we had to identify why the team was experiencing a challenge achieving their desired goals. We leveraged our assessment solutions to help identify how the team’s innate tendencies may lead them to struggle in certain areas. Next, we presented our findings at an aggregate level to the leadership and showed them how those tendencies might not line up with their existing strategy. We then identified what was needed to succeed in their evolving environment, and helped the team explore their strengths and areas for development to more effectively execute their strategy and achieve their business goals.

What are some of the industry-specific challenges you see for the future?
The overall workforce is shifting. The new generation of workers requires immediate feedback, quick engagement, and easy access to technology. As a result, I think talent development and engagement strategies will be even more critical going forward. It’s also important that talent acquisition and development work hand-in-hand to create great onboarding and hand-off when the individual is hired.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?
Be genuine. If you’re authentic in all that you do, people will want to work with you and trust you. It can be difficult to tell people what they don’t always want to hear, but I hope in the long run, they will understand and respect that I did what I thought was right.

What’s your most valuable professional tool?
My peers. I’m lucky to work with such a fun, experienced, talented, and great group of people. I really value our extensive collaboration process.

Passions? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?
I’m a big college basketball fan–go U of K! I bleed blue. I also love spinning (indoor cycling). I get so much energy from it. I’ve tried to get into outdoor cycling, but, let’s just say, you might want to stay away from me if you see me on the road. LOL.

What’s something no one knows about you?
My guilty pleasure is historical romance novels. One day, I’d like to write one.

Favorite TV show?
I’m impatient when it comes to TV, that’s why I love Netflix. My husband and I tend to take turns deciding which series to watch–right now it’s Arrow, a superhero show. This one was my husband’s pick.

If you could order anything for lunch at your desk, what would it be?
I’d have dessert for lunch–Bananas Foster from Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, FL.

You work hard, but personal time is important too. What’s been your best vacation spot ever? Why? Do you have a dream destination?
Sanibel Island, FL is a favorite. We’ve been there several times and have some great memories. I’d love to visit the coast of Spain. It’s such an incredibly diverse region.

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Meet Greg Moran, President and CEO https://outmatch.com/greg-moran-president-and-ceo/ https://outmatch.com/greg-moran-president-and-ceo/#comments_reply Wed, 17 Feb 2016 20:33:46 +0000 https://outmatch.com/?p=11946 As President and CEO of OutMatch, Greg is responsible for the strategy, culture, and execution of its operating plan. He leads a great team of executives and drives overall performance and growth of the company. Where did you grow up? Troy,…

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As President and CEO of OutMatch, Greg is responsible for the strategy, culture, and execution of its operating plan. He leads a great team of executives and drives overall performance and growth of the company.

Where did you grow up?
Troy, New York, just outside of Albany.

Married? Children? Pets?
I’ve been married for 18 years. I have a 14-year old daughter and a 12-year old son. We have a dog named Tri. He’s a loveable mutt.

What led you into this field?
After a brief (very brief) stint in the music industry, I started my ‘real’ career in executive search. Like many entrepreneurs, I felt that I could do it better, so I set off on my own with a few talented colleagues. Over the years, I’ve been a part of several exciting start-ups before leading the charge for Chequed, and now OutMatch. I’m just passionate about the field in general.

What or who has influenced your career the most? Mentor? Situation?
I grew up in a very entrepreneurial home, so risk taking was never scary for me. I was always around it and it was just what people did. I had no fear. My wife has also been extremely supportive. During the early years of our marriage, with little in our savings account, she agreed to let me spend all of it on a desktop computer (pricey in those days) to start my first company. She’s always been a great supporter of my ideas, and I’ve been very lucky to be surrounded by people who believed in me.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?
I love it all. It’s all challenging. I find the work I do enormously gratifying. What else can I say? Specifically, I enjoy the product vision, sales, and marketing aspects.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?
The ability to instill confidence in people. I want people to know that even though sometimes things seem unattainable, they are not. What we do is difficult, but important. Together, we can make it happen. I want people to feel comfortable in their jobs and to know that it is okay for them to go out a limb. I will support them in their efforts and hope they feel empowered to take action.

What are some of your most significant career accomplishments?
I’m really proud of the way we have been able to merge Assess and Chequed into OutMatch. It’s not an easy undertaking to merge cultures and processes, and I think so far we’ve done a good job. I’m sure there are things that still need to be worked on, but that’s part of the experience.

Tell me about an interesting problem you’ve faced in your role and how you dealt with it.
This goes back to the question having to do with a significant career accomplishment. Building a culture of performance is not necessarily a problem, but it is a challenge–one we face every day. We are constantly working to refine it and improve it. We do this through constant communication and transparency. It’s important for everyone to know our direction, plans, and thought processes.

What are some of the industry-specific challenges you see for the future?
To date, assessments have lived in a black box. Companies use them, but don’t know how to get value out them. We need to provide them with meaningful analytics. We need to show them how to properly use assessment results so they can truly reap the best return on their investment. We also need to make sure they’re using the right measurements for the desired results. Data-driven selection can have a powerful effect on the top and bottom lines.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

There is so much we hold ourselves back from. My favorite quote is “What would you do if you were not afraid?” I try to live by this every day.

What’s your most valuable professional tool?
Every day I make a detailed list of the top five things I need to accomplish. Usually this is a mix of professional and personal things that are important that day or week. Think about it—if there are pressing personal items in your life, you can’t focus clearly on the professional aspects. This list helps me to thoughtfully decide how to go about my day. At the end of the day, I jot down lessons learned and other notes. I’m an Evernote guy, and use it as a professional diary of sorts. It’s an extremely valuable tool.

Passions? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?
My whole family is very outdoorsy. We love to ski, cycle, and hike. I’ve completed a few Ironman triathlons.

What is something no one knows about you?
I once appeared on the QVC channel. I was selling a video tape on job search. Sales were going well and there was an emergency interruption announcing the death of Princess Diana. QVC immediately started selling Princess Di paraphernalia. It was a pretty surreal experience.

Favorite TV show? Why?
When I really want to shut off my brain, I watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

If you could order anything for lunch at your desk, what would it be?
A baguette with a really great piece of French cheese.

You work hard, but personal time is important too. What’s been your best vacation spot ever? Why? Do you have a dream destination?
I’ve been lucky to have traveled a lot of the world. For a true vacation spot, I would have to say St. Maarten. I love the Caribbean. I’ve never visited Africa. One day, specifically, I’d like to see South Africa.

 

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Meet Kelly Ann McGrath, Senior Client Engagement Manager https://outmatch.com/meet-kelly-mcgrath-senior-client-engagement-manager/ https://outmatch.com/meet-kelly-mcgrath-senior-client-engagement-manager/#comments_reply Mon, 15 Feb 2016 14:44:16 +0000 https://outmatch.com/?p=11875 Kelly Ann is a value advocate who focuses on nurturing and maintaining partnerships with our clients. She provides strategic guidance and support to ensure that clients are seeing results and getting the most out of their partnership with us. Where…

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Kelly Ann is a value advocate who focuses on nurturing and maintaining partnerships with our clients. She provides strategic guidance and support to ensure that clients are seeing results and getting the most out of their partnership with us.

Where did you grow up?
Just outside of Philadelphia.

Married? Children? Pets?
I have a boyfriend, but am not married. No kids or pets.

What led you into this field?
I was in recruiting for 10-12 years for a large teen-oriented retail chain, Five Below. I then went to work for a casino/gaming company in HR and we were a client of Chequed (the name of the company before it became OutMatch). I was intrigued by what they did and was ready for a change.

What or who has influenced your career the most?
My father. He has always been a guiding force. We have had similar career paths and he always talked me through situations. Also, the vice president of HR at Five Below was influential. His expertise in the field, influence management, and overall demeanor helped to shape my career for the future.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?
It may sound cliché, but the people. That’s what I enjoy most. I’ve never worked for an organization that has gone through as many changes in a short amount of time as OutMatch, yet continues to maintain a unified culture. My onboarding was also quick and efficient and got me up to speed in no time. You can’t say that about a lot of companies these days.

I love that each client has a sense of uniqueness, but with that comes some challenges. It requires the ability to dive deep into the client’s culture, process, and people to make sure that we’re aligned with strategic initiatives. This won’t always be easy as clients may sometimes find fault with the solution or product, but it’s up to me to ensure that service standards are exceptional.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?
A positive personality. You also need to listen. Listen to your colleagues and clients. It’s this listening that will allow you to deliver.

What are some of your most significant career accomplishments?
Helping to build a recruiting and acquisitions department at Five Below. I started out as a one-woman band, and when I left, there were 11 on the HR team.

Tell me about an interesting problem you’ve faced in your role and how you dealt with it.
The people business is never dull. I recall a situation working as a Talent Acquisition Manager with Five Below. We had an open position within the finance organization and were struggling with locating the right candidate for a variety of reasons.

The core of the issue was lack of alignment among senior leaders on the hiring profile. In order to maintain respect at both management levels, I was able to source quality candidates to satisfy both leaders, and plead a case for hiring at a higher level within the organization. The strategy worked, and both the CFO and Controller came to an agreement after a few months. It pays to remain persistent and steadfast.

What are some of the industry-specific challenges you see for the future?
Keeping up with software and aligning it to client needs.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?
Keep your chin up. Keep moving forward.

What’s your most valuable professional tool?
My personality. I’m quick on my feet. That comes in handy.

Passions? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?
Spending time with friends and family. I’m also a fitness instructor on the side. I teach kickboxing and yoga. I enjoy most outdoor activities too, especially running.

What’s something no one knows about you?
I was shy and introverted until the age of 18–thank goodness for college, or I would have never found myself in a job where you need to be social in order to attain success!

Favorite TV show?
Suits, an original USA Network series about the legal field. And Blacklist.

If you could order anything for lunch at your desk, what would it be?
Sushi.

You work hard, but personal time is important too. What’s been your best vacation spot ever? Why? Do you have a dream destination?
My best vacations have been (and continue to be) spent at the Jersey Shore with family and friends. My family has a house there, so there have been many memories made and shared over the years. My dream vacation is Greece. I love the pictures I’ve seen.

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Meet Stacey Smiel, Product Marketing Manager https://outmatch.com/meet-stacey-smiel-client-engagement-manager/ https://outmatch.com/meet-stacey-smiel-client-engagement-manager/#comments_reply Wed, 03 Feb 2016 14:26:55 +0000 https://outmatch.com/?p=11833 Stacey’s role is to understand the needs of consumers in the HR technology market and help develop products to meet those needs. She conducts market research, generates functional requirements, develops production timetables, informs pricing strategy, and shares market research internally…

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Stacey’s role is to understand the needs of consumers in the HR technology market and help develop products to meet those needs. She conducts market research, generates functional requirements, develops production timetables, informs pricing strategy, and shares market research internally across OutMatch.

Where did you grow up?

Upstate New York in Ballston Lake. It’s in the Capital Region between Saratoga Springs and Albany.

Married? Children? Pets?

I am single with no children. I do have a dog whose reputation precedes me. Her name is Kaya and she is a three-year old Icelandic Sheepdog. She is the top trending topic on my social media accounts. LOL.

What led you into this field?

It’s been an organic progression. As an undergraduate, I studied business management. During that time, I took a class on organizational behavior and was riveted by the studies and findings. Before that time, I had no idea that it was an option to make a career out of this. That experience triggered a passion and excitement around this field that has only grown over time.

What or who has influenced your career the most? 

Well, there are three that top the list. (1) My organizational behavior professor; (2) the dean of the school of business at SUNY New Paltz, where I received my undergraduate degree; and (3) my internship at Chequed. My professor introduced me to this field and sparked my interest in pursuing it as a career. The dean was the biggest influencer of my early professional development. He was so supportive and instilled in me the commitment to “never settle.” And, my internship at Chequed served as the jumping off point for my career.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?

Well, I just love it! What else can I say? I have enthusiasm for the field and enjoy developing long-term partnerships and seeing the outcomes as they evolve. I find it invigorating to work with so many intelligent and driven individuals across clients and within my own team. As for a challenge, it’s often difficult to determine when to disengage. There are so many moving pieces and different time zones to work across and I always want to respond to clients right then and there, so I need to learn when to turn it off for a while.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?

Flexibility, and strong communication and time management skills.

What are some of your most significant career accomplishments?

I started in this business as a client success representative, and have quickly grown into a new role that allows me to develop deeper relationships and contribute to longer-term strategies.

Tell me about an interesting problem you’ve faced in your role and how you dealt with it.

So far, I’ve had no big problems. I don’t see problems. I see situations and opportunities. I try to react deliberately and to bring in the necessary resources at the right time. If a situation occurs, it’s key to pause and look at the big picture first.

What are some of the industry-specific challenges you see for the future?

Assessments are a hot topic for businesses. Some are questionable in terms of their level of rigor and impact on business goals. So, it’s important to really understand the value being delivered. Fads in the assessment space may be tempting, but they are not always useful in terms of business impact and long term ROI.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

Never settle, which to me means don’t get too comfortable and don’t lose sight of the value of hard work. Look for growth opportunities where you can make an impact.

What’s your most valuable professional tool?

My phone. It allows me to multi-task and I can rely on it to send me reminders and updates while I’m traveling to meet with clients. There’s never any lag time, and I can continue to be productive on the road or in the air.

Passions? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?

Anything outdoors. I love to hike, kayak, and paddleboard, and I also enjoy photography (although these days I’m mostly taking pictures of my dog!)

What is something no one knows about you?

For a long time when I was playing piano, I used to imagine myself playing in a piano bar as a side job.

Favorite TV show? Why?

One show that has caught my interest is Game of Thrones. I am captivated by the books, and the show has been just as enthralling. It evolves so quickly and there are so many parallel storylines progressing across the characters. Looking forward to the new season!

If you could order anything for lunch at your desk, what would it be?

I like to work through lunch, so probably something small and simple. I know, it’s boring, but it’s the truth. Probably a small salad with chicken and avocado–something light that won’t slow me down.

You work hard, but personal time is important too. What’s been your best vacation spot ever? Why? Do you have a dream destination?

I love Dillon, CO. I hike and kayak there in the summer. It’s such a stunning place visually. Another place I’d really like to visit again is Australia. I studied abroad there, and I just found it be a captivating environment for so many reasons. I’d love to have more time to really explore the area.

 

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