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Meet Carol Jenkins, PhD, Chief Analytics Officer

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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