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Meet Karina Freitag, PhD, Senior Talent Solutions Expert

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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