Tell us a little more about you–
How would you explain your leadership style?
As a leader, my compass is employee engagement. Engagement, described by Gallup in the Q12 process, is established through 12 questions that are really principles. The foundation–the base of the pyramid of employee needs–is making sure employees are comfortable knowing what’s expected of them and having the tools to do their jobs well. Other principles include enabling employees to do what they do best every day, complimenting them regularly and consistently, and communicating how the employee’s role fits into the company’s vision and goals. When I follow these principles, I know I deliver effective leadership, because participation, recognition, motivation, and discussions of performance are all addressed when I’m ensuring my team members are fully engaged. It’s a roadmap for meaningful facilitation of action. My scores on Q12 have been over 4.5 in each category, and my record for retention and promotion of employees is high, indicating the positive outcomes associated with the approach.
How would other people describe you?
I think the key words you’d hear would be energetic, inspiring, extremely knowledgeable, and an “activator”–someone who gets things going and takes actions that yield powerful results. People would also probably say I’m persistent, focused and possess a good sense of humor. I think it’s important to maintain perspective, and humor is essential for that.
What are your current areas of focus?
In 2008, after being part of a downsizing, I realized the economy was changing and the employment market would become more competitive. I viewed it as an opportunity to take my human resources and training/organizational development knowledge to the next level through formal education. While pursuing my masters degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology, I selected a teaching position at a private university that provided flexibility and was still in the training field, enabling me to apply my expertise in instructional design and facilitation. In addition, I created a consulting practice, Stradivarius Solutions. I have provided services in organizational development, keeping my skills sharp in a number of related areas.
During this period, I have earned certifications in professional coaching(CPC), six sigma (green belt) and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), as well as a certification in organizational effectiveness (succession planning and talent management). The masters degree was finished in October 2011.
At the same time, I became published–an article on change management and a chapter in a book for professional women’s development. I wrote 500 pages for an online fiction book that has received over 57,000 hits to date and began writing a book on how to revise recruitment and selection practices to match 21st century business needs (in development).
Now that my degree has been completed, I will return to a management role in a corporate environment where I maximize employee performance and create sustainable competitive advantage for my organization.
Education’s great, but how does that add to your value in a management role?
With the business and learning/OD management experience I’d already obtained, I was able to synthesize theory and application quickly to lead to a higher level of performance. For example, I had previously supported technology conversions through the development of subject matter training materials and assessments for employees and managers. Now, I will guide a change readiness evaluation, focus the training on important change management elements as well as operations processes, and develop learning reinforcement tools that address psychological and technical aspects. I will also add change management highlights into the employee coaching training provided to managers responsible for successful business functioning after the conversion.
The expansion of knowledge also informs my coaching sessions with managers. I will provide context for observed team member behaviors, design targeted exercises for practice through application, and further the manager’s understanding of motivation strategies. These activities are grounded in sound ethics principles and adherence to legal standards that have been advanced through my educational experiences.
How are you with travel? What about relocation?
I’m very comfortable with travel–I’ve been responsible, over the past 10 years, for national training programs and virtual teams dispersed across the country. My travel load has been between 50% – 80%, depending on projects.
I am also open to relocation within the United States.
Tell us your keys to managing work pressures.
The key to managing pressure is to do the things that sometimes seem counter-intuitive. When faced with multiple priorities and deadlines, many people focus on working harder or longer hours without stopping. The essential element is to build in small breaks–15 minutes of walking, mental discipline activities, or a creative, right-brain task–and ensure you get a chance to switch up your focus. It’s also important to take ownership of your schedule–strategic management of thoughts and actions leads to greater productivity and less stress. I use the Getting Things Done process and I keep in mind Steven Covey’s principle of “sharpening the saw.” Exercise, comedy, and self-reflection are important tools–they need to become part of the daily routine. I make a point to walk in the morning, which is also my time for processing previous events, and I and watch or read something humorous every night.
List some of the business books that helped form your guiding principles in management and learning and development.
Highly useful ideas for learning and development have been sourced from Gamestorming, High-Impact Learning, Success Case Method, Executive Management Education, and The Fifth Discipline.
Other meaningful business works have been The Tipping Point, Blue Ocean Strategy, The Inside Entrepreneur, Hot Flat and Crowded, Blink, First Break All the Rules, and The Laughing Warrior.
What are some of the charitable activities you’ve been involved in?
I am a Project Manager for the Taproot Foundation, an organization that creates pro-bono project teams to support non-profit organizations in developing human resources, marketing, and technology functions. I am also a video mentor/net buddy for Infinite Family, a non-profit group that provides virtual weekly mentoring sessions to support the development of young leaders in South Africa. I was previously a member in Altrusa International (Biloxi Chapter), a women’s group committed to improving literacy; in the Lion’s Club (Gulfport Chapter), an organization dedicated to helping people with eyesight problems (e.g., supplying glasses in developing countries); and the United Way. I served as the president of the Harrison County Mental Health Association.