Shreshta Ravi, MA
People analytics partner, Facebook
My job: I am currently helping our internal people org with enterprisewide programmatic and policy decisions that impact the 35,000+ employee population it’s grown to. It’s hard to pinpoint one type of thing I’ve done because I’ve been able to work on research that touches upon the entire talent lifecycle with varying degrees of analysis approaches, and working and learning alongside some of the smartest people in the process.
What I liked about SPU: It was really a well-rounded program that helped establish a solid foundation of I-O fundamentals and gave me the tools I needed to start making an impact in my first job from day 1. The faculty! Everyone brought their expertise to the classroom and it was evident you were learning from people who knew what they were doing. Dr. Yost’s Motivation course and Dr. Kendall’s Program Evaluation course were both exciting and terrifying at the same time.
First role after graduation: I worked as a reporting analyst at Ergometrics, a selection assessment organization that developed and implemented assessments for entry-level and experienced public safety officers (e.g., firefighters, police officers, etc).
Advice to future students: I strongly believe that one of the primary reasons I enjoy my work and am able to work in this field is because whether or not I enjoyed a project, team, or role that I was in at the moment, when I look back at that experience, I know I took something away from it that may not have been fully apparent at the time.
Scott Campanario, PhD
Organizational transformation consultant, Deloitte
My job: My work supports organizations that are navigating complex transitions or changes, and my area of specialty is helping those organizations make sense of and leverage complex data through the process.
What I liked about SPU: The thing I liked most about SPU’s I-O program was the sense of community and personal investment from the professors. Through the program, I made lifelong friends who I stay in touch with often. I also know that I wouldn’t be where I am in my career without their support and the investment from our faculty.
First role after graduation: My first role out of SPU was as a consultant at a small firm based out of Seattle called ORS Impact. We helped philanthropic and other nonprofit organizations conduct organizational assessments and evaluate their performance in terms of social impact.
Advice to future students: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Grad school is hard — very, very hard — and you’ll be pushed to the edge of your comfort zone whether by the sheer amount of work or by being asked to question what you think you know. In either case, trust in the slow process of learning through that discomfort.
Heather Blacketer, MA
Sr. project manager and interim manager in IT, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
My job: I manage cross-functional IT projects and manage a team of six other project managers.
What I liked about SPU: I liked the cohort model and the small size of my classes. I really enjoyed the balance of academia and practical application of the work during the program.
First role after graduation: My first role was as a consultant for a small local startup consulting firm. I worked on projects for organizations in the Seattle area, primarily doing roles in project management, organizational development, and change management.
Advice to future students: Network, network, network! During my first quarter in the program, Dr. Yost told all of us that we should start networking far and wide, and I was super intimidated. I didn’t actually start networking until I was a year into the program and started really thinking about finding a job. You should start networking as soon as possible.
Jacob Redding, PhD
Learning designer and facilitator, The Google School for Leaders
My job: I am focused specifically on cross-functional senior leader development across the globe through both programmatic and non-programmatic experiences.
What I liked about SPU: As I reflect on my time in SPU’s I-O program, I really appreciated the sense of community I had with both faculty and students. I was rigorously challenged not only as an academic but also as a practitioner, and that rigor has thoroughly prepared me to continue evolving and growing as an I-O psychologist, but even more so as a human.
First role after graduation: My first role out of SPU was transitioning from a business role as regional operations at Tesla to being a global leadership development partner on Tesla’s Global Leadership and Talent Development team. My focus was on leadership development strategy, including content development, program evaluation, facilitation, and coaching for the engineering, manufacturing, and production functions.
Advice to future students: Don’t try and make the program “easy.” Take the more challenging project, invest in the rigor, and embrace all the diversity of thought you can in your SPU learning environment. This will only set you up better to be an evolving and growing science-practitioner for our ever-changing workforce and world.
Mizuki Asano, MA
Sr. manager, People Insights & Analytics, Slalom Consulting
My job: I lead the People Insights & Analytics initiatives to support the sustainability and scalability of organization’s people strategy. I am responsible for strategy and development of people data and analytics as well as conducting organizational research to understand employee experiences.
What I liked about SPU: I learned key fundamental knowledge of the organizational and human behavior from an I-O perspective. Additionally, I am grateful for gaining many colleagues from the program and becoming part of the I-O community.
First role after graduation: Organizational development analyst at Nintendo of America. My responsibilities included identifying, tracking, and analyzing metrics to measure organizational effectiveness solutions. As well as leading organizational initiatives such as talent management, leadership development, and employee engagement.
Advice to future students: Explore your opportunities! Our skills and training can add value to the organization in so many ways.
Jackie Smith, MA
Workforce planning, diversity, and inclusion consultant, Seattle Children’s Hospital
My job: In this new role I am helping to reshape and design systems that support the development of our internal team members, as well as build new and strengthen existing pipelines into the organization.
What I liked about SPU: I really loved the courses I took on Program Evaluation and Learning Systems and On-the-Job Development. At the time they helped me gain clarity on what exactly I hoped to do after graduation; and after that they proved useful in my day-to-day work. I very much appreciated the connections I made with fellow students and the wonderful network for SPU I-Os who willingly accept invites to informational interviews, idea exchanges, and meet-n-greets.
First role after graduation: I accepted a supervisor role at Seattle Children’s in nursing administration. In that role, I had the opportunity to lead a group of program coordinators and other administrative professionals. Our team’s work supported the housewide nursing programs and services, such as nursing professional development, nursing quality, nursing informatics, and more.
Advice to future students: When you head out to the job market, be open to experiences — and don’t get hung up on titles or trendy office perks. Find a leader who will advocate for you, give you opportunities to shine, and support you along the way. Seek out teams that are inclusive, dynamic, and dedicated not only to the work, but to one another.
Emily Pelosi, PhD
Research scientist, Amazon
My job: In my current role I design and lead global initiatives for our central talent management organization. We use research and analysis to pitch ideas and drive conversations with Amazon’s senior vice president of HR and other executives about how to improve existing talent programs or invent new ones that address the evolving needs of our diverse employee base.
What I liked about SPU: SPU’s I-O program not only taught me the skills I needed to be successful, but also how to apply them in a business context. I really appreciated the emphasis on practical application coupled with scientific rigor.
First role after graduation: In my first role out of SPU, I was an HR analytics leader for a Fortune 500 company. My role was to drive strategic decision-making by leading predictive analytics projects and consulting on talent management initiatives using a data-driven approach. I worked directly with senior HR leadership to address critical business questions and deliver insights regarding performance, turnover, employee attitudes, and outcomes of learning and development programs.
Advice to future students: Be open to new opportunities and don’t pass up a chance for an informational interview. I didn’t discover my love for HR analytics until I tried it!
Jon Kellerman, MA
Workforce planning consultant, Nike
My job: In this role, I act as the subject matter expert for our workforce planning tools and processes. I work with our HR leaders and HR analytics team to ensure visibility to the right data for the talent- and wage-related decisions.
What I liked about SPU: I loved the focus on self-awareness! While there was a strong emphasis on learning I-O domain content, understanding why you think/believe something, or why you agree/disagree was highly valued. I often ask myself “for the sake of what?” when faced with important questions. I wouldn’t have gotten that from any other I-O program.
First role after graduation: I was employed as an industrial engineering manager at Boeing while I was in the program and when I finished. As such, I was responsible for the growth and development of my employees. Presenting to, and working with, program executives and ensuring production plans supported the program schedule.
Advice to future students: Be creative when it comes to your career; there is no “normal” path. Be willing to be vulnerable with those who love and support you. Get and keep a job during your time in the program; this will provide you the opportunity to test the I-O theories and think critically about how I-O content shows up in the workplace.
Lauren Stradford, MA
HR director, Microsoft
My job: I manage a team of HR business partners who support the product marketing leaders. My team is responsible for designing and implementing HR strategies in alignment with the business. These strategies include leadership development, leadership team effectiveness, and organizational diagnostics, as well as building a diverse and inclusive culture.
What I liked about SPU: I love the pragmatism of the program combined with theory and research. The professors all have real-world experience, and you can see how the research can be applied in a broad variety of roles.
First role after graduation: I was a recruiter while I was in school, but after completing the MA program, I was able to move into a HR business partner role even though I had no experience in that space. The program gave me a great foundation for an HR business partner role. Within six months of taking that role, I was working on a large acquisition, doing talent management, and coaching senior leaders. All topics I had learned about through the program!
Advice to future students: Stay connected to fellow students and other alumni. It’s been 10 years and the relationships I built through the program have been invaluable!
Farrah Mclaughlin, MA
Director of talent acquisition, Nordstrom
My job: At Nordstrom, I lead an awesome team that is re-imagining what talent acquisition of the future looks like for about 55,000 roles annually.
What I liked about SPU: The scientist-practitioner model the program is based on means that what we learned, we had a chance to apply. I walked out of the program with valuable skills that allowed me to research, develop a point of view, and build strong plans.
First role after graduation: I was an HR coordinator at Starbucks, supporting Global HR Shared Services. The role was primarily administrative, but I was fortunate to have a boss who was willing to take a chance on me and let me facilitate some team interventions that led to a future opportunity.
Advice to future students: Be intentional about the mentors or “board of advisors” you set up for yourself. Develop relationships, even when it feels uncomfortable. Don’t be afraid to contribute beyond your title — you bring immense value by virtue of what you’ve learned in the program and your ability to make it practical!