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SIOP HomeProsocial I-O → Victoria Graeve-Cunningham

SIOP Spotlight on Pro-social  and Advocacy Work: Victoria Graeve-Cunningham

Victoria Graeve-Cunningham is an organizational consultant who is passionate about making Omaha a great place to live, work, and play. After receiving her M.B.A. and M.S. in Bioscience Management from Creighton University, she returned to the University of Nebraska to pursue her Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. She also worked full-time conducting health promotion research and managing various community projects. After graduate school, she transitioned into a corporate project management role which led her to nonprofit volunteer work throughout the Omaha community. Victoria currently volunteers with various community organizations to return the blessings granted to her when she was in need.

Victoria grew up in a challenging environment with an abusive parent in poverty, and often homeless, which helped her gain personal insight into how nonprofit organizations can make a significant difference in people’s lives. Growing up in a tough environment inspired her to contribute her I-O experience as a volunteer. Instead of focusing on a single cause or group, she makes meaningful contributions to various nonprofit organizations through her work at ThriVinci Consulting Group, which is an organization of professional volunteers committed to empowering communities by sharing knowledge and supporting the advancement of nonprofit organizations.

The name ThriVinci encompasses “Thrive,” because volunteers help nonprofits thrive, while at the same time providing homage to DaVinci who embodies using intellect and science to advance society. Volunteers at ThriVinci help nonprofit organizations to employ efficient processes, tools, and technologies. Their work enhances current business operations, maximizes resources, improves engagement, increases performance, and reduces turnover.

Since its inception in late 2015, ThriVinci Consulting Group has helped over 15 nonprofit organizations by offering support services to refugees, helping war veterans heal, raising money for childhood cancer research, providing free tax preparation to the impoverished and promoting music and art programming for youth, among many others. Victoria has used her I-O experience to provide board member training, conduct job analyses in support of performance management processes, develop onboarding and exit-interview reports, facilitate strategic planning sessions, and deal with workplace incivility. Volunteer projects also extend beyond core I-O areas to the development of social media campaigns and building database systems.

To find nonprofit organizations in need, Victoria leverages her knowledge and relationships with the Omaha community to connect ThriVinci to nonprofit organizations in greatest need. She admits that at the end of the day it all comes down to “amazing colleagues and a lot of hustling” to find opportunities.

Her I-O psychology knowledge and skills have supported Victoria’s work with ThriVinci in a variety of ways. For example she often finds that her data analysis skills come in handy as well as her experience with facilitation, performance management, talent selection, and research. She appreciates how her I-O psychology training continues to lend value to her nonprofit clients in unique ways.

Victoria believes that ThriVinci’s volunteer work in the nonprofit sector is significant to the Omaha community at large.  With volunteering rates declining, they are the lowest since 2002, nonprofit organizations have limited access to resources for their valuable mission-related work. She emphasizes that, “as I-O psychologists, we understand best practices so why don’t we share this information to empower community agencies.” In the state of Nebraska, the nonprofit industry is the third largest business sector. She adds, “if I-O psychologists truly care about cultivating employee performance, engagement, and wellness, then we need to offer free or, at minimum, affordable services to an industry that employs 1 in 11 Nebraskans.” Victoria finds that serving as a volunteer for nonprofit organizations and supporting pro-social I-O work is a win-win situation because volunteers not only advance their professional skills, but they are also able to find meaning in their work.