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Jenny Baker
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BayState IO

Beth Melillo and Pete Rutigliano

Nobody’s parking in Harvard yard right now, not even I-O psychologists. However, even before the pandemic turned “Zoom” into an adjective, BayState IO was connecting New England-based I-O psychologists in a virtual setting using the platform so that driving through Boston’s cow-paths-turned-roads wasn’t necessary.

What Is BayState IO?

BayState IO is a membership organization connecting professionals in Massachusetts who apply principles and practices of psychology to the workplace through internal organizational practice, external consulting, and academia. The group formed in 2018 after learning the previous organization of psychologists and psychometricians, New England Society of Applied Psychologists (NESAP), had shuttered a few years prior—after 25+ plus years—leaving I-O psychologists in the area without a way to connect. 

NESAP arose and grew as a group to meet the needs of its members, practitioners applying backgrounds in clinical and social psychology to the workplace.  When exploring the past of NESAP prior to launching BayState IO, past presidents shared how NESAP members used their psychological training in the workplace in various coaching roles internally, and many focused on the bread-and-butter work of I-O psychologists doing selection and assessments.

Although NESAP had disbanded, there was still interest for a local group to connect I-O practitioners.  This interest was driven by early career professionals looking to explore and expand the network connecting I-O psychologists in Boston as well as to include a broader focus of topics such as talent management, organizational development, employee experience, people analytics, and more, which represent the broad spectrum of areas where I-O psychologists practice.

BayState IO launched in September 2018 with an engaging panel event on the past and history of leadership development that drew in just over 30 people, pulling together a diverse set of speakers on the topic: Ashita Goswami, Salem State University, PhD; Walter Jackson, Director of Development at Bates Communication, PhD; and Jen Bunk, career coach, PhD.

Since the launch, BayState IO has focused on connecting I-O psychologists in the Boston area and beyond through informal networking events and speaker-driven events, both live and virtual.  For example, in May 2019, SIOP Fellow and Northeastern professor Paula Caliguiri, PhD, presented on the topic of cultural agility.  Some of the virtual speakers the group has welcomed over the last few years include Jennifer Martineau, PhD, Center for Creative Leadership, presenting on her latest research and book, Kick Some Glass, and Rob Rubin, PhD, DePaul University, promoting how to make evidence-based or informed leadership development decisions in organizations. 

Like many cities, Boston has a wealth of professional networking groups to join, but what makes BayState IO unique is what makes I-O unique—an emphasis on providing programming that reflects the scientist–practitioner model and grounding in evidence-based practices that advance science in the workplace.   

Members of BayState IO include transplants to the region and also homegrown individuals.  Although there isn’t a doctoral-level I-O psychology program in Greater Boston, there are a number of master’s-level I-O psychology and organizational leadership programs as well as doctoral-level psychology programs at Boston’s numerous universities.  BayState IO encourages members to join who have received training in graduate level psychology or are current students. 

As mentioned, the current 25 BayState IO members are as diverse as you would expect for a field as diverse as I-O psychology, holding internal and external roles in organizational development, selection, training, change management, analytics, and HR.   Those who attend programs or join as a member can expect a place to connect with peers who can “talk shop” around core I-O topics like selection and assessment, organizational development, learning, analytics, and more. Membership in BayState IO offers a way to connect with professionals that apply psychology in the workplace, participate in programs, and access to our online members-only LinkedIn group. 

As a newly formed and still growing group, we are looking to grow our presence and offerings in the area, as well as to raise the profile of I-O psychology within the region. 

You can learn more about other benefits of membership, the open roles on our executive team, and BayState IO on our website (www.baystateio.com) or by following the LinkedIn page. Once on the website, sign up for our mailing list to get news and notification about upcoming events. 

The BayState IO Executive Leadership Team:
Beth Melillo, MS, PHR, President
Ryan Stebbins, MS, VP Technology/Web Administrator

Adam Smith, PhD, VP, Membership
Angela Ackerman, MS, Treasurer

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