Amber Stark

Member Spotlight: Beth Melillo

Position/Employer
National Grid

How long have you been a SIOP member?
Since 2017

What roles have you had within SIOP?
I'm the president of BayState IO, the Boston local I-O group (and therefore a part of the Local I-O committee). I'm also a subcommittee member for the Electronic Communication Committee (ECC).

Interest Area(s)
Organizational Development, Change Management, OD, Culture and Climate, Performance Management

What sparked your interest in I-O psychology?
I've always loved being part of groups and teams, and some of those experiences have been excellent, and some of them, well, haven't been. But why not? My curiosity about how groups and organizations work, and the interplay between individual performance and organizational culture, has continued to keep me engaged and fascinated over time. I enjoy creating enduring alignment between people processes so that healthy organizations and teamwork can happen (and results can be achieved!), and the tools of I-O have given me an effective way to do that. But, on a very practical level, before I could articulate any of that, what actually got me into a master’s degree program is that I was doing career exploration work and stumbled across the O*NET website and assessment "My Next Move." After completing the questions, the results included "Industrial-Organizational Psychologist," and the rest is history.

What role do you see I-O psychology playing in the future of work?
I see I-O psychologists continuing to lead the way in providing calm, measured, grounded advice for some of the issues that are most material to organizations, whether that's through research, analytics, or consulting. These questions look like: How do I hire and develop the right talent, how do I develop an organizational culture to support the organizations vision, how do I create an organization that is fair and equitable? I-O psychologists bring something valuable and unique to the table with their scientific approach to answering these questions.

Which of the Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2021 do you most strongly relate to and how can I-O psychology practitioners, educators, and students impact this trend?
I related most strongly to trend # 6, Team effectiveness across virtual and distributed environments. Many times, I have found teams or their leaders are likely to place all the blame on distance for why their team isn't effective, but I-O psychologists can myth bust this perception first by sharing what makes for an effective team, based on the teamwork literature, and then how to adapt to the challenge of virtual distance and its impact on each dimension of teamwork.

What advice would you give to students or early practitioners?
The knowledge you get from your I-O course work is valuable, but it's event more valuable to spend time understanding business problems and how that knowledge can be applied. Be sure to hone your ability to talk about I-O in practical language. Of course, keep networking after graduate school, and don't be shy about reaching out to other I-O psychologists for advice and coaching. This is a field full of people who are very generous with their time.

What is one of your favorite SIOP Annual Conference memories/highlights?
I've been to three in-person SIOP conferences and one virtual one. I think my favorite SIOP conference highlight would be the Shaken and Stirred event in Chicago in 2018. This was a refreshing and novel way to learn about big ideas and hear from some bold voices.

Please share one non-I-O-related bit of information about yourself
I love hiking. As a lifelong New Englander, you can find me on nice weekends up in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, where I've done 26 of the NH48 4,000 footers.

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