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SIOP Award Winners: Meet Walter Reichman—2022 SIOP Humanitarian Award Winner

Liberty Munson, Microsoft

As part of our ongoing series to provide visibility into what it takes to earn a SIOP award or grant, we highlight a diverse class of award winners in each edition of TIP. We hope that this insight encourages you to consider applying for a SIOP award or grant because you are probably doing something amazing that can and should be recognized by your peers in I-O psychology!

This quarter, we are highlighting SIOP’s 2022 Humanitarian Award Winner: Walter Reichman. Read on to learn more about his amazing humanitarian work… even better, watch him discuss it! SIOP Humanitarian Award - Reichman - YouTube

 

Share a little a bit about who you are and what you do.

I am a partner and vice president at OrgVitality, an I-O-based management consulting firm. I am emeritus professor of psychology at Baruch College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. I am the main NGO (nongovernmental organization) representative to the Economic and Social Council of the UN from the International Association of Applied Psychology and an honorary member of the SIOP UN team.

What do you think was key to you winning this award?

I won the award for my work at the UN and for my work in establishing employee assistance programs in its early days—employee assistance programs developed from alcoholism programs in the workplace. This was the beginning of management’s recognition that the well-being of their employees impacted their success as a business and began focusing on employees with problems.

What do you see as the lasting/unique contribution of your work to our discipline?

I believe my work at the UN brings psychology to the deliberations of the UN and I-O to the workings of the UN itself. I believe I-O in the US has become less US centered and more aware of the needs of working people all over the world and especially in developing countries where work is tenuous, unemployment and poverty high, and exploitation of workers rampant. We have provided awareness of these conditions to SIOP.

How did others become aware of your award-winning work/research? 

Colleagues involved with the UN who are leaders at SIOP and my partners at OrgVitality who have always supported and contributed to my work at the UN. I also assisted SIOP in obtaining credentials at the UN 10 years ago.

To what extent would you say your work was interdisciplinary? 

My colleagues at the UN are from multiple areas of psychology. We worked together to bring psychology to the UN when we were writing papers about psychology to the commissions of the UN. Every type of psychology has something to offer. Behavior is complex, and we all have something to offer to promote well-being and decent work.

What recommendations would you give to others if they are doing interdisciplinary research? 

Learn and listen.

Are you still doing work in the same area where you won the award? If so, what are you currently working on in this space?

I am focusing on working on the precarious workforce: those without steady jobs and vulnerable to unemployment and with very little control over their work lives.

What’s a fun fact about yourself (something that people may not know)?

I’m old, still alive, vertical, and energetic.

What piece of advice would you give to someone new to I-O psychology? (If you knew then what you know now…)

Think about ways of improving the lives of workers and recognize the interaction between worker wellbeing and organizational success. They are intertwined. 

 

About the author:

Liberty Munson is currently the director of Psychometrics of the Microsoft Worldwide Learning programs in the Worldwide Learning organization. She is responsible for ensuring the validity and reliability of Microsoft’s certification programs. Her passion is for finding innovative solutions to business challenges that balance the science of assessment design and development with the realities of budget, time, and schedule constraints. Most recently, she has been presenting on the future of testing and how technology can change the way we assess skills.

Liberty loves to bake, hike, backpack, and camp with her husband, Scott, and miniature schnauzer, Apex. If she’s not at work, you’ll find her enjoying the great outdoors, or she’s in her kitchen tweaking some recipe just to see what happens.

Her advice to someone new to I-O psychology? Statistics, statistics, statistics—knowing data analytic techniques will open A LOT of doors in this field and beyond!

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