Getting to know SIOPA: Michelle Stephenson
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE WITHIN SIOPA?
I am the portfolio lead for Regulatory and Standards. The portfolio advocates for the organisational psychology profession by lobbying regulatory and standards authorities such as AHPRA, PsyBA and APAC, preparing responses for regulations and standards that impact on the organisational psychology profession.
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION?
As an Organisational Development Consultant, I work in a team to provide organisational development and consultancy services to organisations, evaluate how they operate and make recommendations for improvement (e.g. health, wellbeing, productivity). This also involves creating, developing and delivering initiatives to improve organisational performance and drive employee engagement. Whilst heavily dependent on client needs, my role has a particular emphasis on change management and psychometric assessment.
WHAT DOES I/O PSYCHOLOGY MEAN TO YOU?
Organisational psychology is heavily guided and defined by a strong ethical code and the scientist-practitioner model. As a result, Organisational Psychologists tend to draw on their knowledge base and analytical skills to inform those in organisations and other professions of scientific research and best practice.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO PURSUE A CAREER IN I/O PSYCHOLOGY?
After High School and throughout my undergraduate degree, I worked in administration for a number of organisations. From the beginning I identified processes, systems and communication techniques that did and did not work effectively. However, at this time I had not felt that I had the authority, nor the professional capacity to impact change. With a focus on mental health in the workplace and interventions for psychological wellbeing, a career in organisational psychology has and continues to provide me with skills and knowledge to continue my own research and keep up-to-date with current findings so that I can provide effective services to organisations and their employees.
WHO DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE MOST INFLUENTIAL ORGANISATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST IN THE FIELD AND WHY?
I’m not sure about Organisational Psychologist, however I feel that someone who is hugely influential in our field is Martin Seligman, Ph.D. Dr. Seligman’s work in Positive Psychology, including the PERMA modelof psychological wellbeing and happiness have been used and adapted all over the world. Working with individuals’ strengths and moving them from a place where they are simply getting by to where they are ‘flourishing’ is a beautiful space to practice in.
WHAT ARE YOUR INTERESTS OR HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF ORG PSYCH?
I would be lying to myself if I didn’t include food as one of my main interests! I also play trumpet in a big band and enjoy travel, walking, card and board games and spending time with my friends and family.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TV SHOW RIGHT NOW, AND WHY?
Call the Midwife. I love the tradition, romance and sentiment that comes through.
DO YOU HAVE AN INTERESTING READ TO RECOMMEND?
For a lighthearted and change-related read, I would recommend ‘Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life’ by Dr. Spencer Johnson. It delivers a simple message and can be read in a few hours.