Awards Spotlight: The Path to Fellow–Dr. Leslie Joyce
Garett Howardson, Tuple Work Science, Ltd/Hofstra University/The George Washington University; and Liberty Munson, IBM
In this installment of the TIP Awards Spotlight, we continue our focus on the SIOP Fellow process. In the first article of our series, we interviewed the current chair of the SIOP Fellow committee Dr. Kenneth P. De Meuse to learn more about the process and his recommendations. The second article saw an interview with Dr. Cheryl Paullin’s path to becoming a Fellow. In this third installment, we continue our Path-to-Fellows interviews with Dr. Leslie Joyce. Receiving her doctorate from North Carolina State University, Dr. Joyce has spent most of her career in the talent management space specializing in employee and organizational development and effectiveness. Dr. Joyce’s employee development emphasis is not surprising giving her half namesake role in the likewise-development-focused Leslie W. Joyce and Paul W. Thayer Graduate Fellowship in I-O Psychology. More recently, Dr. Joyce has transitioned into leading global human resource functions, particularly as the chief people officer for a global manufacturing company.
Dr. Leslie Joyce’s Path to SIOP Fellow
Becoming a SIOP Fellow requires an unusual and outstanding career as applied to one or more of five specific areas: research, practice, teaching/education, service, and administration. A candidate’s qualifications are summarized collectively in a six-part professional dossier including a self-statement, curriculum vitae, nomination letter, endorser list, and endorser letters. It is not uncommon, notes De Meuse, for an ultimately successful application to be built over the span of years with the help of one’s colleagues (Howardson & Munson, 2017). Indeed, Dr. Joyce confirmed as much (noted below by A) when we asked (denoted below by Q) about her Fellows experience.
Q: If you wouldn’t mind, please describe the “work” you did that you think played a key role in becoming a fellow. As follow ups, what were your innovations/unique contributions to the ﬁeld? How did you “signiﬁcantly” impact the ﬁeld in line with the qualifications for becoming a Fellow?
A: I think the key for me was to stay firmly engaged on both sides of the scientist – practitioner continuum. I was committed to being an I-O psychologist and a leader in a corporate environment. To do that I had to stay current in I-O practices and be well versed in the nature of applied settings. That requires technical capability as well as intellectual and professional flexibility. I focused on publishing and speaking and ensuring the implementation of I-O best practice. I was committed to moving the practice forward (contributing to advancing the field) and in sharing those successes with others so they could add their efforts to advancing the field. I did a lot of work in the employee survey area driving new levels of effectiveness in action planning, made contributions to the design of assessment centers, created practices for change management that raised the bar.
In keeping with the Fellow requirements, Dr. Joyce’s career-long work has been truly unusual and outstanding. As De Meuse notes, one characteristic of a Fellow-worthy career is making one’s work accessible and available to the I-O psychology field writ-large beyond one’s own immediate work setting. Communicating as such is most effectively done when describing unambiguous contributions, preferably, using specific metrics quantifying the candidate’s extended impact. An unusual and outstanding career, in other words, requires not only individual success but also elevating the work of one’s peers to support overall advancement of the I-O psychology field. So it has been with Dr. Joyce’s career by publishing, speaking, and implementation work focused on helping others “add their efforts to advancing the field.”
It is important to note that identifying such efforts solely from one’s own perspective can be challenging. As De Meuse has previously noted, the importance of feedback from one’s peers throughout the Fellows application process should not be understated. Indeed, as noted below, Dr. Joyce echoed a similar recommendation when recounting her own path to SIOP Fellow, particularly as related to writing one’s own self-statement.
Q: What did you include in your self-statement?
A: This was far harder than I anticipated. It is so hard to think of what you do every day as special, unique or noteworthy. It’s just what you did. It really helped me to get other people’s perspective on my contributions so I could see them objectively for what they contributed to the field. Once I distanced myself from myself—I could see more clearly. The key elements I included in my statement highlighted my work in leadership development, employee engagement and talent management as well as my contributions through publishing and speaking. A key element was illustrating how I had broadened the audience for I-O by bringing our perspective to other fields.
In a similar vein, De Meuse notes that the most effective self-statements are those adopting a more neutral and objective perspective about one’s contributions using, for instance, specific metrics (e.g., published new assessment center structure adopted by x number of peers in other organizations/industries). Note, however, that objectively stating one’s contributions need not be overly modest. In fact, Dr. De Meuse notes that the self-statement is precisely the appropriate time to promote one’s career accomplishments. Remember, the criteria for becoming a SIOP Fellow do not require a “good” or “successful” career but rather an unusual and outstanding career, the communication of which might be challenging without highlighting or promoting career accomplishments in kind.
As both Drs. Joyce and De Meuse note, the Fellowship onus is not to be assumed alone. Indeed, when asked to offer recommendations for others pursuing the Fellow path, Dr. Joyce emphasized the importance of one’s colleagues and remaining active in the broader I-O community.
Q: What advice would you give to those interested in becoming a fellow?
A: There are so many terrific role models to choose from. Get to know them—what they did and how they did it. Keep a well-balanced network (both practitioners and academics) and value all the members of that network. Give back to the Society by publishing, speaking and mentoring.
Q: What do you think is the “secret sauce” to becoming a Fellow as practitioner?
A: I think the secret sauce is to demonstrate commitment to the science and to build the bridges between the science and its application that move the needle on excellence in corporate practices. I also think it’s important to be involved in the Society—to publish, to speak, and to mentor within the profession.
Perhaps the most important colleagues in the Fellow process are those of the nominator and the endorsers. As Dr. Joyce notes below and as previously noted by Dr. De Meuse, the relationships between nominator, endorsers, and candidate should not be tangential; successful Fellow applications include endorsement letters from several colleagues intimately familiar with the candidate’s career work. Further, identifying colleagues qualified as such is less a function of the endorsers’ overall notoriety in the field and more a function of their knowledge with the candidate’s work. Such qualifications are best adjudicated with help from the candidate’s nominator, which, as noted below, was precisely Dr. Joyce’s experience.
Q: Can you describe the nomination process? How did you get nominated? Did you ﬁnd someone to nominate you, or did someone else nominate you? How did you ﬁnd people to endorse you or did your nominator do that?
A: My nomination came straight out of the blue, and I was so honored. It was something I did not think I would achieve in my career as it is the pinnacle of professional and academic recognition for us. A colleague that I have known and worked with for many years nominated me. He and I worked together on who to contact for endorsements and then he took it from there. It was quite nerve wracking to go through the process, but I’m very honored.
Summary and Conclusion
As noted by De Meuse and confirmed by our interview with Dr. Joyce, the process of becoming a Fellow is necessarily collaborative requiring colleagues intimately familiar with one’s work. To be sure, one’s colleagues acquire such knowledge not overnight, but over years. The process of becoming a SIOP Fellow, in other words, really begins decades prior to compiling one’s application. As we noted in our first Fellows process article, “the SIOP Fellowship is an unusual and outstanding recognition covering, at least, a decade of one’s work and life; communicating achievements as such, not surprisingly, might take more than a few weeks” (Howardson & Munson, 2017).
Howardson, G. H., & Munson, L. M. (2017). Spotlight on award winners: A brief history of SIOP fellowship. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 55(2).
About the Authors
Garett Howardson is the founder and principal work scientist at Tuple Work Science, Limited and adjunct psychology professor at both Hofstra University and at The George Washington University. Most of his work focuses on quantitative, psychometric, and/or computational issues to better understand the psychology of modern, technical work writ-large (e.g., aerospace technicians, computer programmers).
Garett is also an avid computer geek. In fact, he has a degree in computer science, which he avidly applies to his research and work in pursuit of one deceivingly simple goal: better integrate I-O psychology and the data/computational sciences to understand work.
Liberty Munson is currently the principal psychometrician and assessment and exam quality lead at Microsoft. She is responsible for ensuring the validity and reliability of Microsoft’s certification and degree 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.
Liberty loves to bake, hike, backpack, and camp—basically, if the sun is shining you’ll find her enjoying the great outdoors; if not, she’s in her kitchen tweaking some recipe just to see what happens. She has also been actively involved in editing Microsoft’s Cookbook to raise money for a local charity, FareStart, as part of Microsoft’s Give Campaign. And, she just got a new mini schnauzer puppy, Apex!