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Amber Stark

SIOP Member Spotlight: Erik Zito

Position/Employer: Change Management Manager at Genpact

Interest areas: Employee engagement, employee motivation, mental health, and exercise

What sparked your interest in I-O psychology? I grew up in a household where my entire family seemed to have hated their jobs. They went to work for the paycheck instead of the benefit of helping their organization. I grew up thinking that that’s how life was going to be: wake up, go to work, get a paycheck, come home. Then, I discovered that employees could love their job, and their passion about their career can not only excel their personal growth but their organization’s growth as well. I started to learn as much as I could about I-O and the benefits of workplace/employee engagement and fell in love with the whole process (from academia to consulting). I feel like we are truly changing the world, and that’s all I could ever ask for.

What role do you see I-O psychology playing in the future of work? Forever evolving and changing. I hope to spread as much I-O knowledge as I can to the organizations I work for and interact with. I-O can be applied to any organization to increase their overall success. I want to continue to better the business but never forget that it’s the people who truly make the change and have the biggest influence. I want to show that at the heart of I-O; we care about people, not only from a business platform but also from a personal wellness lens.

Which of the Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2020 do you most strongly relate to and how can I-O psychology practitioners, educators, and students impact this trend? Workplace Health and Wellbeing (absolutely no brainer). We live in a world today where there are so many streams of negativity. Social media and technology at their core were meant to bring us together and spread positivity. However, what we have found is that it gives more avenues for hate, disrespect, violence, and aggression. It also tends to distract us from the people that are right in front of us. Wellbeing is not just physical but also mental. Thankfully, we have seen a positive trend of workplaces including counseling and other forms of mental health stability in their benefits packages. We have also seen an increase in physical wellbeing initiatives. There are companies out there that not only assist in cost of a gym membership, but organizations are also celebrating and rewarding their employees for not smoking, exercising, and other positive habits to keep the employee more physically fit. We have seen an uptick of the past couple of years with companies supporting employee well-being, but we are nowhere close to where we should be. More research needs to be done on the benefits, and practitioners should take the current and future research to show the benefits it will have on the company as a whole.

How long have you been a SIOP member? I have been a member for 5 years

What roles have you had within SIOP? I have contributed to various presentations and am currently a part of the Survey subcommittee for this year. In addition, I am trying to build out the Change Management group within SIOP because there is so much overlap between the two fields, and I think both can benefit immensely from one another.

What is one of your favorite SIOP annual conference memories/highlights? Oh jeez…I can’t say there’s “one” favorite part. Between the annual 5k, presentations, and speakers, it’s impossible to say that they’re not all great and beneficial. But my favorite SIOP memory has always been (and will continue to be) reconnecting with mentors, professors, and family. I have gained so many valuable friendships throughout the last couple of years, and it’s always so heartwarming to watch any of them grow and hear about their success. At the end of the day, SIOP is a family, and we are always here to support and be happy for one another. I am always blessed when I can see a familiar smiling face and make new friends in the process.

What advice would you give to students or early practitioners? Keep the momentum and remember what you have learned. At Xavier, the professors did a phenomenal job at preparing us for the real world and combing academia with actual application of our tools and knowledge. I am still trying to combine what we learned and showcase it at my current company. More importantly, stay positive and hopeful about your future. There will be times that you feel broken down and beaten, but do NOT let that stop you. You are being trained to be the next great generation of I-O professionals. By default, you will always be better than the great minds that have groomed you into what you’re becoming. Never let the Imposter Syndrome set in.

Please share one non-I-O-related bit of information about yourself. I love to dance and compete in obstacle course racing (OCR). I have been dancing professionally for about 8 years and love when I get to share the stage with my fellow students and colleagues. In addition, OCRs have become an incredibly fun way to stay active and still get that competitive side in me out. There’s just something so satisfying about completing an obstacle that you’ve worked so hard at and have finally been able to conquer.

Is there anything you would like to add? Yes! I want to thank everyone who has contributed to my success and pushed me to become a better person both personally and professionally. Thank you to Dalia D, Mark N., and Morrie M. for being great mentors and professors. Thank you to my 2016 Xavier cohort for the support through the rough times. Last, thank you to all my friends and family in SIOP. My heart lights up when I see a message or text from you, and I hope you are all doing great! I can’t wait to see everyone again next year (if not sooner).

If you would like to be considered for a Member Spotlight, or if you would like to recommend a SIOP member for a Spotlight, please email astark@siop.org.

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