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Amber Stark

Alonso Appointed to Defense Business Board

Earlier this year, the Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H. Hicks announced the appointment of 10 members to the Defense Business Board. SIOP Fellow, SIOP Foundation Trustee, and past SIOP Government Relations Advocacy Team (GREAT) Chair Alex Alonso was among the appointees.

“I think this is an area where I can really help because of the experiences I’ve had seeing and helping both civilian and military sides through various parts of my career,” he said. “I have seen everything from how do we bring in better talent, how do we assess talent and skills, how do we build a culture that is truly inclusive. These are things the Department of Defense and every other employer really need.”

The Defense Business Board advises the defense secretary on Department of Defense (DOD) management and governance. The board provides private sector perspectives and lessons learned on business management, culture, principles, and practices not otherwise available to the secretary from within DOD. 

New members will support one of three advisory subcommittees: Business Transformation, Business Operations, or Talent Management, Culture, and Diversity. Alonso, who is the chief knowledge officer at the Society for Human Resource Management, will support the Talent Management, Culture, and Diversity advisory subcommittee.

“I am looking at what I can do to bring forth pieces from practice and HR, and from the world of I-O psychology, to support the world of talent and work for the DOD,” he said. “How do we leverage our knowledge and resources to make sure we’re helping to build the future of the DOD, both on the military side and on the civilian side?”

Alonso said the increase in the visibility of SIOP and I-O psychology in roles like this is a testament to the effectiveness of the GREAT Committee and past SIOP advocacy task forces.

“Seeing people serving should not be a surprise,” he said. “We’ll continue to see people becoming aware of what I-O psychology is and the value it has. This is just one great example of how I-Os can bring science to real-world, highly impactful settings.”

He added that he is fortunate to have this opportunity and advises others to be curious about opportunities, “If you give someone the gift of your time, doors will open forever.”

“Take a chance on even the thing that seems the silliest,” he said. “I didn’t believe the DOD would be interested in what I had to say, even for an hour. Some of the wildest successes I’ve had in my career were born from things I never expected.”

Alonso knows firsthand the value of evaluating opportunities. Before becoming an I-O psychologist, he was a skip tracer, someone who finds people who have relocated or disappeared.

“If you have an interest in something, you don’t have to wait for an opportunity to come about,” he said. “Reach out, make connections, start with your local agencies and work your way up to federal agencies, you’ll be surprised as to who responds to your emails.”

In this regard, Alonso gave thanks to several SIOP Fellows for giving him the generosity of their time over the years, including Shonna Waters, who helped him to broaden his perspectives, Wayne Cascio, Gary Latham, Juan Sanchez, Steve Kozlowski, and Georgia Chao.

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