What is your role at Innovate?
I am the Change Management Subject Matter Expert (SME) at Innovate. I focus on the people aspect of projects, which means making sure users are prepared to adopt the solutions our team develops. This involves aligning leadership of an organization around a change, building champions, communicating with all stakeholders, developing training, and establishing a plan to drive adoption and sustain the change.
Why is change management important?
We can build the best solution, but without change management, people either won’t know it exists or won’t know how to use it. If a solution isn’t marketed to users and explained how it works and how it will benefit them, they’re less likely to change and adopt the new solution. But when change management is part of a solution, people are more likely to understand the benefits and make the changes necessary for long-term adoption.
What attracted you to apply at Innovate? How did you decide to work here?
Before Innovate, my industry and job were impacted by COVID-19. As I reflected on what I wanted to do next in my career, I knew I wanted to do work with purpose and social impact. Innovate’s work with organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) resonated with me. At the end of my career, I can point to my work here and know I helped make a difference.
Also, I had never worked with a small company, so I was curious what that was like. I gave it a test ride as an independent contractor, and I found a great culture at Innovate. There was camaraderie, collaboration, and people willing to help each other. Working for a small business, it’s easier to get to know your co-workers, and Innovate maintains a close-knit workplace culture. It’s what convinced me to sign on the dotted line as an employee.
What do Innovate’s mission and core values mean to you?
What Innovate’s core value of “Love and Respect Human Beings” means to me is that the company cares about people and does work that makes a difference. Those are two of the factors I looked for in a role. Innovate not only maintains positive relationships with clients but also prioritizes the employees. The people-first aspect of Innovate is reflected in the work and how we interact with each other.
What have been some of your top career lessons you’ve learned so far?
If you’ve had to make a career change because of the pandemic, take time to reflect and identify three or four things that are important to you and make those the criteria for your next position. If you love the people aspect of projects, then change management is the place to be.
Some general career advice: try to be open-minded and an active listener. We all think we know best, but when you’re surrounded by bright people, it’s valuable to sometimes be quiet and learn from others. Also, you don’t always have to be the leader. Even if you’re in a leadership position, it can be valuable to take a back seat and give others the opportunity to take the wheel. Lastly, it’s okay to take risks and fail, as long as you fail quickly and learn from those failures. If you try something and it doesn’t work, you won’t be penalized if you take that failure and move forward. Failure is key to innovation and progress, so you shouldn’t be afraid of it.