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Interview with Amy Kates ~ Kates Kesler Organization Consultant

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Interviewers: Mariham Magdy & Mahmoud Mansi

We will often see clients try a number of tactics: They might create a new role –  Director of Innovation, culture workshops, or idea contests. These activities are rarely sufficient, because if the system isn’t changed – power dynamics that drive decisions, management processes that set priorities, metrics that foster new conversations and behaviors – then we are unlikely to see a change in business results.

Amy Kates

ABOUT THE INTERVIEWEE

Amy Kates is a Managing Partner at Kates Kesler Organization Consulting, a boutique organization design firm based in New York City. Kates Kesler has been named by Forbes as one of America’s best consulting firms for the past three years. Amy serves as a trusted advisor to business leaders in successful companies around the world, working with them to assess organizational issues, reshape structures and processes, and build management capability. In addition to her consulting work, Amy is a Visiting Fellow to the Government of Singapore for 2018 – 2020, a Resource Partner to the Center for Effective Organizations at the Marshall School of Business at USC, and a member of the i4cp Thought Leader Consortium. She was selected by LinkedIn Learning to develop their video course on organization design. She teaches in the Danish Technical University MBA program and through Cornell University. Amy is the co-author of four of the best-selling books on organization design, two with Jay Galbraith and two with Greg Kesler and a video series on YouTube. She also serves as a board member for Educate!, an innovative non-profit focused on secondary school reform in east Africa.

THE INTERVIEW

1- HR Revolution Middle East: “We help our clients build their future organization, not just solve today’s challenges.” This statement is written on Kates-Kesler Organization Consulting website. Can you give us an example of how you were able to unleash organizations capabilities and lead them towards exploring their future potentials?

Amy Kates: Most managers and employees dread when they hear there will be a “reorganization” or a “restructure” or a “redesign” exercise. Their past experience is usually that leaders try to fix a business performance problem by changing roles and reporting relationships. This is disruptive. Rarely does changing the organization chart actually change the organization.

In our work we focus on designing to execute strategy. We work with leaders not to fix the past, but to identify the capabilities needed for the future. For example, we worked with a fast growing, global cosmetics company to launch products faster. This is an organizational capability, because to do it well requires a high degree of integration across almost all parts of the company. We had to work with them to change the system. They redefined the roles of the global teams that developed the product and the local teams that brought the product into the market. They changed the management and work processes that to speed decisions and alignment. They changed the metrics to encourage speed and collaboration. And, they gave people skills to work more effectively with colleagues across boundaries of culture, time zone, and functional area.

2- HR Revolution Middle East: We are curious Amy how did you start your career, what was your first job? What did you learn most from it?

Amy Kates: I grew up on a farm, but I always was fascinated by cities. I went to Cornell University and graduated with a Masters in City Planning. I immediately moved to New York City to work for the city government. For five years I helped the City Planning Commission and City Council make good decisions about how the city should grow and change. Although I love architecture, it was the complexity of the city that really interested me – how all the infrastructure, social, political, and economic systems work together.

I transitioned into the field of Organization Design with the same curiosity – how to make the strategic, technical, and people systems in a company work together. What I learned from my first career that still benefits me in my work today is an appreciation for power dynamics. Companies, like cities, are formed from a complex set of decisions in the formal and informal environment. In both fields, I see my work as helping leaders align on shared objectives and make well informed decisions.

3- HR Revolution Middle East: Throughout your career, you worked with some of the icons of Organization Design like Jay Galbraith & others, now that you became a global OD icon yourself, how did this exposure shape your current approaches and views?

Amy Kates: I met Jay Galbraith in the mid-1990s. At that time I was working with Diane Downey, who had a small organization development consulting firm. She was a fan of Jay’s and we frequently brought him into our clients. In 2001, he asked us to write a workbook, a how-to book on organization design. That was my education.

I learned the Star Model, which is still the core model in organization design. Jay was a brilliant thinker and anticipated many trends that are playing out today – the way that global organizations grow, the impact of digital on the shape of the company, and the need for agility and scale. Greg Kesler and I see our work as building on Jay’s foundation. As we consult, we continue to develop frameworks, methodology, and tools that allow line leaders and HR professionals to more easily do this work. We don’t try to invent something new, rather we ensure that tested and proven approaches are still relevant for today’s work. That is the “academic” side of our work and why writing and teaching are so important to us both.

4- HR Revolution Middle East: Can you share with us more about Kates Kesler Organization Consulting history, at what point of professional growth did you decide to found it and with which objectives?

Amy Kates: Greg Kesler and I joined together in 2010 with a shared vision that there was a need for an organization design firm that was focused on both delivering high quality consulting work and creating practical frameworks and tools for line managers and HR professionals. We both like to research and write and share what we learn. We’ve written two books together, based on the foundational work of Jay Galbraith, and put out numerous articles and videos. We’ve honed our methodology into workshops and webinars that have become the standard in companies around the world – from Google and Microsoft to Aditya Birla and Philips. We have a team of a dozen consultants – many of whom were OD leaders in their companies and our clients before joining us – and we work with CEOs and their teams around the world on major enterprise change projects. Greg and I have a wonderful partnership based on shared values of not just doing good work, but also contributing to the growth of the discipline.

5- HR Revolution Middle East: How much is it common that organizations keep tackling other issues aiming to maximize their capabilities without noting to be having problems in their OD?

Amy Kates: We often joke that our work is helping leaders design an “invisible, three-dimensional, abstract concept” called an “organization.” Tackling that is scary. It feels complex and overwhelming. And, because the field is fairly new, many leaders and HR staff don’t have experience with using the frameworks, methods, and tools needed to lead their organization through a disciplined, inclusive process.

So, it is often easier to address symptoms, rather than root causes of misalignments in the system. For example, consider a company that has a solid core business, but needs to accelerate innovation and new product development to meet changing needs of customers. We will often see clients try a number of tactics. They might create a new role – Director of Innovation. Or roll out a training program. Or culture workshops. Or idea contests. These activities are rarely sufficient, because if the system isn’t changed – power dynamics that drive decisions, management processes that set priorities, metrics that foster new conversations and behaviors – then we are unlikely to see a change in business results.

6- HR Revolution Middle East: What benefits do organizations really gain when succeeding to build an effective OD capability?

Amy Kates: Honestly, it is unclear where Organization Design should live in today’s company. We believe it is an essential work for leaders. Understanding how to adjust the levers of organization is just as important as understanding how to develop strategy or talent. We see organization design as a mechanism of strategy execution, but most companies think in terms of strategy projects rather than on-going execution. And, it is seen as HR work, not the work of leaders.

So, org design is typically either given to the HR business partner or to a small group at corporate, usually in a Talent centre of excellence (COE). There are two problems with this approach. The HR business partner is busy and may only lead one organization design project a year, if that. This doesn’t build the depth of skills and experience needed. On the other hand, the COE group can bring expertise and focus, but we often see these folks struggling to get into the business-based projects and find a way to add value.

An effective internal capability requires all three parties to play a role: line leaders to be educated in basic concepts and to believe that a holistic, inclusive design process will yield better results; a COE that provides expertise and tools and guidance to line leaders and their HR partners; and, HR business partners that can diagnose issues, lead projects, and effectively leverage their COE colleagues.

7- HR Revolution Middle East: You partnered with Real Hands-on from Egypt to provide your Organization Design Certification in the Middle East, what encouraged you to work with them as a partner?

Amy Kates: I am so lucky to do work that I am passionate about. I truly believe that good organization design creates positive work environments that allow people to make real contributions and gain satisfaction from their work. This is what drives me and my colleagues in Kates Kesler to not just consult, but to share our methodology widely. I teach in-house programs at our clients and public programs through Cornell. I also do a yearly seminar in an executive MBA program in Denmark.

When Maha Adel and Yasser Ghonimy from Real Hands On contacted me about doing a public workshop in Cairo last year, I was a little sceptical. As important as I think org design is, I wondered if the local market was really feeling a need for it. Were HR and business leaders in the region thinking about these issues?

I need not have worried. We had an amazing group of over 30 at our inaugural workshop from global and local business. We had HR and OD professionals, and CEOs and heads of Strategy. Real Hands On did a terrific job of setting up an ideal learning and networking environment. The group was experienced, sophisticated, and engaged in the topic. I learned a lot and I’m eager to come back!

8- HR Revolution Middle East: After your recent visit to Egypt, what do you think the OD professionals in the region need to develop to better assist organizations working in emerging markets?

Amy Kates: In the past three months I have been in Singapore, Cairo, Beijing, and Mumbai. Organization design and development are maturing fields and I see the same issues outside the US as I do here at home. My advice is the same whether working in a developed or emerging market, or with a legacy or start up business:

1. Know the business. Understand the strategy and how the business makes money. Where are the industry, customers, and competitors going? How is technology changing the work? Come as a curious, thoughtful partner and business leaders will always have you at the table.

2. Bring a systems approach. Have a toolkit that works for you, but also understand how systems work. It is like cooking. Anyone can follow a recipe, but if you understand a little about food chemistry then you understand the “why” between cause and effect.

3. Build your consulting skills. Get good at asking high impact questions. See the patterns across different situations. Facilitate others though self-discovery. Integrate diverse views and find common ground. Understand how to manage group dynamics and conflict.

4. Find a partner. I’m lucky to have a wonderful partner in Greg Kesler and a talented team around me. If you work inside a company, find an informal partner. Someone to share ideas with, review your work, coach you before a difficult conversation, and give you feedback on your deliverables. This work is always better with a second set of eyes on it.

5. Practice. You don’t need a whole project to do an intervention and provide value. It could be in a conversation or in a meeting that you offer a framework that moves a group forward. The most important skill to practice is your assessment and diagnostic skills. You can do that every day as you listen.

6. Reflect, share, and teach. Find ways to reflect on what you are experiencing and turn it into learning. Write blogs, teach new employees, volunteer at a college or for a conference. Thoughtful sharing is the best way to learn.

9- HR Revolution Middle East: You currently became the Head of Organization Design Learning on LinkedIn, tell us more about that.

Amy Kates: This was a great honor. I was approached by LinkedIn Learning in early 2017 to develop and film their course on organization design. I was assigned a producer and we met every week for an hour to develop 17 scripts. When a video is just three minutes long, every word has to count. And, sentences have to be easy to say. It was a new kind of writing for me.

I went out to California for three days of filming in August 2017. It was fun to see how much goes into even a simple video. Lighting, make up, direction, filming, and teleprompter. The videos were released a year ago and have tens of thousands of views already. What makes me so happy are the messages I get every week. From around the world I hear from people who have watched the course and are now eager to learn more or who now understand a concept for the first time.

THANK YOU AMY FOR THE AMAZING INTERVIEW!

Civil Work

مقابلة صحفية مع إيناس عبدالقادر – مهندسة نسيج ومتحدثة في مؤتمر تيدكس وادمدني بالسودان

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صحافة: محمود منسي

ثورة الموارد البشرية: إيناس لديك العديد من الخبرات في مجالات مختلفة، هل يمكن أن تعطينا نبذة عن نفسك وأعمالك؟

مهندسة نسيج حاصلة على درجة الماجستير في هندسة النسيج (إعادة تدوير مخلفات النسيج)، من جامعة الجزيرة بالسودان.. عملي مستقل كموظفة ذاتية في مجال التصميم والبحث العلمي.. بالإضافة إلى أنني أعمل في قسم التسويق في مصنع لأكياس القماش غير المنسوجة.. وقد أصبحت القضايا البيئية جزءًا من شغفي نتيجة لذلك قمت بتأسيس شركة ريتيكس التي تعمل في إعادة تدوير مخلفات الملابس، حيث أثر فيروس كوفيد على العالم كله.

وأنشأنا مبادرة

(SudaHope)

و كانت نتيجة لتغيير جزء من خط الإنتاج لدينا إلى إنتاج أقنعة الوجه… وبالمزيد من التفكير في ريادة الأعمال كأداة يمكن أن تساعد الناس في تحسين حياتهم ، شاركت في تأسيس مبادرة

 (Business Master)

 لمساعدة أصحاب (الأعمال الصغيرة).. حظيت بالتحدث على منصة تيدكس ودمدني في 2019.. أعتقد أن أي شخص في هذا العالم يمكن أن يوفر تأثيرًا اجتماعيًا أو بيئيًا وأنا أفعل ما بوسعي للمساعدة في نجاح المبادرات المذكورة أعلاه.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: كيف يؤثر عملك على المجتمع والبيئة؟

أنا اعمل في مجال إعادة التدوير لمخلفات المنسوجات والأقمشة، ولهذا المجال العديد من الآثار على البيئة والمجتمع حيث نعمل علي خلق فرص عمل جديدة وتحسين مستوى الاقتصاد المحلي. ونظراً لمشاركتي في عدد من برامج تنمية وتطوير المجتمع أهمها (برنامج القيادات الشابة من الأمم المتحدة وعدد من برامج ريادة الأعمال من المجلس الثقافي البريطاني)، فأنا الآن اعمل على نقل هذه الخبرات التي اكتسبتها من تلك البرامج إلي عدد كبير من الشباب والعمل على تطوير مهاراتهم ليكونوا جيلاً مهتماً بريادة الأعمال ومشاريع تنمية البلاد.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: من خلال خبرتك ومن منظورك الشخصي ما هي التحديات التي تواجه بيئة العمل بالسودان؟ ما هي مقترحاتك للتعامل مع تلك التحديات؟

إن من خلال تعاملي مع عدد من المؤسسات الحكومية والخاصة في السودان لاحظت أن معظم المشاكل التي تواجه هذه المؤسسات هي عدم الاختيار السليم للموظفين بمعنى عدم وجود الشخص المناسب في المكان المناسب، ويرجع ذلك إلى عدد من الأسباب أهمها الوساطة والمحسوبية وعدم وجود تعريفات محدده للوظائف، كما أن من التحديات التي تواجه مكان العمل عدم احترام الوقت في بعض الأحيان وعدم وجود توافق بين الموظفين في المكان الواحد.

يمكن التغلب على هذه التحديات بتوظيف الأشخاص حسب تخصصاتهم وخبراتهم في المجال المعين، وكذلك التوعية بالحفاظ على الوقت وزيادة الوعي بأهمية روح الفريق الواحد ونتائجها على العمل.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: كنتي من ضمن المتحدثات بمؤتمر تيدكس وادمدني بالسودان، ماذا كان محور موضوعك؟

في عام 2019 كنت أحد المتحدثات في مؤتمر تيدكس ودمدني، وقد كان أحد أهم أهدافي أن اصعد على مسرح تيدكس ودمدني وأشارك الجميع موضوعاً يعتبر من أهم المواضيع في السودان ولكن لا يتم التطرق إليه إلا وهو موضوع نفايات؛ الأقمشة والمنسوجات وأهمية إعادة تدويرها، تكمن أهمية هذا الموضوع في انه يؤثر بصورة مباشرة على الإنسان والمجتمع ككل والبيئة المحيطة.

وعندما يتم إعادة تدوير هذه المخلفات والاستفادة منها فإنها تنتج لنا بيئة نظيفة وصحية خالية من النفايات كما أن هذا المجال يوفر عدد كبير من فرص العمل للشباب، كما أن مثل هذه المشاريع تدعم الاقتصادي المحلي للدولة.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: ما هي النشاطات الأكثر شغفاً لكي؟

من أهم النشاطات التي أحب القيام بها هي مساعدة الآخرين في تطوير أنفسهم وتحفيزهم على ذلك سواء كان ذلك عن طريق المساعدة بالتدريب أو التوجيه والإرشاد أو التوعية أو حتى عن طريق منحهم الطاقة الإيجابية التي تمنحهم ثقة في أنفسهم.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: من وجهة نظرك الشخصية ما الذي يجعل منصة تيدكس مميزة؟

تيدكس من أهم المنصات العالمية التي يجب على الجميع أن يكونوا على دراية كاملة بها لما تقدمه من محتوى يفيد الجميع في حياتهم، خاصة أنها لا تنحصر في مجال معين بل إنها تشمل العلم والتكنولوجيا والإبداع والترفيه والكثير الكثير من المجالات التي تهم الناس وتجعل حياتهم أفضل، أنا أرى أن تيدكس هي منصة التعليم الإلكتروني الأولى في العالم.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: هل يمكن أن تقصي علينا تجربة أو موقف قد مررتي به وتعلمتي منه درساً في الحياة؟

في حياتنا اليومية نقابل عدد من الأشخاص ونخوض العديد من التجارب وبالنتيجة يؤثر كل ذلك علينا ويغير طباعنا وطريقة تفكيرنا وحكمنا على الأشياء والأشخاص، ومن أعظم التجارب التي مررت بها هي تجربة مشاركتي في مؤتمر تيدكس ودمدني حيث أنني كنت من الأشخاص الذين تنتابهم الرهبة والخوف من الجمهور ولكن وبعد الصعود على المسرح وبمرور أول دقائق شعرت بتقبل الجمهور لي واستماعهم لي بعناية كبيرة ومن بعد تلك التجربة أصبحت أكثر ثقة في نفسي وزادت مقدرتي على مواجهة الجمهور وبدأت بتدريب وتحفيز العديد من الأشخاص في عدد من المجالات وأهم ما انصح به دائماً أن يواجهه الإنسان مخاوفه ويتحدي نفسه وعندها سيندهش بالنتيجة.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: ربما مفهوم “القيادة” يختلف من عصر إلا آخر بل أحياناً يختلف من شخص إلى آخر، ما هو مفهومك الشخصي للقيادة؟

إن نجاح مفهوم القيادة في الوضع الحالي يتعلق بصورة مباشرة بطريقة تفكير الأشخاص، والطريقة التي يشعرون بها، وتصرفهم بطريقة مسؤولة. فهي أكثر من كونها كاريزما أو شيء يمكن تعلمه بثلاث خطوات سهلة أو من خلال أحد البرنامج. حيث تتطلب القيادة القوية التطوير باستمرار. وليس بالضرورة أن يتمتع الأشخاص الأذكياء بالحكمة. ولكن بإمكانهم أن يتعلموا كيفية إيجاد سبل للتعامل مع التجارب الصعبة من خلال معرفة أنفسهم. كما أن العصر الحالي يعتمد على التفكير خارج الصندوق وإيجاد الحلول الإبداعية لجميع المشكلات التي تواجه الشخص القائد أو فريق العمل لدية.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: هل يمكن أن نتناول أحد التحديات التي قد مررت بها خلال حياتك العملية؟

في بداية هذا العام كنا نعمل على إنشاء ورشة لتصنيع الملابس الجاهزة وإعادة تدوير مخلفات المنسوجات، ولكن ومع ظهور فيروس (Covid19) توقف هذا العمل نظراً لتوقف الأسواق عن العمل ولم نتمكن من شراء كافة الاحتياجات الأساسية لبدء المشروع.

لم نتوقف عن العمل بل بدأنا بتحويل فكرة المشروع وتأسيس مبادرة تهتم بتصنيع الكمامات عن طريق الخياطين الذين توقفت أعمالهم وبذلك خلقنا لهم فرص عمل جديدة ووفرنا للجميع أهم وسيلة للوقاية من فيروس (Covid19).

ثورة الموارد البشرية: من وجهة نظرك الشخصية ما هي التهديدات التي تواجة إقتصاد السودان؟ وما هي مقترحاتك الاستراتيجية لتجنب المخاطر؟

إن الوضع الحالي في السودان غير مستقر في معظم القطاعات خاصة القطاع الاقتصادي وهذا القطاع يؤثر على جميع طبقات المجتمع باختلافها ومن أهم الاقتراحات الإستراتيجية التي يجب أن تطبق على البلاد هي أن نعمل على إصلاح المجتمع السوداني نفسه من خلال تكثيف التوعية والاهتمام بالأفراد وتوفير سبل العيش الكريم لهم، كما يجب أن يراعي أن السودان يحتوي على اختلافات كبيرة جداً بين الناس وعادة ما لا يتقبل أحد رأي الآخر أو توحيد الجهود مع بعضهم البعض لذلك فإن عمليات التوعية للأفراد والمجتمعات تخلق جيلاً أفضل ويعمل على نهضة البلاد.

ومن ثم إعادة النظر في السياسات الدولية للسودان وتحسين العلاقات الخارجية للبلاد، ومن أهم هذه الاقتراحات هي أن يُمحي أسم السودان من قائمة الدول الراعية للإرهاب.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: ما هي نصيحتك لمن يبغى التحدث بموؤتمر تيدكس؟

أنا أحب دائماً تشجيع أصدقائي أن يتابعوا كل الفيديوهات التي تطرح في منصة تيدكس، كما أشجعهم أن يكونوا حضورا لعدد من المؤتمرات وأحداث تيدكس في السودان خاصة تيدكس ودمدني، وبالفعل شجعت صديقتي حتى كانت أحد المتحدثين في المؤتمر السابق والآن أساعد ثلاثة من أصدقائي أن يكونوا متحدثين في المؤتمر القادم.

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Interviews

Q&A with Germeen El Manadily; TV Presenter | Publisher | Digital Marketing Expert | TEDx Speaker

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Interviewer: Mahmoud Mansi

“After the COVID-19 Pandemic, the world came to the realization that social media has a huge influence on business development, even when real physical marketing was absent.”

Germeen El Manadily

1- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Germeen, you have successfully worked in many different careers, can you tell us more about your journey?

Germeen El Manadily: I started my journey during college days, I have 12 years of work experience. I have BA from Alexandria University, and currently working on my Master’s degree in the influence of digital marketing on social development.

I worked 6 years as a publisher for a Swiss Publishing House, where I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the magical world of publishing and books. During these years we successfully published for many authors. I published more than 40 books in many languages, my first was the autobiography of the Egyptian feminist “Nawal Elsadawy.” 

I also worked on translation and publishing projects of books written by Egyptian authors, such as Youssef Idris, Salah Jahin, Abdel Rahman el Abnoudi, and Ibrahim Abdel Meguid. I contracted with Dr. Mahmoud Al-Dabaa, to translate his book, “The Culture, Identity and Arab Awareness.”

As for children’s literature, I had the opportunity to translate the original text of “The Brothers Grimm” into four languages. In addition, I worked on the production of the children’s travel literature book, “Adventures of Rouge and the Mystery of the Papyrus.”

I also spearheaded an initiative aiming at discovering new writing talents.

Finally ending my publishing career, I was the chapter head of the Middle East.

My other hat is working as a TV presenter in a weekly show at Orbit TV network, focusing on general social topics, as women rights, and career coaching.

I was chosen to speak as a motivational speaker at TEDxCIC, UN Women & Arab’s League Innovation (Her Story), and the French Institute panel in the women’s international day.

I recently shifted my career to become a digital marketing and communication expert.

My short-term plan is to make my own fingerprint in this challenging field and establish my own digital marketing firm covering Africa and the Middle East.

2- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Can you please tell us what did you love most in each job and also a lesson that you have learnt from each?

Germeen El Manadily: As a Publisher, I loved the fact of shedding the light on hidden people’s talent in writing, developing their skills, and giving them the opportunity to be introduced to the world. Being a TV presenter, I was introduced to a completely different community which gave me the chance to represent women of my age to the world. Currently, I find the digital marketing field very interesting as you play a major role in business development in a variety of fields; hence, in digital marketing you have the capability to be introduced to multiple fields at the same time, and you have to understand, compete, and plan a strategic map to grow this business in a specific period of time.

3- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As a TV Presenter you do a lot of multi-tasking even if on air. Can you please tell us what was the most challenging thing about that job?

Germeen El Manadily: Time is the most challenging thing as a TV presenter. You must be able to communicate your ideas with your audience effectively in a specific period.

4- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As you have worked 6 years in publishing, what do you believe are the common challenges facing this industry these days? What are your advice and suggested solutions?

Germeen El Manadily: Translation is a major defect in the field of publishing. Considering foreign literature occupies a big portion of the Middle East market. Professional translation needs to be further developed.

5- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As a Digital Marketing Expert, how do you believe this profession is especially important in today’s business world?

Germeen El Manadily: After the COVID-19 Pandemic, the world came to the realization that social media has a huge influence on business development, even when real physical marketing was absent.

6- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Since your next plan is to establish your own startup, what are the skills, talents, and personalities that you will be looking for in the market to recruit?

Germeen El Manadily: Creativity and time orientation in applicants.

7- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: At such age you have accomplished many things in your career, what about your personal life? Tell us a personal challenge that you have faced in your life and how did you overcome it and what did you learn from it?

Germeen El Manadily: Leaving my home city and family at my early years of life to start my business journey. Aiming high in my life and trying to hit my targets was my driving force for these challenges. Nothing is impossible.

8- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Last but not least, as a Leader, how do you work on motivating yourself and sustaining your happiness at work?

Germeen El Manadily: Self-reward is the key in keeping your motivation up and building your self-esteem.

Thank You

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Interviews

Interview with Stephanie Runyan, PHR, the Director of Learning for the HR Certification Institute

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“HR professionals must be prepared for anything.  The roles of HR professionals continually change, there will be a continued need to expand their areas of knowledge and expertise.”

Stephanie Runyan

Interviewer: Mariham Magdy

Brief Biography about the Interviewee:

Stephanie Runyan, PHR, is the Director of Learning for the HR Certification Institute (HRCI).  Previously, she served as an HR Content Manager, Recertification Supervisor and HR Products Manager.  She has worked for HRCI since August, 2010.

Stephanie has more than eight years of HR experience and is PHR-certified since 2009.  Previously, Stephanie worked as an HR Generalist for an engineering firm in Virginia and as an HR Manager for a law firm in Washington, D.C.  Stephanie earned a BS in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an MS in Human Resource Development from Villanova University

HR Revolution Middle-East: Ms. Stephanie, welcome to HR Revolution Middle East Magazine. It’s a great pleasure to have the opportunity to make this interview with you.

The HRCI has recently developed a rich Learning Catalogue for Professionals World-wide in addition to the International Certification Exams. This Learning Catalogue includes diversified courses, covering a lot of important fields, offered to learners to study at the ease of their homes online. As the Director of Learning, can you please share with us how was this differentiated product born?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

With the release of HRCI’s upSkill product in 2018, HRCI entered the learning space. Over the past two years, the demand for upSkill has increased. HRCI is now committed to continue offering current and relevant learning options to our global HR professional network. In 2020, this evolved into our establishment of a diverse and affordable learning catalog.

2- HR Revolution Middle East: The HRCI Learning Catalogue offers for Professionals the upSkill™ & the Online Professional Development Certificate Programs & Courses. Can you please explain to us the difference between the two products?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

HRCI’s certification exams require a combination of education and experience, as well as successfully passing a rigorous exam.  Upon successfully passing the exam, successful candidates earn a credential that requires recertification every three years. HRCI’s upSkill product is available to anyone, regardless of education or experience. The program offers a timed assessment for upSkill courses. After completion of an upSkill course, a digital badge is issued and does not require recertification efforts.

3- HR Revolution Middle East: We have really noticed that the upSkill™ micro credentials gives the HR Professionals the opportunity to learn about very specific and totally new areas in HR like or example “California HR” & “HR in Social Media”. We would love to learn from you how those products were that intelligently tailored to cover missing areas in the traditional HRM education?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

HRCI developed our UpSkill content based on feedback from our certified network of professionals. HRCI offers the PHRca certification, and those who earn that certification offered extensive feedback for the development of learning around California labor and leave legislation. In addition, HRCI identifies new topic areas based on what is happening in the world. For example, HR in Social Media, is a topic that impacts everyone, regardless of location or type of organization.

4- HR Revolution Middle East: The current Learning Catalogue for upSkill™ micro credentials  include California HR, HR in Social Media, Confidentiality and Technology, Risk Management, and Workforce Analytics.  Are you planning to add more specialties for the micro-credentials catalogue? Would you consider tailoring certain micro-credentials for the Middle East?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

As HRCI continues to expand its learning offerings, we will continue to evaluate our certification population. Based on such data, HRCI will tailor programs on based on certain geographical areas or needs.

5- HR Revolution Middle East: The upSkill™ is considered by the HRCI a bite-sized e-learning program that allows professionals to efficiently learn from top business experts, gain new skills, and impact decision-making at their organizations. Can you share with us more about how such content is developed and the huge efforts played in the background in order to enrich the market with this unique product?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

The entire upSkill development process was based on HR practices from current HR professionals.  We reached out and established micro-panels of experts in each of the content areas to build out the content and assessment for each of our upSkill courses.  In addition, we worked with third-party vendors to fill the gap for additional learning topics and products.   

6- HR Revolution Middle East: The Online Professional Development Certificate Programs & Courses include a variety of courses that don’t limit to the HR only but it even includes certificates in computer applications & cybersecurity. Can we consider this an opportunity from the HRCI to provide reliable courses’ content to professionals from other disciplines as well? Would this product be elaborated in future to turn into certifying professionals from other disciplines?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

HRCI continues to explore additional learning areas where HR professionals can expand their knowledge.  While our upSkill courses address specific topic areas, our learning catalog also offers educational opportunities that range from topics such as Agility, Women in Business, Data Management and Business Strategy. As far as learning is concerned, HRCI will continue to explore different disciplines and topics that impact the practice of HR.

7- HR Revolution Middle East: To what extent do you believe HR professionals shall not limit their study to HR related subjects only, but shall expand to learn about related disciplines to excel in their field and serve their organizations differently?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

HR professionals must be prepared for anything.  The roles of HR professionals continually change. I believe that there will be a continued need to expand their areas of knowledge and expertise.  I also expect that there will be a desire to learn more about specific industries, in greater detail.  For example, if you have a manufacturing organization, I can easily see HR professionals looking to learn more about the manufacturing industry, it’s competitors, and challenges that a specific industry may face.

8- HR Revolution Middle East: The Product Development dynamics have recently become very aggressive due to the technological disruption, so we would like to ask you finally, to give an advice for product directors and managers; how can they increase their creativity and innovation skills to cope with such dynamics?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

My recommendation would be to continue to monitor the needs and wants of your specific audiences.  As the world responds to the effects of the global pandemic, there will be an increased need for virtual capabilities and enhanced technology that can support your organization’s initiatives.

THANK YOU

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