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Meet Naz Tadjbakhsh, Ph.D.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Naz Tadjbakhsh, Ph.D.

Naz, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
When attending college, I initially wanted to be a teacher. I am an inherently curious person who loves to learn. I believe that this has something to do with why I have always been attracted to doing something related to teaching and helping others.

During my third year of college, I began volunteering in an elementary school. This was when I realized that I absolutely loved teaching. At the same time, however, I did not feel in my heart of hearts that teaching in a school setting was “it” for me. This caused me to research and explore other potential career paths, which was ultimately how I discovered the field of Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology. When I stumbled upon this field, I realized that I could be a “teacher” in corporations to help employees achieve their full potential. This was the point at which I officially pivoted to pursue I-O psychology and completed a few internships that solidified my decision to continue down this path. I focused the next two years on gaining work experience and started graduate school in Fall 2014 for my M.S. and Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology.

Has it been a smooth road?
Earlier in my career, one of my biggest challenges was overcoming a false belief that I needed to dim my own light so that others would not feel intimidated. I think this is probably common with people early in their careers who are passionate about making an impact and have a lot of energy.

When sitting in many meetings with executives and senior leaders, I was usually the youngest person in the room. I am naturally a person with a lot of energy, ideas, ambition and positivity. However, I created a barrier for myself by letting this false belief hold me back from speaking up more in meetings and showing how I could add value. I finally realized that if I continued to hold this false belief, I would actually be doing a disservice to both myself and to others with whom I could share my gifts and talents. In fact, I now realize that people want to work with me because of my energy, ideas, ambition and positivity, the exact reasons that I initially feared would intimidate others.

My hope for anyone going through a similar struggle is that you shine bright by finding the most meaningful and contributive ways to share your talents and gifts with the world.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I help leaders create high-impact learning experiences for their teams. As an organizational psychologist and talent development consultant, I have contributed to the design and deployment of 50+ strategic learning and development programs at numerous companies from small businesses to Fortune 100 firms. I have an eclectic, multidisciplinary background that enables innovation and divergent thinking.

Specialties:
• Training Strategy & Design
• Divergent Thinking Facilitation
• Strategic Employee Engagement & Activation
• Organization & Talent Solutions
• Leadership Development, High-Potential Development, Talent Development
• Enterprise Learning & Talent Management
• Succession Planning
• Employee Experience
• Consultation & Facilitation

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I agree with a lot of Josh Bersin’s sentiments on trends, shifts, and changes in Learning & Development (L&D), specifically that curating timely and relevant, customized content will be critical.

Another trend I think we will see more of is L&D being more integrated with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, rather than acting separately. In other words, I think more DEI content will be weaved into L&D programming rather than DEI training/initiatives acting separately. I believe that this shift will make things a more seamless experience and higher-impact for learners.

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