Tamika Hood, Ph.D., is a UMD IO Master's program alum, the founder and CEO of Couture Coaching and Divine Destiny Publishing, and a Strategy and Advisory Consultant.
How did you find out about the field of IO Psychology?
I learned about IO early on in my Human Resources career. I've been an HR for about eight years, and I started out as an HR coordinator. There were so many organizational issues, and I noticed that employees would come to me about the same types of issues. I started thinking about how we can go deeper and address systemic organizational issues. I researched programs and came across UMD’s IO program. I was in the second cohort, so the program was really new. As a practitioner, I wanted to learn more about data analytics, so that I could help organizations come up with business solutions based on the data and not just on a leader’s gut feeling, because that’s not effective for morale or for retention.
How did UMD's IO MPS prepare you for your current role?
It 100% prepared me for the role. In fact, the program encouraged me to leave working as an internal practitioner and move into external consulting. This was due to the wealth of knowledge I was getting in data analytics, in the different relational dynamics between internal and external roles, and in client engagement. I realized I wasn’t being listened to as an internal practitioner. I'm just keeping it real, sometimes it's a battle for change to be made internally, particularly at the practitioner level. I knew that I wanted to be a consultant, and I was recruited for my current role. They found me on LinkedIn, and brought me in as an associate consultant. I worked my way up, and have had three promotions. I've been here for four years now. That's how I became a strategy and advisory consultant. I totally have the IO program to thank for that, with the mentorship and career guidance that I received.
How is IO applied in your current role?
My organization is still trying to get a grip on data analytics, and I work to incorporate it. For example, the HR assessments that I do for employee engagement, I really tie in the data. I do more surveys, and come up with thoughtful questions to get at the crux of the organizational issue, so that I can help leaders figure it out. That's not a common practice, but because of my IO background, I incorporate it. I also get pulled onto other teams, like the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, because they do a lot of data driven assessments.
How has your path changed since you first envisioned yourself in this role?
When I was in the IO program, I thought, “this is intense, it’s only 15 months and then I’m done, right?” One of my friends, who I became really close with in the program, pointed out that I’m really good at this work and asked if I had thought about getting a PhD. I didn't want to pay for that as well, but she told me about this program and shared the information with me. I decided to consider it, and I applied and got in. I just completed my PhD in Organizational Leadership. And my trajectory kind of changed because I can still apply IO in terms of gathering relevant data and turning it into a story that business leaders can understand and use to recommend changes. But it's also a step further, because I'm not just working at the organizational level, but more at the leadership level, where I'm doing executive coaching. That's what made me start my coaching program in 2020. I went into the Ph. D. program in 2019, and it encouraged me to support people, specifically women, to grow professionally through coaching work, especially as there are not many women in leadership roles. It’s the perfect niche for me, and I’ve found my passion empowering women.
What is a fun fact about you that no one would guess?
I love to write poetry, and I published my first book, under my publishing company, in 2020. It’s called Out of the Wilderness, Weathering Life’s Storms from Trials to Triumph. It's a spiritual poetry book with some stories in between.
What’s one item that you can’t live without?
I cannot live without my cinnamon pecan swirls. I make my husband get them for me when I run out, because I can't function without them. I found a recipe where you can put them in the waffle maker and add homemade icing on top. I'm going to try that one weekend.
What is the best piece of advice or feedback you have ever received?
My Great Aunt Lou was very influential in my life. She told me never to be afraid to ask for what I want, and that has stuck with me forever. The story is, she was going to buy something for me and my sisters, and she asked us if they wanted anything. My sisters said no, and I said that I wanted to go shopping at Macy's, downtown on 34th Street. She took me and bought me some clothes. On the ride back she asked me if she knew why she had taken me and not my sisters, and she said it was because I wasn’t afraid to tell her what I wanted. She said, “never be afraid to ask for what you want.”. I recently was reflecting on this in preparation for a presentation, and I thought about how I have really applied this advice to everything in my life. Because what's the worst that could happen? Someone could say no, but if you never ask, you never know. I feel like this is the reason why I've accomplished as much as I have, at this age, because my Aunt Lou taught me to not be afraid to ask for what I want.
Connect with Dr. Hood:
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tamikahood/