This evening SHRM@QU engaged in conversation with Raquel Lumpkin, a Lead Organizational Development Specialist at NASA. She was able to discuss her work life balance, as well as career highlights and accomplishments. SHRM@QU enjoyed the opportunity to speak with an industry professional and gain insight into a field that might otherwise have been unknown.
Can you tell us about your position?
As a Lead OD Specialist at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Lumpkin leads a team of four individuals and assigns projects that relate to developing assessments, surveys, and teambuilding activities. She coordinates these projects as well as monitors them to ensure their effectiveness.
How did you go about obtaining such a specialized job at NASA?
Lumpkin emphasized the importance of internships to career success. She explained that her current position at NASA developed from a previous internship that she had completed at their company. Due to her success during the internship, they offered her a full-time position in her field.
What personal characteristics does someone need in order to be successful in this career?
This career requires multiple interactions with customers and representatives. Due to this, Lumpkin explains that in order to be successful in this career a person must be customer-oriented and an expert at consulting. They must also be great at selling themselves, by placing an emphasis on their strengths.
What do you like best about your job?
Lumpkin explained that the greatest aspect of her job is the autonomy associated with it. She feels a sense of freedom when working on specific projects, which helps her to place a greater emphasis on what she does.
What is is like being a women in your field?
Considering that Lumpkin consults with a majority of male engineers, she explains that at times it can be difficult to connect with them. She explains that in order to overcome this difficulty, being people oriented is an important characteristic to have. She also emphasizes the similarities she has with her clients and supports her recommendations with research and evidence.
What do you believe is the hardest part of transitioning from school to a job?
In order to aleviate the difficulties that come with this transition, Lumpkin advises that students complete as many internships as possible. She explains that interning offers students a hands-on approach to the career of their choice. Internships provide the opportunities to gain skills necessary to face the real world.
What advice do you have for someone considering a career in your field?
Lumpkin advises that students focus on both business and psychology courses, considering that you will be in a business environment, working with people. She also encourages students to complete internships to determine if this is a field they want to work in. Lumpkin ended the conversation by stressing the importance of work-life balance, and explained that it is something she continues to work on every day.
As students here at Quinnipiac we greatly appreciated these words of wisdom and felt a sense of relief that an industry professional was also experiencing this same battle. We would like to thank Raquel Lumpkin for taking the time out of her busy work schedule to talk with us about her career and share her advice.