[Career Conversations] Kathleen Waid
Welcome to our new employee spotlight blog series – Every other month we will feature a Q&A from one of our top employees at Educe Group. This month we are featuring Kathleen Waid, Principal at Educe Group.
What do you do in your day-to-day role?
Much of my day-to-day role consists of partnering with our customers to define required features or workflow elements in order to meet specific industry needs that the Learning Management System (LMS) can’t address. My focus includes building microapp (out of the box) solutions for our clients. Currently, I am focusing on clients in the audit and accounting field, so this presents a unique challenge for any LMS to manage – Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits. I work both with the clients’ LMS product and the main US industry regulator, NASBA. I work to design workflow and technology to manage these complex compliance requirements for companies, often building integrations with multiple systems and custom UI components to track and display the regulatory information to the learners.
What skills does your current job require? How have you mastered those skills?
So much of what I do each day is create new solutions with our customers. This requires listening to the current problem or situation, understanding the constraints of multiple technology systems and being able to think long term. Sometimes the solution requires a collaboration of systems or even processes that may seem too complicated for a customer to fathom – often it takes a progression of meetings or solution designs to find a comfortable solution. The key to success is using and understanding the systems we work with. Getting ‘into the weeds’ is critical; It requires testing and setting up data or use cases in the actual system to ensure the solutions we are providing are possible to implement. Keep your operational hat on at all times though as well – make sure the customer and the technology can operate after we roll off the project. Clients really value that extra effort when discussing solutions.
What advice would you give to others working in Educe Group about how to succeed in the organization?
Value and show respect for the work of your fellow colleagues. Surrounding yourself with people that you know execute at a high degree of focus and success is important. No one can be successful in a complex client engagement alone. It really takes the efforts of everyone on a team to deliver a quality project, on time and within the allocated budget. Be willing to learn all the time. Slowing down and ensuring you have the right approach, estimates, and assumptions is critical. I find myself working on that every day – some days with more success then others!
What project/s are you most proud of?
Recently I had the chance to work on an LMS project that included not just the migration and configuration of LMS data, but the setup of a compliance engine, the creation of an administrative workflow tool and the transition of over 50 outsourced administrators. In addition, several custom modules were created for the client during the 2 year project. It was the most complex data migration project I have ever been a part of and included compliance data for auditors and CPAs in addition to the standard learning data. I had to educate myself on the specific (and complex) rules that NASBA outlines for this industry and at the same time function as an ‘expert’ to the client team. I was part of an amazing team – both the project team, the vendors we worked with and the client team themselves. We not only delivered a complex solution on time but I formed some great personal relationships that I still maintain with this client.
“Truly, I have never worked for a company where each individual contribution is so highly valued. There is a focus across the board to deliver a high quality, well executed solution.”
How do you successfully build relationships with clients?
It is so important that you build an open, honest relationship with your clients. That requires admitting you are unsure of an immediate solution, being transparent if you think a current project may have negative impacts in the long run and being willing to engage in active brainstorming with a client.
What do you feel sets us apart from other consulting firms?
Our consultants. Truly, I have never worked for a company where each individual contribution is so highly valued. There is a focus across the board to deliver a high quality, well executed solution. It is rare to find a company where the values of the partners have been so clearly cascaded to the overall culture of the firm. People actively collaborate and celebrate each other’s successes at Educe. That is something to be proud of!
What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?
I love to read and participate in 2 book clubs with some friends in the area. I enjoy spending time around the pool or at any beach. My husband Ryan and I love to travel. We spend time at the wineries and breweries in the VA area and try to travel oversees at least once a year. We have a great group of friends at our local Crossfit gym that I enjoy working out with and hanging out with socially on the weekends. I have participated in several half marathons with my friends – but I think that is more about the weekend getaways with my friends than my (very slow) race time! The reality is that for the most part, I keep busy with the many extracurricular activities of my 14 and 11-year-old daughters. Between the two of them there are plenty of volleyball, basketball, softball and track meets; along with play practices and performances to attend.
To read Kathleen’s full story, click here.