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Member Profile: Sy Islam

25 Apr 2019 5:30 PM | Anonymous

Hello ATD: Long Island! With just a few weeks until the Career Journey Open Mic Night & Disrupt HR 4.0 Long Island, I am happy to give you some insights from Sy Islam. Try to catch him at one of these events and find out more about his experiences, along with how he plans on turning the NY Knicks into a dynasty!

First, a little background on ATD: LI's VP of Programming:

Sy Islam, Ph.D.

Sy has over 10 years of experience in a variety of corporate, academic, and applied settings. He completed his Bachelors in Economics from Rutgers University, his MBA in Human Resource Management and a Master’s of Arts in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He completed his PhD in Applied Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University. 

Sy has served in management, consultant and research roles in a variety of organizations. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Industrial Organizational Psychology at Farmingdale State College. In addition to his role as a professor, he is a co-founder and a Principal Consultant with Talent Metrics. In his role at Talent Metrics, he collaborates with organizations through consulting engagements in his areas of expertise (training and development, selection, survey design, performance management, and team building). He is a passionate advocate for the fields of I-O Psychology and training. He currently serves as the Vice-President of Programming for the Long Island Chapter of the Association for Talent Development.

Follow him on Twitter: @IOSyIslam and LinkedIn:

ATD: How did you come to be a part of ATD LI?

SI: I joined ATD Long Island after I graduated from Hofstra University. I had been a member of ATD in NJ prior to beginning my PhD and after I graduated and started my consulting practice Talent Metrics, I rejoined the local chapter. Linda Berke, the ATD LI president at the time was so welcoming that I knew I had to be a part of this local chapter. Soon after I took a board position with my friend Hector Martinez.

ATD: Where do you work currently and what does a work day look like for you?

SI: Currently, I wear many hats and split my time between a few different roles. My first role is as an Assistant Professor of Industrial Organizational Psychology at Farmingdale State College. My second role is as a Principal Consultant and founder of Talent Metrics, a boutique people/learning analytics consulting firm that specializes in using data to deliver human capital interventions. My third role is as an adjunct professor at Hofstra University where I teach training and development. My typical workday starts with a review of tasks to be completed that day and then a generous dose of social media (mostly Twitter) and then teaching and conference calls. My wife makes fun of me and says that my consulting work is mostly conference calls or sitting in front of the computer reviewing datasets. She’s not wrong.

ATD: How did you begin your career in talent development?

SI: I began my career in talent development by happenstance. At Rutgers University, I became a trainer for the peer counseling group that I volunteered with. That was my first training position and I enjoyed it. After I graduated with a degree in economics, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life and economics degree, so I ended up teaching SAT test prep courses for Kaplan Test Prep. I eventually became a manager with Kaplan and most of my work was recruitment and training. After a couple of years as a manager I decided that I wanted to pursue my MBA in Human Resources Management. My first MBA course at Fairleigh Dickinson University was Organizational Behavior taught by an Industrial Organizational Psychologist named Dr. Dean Robb. He suggested that I pursue the dual MBA-HR Management/MA-I-O Psychology program that FDU offered. Eventually I decided to pursue my PhD and ended up studying at Hofstra University.

ATD: What do you value most about ATD LI?

SI: What I value most about ATD LI is the sense of community. ATD Long Island has some of the best professionals in the field as members and everyone feels like a true community member. New members can make the most of this group by engaging with the community by attending events, reaching out to board members and letting the board know what they want out of the organization. If you’re new to the field, be open to the community, be ready to learn and don’t make connections hoping for a transactional relationship. You’re going to get what you put into this organization. That’s what makes ATD LI such an enjoyable group.

ATD: What was the best experience you have ever had in talent development, and why?

SI: There are a couple of experiences that would qualify for the best experiences I have had in talent development. The first would be in some executive coaching work that I did. I was working with a VP in an organization and after reviewing some of the pre-coaching assessments and discussing her goals for coaching I discussed with her the possibility that she could be a CEO for an organization. She was floored and it was great to explain to someone who had never seen that potential in themselves before that she had that potential. This is the catnip of training and development.

The second example would be when we were working on a harassment training for a municipality. We received some feedback from the organizational members that the training was well received and that employees were experiencing healthier interactions within the workplace.

The third example of a wonderful experience was when we worked with a Fortune company for whom we did a training evaluation. We were able to identify the effect of their training program on organizational outcomes (NDA’s of course prevent me from going into further detail on these projects).

ATD: If you could have complete control for talent development of any existing private or government organization, which one would it be and what would you do with it?

SI: This is not really a traditional answer but if I could control the talent development for any organization it would be the NY Knicks. God knows they need the help and need the support to become more data driven. Analytics could help the team make better decisions about draft picks about how best to train and how to manage line-ups for the team. James Dolan call me!!

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