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Volunteer Spotlight - Kristie Schoonover

Featuring our GCATD Director of Communications, Kristie Schoonover, SHRM-CP. She is currently the Training Lead at pep, a marketing operations agency. One of the most enjoyable aspects of her work is taking a concept and making it relevant.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in the Dayton area and went to Miami University. Halfway through my final year, I realized I probably should have been a teacher, but I almost had a marketing degree. My advisor wisely advised me to finish out my degree and try to get involved in L&D when I got a job. She said I could always go back to school if I decided to become a teacher. My career brought me to Cincinnati where I’m raising two sweet and ridiculously silly boys (3 & 6). We’re always on the go finding every adventure we can in Cincinnati.

Q: Share details about your role with pep.

We are a marketing operations agency. So we are the ones who code the coupons you use, or coordinate the free samples you receive, or set up the sweepstakes you enter. Nearly everything learning and development has come across my desk at one point or another. Our established programs include a very robust onboarding program, a new hire mentor program, a leadership development program, a client services training program, and a quarterly review process. In 2019 I want to improve our process for succession planning and development plans, build concepts like design thinking into our processes, and increase the diversity of our leadership team. If anyone has already tackled any of these challenges I would love to discuss best practices.

Q: What is it you enjoy most about being in a learning role?

Three of my top five strengths are input, intellection, and ideation. I love to learn. I’ve found that many times in my role, I’m presented with a challenge. For example, we need to get better at “x.” I have the opportunity to research, learn, and figure out how to reapply to what we do. I like taking a concept and making it relevant.

Q. Where is your ultimate vacation destination?

I think I probably have to go with Ireland. I’ve been three times. On one trip our relatives, who still live there, took us to the town where our relatives live and I saw the stained glass windows dedicated to my great-grandparents. My bucket list trip is to Italy. One day I hope to do a two week trip to Italy.

Q: Tell me about your involvement with GCATD.

I originally started out by attending some of the learning events and SIGs. I found huge benefit from the SIGs. They provided a great opportunity to share best practices and learn from others in my field. Being self-taught in a department of one at work, it was great to have that support. Wanting to build on those connections, I volunteered and found myself in the Director of Communications role.

Q: What advice would you give to others interested in volunteering?

It’s easy to think of reasons why you shouldn’t. I’m sure you’ll never think you’ll have enough time. Everyone is very understanding that you are volunteering. They want to match what you want to do with how much time you have to give. It could be a single, one-off project. Or it could be a yearlong commitment. The most important thing is to take the first step and put yourself out there.

Q: What do you like to do for fun?

I love to read. I always look forward to vacations when I know I’m going to have time to read multiple books. I also like trying new things – new cities, new restaurants, new parks/playgrounds.

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