Suntiva Spotlight

Suntivans love the work they do and do the work they love. See how in our series of employee profiles called Suntiva Spotlights.

KATHERINE COLES

I am an organization development practitioner, supporting Suntiva clients interested in pursuing excellence by enhancing their organizational effectiveness through teambuilding, leadership development, organization assessments, strategic planning and implementation, and change management. Using the Action Research Cycle and process consultation, I partner with Suntiva clients to identify the root cause of concerns manifesting as low morale, poor results, unsuccessful change, unclear roles, and undefined expectations, destructive conflict resulting in insufficient productivity.

What do you think makes Suntiva a great place to work? Why do you enjoy working for Suntiva?
“Great minds. Great hearts,” is not just a tagline, but accurately reflects Suntiva’s staff composition. I get to work with brilliant people that give me the opportunity to learn as well as perform. My managers and colleagues demonstrate a commitment to my success and value my contribution to the Suntiva brain trust of ideas and approaches to enhancing organization effectiveness. Suntiva solutions integrate our knowledge of organization processes and best practices that contribute to effective performance and the capacity and influence of a system’s people to accelerate results.

What do you enjoy most in working with Suntiva’s clients? How do we make a difference in our clients’ work?
Our work expands client awareness, provides specific tools to support desired outcomes, and leaves our client with an action plan they can explicitly and concretely operationalize. Our work increases client capability, and we partner with to identify criterion that will measure project or program success.

What’s your most impactful project with a client and why?
We designed and facilitated a compressed and virtual leadership teambuilding series for FDA CDRH OSEL Division of Applied Mechanics. This project demonstrated Suntiva’s agility and adaptability to meet the needs of its clients as their environment changed (COVID-19 stay at home restrictions). The project consisted of three 90-75-minute sessions to build the team’s capacity in the following areas of leadership and team effectiveness:

  • Navigate change transitions
  • Build trust
  • Encourage productive conflict
  • Build team commitment to shared results

While this was, and is, a committed and dedicated leadership team, these three sessions expanded participant awareness, offered a different perspective on division behaviors, and inspired insights to support actions toward desired team results.

A sample of post-session evaluation comments are below:

  • “I appreciated how easy it was to get into a rhythm with Katherine; she was easy to connect with and open up to. I hope to connect with her again in future trainings.”
  • “Katherine has been great, and I look forward to continue working with her in the future! She is easy to talk to, very responsive through phone and email, and her passion for the subject matter is evident.”
  • “I especially appreciated the discussion about trust and unpacking the drivers. I will take away lots of snippets of information that I can use in this position and future leadership positions.”
  • “Managing Change and Accountability Sessions were the most enlightening for me because it helped me see what I couldn’t see before on where things are within our Division.”

What influenced or drove you to become an expert in your field?
Throughout my career, I have found myself amid organizational change. Within 6 to 12 months of joining an organization, environmental changes occurred to drive/require internal change. In 2008, I was at Fannie Mae when the housing bubble burst, and I had the opportunity to become a change agent as they explored the culture that contributed to the severity of our liability. The consultants at Fannie Mae lit the spark that changed the trajectory of my life.  As a result of this experience, I applied to American University’s Master of Organization Development program. It was a 24-month program that forever changed me.  Organization Development is a discipline that requires continuous learning and development and aligns with my self-identity as a lifelong student.

I learned at Fannie Mae that everyone contributes to the success and failure of organizational systems. My life mission is to remind organizational members that we are all human beings and each of us are responsible for the rise and/or fall of the organizational systems we inhabit.

What drives or inspires you to work at Suntiva?
Our commitment to “Great minds. Great hearts.” Our culture of respect and appreciation for our team members and our clients.

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