Success Stories
MA Counseling Psychology student
LINKEDIN
July 16, 2020 |
:::

Grad Uses Counseling Skills to Help Organizations Lead and Change

Nadia Kwalick Evans won the 2020 Outstanding Student Award in the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. She brought business experience to her coursework and honed communication skills she leverages in the corporate world.

By Jenny McKeel
:::

Nadia Kwalick Evans earned not one but two master’s degrees from GGU, in Counseling Psychology and in Industrial-Organizational (I/O) Psychology. She earned her MA in I/O Psychology in 2008, during her 15-year tenure at PG&E where she started as a trainer and earned several promotions, finally managing a portfolio of change management projects and directing a team. Her projects included training programs, process improvements, reorganizations, and software implementations that transformed the way business was done.

“At the beginning of my career,” said Nadia, “I didn’t even know change management was a thing. I knew there had to be a better way to introduce new systems and processes into the business, so I decided to figure out how to do that.”

Change Management

Nadia’s work at PG&E focused on three levels of change: organizational, group/team, and individual. As Nadia led more change management projects, she discovered that achieving collective change depended on each individual making a decision to adopt new ways of working. She became increasingly interested in what led an individual to that decision, and thought the MA in Counseling Psychology degree would help her better understand and facilitate this process.

At GGU, Nadia found that the approaches, skills, and techniques she gained were directly applicable to her career.

MA in Counseling Psychology

“My counseling degree has helped me enhance my professional career in many ways,” she reflected. “I have a deeper understanding of people’s motivations and perspectives, how to better lead teams, how to listen more deeply, how to better navigate organizational dynamics, and even self-management in conflict and crisis which are core skills I developed during my traineeship/practicum.”

Mid-way through her program, a reduction in force at PG&E allowed Nadia to secure a daytime school-based counseling traineeship with the USF Center for Child & Family Development.

“My professors really helped me think through this crossroads,” said Nadia. “They were always willing to spend extra time outside of class to mentor and help me think through my next steps, both from an academic as well as a career perspective. That supportive environment led to my learning new things I hadn’t realized I was capable of.”

In her traineeship, through the rigor of structured practical application, she learned more about mechanisms of individual change. An important skill she honed is seeing the world from her clients’ perspective and joining with them in what is called in clinical psychology “unconditional positive regard.” In the business world, this concept roughly translates to “assume positive intent.” Nadia believes these skills have helped her become a better leader and colleague.

Counseling Psychology Meets Organizational Development

“I’ve gotten feedback that I’m able to meet people where they are, tune into their feelings, and adapt my style to theirs. That has influenced how I communicate with people at work. You learn those skills formally in your classes and apply them in practicum.”

During her traineeship at USF, Nadia successfully proposed a mindfulness curriculum for the school where she was counseling, and taught mindfulness to several classes with the goal of bringing additional skills to students in support of their growth and learning. USF then invited her to come teach the following year’s trainee cohort mindfulness techniques.

New Opportunities

Today, Nadia works at Stanford Health Care as an Organizational Development/Program Manager and Talent Architect. At Stanford, she partnered with colleagues to design and implement an employee engagement and change leadership program  to support leaders transitioning to a new hospital. She’s also been contributing to a new technology implementation and was asked to lead the design of leadership development efforts in support of navigating the Covid-19 crisis.  She is additionally pursuing a coaching certification. The work Nadia does is complex but her goals sound deceptively simple.

“I try to make work better for people. I’ve been told that I have a broad range of skills—I really see this as taking every opportunity I have to add value where I can and enjoying my work to the fullest. I try to use my skills to make life a little bit better for whoever it is that I’m interacting with.”

What led you to choose GGU?

The counseling degree appealed to me as some of my cohorts from the I/O degree had done a double major in counseling, and I saw applicability to the business world I have been working in for quite some time. From a practical perspective, I live in downtown San Francisco and had attended GGU in the past, so I was familiar with the campus and faculty and had wonderful memories of both students and professors.

How do you think your education at GGU will help you succeed in your career?

I am a more effective leader—and teammate!—thanks to the communication skills I gained and my enhanced ability to see the world from another person’s perspective. I have found that everything I learned in this degree has applicability not only to my career journey, but also life in general.

What are your career ambitions for the future?

My goals are to use and develop my understanding of organizational and individual behavior, with the aim of enhancing people’s quality of life. My hope is to leave things better than I found them.

What advice do you have for prospective students?  

GGU has really lived up to its promise of offering real-world, practical learning that you will apply right away. I worked with wonderful professors and I love that they bring their practical field experience to the learning process. These aren’t just professors reading books and talking theory. It’s literally the practical application that came through in every class I took. My professors also shared their perspectives to help me think through next steps in my career.  My advice is to honor the commitments you make to yourself. Be disciplined about how you organize your time around classes and getting work done. For me it came down to setting goals – each week and for the term, prioritizing my time to balance work, school, home and social life. Finally: Find the support you need from others and stay focused on your goals.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

This message is only visible to admins:
Problem displaying Facebook posts. Backup cache in use.

Error: The user must be an administrator, editor, or moderator of the page in order to impersonate it. If the page business requires Two Factor Authentication, the user also needs to enable Two Factor Authentication.
Type: OAuthException
Click here to Troubleshoot.

Attention new GGU Summer Term students! 📢 Join us for Student Success Orientation on Wed. 5/4. You'll get all the information you need to ensure academic success and social engagement at GGU. We'll connect you to a host of resources to help you transition successfully into the university. Register today for the Zoom link. ow.ly/o1AP50IUVUs ... See MoreSee Less

Attention new GGU Summer Term students! 📢 Join us for Student Success Orientation on Wed. 5/4. Youll get all the information you need to ensure academic success and social engagement at GGU. Well connect you to a host of resources to help you transition successfully into the university. Register today for the Zoom link. http://ow.ly/o1AP50IUVUs

Congrats!!Congratulations Cathryn! She finally got to walk with her colleagues and other graduates of Golden Gate University at Oracle Park in San Francisco! The classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 were well represented! Master's Degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and High Honors. I am so proud of you my darling! #graduation ... See MoreSee Less

Congrats!!

Comment on Facebook

Congratulations 🎊 🎈 🎉

Lahore from Pakistan 🇵🇰

Curious about how many students didn't get a ceremony due to covid, and never got an email about this year's ceremony? Did this happen to anyone else? Please comment if you're also in this boat.

GGU's 2022 Commencement Ceremony livestream is starting soon!

Watch on YouTube starting at 10 a.m. PT ow.ly/gepT50IQxKB
... See MoreSee Less

GGUs 2022 Commencement Ceremony livestream is starting soon! 

Watch on YouTube starting at 10 a.m. PT http://ow.ly/gepT50IQxKB

Comment on Facebook

I am so grateful that we could attend. Thank you, GGU

Curious about how many students didn't get a ceremony due to covid, and never got an email about being able to join this year's ceremony? Did this happen to anyone else? Please comment if you're also in this boat.

As we celebrate the Class of 2022, show your support for future GGU students the way someone once supported you. Make a gift to the Fund for Golden Gate University today. Share using #ggugives. lnkd.in/gBH3skuk ... See MoreSee Less

As we celebrate the Class of 2022, show your support for future GGU students the way someone once supported you. Make a gift to the Fund for Golden Gate University today. Share using #GGUGives. https://lnkd.in/gBH3skukImage attachment

Comment on Facebook

The grad ceremony was amazing! Thank you to the faculty and everyone involved in organizing and preparing for this event. Much love to all. 🙏❤️

Timeline photosDear GGU Law Community:

It is with great sadness that I write to share news of the passing of Peter Keane, who died Sunday after a long illness. Peter Keane served as Dean of Golden Gate University School of Law from 1999-2003 and later, as a much beloved classroom teacher of Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence Law, and Professional Responsibility. Dean Keane always said that his greatest pleasure at GGU was getting to know, teach and learn from his students.

In addition to his contributions at GGU, Dean Keane was a prominent member of the San Francisco and California legal communities. Among other distinctions, he was appointed to the San Francisco Ethics Commission and served both as President of the Bar Association of San Francisco and as Vice-President of the State Bar of California. His law reform achievements were notable, including authoring San Francisco’s Handgun Control Ordinance and California Proposition 190, which reformed the State Commission on Judicial Performance.

Drucilla Ramey, who followed Dean Keane as Dean, remembered him this way: “Peter Keane was a courageous and inspirational leader of legal academia, the broader legal community, and his own beloved San Francisco. Whether as Chief Assistant Public Defender, President of the Bar Association of San Francisco, Dean of Golden Gate Law School or Chair of the San Francisco Ethics Commission, Peter met society’s greatest challenges head on, with his characteristic intelligence, bravery, and élan, and leaves behind him not only scores of loved ones, friends, and admirers, but also a more fair and equal system of justice.”

Dean Keane will be greatly missed by those at GGU whose lives he touched. Please join me in extending our condolences to his wife Nancy and their family. As soon as I have news of the celebration of his life, I will share it.

Sincerely,
Dean Colin Crawford
... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

I had the pleasure of working with Dean Keane as a Board member in the early 2000’s. He was a great leader and inspiration to those he taught. Deepest sympathies to Nancy and his family.

Professor Keane was one of my FAVORITE professors at GGU. Such a smart and sweet person. Condolences to his family.

A couple months ago I crossed paths with Professor Keane in the rose garden at GGP. He was quick with a kind word and a nice conversation. I sincerely appreciate having known and had my life enriched by this bright and thoughful man.

He was a great professor and person!

Always admired Peter Keane; a great los to the legal community and all the people of San Francisco

Rest In Peace.

He was a kind person. I am sorry for your loss.

RIP…

Sorry for your loss.

RIP

View more comments