Melissa Steach, PhD (I/O Psychology), is the Workplace Wellbeing Knowledge Lead at Herman Miller, a furniture company focused on inventive designs that improve the human experience. In her role, Dr. Melissa Steach helps organizations implement Herman Miller’s workplace wellbeing research and meet their ergonomic and wellbeing needs by focusing on their greatest asset: people. Melissa is a bestselling author and award winning fine artist with accreditations in positive psychology interventions as well as ergonomic assessment (CEAS I). She holds a Ph.D. in industrial-organizational psychology wherein her research focused on human factors and implicit cognition.
"Growing up in housing projects that were gentrified sparked my initial interest in the relationship between personal and communal identity. Having those same housing projects located blocks away from the city’s library, museum, and major historical sites - along with my mom’s artistic and décor flair that made our little apartment look like a magazine spread - exposed me to the fact that art, in all of its forms, can impact us profoundly. I didn’t know it then, but my subsequent search for self through living in many places, amongst many types of people and cultures, along with trying on a variety of different careers, are what led me to attain a Ph.D. in I-O psychology." - www.drsteach.com
Melissa is also writing her 2nd book called The Intangible Environment, all about the unseen elements of workplace wellbeing. Look out for that in 2022!
In this episode, I ask Melissa:
What do you do as the workplace wellbeing knowledge lead at Herman Miller furniture company?In what ways do you incorporate ergonomics and human factors into your role?Why should we care about ergonomics?To what extent does research play a role in your work?What does your day to day look like at Herman Miller?What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your job?What’s the difference between I/O Psych and HR?Why did you fall in love with art?Melissa’s path from studio art, to acting, to teaching, to furniture staging, to ergonomics to I/O: How did studio art turn into a passion for ergonomics?What was the common thread among all the jobs you’ve had?You were able to get all this experience without a graduate degree in I/O Psychology. Why did you get a master’s and a PhD anyway?How did growing up in housing projects influence your love for psychology and design?How did you balance a full time job while going to grad school?What advice do you have regarding finding grad schools that support your other commitments: financial, personal, and otherwise?What advice would you give to psychology students who don’t have a graduate degree but want to get experience in business and design?What grad programs to look out for if you’re interested in I/O psych and the power of the built environment (e.g., environmental psychology)When should you get a master’s? And when should you get a PhD?What is one skill, quality, or general factor that has served you no matter where you went?
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Music by: Adam Fine