Succession planning isn't something members of Div. 13 (Society of Consulting Psychologists) only coach businesses on — they're practicing it. The society has established a fund with the American Psychological Foundation to ensure the future of consulting psychology by funding professional development for students and early career psychologists and supporting other projects that will keep consulting psychology strong for years to come.
The division has set $100,000 as its goal. It has already set aside $40,000 for its goal from division reserves and revenue from its journal, Consulting Psychology Journal. The division expects to pledge another $10,000 in journal revenue next year and plans to raise the remaining $50,000 from member donations.
"We are already nearly halfway there," says Div. 13 President-elect Lyne Desormeaux, PsyD, of ORConsultingINC in Reston, Va. Specifically, the fund will support initiatives in three areas:
Research: Consulting psychologists need more empirical research on what works well and what doesn't in executive coaching, team building, succession planning and other areas of their field. They also want insights on how to improve their assessment and intervention tools. "Many in our division are practitioners," says Div. 13 President Amy Owen, PhD, of S&C Electric Company in Chicago. "The society has increased its research focus in recent years, but more research is needed." The fund will provide research grants for consultants and awards for research that has the potential to grow the field of consulting psychology.
Education: Few graduate programs prepare students specifically for consulting careers, but most consulting psychologists train initially in other areas, says Desormeaux. The fund will support professional development and scholarships for students and seasoned psychologists interested in consulting psychology. The division will also use the fund to increase public awareness of the ways consulting psychology can help solve organizational challenges.
Early career psychologists: The fund would also support early career consultants so they can further develop the field. It will also help the society reach out to new consultant niche areas — like those who consult for national security organizations — as they develop, says Desormeaux. "We want to look at who is our member of the future and make sure we are serving them," she says.
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