ExecConnect Speaker Spotlight: Mary Beth Schroeder, Broadridge

We’re very excited to welcome Mary Beth Schroeder, Senior Director, Leadership Development at Broadridge Financial Solutions, as a featured panelist at ExecConnect 2018!

We sat down with Mary Beth to learn a bit more about her (personally and professionally), her role at Broadridge, and her thoughts on the current state of L&D.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a dynamic, strategic, creative Talent Management leader and business partner with over 20 years of experience supporting global and domestic organizations in various industries including financial services, marketing services, insurance, consumer products, and manufacturing.  My career has afforded me opportunities to develop subject matter expertise in learning and development and leadership development, talent management and assessment, performance management, organization development, change management, onboarding, and employee engagement. I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Baruch College of the City University of New York, and I earned a bachelors’ degree in Psychology from St. Lawrence University, where I graduated Summa Cum Laude with honors in Psychology.

Why is Broadridge Financial Solutions so successful, and how does your role contribute?

Broadridge Financial Solutions is a global fintech leader. The secret to Broadridge growing its annual revenue from $2.1B, when it went public in 2007, to $4.1B, its share price from $19.70 to $75.56, and becoming a recent member of the Fortune 500, is that our Executive Team is steadfastly committed to the Service-Profit Chain. In the late 1990s, Heskett, Sasser and Schlesinger of the Harvard Business School published research showing that for service organizations there are strong links between profit and customer loyalty, employee loyalty and customer loyalty, and employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Furthermore, these relationships are mutually enforcing (e.g., satisfied customers contribute to employee satisfaction and vice versa).

I lead a global Talent Management center of excellence for Broadridge focused on leadership and management growth, associate engagement, and onboarding. My role contributes to Broadridge’s success by supporting the people who are most central to powering the service-profit chain: people leaders and their direct reports. The leadership programs that my team runs educate managers across the globe on the levers they can use to ignite and fan the flames of engagement within their teams. I spearhead our global surveys and action planning efforts to provide insights to senior leaders and people leaders about what’s driving engagement in their organizations and what they can do to create an even more motivating work environment. The workshops and e-learning provided my team offers for associates present opportunities for growth and development, a primary driver of engagement at Broadridge. Finally, our efforts enhance the new hire onboarding experience will help associates form a strong connection with Broadridge that will enable them to fully invest of themselves and want to stay.

What inspired you to pursue a career path in Human Resources, with a Learning and Development/Talent Management specialty?

There were some critical experiences and many people who inspired the choices I made in shaping my career:

  • The best professor.  Dr. Tom Greene is a professor in the St. Lawrence University Psychology Department. The passion he brought to his environmental psychology class was so energizing that I vowed to take the very next class he taught. That course was Industrial and Organizational Psychology. A light bulb went off for me in that class – people spend more time at work than they do with their families! What better place than the workplace to enhance the quality of their lives?!

  • Early career experiences. I took an adjunct professor role at Baruch College as I was finishing up my graduate courses in I/O Psychology. Seeing the light bulbs turn on for my undergraduate students (as Dr. Greene had no doubt seen in me) steered my interest toward a career in Learning and Development. A summer internship in the Leadership Development Department at Philip Morris, where I got to play a role in an assessment center, sold me on the decision to become a practitioner rather than stay in academia.

  • My career board of directors. I’ve been tremendously blessed to have some great bosses and informal mentors who saw my potential to be good at things before I actually was. My courage to go after stretch roles was bolstered by their encouragement, and I credit them for broadening my experience in Human Resources to include talent acquisition, performance management and goal setting, career development and succession planning, and developing high potential talent.

  • The work itself. I get to spend the vast majority of my time working on things that fulfill my purpose to help others grow. Fortunately for me, I get paid to do the work that I love because growing people happens to align with growing the businesses that I’ve been privileged to be a part of.

How is the L&D space changing?

Needs and expectations of today’s learners, leaner organizational structures, and advances in technology and analytics are driving, and supporting, many important changes in the L&D space. Here’s a few examples:

  • Learners want to and/or need to learn where they are:
    • Two years ago, Broadridge associates told me that they much preferred traditional classroom to alternate ways to grow new skills. Over the past 12 months, however, their behavior tells a different story. Enrollments for our Virtual Instructor Led courses outpaced those for our traditional instructor-led courses on the same topics by nearly 2:1. The utilization rate for our e-learning content has also gone up meaningfully over the same time period
    • Artificial intelligence is enabling the creation of smart learning platforms that recommend relevant content for learners to access through a web browser.
    • Geographically distributed workforces with small or no travel budgets have helped to fuel the growth of virtual learning, with ExecOnline being a great example of a forward-looking provider.

  • Flatter organizational structures and our extensive use of mobile technology foster ADHD when it comes to learning:
    • Leaner organizational structures has resulted in many associates having less “white space” for learning, necessitating the development of new delivery methods such as the flipped classroom and micro-learning.
    • Our experiences with slickly-designed apps and websites have set the bar for what it takes to keep us interested. Neuroscience has taught us that designing gaming and social elements into our learning affords learners the reinforcing shots of dopamine their brains need to sustain interest in learning something that takes more than a few minutes to absorb.

Where can we find you when you’re not working?

When I’m not working you can find me digging into the research on teams and personality to make progress on my dissertation. I also enjoy cooking with, and going on weekend and vacation adventures with my husband Dave, and children Jimmy, Shane, Cara and Klaus. Baseball stadiums – especially Camden Yards, zoos, aquariums, museums, amusement parks, and historical locations are among our favorite places to go.

What are you looking forward to most at ExecConnect 2018?

I am really looking forward to engaging in conversation with other leaders in the Learning and Development / Leadership Development space to learn how they are thinking about the trends that are impacting our work, and the creative ways they are adapting. I am also interested in hearing about ways that they are using new technologies to enable their strategies, and how they are influencing business leaders to invest in talent.

Hear from Mary Beth and other L&D professionals at ExecConnect 2018,
Oct 2-3 in New York City. Tickets are selling out fast, so register now!

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