(PDIP, Marriage and Family Therapy, '05)
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
I loved the Marriage and Family Therapy program. It's hard to pick a favorite class; Drs. Mince, Genovese and Atwood were unique in their ability to make all of the theoretical learning practical via their experiences as practitioners.
- What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
I went to work as an employee development manager at DoubleClick. The most valuable thing I learned was the importance of attracting, developing and retaining top talent. Without it, you can have a great concept and be in a great industry, but your organization will get nowhere.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
My area of specialty is learning and organizational development, specifically with global technology companies. Truthfully, I always knew I wanted to help motivate and develop people; the industry just came by chance with DoubleClick reaching out to me for an interview.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
Focus on a role and industry you can be passionate about, but keep in mind that the world of work is changing at an incredibly rapid pace, and do your utmost to stay on top of it. By staying on top of developments in your field, you can be assured that your skills will be in demand for a very long time.
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
- How did the idea of showd.me come about, and what do you hope employees gain from it?
My responsibility at the companies I worked for was to ensure that their employees had all of the knowledge and expertise to do their jobs today, as well as in the future. It was impossible to keep up with the demand for training, so we started experimenting with different peer-to-peer programs like mentoring, coaching, job shadowing, and lunch and learns. We found them to be incredibly effective and well-received by employees. The biggest challenge we had was finding technology to support the various types of social learning we wanted to do. After trying out many different platforms and options, I realized there was a need in the market for a platform that could help organizations develop their employees through peer learning, and I launched showd.me.
What I hope employees gain from it is the ability to always do their current jobs well, as well as train for their future roles. Employees want more ownership of their careers and showd.me gives them this opportunity. It also gives employees a way to give back and share what they know with others.
- What was a major obstacle you were able to overcome to perform your job?
Learning a new industry (technology) was a major challenge for me, as I am sure it is for anyone. Fortunately, I had mentors and co-workers who made themselves available and helped me learn the industry and ultimately succeed.
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Where do you see your career progressing in the future?
I always see myself involved in helping people grow and develop themselves. This will either be through organizations or working directly with people. I get tremendous satisfaction from seeing people succeed at work or in their personal lives.
Avi Singer is the CEO and founder of showd.me, a peer-to-peer learning platform that helps organizations train their employees by leveraging the knowledge and expertise of their peers. As an HR and learning and development consultant, he has helped technology startups navigate their maturation process by providing training, coaching and HR technology resource advisement. Prior to consulting, Avi was vice president of people at Undertone, a Crain's Best Place to Work five years in a row. He has also held human resources, learning and organizational development positions at Blue Man Group, Google and DoubleClick. As part of Google's acquisition of DoubleClick, Avi was responsible for training over 300 managers on change management.
Over the past 10 years Avi has introduced various organizations to new models for management and leadership development, learning through social networks and talent/succession management. He is a frequent presenter at conferences on various employee development topics, particularly on the use of technology to facilitate organizational learning. In addition, he is an advisor to Namely, a human capital management technology company.
Avi earned a Professional Diploma in marriage and family therapy from Hofstra University and a Master of Arts in organizational psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. He is currently excited about social networks, using technology for employee and leadership development.