Employee Spotlight: Autumn Thomas

July 1, 2020 in
By Autumn Thomas, Sophie Rivard

Autumn, pictured in her teaching uniform in Tonga
Autumn, pictured in her teaching uniform in Tonga

Our team has brought on some incredible new hires recently and wanted to give everyone a chance to learn about our new people! Autumn Thomas recently joined our team and brings extensive experience and background in international development. Autumn is originally from Connecticut, but moved to Florida her senior year of high school where she stayed to attend college at the University of Central Florida and obtain her Master’s in International and Comparative Education from Florida State University. While obtaining her Master’s, she spent two and a half years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Kingdom of Tonga. We hope you enjoy getting to know Autumn!

What is your current role at FMP?

I am currently a consultant and will be supporting our federal clients by providing project management support.

How did you find your way to FMP?

I heard about FMP through a Peace Corps connection. One of FMPs current employees also served as a volunteer and posted about an open position on a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) job board. Personally, I’m always curious to find out where RPCVs land after their service because I think it takes a certain type of work and company culture to match the type of work you did as a volunteer. When I checked out FMP’s website the words impact, sustainability, and partnership really resonated with me as key values that aligned with the type of place I wanted to work.

Tell us a little about your background before FMP.

My background is in international development with a specific focus on education. As a student, I studied the different social and economic factors that influenced a student’s ability to obtain a quality education both in the United states and abroad. Before I came to FMP, I spent the last five years supporting USAID and other donor funded agencies by providing technical and managerial support on large scale education evaluations and capacity building efforts; primarily around literacy, numeracy, and monitoring and evaluation. The projects I worked on were all diverse, but mainly focused on addressing the foundational skills needed in the early grades. I primarily worked on projects in Central Asia, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan to be exact, assisting in the design, development, and data collection of national Early Grade Reading Assessments (EGRA). I started my journey in international education as a Fulbright-Hayes scholar in Botswana studying the effects that civic education programs had on student perceptions of democracy and justice.

How will your interests translate into your work at FMP?

Autumn (bottom right) pictured during the EGRA pilot training in Tajikistan with individuals from the Ministry of Education
Autumn (bottom right) pictured during the EGRA pilot training in Tajikistan with individuals from the Ministry of Education

Throughout my career there’s been a common thread and I think that’s building people-to-people relationships. Whether working at the grassroots level as a Peace Corps Volunteer or at a national level, I really enjoy partnering with organizations and communities to help them think through their challenges and come up with sustainable solutions. Since FMP has a diversity of clients with unique needs, I think my varied experiences working with people from different backgrounds will allow me to bring a new perspective to the projects I work on.  

What is something that you are most excited to learn or try in the future?

I am interested in learning more about and contributing to the diversity and inclusion space. I feel super fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with some amazing people from all around the world and I know that, at the end of the day, people are simply looking for equitable opportunities to live and work. I hope to learn from FMPs D&I experts on what tangible steps can be done to help organizations best support their workforce, especially those coming from marginalized backgrounds. 

What are you most looking forward to in your role at FMP?

Since I’m still so new and COVID-19 has made my onboarding experience 100% virtual, I’m primarily excited to get to know my colleagues better and learn more about their background and skillsets. Hopefully we’ll all be heading into the office before the summer is over so we can see each other face-to-face.