Spotlight: Jessica Zielonis

January 13, 2017 in
By FMP Team

Photo of Jessica Zielonis

Jessica, a Consultant at FMP, applies her expertise in team training, career development, and learning to enhance effectiveness across her client organizations.

What led you to join FMP?

I joined FMP because of the variety of projects its consultants get to work on and the opportunity to really define and create your own success. The value FMP places on autonomy and its support for employee-driven career development allows consultants to provide input into the staffing process, influence the projects and roles taken on, and truly shape the direction of your career.

What do you think it takes to be successful in this field? What do you think it takes for organizations to be successful in today’s environment?

As consultants, we are constantly taking on different projects with new clients across a variety of technical areas. While we may have particular areas of expertise, we are often pushed outside of our comfort zone and expected to be able to successfully work on and manage projects outside of our wheelhouse.

As such, resourcefulness is critical to being successful in this field. We need to be able to quickly recognize when something may be beyond our knowledge and skill level and figure out the best and most efficient way to close that gap. Whether that be conducting independent research, talking with a peer who recently competed a similar type of project, or receiving guidance from a senior advisor with 20+ years of experience. It is often this blend of knowledge, capabilities, and experiences that creates truly innovative strategies and products for our clients.

Organizations need to demonstrate the same resourcefulness, especially in our current economic time. Reductions in staff and budgets, as well as the constant pressure to do more with less, have required organizations to focus their energies internally to recognize and refine their employees’ strengths in order to enhance their human capital and accomplish their goals.

What challenges do you see organizations facing regarding team learning and development?

One of the biggest learning and development challenges facing today’s organizations is the ability to keep up with change – technology is advancing faster than ever, processes and policies seem to constantly change, and employees are becoming increasingly mobile. And in light of these factors, organizations struggle to keep up. They not only struggle to provide employees with up-to-date information and the ability to keep their skills current, but also to provide relevant training just in time and in employees’ preferred modalities – in-person, online, blended – which can really vary depending on the particular audience, skill, or topic area. It is possible to overcome these challenges, but it takes dedicated time and effort. Conducting a comprehensive learning needs assessment is often a good place to start. It enables an organization to identify the existing knowledge and skill gaps among its workforce and to prioritize which ones to address first in alignment with larger strategic goals.

Work life balance is important. What do you like to do outside of work?

I LOVE to read, travel, and try new local restaurants. My favorite book is the Last Lecture and the best trip I have been on is to Morocco, which has the most delicious food. And I recently ate at RPM Italian in Mount Vernon Square and had an amazing dinner; highly recommend trying it if you haven’t been there yet!