Sanah Rizvi '16 MA

Alumni Spotlight

Sanah RizviDegree(s):
BSc Psychology, UMass Amherst
MA Industrial-Organizational Psychology, New York University

Current Position Title and Affiliation: Change Management Lead, Sobeys Inc (Canada)

Summary of Position:
As a Change Management Lead, my role is absolutely vital in orchestrating and overseeing successful organizational changes, leveraging valuable insights from the field of psychology. My responsibilities encompass three key areas:

  • Developing a comprehensive change management strategy that aligns seamlessly with the organization's goals. This involves carefully analyzing the organization's objectives and creating a well-rounded plan that integrates various change management methodologies and best practices.
  • Engaging key stakeholders through persuasive techniques. I understand the importance of gaining buy-in and support from stakeholders at all levels. By employing effective communication, active listening, and relationship-building skills, I am able to engage stakeholders and foster their involvement throughout the change process.
  • Crafting meticulous change plans and implementing communication strategies rooted in psychological principles. I pay meticulous attention to detail while designing change plans, considering the potential cognitive and behavioral impacts on individuals and teams. By applying psychological principles of persuasion, motivation, and influence, I ensure that communication strategies resonate with the target audience and facilitate successful change adoption.

To excel in this role, I bring a wealth of expertise in change management methodologies, coupled with an in-depth understanding of the psychological mechanisms that drive human behavior during periods of change. I deftly employ my leadership and influence skills to guide individuals and teams through the complex terrain of psychological transitions, using effective communication and collaboration to build trust and rapport. Moreover, my keen analytical thinking allows me to dissect intricate psychological dynamics, pinpoint potential barriers, and develop tailored strategies to overcome resistance.

As a Change Management Lead, I immerse myself in the scholarly realm of psychology, continually seeking to understand the nuances and subtleties that shape human responses to change. With an unwavering commitment to academic rigor, I foster an environment conducive to learning, growth, and successful implementation of organizational transformations.

What do you love most about this career path?
What I love most about being a Change Management Lead is the opportunity to make a significant impact on individuals and organizations. Being at the forefront of driving change allows me to witness firsthand the transformational journey that people go through. Seeing individuals embrace new ideas, adapt their behaviors, and grow both personally and professionally is incredibly fulfilling. I find immense joy in guiding and supporting teams as they navigate the challenges and uncertainties of change. It's gratifying to witness their resilience, determination, and ultimately their success in embracing and implementing change initiatives. The sense of accomplishment that comes from witnessing a once-resistant group evolve into change champions is truly rewarding.

Furthermore, as a Change Management Lead, I have the privilege of working closely with diverse stakeholders, including executives, managers, and employees from various departments. Collaborating with such a wide range of individuals allows me to gain insights into different perspectives, build strong relationships, and foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork. Lastly, being a Change Management Lead keeps me continuously learning and growing. The dynamic nature of change requires me to stay updated on the latest industry trends, change management methodologies, and psychological insights. This thirst for knowledge and growth fuels my passion for the role and ensures that I am constantly evolving as a professional.

Overall, the ability to make a positive impact, support individuals and teams through transformative journeys, collaborate with diverse stakeholders, and engage in continuous learning are the aspects I cherish the most about being a Change Management Lead.

Future Goals:
I am excited about what the future holds! For my future in this field, I am driven by ambitious future goals focused on the advancement of my expertise, expansion into strategic consulting, leadership in organizational culture transformation, and commitment to mentorship and coaching. To start, I am dedicated to continuously enhancing my expertise in change management. This entails pursuing advanced certifications, actively participating in industry conferences, and engaging in ongoing professional development. By staying at the forefront of emerging trends and best practices, I seek to deepen my knowledge and establish myself as a respected authority in the field.

Additionally, I aspire to broaden my impact by transitioning into strategic consulting. This would provide an opportunity to collaborate with diverse organizations, leveraging my expertise to offer strategic guidance and support for complex change initiatives. The prospect of working with clients across various industries, addressing unique challenges, and driving transformative outcomes is both exciting and motivating. Moreover, I am passionate about assuming a leadership role in organizational culture transformation. By aligning culture with strategic objectives, I aim to create an environment that fosters a change-ready mindset and facilitates successful change implementation. Through shaping and evolving organizational cultures, I seek to drive lasting change and contribute to organizational excellence.

Lastly, I am committed to serving as a mentor and coach to aspiring change management professionals. Sharing knowledge, providing guidance, and supporting their growth and development is a fulfilling endeavor that allows me to contribute to the broader field and make a positive impact on individuals and organizations.

How did UMass and/or Psychological and Brain Sciences help prepare you?
UMass and the Psychology department played a crucial role in guiding me toward my calling and career! Throughout my time there, I had the opportunity to explore a diverse range of courses, from vocal classes to studying the history of music, alongside multiple psychology courses. This interdisciplinary approach broadened my perspective and enriched my understanding of psychology, its connection to the world, and how we can use psychology to make people's lives better.

The department's emphasis on internships and research was invaluable in providing me with real-life experiences and expanding my network of friends and colleagues. These opportunities allowed me to apply my theoretical knowledge in practical settings, further solidifying my passion for psychology and using it to help people.

In particular, the classes in social psychology, cognitive psychology, and statistics, complemented by my involvement in a lab focused on morality psychology prepared me exceptionally well for a career in applied psychology. The combination of theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience equipped me with the skills needed to tackle real-world challenges and make a meaningful impact in the field.

UMass and its Psychology department provided a nurturing and supportive environment, nurturing my passion and setting me on a path to success in the realm of applied psychology.

Advice for Current Students:
Embrace a growth mindset, seeking continuous learning. Gain practical experience through internships and research. Develop strong research skills and critical thinking. Build a professional network by connecting with professors and peers, attending conferences, and joining organizations. Seek diverse experiences to broaden your perspective and finally chase what you love! This field opens up the world to you, so find your niche and follow your heart.

Advice for Alumni:
As an alumna, I offer this advice: Continue your learning journey beyond graduation. Stay updated on the latest research and advancements in the field. Seek opportunities for professional development and attend conferences or workshops. Network with fellow alumni and professionals to stay connected and informed. Consider pursuing advanced degrees or certifications if it aligns with your career goals. Give back to the field by mentoring aspiring psychologists or engaging in volunteer work. Embrace lifelong learning and maintain a passion for psychology to continually grow and thrive in your professional endeavors.

Learn more about Sanah's work through her LinkedIn Profile.