VCU Center for Corporate Education

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Headshot of workshop facilitator Joyce Major, MBA, MS.

We’re continuing our interview series with Joyce Major, who leads our Creating Customer Loyalty program. For more details about Joyce or to register for her upcoming class, visit the CCE website.

Describe your own career path up to this point.

I started working as a counselor using my master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, but I knew early on I wanted to use those skills in a business setting. My psychology background was a good fit working for my first Fortune 500 company in the field of training and management.  I soon realized I needed a business degree to complement my social science background so that I could apply my skills and speak the language of my customers – the language of business including finance, accounting, marketing and operations. I was fascinated by these business classes! Now I could explain the business case for people with the business skills I was advocating and measure the return on their investment.

The “people” AND “business” background gave me the perfect combination to find my perfect career path as a Management Development and Training specialist for 2 Fortune 500 companies, then Organizational Development, Training and Quality Director for a Fortune 500 company, and now an external consultant working with multiple small and large businesses, government entities and professional organizations.

I also own and/or am a senior partner of 3 companies including one with 20 employees. This is a great way to keep me honest. It is important that I “walk the talk” with my own companies to make sure what I am advising works in the real world.

When did you first start partnering with the CCE?

Former Center for Corporate Education Director Jean Gasen first hired me to do customer service related training and consulting.

What do you enjoy most about teaching/facilitating?

The “a-ha” moments in the class when people connect with the information in a way that gets them excited to do things differently to get the results they are hoping to achieve. That, plus hearing from people sometimes years later saying what a difference a class made in their lives.  Hearing about their success using tools and ideas they learned is about as good as it gets!

Describe a “lightbulb” moment you’ve had on your personal career journey.

The first time I worked with an intact work group – an entire department where I partnered with engineers to improve the department’s efficiency and effectiveness – was a breakthrough moment for me. The power of getting the whole system in the room at the same time was tremendous and we got great results.

From then on I have always enjoyed using a systems approach integrated into an overall business strategy rather than “sheep dipping” (ie. sending a person to a training session where they return without the support needed to apply what they have learned).

Training, personal development and process improvement can mean the difference between a failed or a successful business strategy implementation! That early lightbulb moment proved to me that these skills need to be integrated into business planning, not a separate activity from the mainstream business.

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I first met Joyce 30 years ago and, interestingly, I’ve stayed in touch with her throughout our careers. I’ve hired her as a consultant/facilitator at two very different organizations but both were Virginia state agencies. She is both skilled and intuitive and quickly grasped the essence of the organizations and what was needed. She collaboratively developed novel solutions and partnered with agency staffs to bring about meaningful improvements. She is an exemplary consultant, a valued colleague, and a true friend!

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