In this month’s Q&A feature we learn more about GED Testing Service’s new President Vicki Greene.
Tell us more about your background.
After graduating college as a Public Relations major, I was hoping to start a career in broadcasting. I had an internship with a newspaper and loved the idea of writing and telling people’s stories. After my internship ended, I needed to find a job with a salary. I interviewed for an entry-level project manager role with NCR (a global software provider). They were starting to roll-out cash registers that scanned barcodes and I managed large projects working with the sales and operations teams. I then moved into consulting for a large customer, managing their outsourced IT contract. I continued to love process improvement, leading teams and figuring out complex challenges.
I left Deluxe, the check printing company, back in 2012 to lead the technology and operations teams at GEDTS. It was a pivotal time, as we were transitioning from a paper test to a computer test. I feel incredibly fortunate to work with the GED team, with our states, adult educators, partners, and most of all our students—I love my job!
Where did you grow up and what was your family life like?
I grew up in a suburb of St. Paul, MN, as the oldest of four children. I have a sister that’s 18 months younger and two younger brothers. Both of my parents are from families with eight children, so we always had a lot of cousins, aunt and uncles visiting our house. I lived two houses down from my grandma and four houses away from my cousins.
We grew up on a lake so most of our summers were spent swimming, boating and being around our extended family. We were a very active family and enjoyed playing basketball, baseball/softball, golf or just being outside. My siblings and I were gifted with being quite tall and used it to our advantage when competing in sports.
Who have been your strongest influences in life?
My family is my main influence. They make sure I stay focused on what’s truly important. They are always there for me—when times are good and when times are tough. I have also had many influential leaders who have taught me strong life lessons on always making the right decisions even when they are tough. I am surrounded by influential members of the GED team as well. Every day I see passionate, driven, kind individuals who are truly focused on our learners and how to put them on the path of fulfilling dreams and aspirations.
What is a typical day like for you?
I am usually up by 5 am and start my day with a walk or a workout. After that I make lunches, start laundry, clean the kitchen and fire up my laptop. My work day is filled with a number of activities including meetings with the GED team, states, publishers and internal partners. I then commute home and attend my children’s soccer, volleyball, or basketball practices. The rest of my evening is filled with family time including dinner and homework and I start preparing for the next day before going to sleep.
What are some of your day-to-day activities as President?
I meet with the leadership team, conduct 1:1 meetings, and plan for the days and weeks ahead. The meeting topics include conferences, presentations, travel, budgets, priorities, 2020 planning and much more. I am very focused on how we can continually improve, grow and advance. Every day is different, challenging, exciting and fun!
What is your vision for the organization moving forward?
I want every employer to see the value in investing in their employee’s education. I want every adult who has had challenging circumstances to look at the GED as a pathway of changing directions to a brighter future. I want students to feel empowered to learn, grow and advance to earning their GED. My goal is to offer hope, and a future through education to those that may not feel that is possible.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love going on walks, bike rides, golfing, going out with friends, and most of all I love hanging out with my kids! We love to play basketball and golf. We also enjoy swimming, working out, and taking road trips. I appreciate any time I can be near the ocean with my kids and husband. We love just being together.
What are some organizations you belong to or activities you do outside of work?
I coach my daughter’s seventh grade basketball team and I have coached her team since she was in kindergarten. I love coaching and wish I had more time to do it. I coached my son’s basketball team and my older daughter’s volleyball team. I am also part of the Junior Achievement advisory board and the Creating IT Futures board.
What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
Empathy. I know that I can’t always know what’s happening in someone’s life, but I know that everyone has something they are fighting against, working through or dealing with. Our work is only a portion of who we are and what we do, and it’s so important that we keep our work in perspective.
What are you most proud of accomplishing?
Being a mom of three children doesn’t compare to anything else I have accomplished. Each child is so different, yet so incredible in their own way. I learn so much from them, and they teach me more than I will ever teach them. It’s my greatest joy watching them grow, I only wish I could slow down time.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
I love and highly recommend the current book I am reading, ‘Awakening Joy’ by James Baraz. The book focuses on many effective ways to have more happiness, love and inner peace—including how to change your mindset and thoughts about even the most challenging situations.
What is your favorite type of music?
I love country, 70’s and 80’s, and relaxing music.
If you could only eat one thing everyday what would it be?
If I could eat one thing, it would be chocolate.