Employees at A-LIGN take many different paths throughout their journey – that’s why we sat down with Stacy Graison, our Learning & Development Specialist, to talk about a few really interesting things – read below for all the details.
- How she excels at a cybersecurity company without a cybersecurity background
- What it takes to onboard 150 new hires
- What it’s like raising (no kidding!) lions and baboons at accredited zoos and aquariums
Where are you from, and how did you begin your career at A-LIGN?
I grew up in Venice, Florida and have lived in Florida for most of my life, except for a few years when I lived in Georgia. I began my career at A-LIGN because I was looking for a shift in what I had been doing in my previous role working for a non-profit. I knew a couple of people that worked at A-LIGN that reached out about their roles in the Organizational and People Development (OPD) program, so here I am!
Tell me about your role as the Learning and Development Specialist at A-LIGN.
My job is to get all new hires acclimated to the company and into their new role. I do everything possible to help them feel welcomed and act as that support person to help them navigate their first few weeks.
How would you describe A-LIGN in one word?
What has surprised you most about working at A-LIGN?
I worked at a non-profit my entire career until now, so coming into a corporate environment, I was shocked to have a laptop ready for me the minute I started. A-LIGN provides us with resources, tools and training we need to successfully do our jobs. It’s helped me learn a lot quickly, and I am very thankful for that!
What is your favorite part of working at A-LIGN?
The people I get to work with every day. I work with the SOC team the most and everyone is so supportive and kind, which means a lot to me as someone who does not have a background in cybersecurity. This also goes a long way with new hires because it helps them feel a bit safer coming into an unfamiliar environment.
What have you gained professionally from working at A-LIGN?
Additional experience using the learning tools and resources we’re provided. A few of the tools we use in the Organizational and People Development Programs (OPD) were newer to me, so it’s been really fun to learn, and engage with opportunities I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience if it weren’t for A-LIGN. I’m a science nerd and really love exploring new things, so it’s fun to get a grasp on something challenging.
Has anyone specific made a positive impact on your career at A-LIGN?
I work closely with many different departments, so having a solid relationship with so many different teams has helped me learn and grow to where I am today. The two people who have made an impact on my career are Andrew Houshian, our Director of Service Delivery Operations, and Angie Brown, our Leadership Coach. Andrew is a very strong leader, so it’s been a pleasure to report to someone with his skillset. Angie and I have known each other for many years, so it’s been really fun to work with her again and bounce ideas off each other.
How do you ensure employees are onboarded effectively?
I ask them about their experience since joining A-LIGN. I try to check in often with the new hires to make sure they’re grasping the information they need to know, and I always establish open communication. I’m always looking at current trends in learning and ways to enhance our onboarding process. Even with some of the trainings that I help facilitate, like A-LIGN University, our college graduate training program, or CLIMBER Academy, which is our experienced hire training program, I am always looking for feedback. Additionally, it helps to have a good relationship with our subject matter experts, and I always try to supply them with the resources they need to ensure they’re providing the best training possible to their new hires.
What is a work-related accomplishment that you’re proud of?
I’m extremely proud to say that I onboarded more than 150 new hires this past spring. That’s a significant number to have onboarded in half a year. I’m also really proud of the relationships that I’ve built with our subject matter experts, so that I’m able to help them create the best training materials in order to provide an outstanding experience for their new hires.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Getting to know the college hires and mentoring them as they begin their careers is extremely rewarding to me. I love helping them with all of their questions, hearing the things they’re worried about, and trying to alleviate some of their stresses while they’re beginning their very first job. It’s really fun to watch and be a part of!
What motivates you to perform your job duties?
Well, I am a big nerd and I think learning is super important. I’ve been in education for a long time. I like being able to see people “get it,” and understand something that might be brand new for them. It’s like watching a light bulb go off!
Which of our values (Be All In, Commit to Quality, Do the Right Thing Always, Innovate Constantly) do you identify with most and why?
Do the right thing always. It’s a unique value to have, and I have worked at several places where that was not always the case. I like that it’s stated from the beginning that we expect you to do the right thing always, and we’re hiring you to live by our values. We spend a lot of time at work, so it’s refreshing to really enjoy what I do, and be surrounded by individuals who truly live by A-LIGN’s values.
What is the best advice you could give someone trying to enter the industry?
Get involved in some way, whether it’s through an organization that you join or through an internship. You have to get your feet wet to make sure that this is what you want to do. Then, study up, know what is currently going on with trends in the industry, and start to network with people who work in the industry. Once you do that, you’ll be able to find your way in!
What do you do for fun outside of work?
I love hanging out with my seven-year-old daughter, watching all things Harry Potter, and being outside. My favorite place is the beach, so my daughter and I spend a lot of time there. There are studies that have shown that being outside relieves stress for people, so I think it’s important we get outside as much as we can.
What is a fun fact about yourself that many people may not know?
I’ve raised several wild animals, including a lion and a baboon. My past life was in conservation, so I’ve worked with many different types of animals. The lion I raised was very special to me because when I first got her, she had been through a lot. Her mother was a first-time mom and didn’t know how to raise her and she experienced many difficulties the night she was born. She had broken bones, couldn’t see, and was having seizures, but somehow, she still managed to act like a normal cat. To me, that says a lot about animals, and it was a reminder that no matter what, you’ve just got to keep going.