Hi, I’m Patricia Grabarek and I’m so excited to introduce myself to you!
I grew up in Southern California, just north of Los Angeles, to Polish immigrant parents. I really believe my parents’ drive for me to have a better life has hugely impacted my career aspirations. They focused heavily on education and so education I sought!
I went to college at UCLA (Go Bruins!) where I studied psychology. I worked in a variety of health psychology labs, which sparked my interest in stress and health. But I did have more of an interest in business than clinical health, which led me to Industrial/Organizational Psychology. On a whim, I applied to 3 I/O Psychology doctoral programs without ever having taken a class in the field! I was lucky to get in and start my journey at Penn State.
I was lucky again to find such a great program and to fall in love with a field I barely knew. It was a very challenging but rewarding time in my life. I learned so much about organizations, employee behavior, and how to apply psychology to the workplace. I also made so many lifelong friendships, including meeting my partner-in-crime, Katina Sawyer! We had so many adventures in grad school together – both academic and personal.
In grad school, I also learned a lot of lessons on balancing work and life. I took fitness classes at the local YMCA, which is actually affordable on a grad student budget! I made sure I spent time taking walks and hikes to clear my mind when stressed. I was also lucky to have a great support system in the other grad students in the program. We made sure to make time for fun, even if it was for only a few hours! We would go out for dinner, dancing, or hang out at Katina’s weekly ‘Project Runway’ viewing!
When writing my dissertation, I took an internship and moved to D.C. I spent a couple of years there consulting with government agencies on various projects including creating leadership trainings, conducting organizational assessments, and analyzing employee feedback.
After finishing my degree, I searched for ways to move back to sunny California. I was not made for winters! Luckily, the consulting firm I worked for allowed me to move and continue working with them as an independent contractor. After about a year of that, I moved into an internal consultant position with a healthcare company. I worked one employee engagement initiatives, trying to build a meaningful and productive culture.
It was at this time that I started feeling the need for something more. It was clear that where I worked did not value science or know much about organizational research. I decided I wanted to teach others to apply science in the workplace. I found a brand new Applied Psychology masters program at USC and reached out to see how I could help. I began speaking to students about the importance of applying research to the workplace. I joined the advisory committee to help shape the direction of the program. And most recently, I began teaching an introductory organizational psychology class.
In the meantime, I switched jobs to work in more of a consulting capacity again. I currently work at Infor as a Senior Behavioral Scientist. I work with clients to implement and advise on predictive analytic solutions. I enjoy being able to touch many clients and organizations with the science I know and trust.
While I am able to apply the science in my current role and teach its importance at USC, I still felt there was more I could do. As fate would have it, Katina and I shared our ideas about creating a new venture over drinks before a mutual grad school friend’s wedding. We both wanted to make an impact on employee well-being and to use our knowledge and expertise in a different way. Luckily, we both are good at follow-through and Workr Beeing was born!
Now that you know my journey, I thought you may want to know a little about me personally! I live with my husband, Dan, and my cat, Nittany in beautiful Marina Del Rey. I love being near the ocean and try to spend as much time on the beach as possible. I also love hot yoga (shout out to Modo Yoga!) and try to keep my practice consistent even though I travel quite a bit for work. I do work remotely when not traveling which provides me with some flexibility to keep my work and life balanced.
I also have a serious case of wanderlust. My dream is to see the world. I recently went to Asia for the first time (visiting Hong Kong, Vietnam, and South Korea) and am desperate to go back! I try to prioritize vacation and travel as much as possible. Each trip teaches me something new and changes my perspective on the world. If I won the lotto, I think I would spend most of my money on travel!
Thanks for getting to know me! I hope you will join our hive and let Workr Beeing help you! Please contact us with any feedback or even just to share your experience. I’d love to get to know you too!