A Perfect Fit of Psychology and Business

IO Psychologist Kara Glassman Puts Passion into Her Work at Global Consulting Firm Prophet

March 25, 2024
Kara Glassman
Kara Glassman

Kara Glassman was always torn between her interest in business and her interest in psychology. “I could never choose,” laughed Glassman, who earned a bachelor’s in business from Franklin & Marshall College.

Glassman’s first position out of college was at an advertising agency. Soon, she was hired by American Express and spent the next few years in account management and client services. Still, her interest in psychology dogged her. “People often told me that there was so much psychology integrated into business,” Glassman explained. “I always had an idea of getting an MBA, but while I was working at American Express, I thought about what I wanted to do long-term. I realized I wanted to help people in organizations reconsider how they work with their employees and how they retain talent.” 

When Covid slowed down the world, Glassman began taking online psychology classes at UCLA and the University of Texas and found herself drawn to the material. Industrial organizational psychology seemed like the perfect fit of both her interests. Looking for a New York-based program, she discovered Touro’s School of Health Science Industrial Organizational (IO) Psychology program. 

“What really sold me on the Touro program was the applied business aspect,” said Glassman who graduated in 2023. “Other programs were more research-heavy and for me, as a learner, I wanted that applied aspect in combination with the internship requirements. I liked that I had to put in hours in the field.” 

“The program was great,” continued Glassman. “Our courses took real organizations and theories and we studied how we could apply them. I also thought there was a good balance between group and individual work as well as diversity in the classroom which is important for learning.” 

Asked about her own definition of IO, Glassman said: “IO Psychology is the way we think about people and their motivation: we ask why do people act the way they do in the workplace? What’s motivating people? What’s incentivizing people to change?”

Her time in SHS’s IO program also coincided with a new position in the IO field. “One of my professors encouraged me to start looking for a new position,” said Glassman. “During Covid there was a lot of emphasis on IO. Covid spotlighted employees and how their companies thought about them.”

Glassman joined Prophet, a boutique growth and transformation consulting firm, as a senior consultant. Each day, she practices her IO training in the organizational and culture practice of the firm. “We have a proprietary framework called the human-centered transformation model,” said Glassman. “We think about an organization as a human and its characteristics such as the DNA, body, soul, and mind all of which make an organization operate. We use components of the model to create long lasting change and work backwards from our clients’ goals. We collaborate with leaders to create fast impact and meaningful change in organizations.” Her clients have ranged from quick service restaurant chains, higher education, and hospitality organizations.

“For our clients in higher education we helped them create a vision for a transformation through several work sessions,” said Glassman. “This resulted in developing a ten-year roadmap for how to measure and roll out the transformation across the education system. On a different project for our hospitality client, we helped them understand how to evolve service behaviors to match the new premium space they hoped to enter. We had to better define and translate those behaviors so that team members could act on them and be properly trained through a variety of tactics.”

Glassman has also launched her own leadership coaching firm. 

“I took a coaching class at Touro, and it helped spark my interest,” said Glassman. “Coaching is very much an art and a science. There’s a right way to go about asking questions and being intuitive as well as being an active listener.”

Though her firm just launched, Glassman has already worked with several high-profile individuals including leaders at Fortune 500 companies. 

“It's been really rewarding and a growth experience for me,” Glassman reflected. “Coaching is an amazing journey you get to take with someone else. It’s remarkable to see the lightbulb go off when I bring a question to a client and it’s not something they have thought of... It’s rewarding to see people take what we talk about and implement it.”