She’s consulted with the U.S. Department of Labor, and currently serves on Gov. Andrew
Cuomo’s Long Island Regional Economic Development Council’s Workforce and Education
Group. Malone spoke with LIBN about Women in STEM, the talent gap and the need for
What’s the best part about working in higher education environment to help local businesses
achieve their workforce and professional development goals?
It is an incredibly dynamic time for higher education professional development as
we experience challenging economic conditions, and the need for individuals and organizations
to ‘re-skill’ to meet emerging needs for talent needs. This work requires strategic,
agile program development to support diverse industry sectors and audiences. Higher
education leaders need to be in constant dialogue with employers to stay on top of
technical and professional development imperatives.
Tell us about some of the initiatives you are leading.
Our Women in STEM Leadership Program is particularly exciting and is one of our most
innovative programs. We’re in our second year and currently forming our second cohort
for our April program. It is our first gender-specific program, which is the sum total
of two years of in-depth development and assessment. Our inaugural program last spring
was very well-received by the business community and included scientists, researchers,
engineers, IT professionals and more from Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring
Harbor Laboratory, as well as engineering, healthcare, pharmaceutical and finance
companies. To support the Women in STEM participants in leadership roles, we have
developed a series of workshops for organizations to expand awareness of implicit
bias, micro-aggressions, culture change, workplace power and more.
Other initiatives we are currently working on address skill and talent gaps in specific
industries including pharma, aerospace and manufacturing, human resource management,
developing career ladders, micro-credentials, and an expanded series of digital executive
programs in project management, leadership and tech.
Why is the Women in STEM Leadership Program important for Long Island?
Long Island is home to two prominent national labs, multiple leading healthcare organizations,
very large manufacturers and high-tech firms, and a growing life sciences and pharmaceutical
industry. All sectors share a need to engage, support and sustain women in leadership
positions because of both the impact gender equity has on innovation and organizational
success, as well as the economic imperative for talent. Demographic shifts have positively
impacted inclusivity in gender and ethnicity.
Is it important that government be directly involved with professionals serving at
the grassroots level to help address critical workforce needs?
It is essential that all stakeholders be engaged in workforce development, and government
can play a critical role in enhancing and sustaining a region’s economic vitality
through its funding, programming and community resources. Government advocacy for
funds and support at both the state and local levels make economic development possible
and sustainable. The Regional Councils’ initiatives and programs have expanded collaborations
and fostered new partnerships with great impact on the workforce of this region.
What inspired you to develop the Wall Street and Beyond Transitional Professional
This program is very close to my heart. In 2007, the impact of the mortgage crisis
was felt strongly in this region. I began exploring issues and challenges of individuals
who had lost their jobs in finance and related industries. In 2008, when the full
impact of the crisis was underway, job losses occurred at an unprecedented pace. We
had a small program starting in project management and thought it could be a bridge
to new employment for some professionals out of work. Stony Brook is deeply committed
to supporting the community and the region, and we felt a responsibility to assist
the dislocated professionals in the way we knew best – through education and employment
How did it work?
We had a very tangible, globally accepted project management certification program,
which we enhanced for professionals in transition as a new career path. In partnership
with our career center, we added a job search boot camp, seminars and assistance with
social media, and a meet-up space for study groups, and connected them to a large
network of employers. Over 2,000 have participated in this program, which is funded
privately and through state and federal funds.
You also co-authored a book [Enhancing Creativity in Adult and Continuing Education].
Is there a tie-in with your work at Stony Brook?
The book discusses innovative solutions to learning at different points in one’s life
and in both individual and team settings. My goal was to infuse ideas and strategies
for making learning more dynamic and impactful in a variety of communities and content
areas. The most impactful professional development occurs at the intersection of innovation,
collaboration and creativity. This is a model we try to apply in our various programs
at the center.
Any new programs on the horizon?
We are currently working to offer more innovative digital learning opportunities to
make our offerings more accessible to a much broader audience. Our goal is to provide
face-to-face learning with digital learning programs for a more effective and efficient
learning experience. We are also expanding our executive leadership programs for emerging
leaders and those in academia, science and engineering. We are forging new partnerships
to expand our degree programs in new industry sectors and are creating industry-specific
micro-credentials in growth areas.
What advice do you have for Long Island business executives about their workforce?
To invest early and strategically in offering executive and professional development
programs in areas including leadership, talent development, project management, and
specialized technical literacy and skills. It is critical that organizations encourage
and support access and opportunity for professional development to continuously develop
the skills and knowledge of their talent as they navigate a global economy.