BGSU alumna a top woman to watch in tech

Inc. Magazine names Tiffany Poeppelman ’08 a top 30 inspiring female 

Tiffany-Poeppelman

Photo credit: Jason Miller

By Bob Cunningham  

Tiffany (Ripley) Poeppelman ’08 has always been fascinated by people and what motivates them.

Poeppelman’s passion for understanding human behavior led her to earning a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Bowling Green State University and a Master of Science in industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology from Northern Kentucky University.

“The core skills I learned at BGSU not only helped me explore which field of psychology I would ultimately pursue in graduate school, but it shaped my core skills that allowed me to grow as a consultant and serve as a trusted adviser to any business,” said Poeppelman, who grew up in Oregon, Ohio. “Skills such as research methodology and measurement have always served me well in my roles over the years. Measurement becomes a real key in industry, as it represents a core piece of understanding return on investment (ROI).”

Inc. Magazine recently named Poeppelman one of “30 Inspirational Women to Watch in Tech in 2017.

Poeppelman is a senior sales performance consultant in sales readiness for LinkedIn, based in London after having served as an evaluation project manager at Google. In her professional service, she also is a columnist and board member for The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist (TIP), task force lead for the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), and serves on the Women at LinkedIn U.K. Board at LinkedIn.   

“Understanding people is at the heart of organizational change and learning-centered initiatives, which I drive and support every day in my role at LinkedIn and previous jobs I’ve had, including Google,” she said.

At LinkedIn, Poeppelman helps identify areas for improvement and creates development opportunities for more than 250 sales staff members across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She has published several papers, recorded a recent podcast, and regularly speaks at LinkedIn and external events.

Poeppelman said BGSU set her on the right path.  

“I learned from the best at BGSU since it’s one of the top programs in the I-O psychology field,” she said.  

Two of Poeppelman’s first formal mentors were Nicolas Salter and May Coltat, both graduate students in the I-O program, who still continue to inspire and encourage her. Additionally, she gives points to Dr. Michael Zickar, a professor and psychology department chair, who “was a brilliant professor who helped me with my graduate application and provided advice along the way in my early career.

“Funny story: In 2008, while an undergrad at BGSU, Nicolas Salter recommended I sign up for a platform called ‘LinkedIn.’ He thought it would be a good tool for me to use as I started to grow my professional network. I had no idea that six years later I’d be working for LinkedIn in one of the most incredibly rewarding jobs I can imagine. It’s been a fantastic platform that I’ve leveraged in growing my brand over the years, both within and outside of the company.”

After getting her master’s degree, Poeppelman gravitated toward training and methods that help develop individuals in the workplace, which led her to land her first job in the industry at a learning and development consulting firm.  

“It was throughout my experiences at the consulting firm and later another human-centered engineering firm that I continued finding new opportunities to improve and develop organizations through skill-based development programs, learning technologies and research projects for a range of companies,” Poeppelman said. “On one end of the spectrum I supported organizations like Macy’s, and on the other were military organizations like the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army.

“While these organizations may seem quite different, they actually have more commonality than one might expect. It always comes back to the core skills of building the right development experience and tools to grow people in their careers.”

Having external channels for sharing best practices, research and learning from others is what drives her to stay involved in the I-O psychology field and serve as a board member for other groups.

Being on the Women at LinkedIn U.K. Board “has been a fantastic experience,” she said. “It’s been an incredible journey helping to champion LinkedIn’s commitment to gender and diversity by creating and leading events for our internal workforce in the U.K.”

Since leaving BGSU, many of her papers and published work concern topics such as personal branding, the impact social media and technology has had on the workplace, learning technologies, applied experimentation and becoming a trusted adviser within the workplace.  

Personal branding is one of Poeppelman’s hallmarks; establishing one’s brand should be a high priority for professionals.

“I love the quote ‘Personal branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room,’” she said. “This is very accurate. I always encourage peers, friends and any professional to consider what they want to be known for in their field or industry.”  

“It’s important that individuals take time to Google their name to see what they find. Each of us needs to be responsible and shape that reputation — think brand — over time, not just when you are looking for a new job as an active candidate and suspect a recruiter may be looking your name up.”  

For professionals who are just starting to think about brand awareness, Poeppelman offered some career tips:   

  • Consider your passions and what drives you: Try to find the alignment between that passion area and your company’s mission. That is an intersection that can help you boldly stand out among all the other candidates and competing professionals in your space.
  • One thing to highlight: Everyone’s personal brand is something that continues to evolve over time, and should be maintained by thoughtful online and offline actions. For instance, be thoughtful about the topics or articles you share or comment on. Each of these will be associated with your name going forward; an important question to ask – “Is this part of my brand?”
  • Additionally, offline branding at events is equally important. How do you follow up and maintain relationships over time? These are all part of your brand and how others perceive you.

Poeppelman said the ability to help improve people’s experiences in their daily work lives has been at her core since she began her professional career.  

“I’ve always valued my degree and overall choice of the field,” she said. “Learning doesn’t stop after you leave BGSU. Even graduate school was just a start. I continue to use my foundational education every day, but the key to my success has been in continual learning since leaving school.”   

With that in mind, Poeppelman offered some advice for future graduates of the University:

  • Take some calculated risks. People are always making excuses to themselves as to why they can’t do something. The first time I set foot in Europe was when my plane landed in London, and I started working at Google three days later. I’d never even visited Europe before that.  Sometimes you just need to jump into the deep end of the pool.
  • I highly encourage students to reach out and find people they believe they can learn from, and ask lots of questions. Early in my career, I realized that mentorship must be sought out. It’s not an entitlement that one should wait around for; don’t wait around for someone to notice you. I have more than one mentor, and they don’t always come from my school or workplace. They are people who inspire me in different ways. Find people who inspire you, and reach out.
  • Thus far, I’ve not met anyone unwilling to take time and share their experiences and lessons with me. I’ve just had to seek it out at times. Each one of us needs to own mentors and our own career – be curious, and be bold in how you choose each!