By Lucy S. Newman, CPT, DBA

Lucy Newman has over 24 years of experience derived from a development finance institution; four banks in Nigeria; the Performance Improvement Practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Nigeria; and FITC, where she has been CEO since May 2009. She is also chairman, FSS2020 Human Capital Development Implementation Committee; member, Sub-Committee on Ethics & Professionalism of the Nigerian Bankers’ Committee; and member, Executive Committee, West African Bankers’ Association. Over the past 10 years, she has written over 15 articles, two books, and a book chapter. She has facilitated many local and international seminars and workshops. She had 79 ISPI recertification points in 2011, even though she needed only 15. She enjoys traveling and meeting people across cultures. Within the past 10 years, she has visited Amsterdam, the Czech Republic, the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa officially and for leisure. Within the United States, she has visited Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, St. Louis, New York, Washington, DC, and New Jersey.

How long have you been a member of ISPI and what chapter are you a part of?

I have been an international member of ISPI since 2004 and got certified in 2008 independently. Then in 2008, I got connected with the ISPI Nigerian team. I became a life member in 2010 and got recertified in 2011.

What was your first performance improvement–related job?

My first performance improvement–related job role was the role of head of HR development for FSB International Bank Plc [now Fidelity Bank Plc], which was in 2003 a $346+ million universal bank in Nigeria, from July 2003 to January 2006. I had responsibilities for a direct $600K+ budget; 13 staff; bank-wide operations including running a training complex with residential facilities; and managing the bank-wide staff performance management system, serving 526 full-time and 573 contract staff across 38 branches nationwide.

Which college(s) did you attend and which program(s)?

I am a life learner and an advocate of continued education. As such, milestone colleges and programs for me so far include the following:

  • The University of Phoenix in Arizona, USA, where I studied for my doctorate in business administration with a focus on leadership and performance, from 2003 to 2008.
  • The Ahmadu Bello University at Zaria Nigeria, one of the three pioneer universities in Nigeria, where I studied for my master’s in business administration, majoring in international business from 1991 to 1992, and had earlier on, from 1983 to 1987, studied for a BSc in business administration, with financial management as major.
  • The Centre for Creative Leadership in Colorado Springs, USA, where I was a participant at one of the 2011 cohorts of the Leadership at the Peak Program, and had earlier on, in 2005, been a member of a cohort for the Leadership Development for HR Practitioners Program.

What company are you currently associated with and what is your title (please include company web site)?

I am current associated with FITC [formerly known as the Financial Institutions Training Centre], a special purpose not-for-profit professional services organization that is owned by the Nigerian Bankers’ Committee. FITC’s mandate has over the years positioned it as a reference professional services organization in matters relating to the acquisition, management, and development of the human capital to the operators and regulators in the Nigerian Financial System, primarily. It operates from Abuja and Lagos through three strategic service lines, namely FITC Training, FITC Consulting and FITC Research. FITC works both nationally and internationally, because it has nurtured viable strategic alliances and partnerships with some leading global brands, which enable it to deliver best-in-class services to its stakeholders, in line with global standards, yet contextualized to the local environment. It has delivered various interventions in some West Africa countries, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the USA, with its programs drawing participation from organizations across the West African region. I left the Business Advisory Performance Improvement Practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers Nigeria to became the managing director/CEO of FITC in May 2009 and have been in this role since then. FITC’s website address is http://www.fitc-ng.com.

What is on your performance improvement bookshelf?

I have piled up a lot of PI related publications over the years. However, most recent copies that I have used in the collection include:

  1. Handbook of Human Performance Technology, third edition (2006)
  2. Managing Performance Improvement Projects: Preparing, Planning, Implementing, by Jim Fuller (1997)
  3. The Consultant’s Scorecard: Tracking Results and Bottom-line Impact of Consulting Projects, by Jack Phillips (2000)
  4. FYI: For Your Improvement, A Guide for Development and Coaching for Learners, Managers, Mentors, and Feedback Givers, by Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger (2009)
  5. God Is My Coach: A Business Leaders’ Guide to Finding Clarity in an Uncertain World, by Larry Julian (2009)
  6. Employee Performance Management Practices within Banks in Nigeria: Effects on Employee Learning and Leadership Development by Lucy Newman [2009]

List one hobby or passion.

Taking long morning walks with my boar bull dog, Buster, while thinking and observing nature.

How did you get into the performance improvement field?

I got into the performance improvement field in 2003, when I was posted to head the human resources development [HRD] function in the former FSB International Bank Plc, now one of the legacy banks that make up the current Fidelity Bank Plc in Nigeria. FSB was then known for its application of international practices. As head of HRD, I had bank-wide responsibility for two critical functions with strategic implication for FSB’s HR–staff training and performance management. The industry was very competitive and since I was assigned to HR from the business side of banking, where I had been since I joined the bank in summer of 2000, I still wanted tangible performance. As such, upon my resumption in HRD, I was in search of how I could demonstrate my new department’s contributions to the bank bottom line, in a more scientific manner. So during fall of 2003, while conducting an Internet search for a professional association that had a clearly articulated methodology for showing contribution to the bottom line and link of employee learning intervention programs to employee performance, I found ISPI and the 10 Standards of Performance Improvement, which later became my lifetime career mantra! In 2004, I signed up as an international member of ISPI. By the time I applied for certification in 2008, I had more cases than were required, because I had since 2004 conditioned my work-related projects to meet as many of the 10 Standards as possible! Since then, I have not looked back on evidence-based practice and performance improvement, as this subsequently influenced some career decisions including my doctorate program and topic of my doctoral dissertation. I am now having fun and delivering clear impact, even to date, in my current role at FITC. I have, to date, been so engaged in the HPT [human performance technology] quadrant that by the time I needed to recertify in 2011, I had 79 ISPI recertification points, even though I needed only 15. My current role as the 2012/2014 International Director on the global ISPI board is a cherished opportunity and furtherance to my involvement in the HPT field, which I cherish dearly as an international Lifetime member.

Is there any advice you would give to a new entrant into the field of HPT or a student or recently graduated student?

Yes with their consent, I would like to offer some advice as a professional and, by special privilege, as the ISPI Board Liaison to the Emerging Professionals Committee. Personally, I am affiliated with many professional associations and have other certifications besides my CPT. However, for me, ISPI has a special place because I have seen that it completes and complements what I derive from the other affiliations. This feeling about ISPI as recounted here is shared by many ISPI members across generations, locations all over the world, and related professions in the human performance field, who have developed the discipline of applying the 10 performance improvement standards to their work as HPT practitioners in full- or part-time employment, as well as consulting. ISPI is now 50 years old and still viable–it means the system works and is sustainable! I only wish I had found ISPI and the 10 Standards earlier in my career!

So in view of this, my advice will be as follow:

  1. Welcome to a very interesting phase of your career! Please remain an active member of the society locally, regionally, and international if possible.
  2. Make the annual performance improvement conference your milestone development and learning session each year–you can grow so much by just attending, learning new skills, experiencing HPT case studies from other places, networking with mentors and colleagues in the field.
  3. Start thinking about the possibility of getting certified as soon as possible–getting certified changes your perspective on issues and distinguishes you as an expert. You also get to join the elite group of the CPTs and deepen your industry-specific experience within a global view by joining the CPT industry specific thematic cohorts.
  4. Get active on the various social media networks of like-minded individuals on LinkedIn, ISPI Collaborate, Facebook, and other networks.
  5. I hope you get to see ISPI as home for your career and enjoy the privilege of belonging to this select group of individuals, as I have while continuing to grow in the field.