The exams we deliver at Pearson VUE have a direct and positive impact on communities around the globe, driving progress and helping our clients deliver on the promise of their industries. In this series, we’re taking a deeper look at the ways we make that happen, by speaking to people from around our business who are making a lasting impact in a particular area of assessments.
This time we’re speaking to Bridget Herd, Senior Vice President, Client Program Management and the Project Management Office (PMO). Bridget leads program management and the PMO, making certain that client service expectations are met or exceeded by her team of expert program managers. With more than 23 years of success in all aspects of program management, including marketing, development, launch, and program transition, Bridget is a results-oriented professional with a focus on bringing ongoing process improvement and quality assurance to the company’s growing businesses.
Q. Bridget, we’d love to learn more about you. Could you please tell us about yourself? What drives and inspires you?
I wish my “story” was more interesting, but it’s pretty quiet. I was raised on a farm, the youngest of six kids – but I’ve always been accused of behaving like the oldest child. Working from the time you are young instills a sense of drive that I don’t think you get from studying books or traveling. To this day, I must have a sense of accomplishment in my work – in fact, I’ve left jobs when I didn’t feel that connection and sense of accomplishment. I consider my superpower to be that of “a fixer.” When I can come in and help fix something that isn’t working as expected it is the best part of my day. Working on behalf of my team keeps me motivated. I try to be available to them when they need assistance as so much of our day is something new that just happened with their client or their project. So, I’m happy to take my experience and offer suggestions.
Q. Please briefly describe your role within Pearson VUE. What comprises your typical day?
I have five different groups that report to me, so a typical day is one that is never the same as the last. I like to say that no one ever seeks me out to share good news – so most days I’m helping to solve some challenge, staying up-to-date on projects that are important to our business, or meeting with clients. I’m also serving as program chair for the Association of Test Publishers 2023 conference, so there are often decisions that need to be made as we finalize that program.
Q. What are some of the industry challenges and opportunities you have identified that impact our clients’ examination programs?
I would say the most recent challenge was helping clients move from test centers to online testing when we found ourselves in the peak of COVID disruption. Programs had to make quick decisions on how to move ahead, such as what risks they were comfortable taking. Moving ahead, I think one of the biggest risks our industry faces is ensuring testing remains integral to society. Many programs are under pressure to get rid of their exams altogether. This movement would have serious ramifications for all of us – I, for one, want to make sure my medical professionals are held to the highest standards that ensure they are qualified.
Q. What are some of the most exciting future industry disruptors that we can look forward to?
I’m excited to see how far artificial intelligence (AI) can take us. There is a lot to consider regarding the use of AI – what are the right applications, how can you ensure bias-free outcomes, etc. But as we learn more regarding where it can improve candidate experience and processes, I think it will make our industry better and lead to better outcomes for our stakeholders.
Q. What achievements are you most proud of?
Does this have to be work-related? For me it’s really being able to share that I raised two kids who, I am so proud to say, are good human beings. Frankly, I never had specific work goals (e.g., be XYZ in the next five years, etc.) but once I had kids, I realized that I had to do everything in my power to raise good people. Now that they are adults, I can look back and feel good about it.
P.S. – to those of you still in the heart of raising kids – my sympathies as it not always easy, but you will get through it.
Q. In terms of what you have achieved in your career thus far, what advice would you give to your younger you?
It feels like I should have a really good answer for this by this stage in my career. One thing that comes to mind is to find things you like doing. Said another way, whatever things you naturally gravitate toward are ideal places to start. I didn’t grow up saying I wanted to be in the testing business, but if you focus on work areas that you are good at and enjoy, you never know what path your career might take. Also, don't try to create a strict script for your career; just letting it happen can be fine.
Q. What hobbies / activities do you enjoy, and how do you like to unwind?
Traveling for sure as I didn’t do much of it growing up. I’m also a dog fanatic (dog whisperer if I’m being honest), I like to read, and I enjoy working out in some way most days.