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MSOD Program Alumni Testimonial


Alumnus Gina Paone, MSOD '11

Gina Paone encourages others to think differently about the world. Leading the Change Management Unit within the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Gina applies her Master's in Organizational Development degree to make an impact on others. Referencing the MSOD program, Gina believes her experience provides her with the skillset needed to lead effectively. Attracted to Pepperdine’s standards of excellence, Gina is committed to implementing value centered leadership throughout her organization. Through applying the skills developed during the Master's in Organizational Development program, Gina is dedicated to promoting change within the world.

Read Gina's Story

"Bringing every voice into the room is important, whether it be a woman, whether it be a different nationality. Encouraging people to think differently about inequality and gender and climate change and just macroeconomics. We need to bring all the best minds together in order to provide those solutions. I'm Gina Paone and I'm the head of the Change Management Unit in the International Monetary Fund, or as it is commonly known, The Fund.

Working for the UN, it's mandate-driven so you feel that you're really contributing to making the world a better place. The IMF is really responsible for maintaining global financial stability in the world. We have the unique responsibility and also, the capability of going into countries and understanding what their economies need in order to thrive. I was appointed about two months ago to lead the organizational Change Management Unit.

The digital world and the digital transformation that's happening outside, we need to really, really focus on internally in order to modernize The Fund, and the Change Management Unit is really focused on the people side. What I realized about organizational development is that you really need it to be hands-on, and it was a different approach than just doing an MBA. Because I was in Rome at the time, I started looking at programs in Europe and in the UK, and nothing really jumped out at me. I had a chief of the unit of staff development who had gone through the Master's in Organization Development program, and she introduced me to MSOD and to Pepperdine.

When I decided to enroll in MSOD, I was already working for about 20 years in my career. For me, that was like hitting the reset button. The MSOD program at Graziadio was so hands-on. It really gave me the tools and the methodologies that I really needed to go back to work and just implement immediately and be more effective. When I came back from Pepperdine University at Graziadio, something clicked with my management, and they just said, go loose on the organization. Go out and do what you need to do in order to open up this place.

One of the reasons why I chose Pepperdine University was because their values really were in sync with my values. After working in the World Food Program and then coming to the International Monetary Fund, doing good in the world was so important and when I looked at Pepperdine University, those were the same values that Pepperdine did. Their faculty really shows that, they're very interested in their staff, they're caring, they're empathetic, they're compassionate, they're gentle in their teaching, but at the same time, there's that rigor and there's that excellence that they're building, and that is so in line with the way that I think learning needs to happen in an organization or learning for ourselves. Change is important for an organization. It's important for the whole world because you need to stay relevant and so, helping an organization to understand that and to deal with the change and progressively work towards the change only makes them stronger."