MD Anderson 2020 Interview Project
Chapter 01: Coaching and Leadership Training


Chapter 01: Coaching and Leadership Training



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In this chapter, Dr. DeVeau talks about her academic career, her recruitment to MD Anderson because of her expertise in coaching and leadership development, and the field of industrial organization psychology.


Michelle DeVeau, PysD, PCC, Oral History Interview, July 9, 2021


Nina Nevill

So, we are officially recording. I have something little to read off and then we will go ahead and just jump into some questions. So, I’m Nina Nevill, interviewing Mickie DeVeau for an oral history project run by the Historical Resources Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Mickie was recruited to MD Anderson in the Leadership Institute as a Program Director and has over 20 years of coaching and consulting experience. This session is being held virtually over Zoom. It is the first and only session that we have scheduled, however, a second interview can be scheduled if needed. And today is July 9th, 2021. The time is about 2:25 p.m. And thank you so much again for devoting your time today to our oral history project.

Michelle DeVeau, PysD, PCC

Oh, my pleasure. I was excited that I was asked.

Nina Nevill

Of course. Well, I think it works out well to just start at the beginning that way we can get a little bit acquainted first. If you don’t mind telling me a little bit about where you’re from and a little bit about your family, and just your background, that would be wonderful.

Michelle DeVeau, PysD, PCC

Oh, sure. So, I am originally from the East Coast. I was recruited to MD Anderson about 13, close to 14 years ago, because of my expertise in coaching and establishing leadership development programs. When I first came over to MD Anderson, I was charged with really revamping the coaching programs there. We didn’t have a Leadership Institute just quite yet. I was recruited first as an organization development consultant and had worked under Bill Wooten, and then others, throughout my career and then we formed the Leadership Institute in 2018. And for the Leadership Institute, I provide oversight for all personalized development programs. So, that includes all of our coaching programs and we have several. We’ve also embedded coaching into all of our leadership development programs in some way, shape, or form. And then I also provide oversight and help develop what we call our Accelerate programs. So, our Accelerate programs are leadership development programs that are specific to individuals we call multiplying leaders. Multiplying leaders are individuals who are seen as incredibly capable and ready to take on the next level of leadership. So, in layman’s terms it’s high potential leaders. And I also provide oversight for our Discover programs. Our Discover programs are more self-directed programs, online learning, and then we’ve incorporated peer mentoring into that program where our leaders take a deeper dive into all of our leadership characteristics, and there are eight of them, and their associated competencies. At this point for the Discover programs, we have our bundle that’s associated with Drive and also Professionalism that is active.

My family. So, when I was recruited about 13 years ago, I was a young mother. I feel so old, now, but anyway. When I was recruited, I had just upended my entire family and we moved halfway across the country. When you have an organization like MD Anderson want you, you go for it. In that process, and I joke around with people, I am one of those people who never really actually applied for their job. I am that less than three percent. So, I had posted my resume on a specific professional organization website and I had gotten a call from a recruiter at MD Anderson. So, being from back East, the big player there is Sloan. And interestingly enough, at the same time that MD Anderson was recruiting me, Sloan-Kettering was recruiting me at the same time. But we decided as a family that we wanted something a little bit different, a change of pace, better weather, so we decided to move to Texas. And as of right now, since moving to Texas, we were the only ones that we knew when we moved to Texas. And then, my parents have decided to come join us. They actually live with me. So, I’m in a multi-generational home. My parents, they’re downstairs. They have the master suite, and then, rest of us are all upstairs with the remaining bedrooms. So, I’m trying to think. You had said questions about family, what was the other thing you had mentioned, Nina? I have forgotten.

Nina Nevill

Oh, no worries. I had said just a little bit about yourself, where you’re from, family, and your background. So, very open-ended. That could be taken however you so please.

Michelle DeVeau, PysD, PCC

Sure, sure. I guess another thing that probably might be relevant is one of the reasons why I was recruited. I have an advanced degree in Organizational Psychology. So, my training is in coaching and is in developing coaching programs and leadership development programs. That’s where my doctorate is in. Also in needs assessments, a bit of project management, a ton of experience in performance management, too. So, my academic career is what was very appealing to MD Anderson. And then it was augmented by my professional career. Before coming to MD Anderson, I worked for Independence Blue Cross which is a health insurance company in Philadelphia. And that’s where I really got my feet wet in developing programs that were specific to leaders. So, that whole idea of personalized development, I started that way back when, when I worked for Independence Blue Cross, and then have slowly been able to implement a lot of things here at MD Anderson and continue that learning and growth.

Nina Nevill

That’s so fascinating. Well, you’ve already shared so much which I guarantee we will get into in a little bit more detail. Regarding your educational path, going back a bit, what inspired you to pursue that path? Was there something drawing you at that point to coaching and leadership? Or was it more just to focus on—I guess I suppose what aspect of that drew you to it?

Michelle DeVeau, PysD, PCC

Sure, sure. So, once again, I’m one of those weird, unique individuals. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a psychologist. I just didn’t know what kind of psychologist. And then I had actively pursued a liberal arts college. I went to University of Scranton for my undergraduate. I wanted a smaller college, one that had a pretty strong psychology program. And I didn’t know if I wanted to do clinical, or school, or industrial organizational psychology. And it was within my first probably two months of my undergraduate career I had volunteered for an event where we worked with severely emotionally and physically disabled children. And that’s when I realized that I couldn’t handle it. I simply couldn’t. My heart was breaking and I felt useless and helpless. And that’s when I really broke down, because I knew from the age of 12, I wanted to study why people behave the way they behave. And that’s when I connected with one of my best mentors, my father, and we reviewed a couple different things. And he had a very biased opinion, not only just being my father, but also being an accountant by profession. He had said, “Mickie, you know, you have a head for business. Why don’t you try something in the business world?” And that’s how I stumbled across industrial organization psychology. So, my rest of my undergraduate career was a focus in what we call IO Psychology.



Publication Date



The Historical Resources Center, The Research Medical Library, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

Professional Path; Joining MD Anderson; Personal Background; The Leader; Critical Perspectives

Conditions Governing Access


Chapter 01: Coaching and Leadership Training