Pact (Washington DC) Reviews | Glassdoor

Pact (Washington DC) Reviews

Updated April 18, 2019
87 reviews

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2.4
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Pact (Washington DC) President & CEO Mark Viso
Mark Viso
61 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Good and professional staff in DC supporting the country offices" (in 11 reviews)

  • "Pact is able to attract some good people by paying well and offering good benefits and a good office space downtown" (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • "The DC office is a highly oppressive environment totally under the malign presence of Mark Viso" (in 13 reviews)

  • "It's NOT conducive to a good work-life balance" (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great People"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Shared Services
    Current Employee - Shared Services
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pact (Washington DC) full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Everybody you are working with has a lot to offer and genuinely cares about what they do.

    Cons

    The organization hasn't always had such a strong ear to employees. They are really changing this. The motivation to improve and change as needed is so strong. They may not do everything right, but there is enough humility to see it change.


  2. Helpful (14)

    "Is this serious?"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Pact (Washington DC) full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Pact is able to attract some good people by paying well and offering good benefits and a good office space downtown.

    Cons

    Where to start? Perhaps by a review of what has been said below. I was shocked that Mark Viso CEO was rated as highly as 25% favorably. But then I checked the reviews more closely. Just about every good review for Mark Viso comes from either interns or junior level staff. I only saw 2 from someone who would have interacted with him much.

    In short, Pact is run by a bully. It is especially brutal to work here as a more senior level women, as several have said. Everything, and I mean everything, is done to satisfy his very out sized ego. A decade in to his rule, he is like an old school President for Life, I'm always right, know you place, obey all commands and you will be fine kinda leader. Those who step out of place, politely suggest he may not be perfect, are banished from his court, sneered and and made to feel very unwelcome in the boys club called leadership. I'm so pleased not to be there.

    Advice to Management

    Obey.

  3. Helpful (14)

    "Disappointing, tense atmosphere"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Pact (Washington DC) full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Many amazing colleagues. Much impressive work done in country offices.

    Cons

    Pact has a poor reputation when it comes to gender issues. I have experienced these issues myself and seen others struggle with them too. Nothing is done to address this chronic discrimination. The lack of job security doesn’t help either.


  4. Helpful (14)

    "Mixed bag"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Pact (Washington DC) full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Pact may be one of the most commented-on NGOs on Glassdoor. Pros? CEO Viso does have some good days. Somehow, Pact continues to win projects, despite discombobulated proposals, and the work in the field is consistently strong and inspiring. Pact plods along, year after year, although it seeks to "transform" year after year as well. Great place to be a warm body at a desk, if that's your thing, collecting a paycheck and enjoying good benefits.

    Cons

    CEO Viso has his bad days, mostly when he hires top executives. They rarely last long, often for good reason. The sloth-like COO du jour makes sure Pact remains inert.

    Advice to Management

    Management doesn't take advice.


  5. Helpful (16)

    "Avoid senior roles at Pact"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Pact (Washington DC) full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I loved the office in DC. Lots of hard work. Many decent folks.

    Cons

    I felt used by Mark Viso CEO. I was warned when I joined that he uses people and then drops them. He is especially challenged by strong women. I've never worked with such a self opinionated and not insecure human being. Nasty. Lower down or out of GE country I think Pact is still a good place to grow. Just avoid Mark.

    Advice to Management

    None.


  6. Helpful (19)

    "Think long and hard about Pact.... Research!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Pact (Washington DC) full-time

    Pros

    Pact has one of the best benefits package.
     The country teams are the best and very passionate about their field and program.

    Cons

    If you are interested in Pact, you need to be aware that it is going through a lot of changes right now. There is no clear leadership and direction within the organization.

    Depending on the departments, Pact has employees who are very competitive and not supportive.

    The Pact is very centralized. Country offices don't have enough latitude to be successful.


  7. Helpful (40)

    "I don't hate it, though I'm starting to, but there's much room for improvement"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Pact (Washington DC) full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Pact does some great work and there are a ton of wonderful folks who work for the organization. I'm proud to say I've met a few great friends here. There also seems to be a talent for hiring country office staff. In general, I find that there is SO much talent in the country offices and really wonderful people, too. I actually don't hate Mark V. as much as everyone else does. I think he's basically been relegated to being a figurehead and I think that's fine. It's pretty clear that the COO is generally running the show day to day. I don't have an opinion on that, really. I also don't hate the idea of transformation in the sense that when I got here I saw how flat the organization is and said to myself, this isn't going to work for long. Too many directors, not enough VPs. Transformation is correcting that, and I'm OK with it. This way there's actually more oversight on and attention paid to the teams, rather than the execs being pulled in 20 million directions and losing touch with what's really happening "on the ground". The benefits are a great perk. The pay is pretty good, although there's very little standardization between positions, experience level, and pay grades. Another thing I really like is that because there's so much work to do, if someone isn't pulling their weight they're weeded out really fast. You absolutely cannot hide here and pretend like you're working hard when you're not. That type of accountability is good.

    Cons

    Oh, goodness, where do I begin. A lot of what others have said. Wasted money on so many consulting groups that don't seem to do anything. Major functions like HR outsourced. Let's add to the HR thing the fact that there is no standardization to our job positions, which the HR consultancy was supposed to fix, and that hasn't happened yet. We have no idea what's going on with transformation because we haven't had an all staff meeting in 6 months. At first staff were involved with everything, now we're involved with nothing. I guess the consultants are handling it. In addition, our country offices pay consultants money for basically no reason - to do work that they never actually do and there doesn't seem to be any oversight on that. PD and AM know about at least some of it. I don't blame them for it at all, I blame the holes in accountability with the country offices, who basically do whatever they want (and you think granting them more autonomy under transformation is going to make this better?). Then we either send out shoddy work that angers our donors or someone else has to fix it, usually an HQ staffer, costing us double the money and / or our reputation. Pact is basically hemorrhaging money for no good reason and tanking its reputation in the process.

    Let's talk about culture. You're basically expected to work 60+ hours. And travel with minimal notice (I'm talking a few days). It's NOT conducive to a good work-life balance. Then more work with transformation and the quality sprints are piled on. Thankfully some of the folks with terrible, nasty attitudes have left. But, some still remain. I think a lot of this is on upper management. They're creating a culture of mistrust and people are just scared so they're protecting their egos and livelihoods. There's so much ambiguity, which seems to be par for the course for Pact. I kind of can't blame people for worrying about their positions and visibility in the company. I just wish they would understand that we're all in it together and treating other people poorly and gossiping behind everyone's backs isn't the way to go about fixing things. Overall, there are plenty of super terrible attitudes running around at all levels of employment and these folks need to go. No more making excuses for them. No giving them 2 years of chances with no actual direction on what they need to do to change. Just get rid of them already.

    How do you move up in the organization? I have no idea. I've seen the same people get promoted over and over and they're the people with the least positive contributions to the organization. Meanwhile, the hardest workers with the largest contributions are passed over for years, told that there's no money to compensate them or that no one is getting a promotion this year (I know of a few directors who were told that in multiple departments and clearly that wasn't true). Stop promoting the same people over and over again or the people who you then say are not pulling their weight. It's a total mixed message. Half the people you promote then leave a few months later. Clearly upper management doesn't have an eye for who really is a worthwhile employee. I've asked how to improve so that I can be promoted and I'm told that I'm already doing a great job and everything I'm being asked and going above and beyond. So, tell me, how does one get promoted if I'm already doing the things that you've told me I need to do to get promoted? That doesn't make me want to contribute much anymore.

    Meanwhile, we're understaffed. Disgustingly understaffed. See above comments on hemorrhaging money for no good reason and expectation for working 60+ hours. No wonder we can't hire the staff we really need. Half a mill to Accenture? That's a good few solid staff members we could have hired to help alleviate people's work loads.

    You're shocked I would recommend this place to work at, right. It's because there's actually a lot of potential good here and the work we do is really fulfilling. Plus, it's just as terrible everywhere else, but for different reasons. At Pact, you just need to be good with serious ambiguity and some attitude problems from your colleagues.

    I think I've said enough.

    P.S. Or not. Where are those spot bonuses Mark V. said at the holiday party that we'd be able to give to our colleagues? Are they being funneled instead into yet another consultant company?

    Advice to Management

    Anyone who has been there more than 5 years probably needs to go. That might just be the only way to save the culture. Or, better yet, come down hard on the people who act terribly and stop excusing their behavior or turning a blind eye to it. This starts at the top and includes the bad behavior of all the exec staff. No more pitting your staff against each other, telling one team one thing and another team the exact opposite, making enormous last minute changes to the organization and not notifying the teams that affects before you do it, getting mad at people for doing X when you've yet to outline what the actual expectations for working at Pact are. And, don't give me the whole list of ideal behaviors, or whatever that is. Exec staff don't often follow it themselves. Again, it starts at the top. Be more transparent in your decision-making. Stop piling work on your staff who are already overworked and underpaid for it. I would say listen, but you're already doing that. You're just not implementing ANYTHING that people have suggested to you. You nod your heads and say, that's a great idea, and then do the exact opposite. Meanwhile you have no idea what's the actual problems are. So, why do you keep asking for our opinion then? Just leave us alone and let us do our considerable amount of work and tell us what you've decided to do. Also, abandon designed by Pact. Seriously. Human centered design? We didn't come up with it and quite frankly, no one at our organization really knows what it is, so we're going to look like idiots if we release a "Designed by Pact" methodology that's a whole bunch of other organizations' methodologies that we actually know very little about. We know a lot, we've done a lot, we've created a lot. Why not try marketing that stuff first? Start paying attention to what we're actually doing in the organization and the actual problems that are going on. And, actually fix them. Don't wait for years for people to fix them when they don't even know there's a problem because you keep telling them to keep doing what they're doing, then punish them for not fixing the problems they didn't know about in the first place and act all surprised and offended and call them disloyal when they up and quit because of your actions (or inaction). Enough with the hypocrisy already.

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Solid, positive, interesting place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Pact (Washington DC) full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Committed to staff and mission

    Cons

    Like any organization, some bumps


  9. Helpful (2)

    "I enjoy coming to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pact (Washington DC) full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The people that work at Pact, are what makes it so great. The employees are passionate and very knowledgeable in their specific areas.

    Since being here the leadership team has also been as transparent as probably possible (this has not been the case in other organizations/NGO's I have worked for). I can honestly say that I enjoy coming to work and find the work very meaningful.

    Cons

    As we are going through transformation some employees are naturally having a hard time adjusting.


  10. Helpful (28)

    "Will do anything for stars"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I have made some great friends here

    Cons

    The latest positive reviews are obviously fake. That they offer nothing of substance (e.g. how or why) and give no advice to management is the first red flag. That they follow a string of negative reviews (many deleted) and a noticeable drop in company rating is another. One ends by saying bumps are normal and the other that difficulty adjusting is natural. Do you think we are stupid?

    Upper management has already been caught writing and/or encouraging fake reviews and I assumed this would stop after our part time VP left.

    Advice to Management

    Stop being obsessed with your image and actually fix the place. We've already told you what to do.