Member Spotlight - February 2018: Jill Busch

Each month, SEWI-ATD turns the spotlight on an active member who has been visible in the chapter by attending events and participating in other ATD functions. We are proud to acknowledge the important work of our members, provide additional career exposure within the Talent Development community, and help you to get to know a colleague just a little bit better! If you are interested in nominating another member for the spotlight, contact Lovina Akowuah at or Meica Hatters at

Jill Busch
Talent Development Manager
Kohl's Department Store

This month, we are pleased to feature

Jill Busch

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been in the learning and development field for over 20 years and have worked in all aspects of the field.  I’ve been a facilitator, an instructional designer and a manager.  I love every aspect of it.  I have a passion around learning and instructional design.  Though my day job is working in the corporate learning space, I also have a second job working as an adjunct instructor at Concordia University in their Organizational Leadership graduate program.  During my day job, I’m a manager within the L & D department at Kohl’s.  I don’t get the opportunity to teach often, so my adjunct role really helps fill that bucket for me of having the face to face learner interaction.  I’m a married mother of three amazing children.  I’m very proud of my kids. I love spending as much time as I can with them. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m really interested in architecture; in particular I love the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.  I drag my poor husband around to tour his homes and buildings whenever I can.  We just came back from New York where we visited the Guggenheim museum, which was one of my top places to go on my bucket list.  I like to travel and spend time with family.  Attending any sort of event my kids are participating in is one of my favorite things to do.  Our son is involved in baseball and basketball.  My husband coaches and I’m his number one fan.   I like to read biographies which dig into how people think and work.

How did you get started in the talent development field?
I think my story is very similar to a lot of people in this field.  I started working in the mortgage banking industry.  I learned systems quickly and was often asked to train others.   I finally was asked to do it in a more formal way at my company and a light bulb went on -- I could make a career out of this.  Early in my career I had a wonderful mentor, Jim Katz, who really helped me see where I could go with a career in learning and development.  Actually, he connected me to ATD.  That sent me back to school.  My career took a new course.  I think this is a pretty common story.  People are good at something so they get asked to train it and sometimes that sparks the, “oh, I really enjoy this teaching aspect better than the job I’m doing!”

What is your proudest moment of your adult career?
My proudest moment was making the transition to being a leader in this space.  It’s very rewarding to see someone from my team advance or have a great moment.  The coaching and development side of what I do is very fulfilling.   Also, I’m very proud to have come to Kohl’s.  I’ve always wanted to do what I do at Kohl’s.  I love how innovative and collaborative our team is. 

What do you get out of being a local SEWI-ATD member?
Networking is one of the most wonderful benefits.  I love that opportunity to connect with other people in our field.  No one person has all the answers.  It’s nice to share situations you’re working on with your peers and be able to look at things from a different perspective.  I hope our members feel that way too. The programming is great.  Having served on the SEWI-ATD board, I appreciate the effort and time the chapter puts into providing quality development opportunities.  
I especially found value in the chapter early in my career.  I was the lone L & D person at a smaller company and didn’t have any peers in my space at work.   Having ATD peers and a group I could work with, to bounce ideas around and learn new things, was fantastic!

Where is the best place you have travelled to and why?
Last year I had an amazing opportunity through Kohl’s to travel to Asia for two weeks and observe how some training that our team built was being executed.  It was fascinating to see that part of the world.  We were also there to analyze our learners in those countries to understand the differences in learning styles, the way training is received and the way people would like to receive training.  Dealing with some of the issues around language barriers was very educational for me.  Going to four different countries (Hong Kong, India, South Korea and Taiwan) was an amazing adventure.  I learned about different cultures and tried different cuisine.  I wasn’t as adventurous as some in trying different foods, but I did my best to try as many things as I could. 

What’s a question I didn’t ask that you wish I had?
Q:  What is the most vital part of any learning and development project? 
A:  In our world we use the ADDIE model, or something like it, in instructional design.  When I see learners struggle, or projects not run successfully, it’s usually because the analysis wasn’t done well on the front end.  Doing strong audience and task analysis is key to the success of any learning project.  Really understanding the learner, the situation and the expected outcomes is vital.  Sometimes we rush to diagnose.  If we don’t ask the questions and instead make assumptions, sometimes the learning doesn’t work.

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