Member Spotlight - January 2018

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 Lovina.Akowuah@gmail.com or Meica Hatters at meicahatters@gmail.com


Erin Brady

Training Manager
US Bancorp Fund Services 


This month, we are pleased to feature
Erin Brady

Tell us a little about yourself.
I graduated from Alverno with my Masters in Instructional Design in 2009 and have had my CPLP certification since 2011.  In addition to adult learning, I am passionate about animal welfare.  I’m a volunteer for Chicago English Bulldog Rescue and foster bulldogs that come through the program.  I’m also a foster parent for cats from the Wisconsin Humane Society.  I’ve been doing it for six years, so my family has fostered easily over 200 cats or kittens in our home.  That has been a really rewarding experience.

What is your favorite motto, mantra, personal philosophy or quote?
I have two….My first one is regarding motivating a team and came from an internal training course.  It is…”Imagine if you went to a sporting event and the crowd cheered only at the end.”  I have this hanging up in my office.  Makes me think about how it might be from the perspective of the employee when they aren’t getting any feedback good or bad.  That serves as a great reminder for me, as a manager, to remember to vocalize to my team members what a fantastic job I think they are doing. 

Another one I really love is attributed to Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it simply, you must not understand it well enough.”  I think for our field that is very important.  We have access to subject matter experts that are happy to go down the path of very lengthy explanations.  When what we need is to provide learners with the basics so they can build on a solid foundation.  When we skip those basics and go right into really in depth explanations, maybe because that is where the SME is most comfortable, it is doing a disservice to the learner.  So that quote serves as a reminder, we need to break it down. 

What are two career lessons you have learned thus far? 

1.   Use mentors.  Look at your leadership and be open to lessons from them.  Take what you can and learn from them.  I’ve been fortunate to have role models in management during the 13 years I have been here.  They’re in their roles for a reason and it maybe something you’re not aware of yet, but if you just sit back and absorb as much as you can, you’ll definitely learn a lot.  At least that has been my experience. 

2.   Definitely invest in continued education, but don’t ignore the research that is already there.  Being an ATD member we get exposed to all kinds of trending topics.  It’s easy to get swallowed up in wanting to be on the forefront of what’s coming.  I think it is good to be on top of what’s new and understand some of the buzz words that are floating around, but to be really successful, from what I’ve experienced, you need to still anchor yourself to some of the prevailing concepts such as Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation and Bloom’s taxonomy and different models of instructional design.  They are not getting headline time because they’re not the most exciting things to talk about.  Yet, they have stood the test of time. 


Have you read any good talent development books, articles or blogs lately?

I absolutely love Radical Candor.  It was written by former Google Exec., Kim Scott.  Her book caught my attention when I was listening to a podcast by Daniel Pink which he calls “Pinkcast.”  This short Pinkcast was on the idea of putting your mistakes out there.  He was talking about the importance of sharing your lessons learned with others.  He had Kim Scott talk about her experience from when she was at Google.  They had a practice she called “Whoops.”  They would pass a stuffed toy monkey around and everyone on the team would share what their “whoops” or mistake was that week, month or quarter.  It was a chance to learn from your peers.  It was also surprisingly a way to kick start new ideas because people would realize, “whoa, if we did a, b, and c that wouldn’t happen again.”  It was in an environment that was safe, a culture that supported the exposure of mistakes, and a good team that took it as a learning opportunity and didn’t dwell too much on the negative act – as long as it wasn’t a repeat instance.  That was one of Kim Scott’s action steps she had, but the book, Radical Candor, talks about how to be a good manager without losing your humanity.  People get placed in management roles based upon their expertise, but they are not aware of the emotional investment that is going to be required in the role, just how much you have to spread yourself across different individuals and different competing priorities for your time.  It’s a really good read.

Why do you enjoy being a member of SEWI-ATD?
I joined SEWI-ATD probably the same time I joined ATD and that was somewhere around 2005-2006.  The local chapter, SEWI-ATD, is wonderful for the workshops and the networking; and National ATD I really value because of the access to white papers, data, and their webcasts. 

What one food do you wish had zero calories?
If I have to choose one, probably pizza, deep dish.  I’m originally from Illinois and I love deep dish or stuffed pizza.  To this day, I still have not been able to locate anything suitable in this state.

What's a question I didn't ask that you wished I had?
What’s one thing that could make our jobs so much easier, like a magic wand in our field?

Working with client’s that have documented processes.  We are ISO registered.  We have our knowledge management system registration with ISO and part of that registration is demonstrating that we have a foundation of documentation.  That means the departments we support have all their processes and procedures documented.  They are reviewed throughout the year and written by employees who perform those steps.  From a training perspective we can accomplish so much more because we don’t have to constantly research and document what a department is doing and how it changed from last week.  They are updating and maintaining their own documentation.  We use that documentation to train.  That has been a wonderful asset.  We are all using one single source of information.  If it needs to be updated, it gets updated and then that is what we train from.  Learners have detailed processes to use which shortens their learning curve and allows us to focus on more in-depth content with the learners such as why a process exists, risks to not following a process and how it impacts our customers.  That has been our magic wand.



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