• January 11, 2021 1:05 PM | Anonymous

    By Lynell Meeth, Director Member Content MRA

    With all the benefits that come from making diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI ) a priority, some might wonder why we still need to make a business case. The plusses of a successful DEI strategy are hard to beat. Take a look at these compelling outcomes from a culture rich with DEI at work.

    Commitment. Organizations with a strong DEI culture are more likely to attract and employ people with greater job satisfaction as well as higher levels of engagement and trust. According to ZipRecruiter’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey, 86 percent of job seekers say workplace diversity is an important factor when looking for a job.

    Success. DEI can help the bottom line. A McKinsey & Company study found that organizations in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity on their leadership teams resulted in a 33 percent increase in profitability.

    Innovation. A 2018 study by Harvard Business Review found that the most diverse companies also tended to be the most innovative. Employing people from all different backgrounds brings more brainstorming, ideas, and creativity.

    Ready to dive into your organization’s DEI efforts? Check out these six steps to get started.

    1) Know why DEI is important to your organization.

    If your organization doesn’t have a vision statement around DEI, create one. It’s critical to have clarity around the benefits that are realized from investing in DEI initiatives—like widening your candidate pool for qualified talent, fostering a more creative and innovative workforce, and supporting employees who can contribute to their fullest potential within an inclusive environment.

    2) Make sure everyone is on board and will champion DEI efforts, especially top management.

    From the C-suite to frontline employees, everyone needs to see and understand their part in the company’s DEI culture, and the top leaders must be supportive of DEI efforts. Leadership needs to set the tone and example, and all employees should understand how their behaviors contribute to inclusion.

    3) Assess the current state of your work environment by asking employees what they think and how they feel.

    Employers who assume they know what the challenges are run the risk of missing the mark. To establish a baseline of the current reality, employers need to hear directly from their employees. Ask and listen. This can be in the form of an assessment, like the Spectra Diversity Inclusion Assessment™, or setting up focus groups or listening sessions.

    4) Examine workplace practices with DEI in mind and make necessary changes.

    Employers need to identify if there are barriers that get in the way of the employment, opportunity, and inclusion of individuals from different backgrounds. Do any policies or practices need to be adjusted or tossed? Some to consider include:

    • Employee referral programs. While beneficial, some referrals can bring about "like me" recommendations, where employees refer candidates of the same race, religion, or gender. Encourage employees to make referrals of individuals from varied backgrounds, and even open up the program to nonemployees, such as vendors, partners, and customers to recommend great candidates.
    • Unconscious biases. If a department is considerably less diverse, less impartial, or less inclusive than others, a review of the department manager’s procedures may be in order.
    • Promotions. When managers don’t advance (enough or at all) underrepresented individuals in their organizations to positions of more power, take a closer look at leadership development to determine why few employees of diverse backgrounds are moving up in the ranks.
    5) Let employees decide what DEI initiatives are important and let them take the lead in organizing.

    It’s kind of like having your kids help make dinner. There’s a better chance they’ll actually eat it because they had a hand in making it. Similar concept here. If your employees are interested in starting a committee, resource group, book club, or community alliance, support their passion to get involved. Not only will they feel empowered and heard, they will be more engaged and then everyone benefits.

    6) Understand what DEI metrics to track and how you will determine what success looks like.

    Tie metrics to your overall vision and what is important to your organization. Maybe you have fewer women in management or lack a disability-inclusive environment. Set goals to make that change, collect data, watch for (and remove) roadblocks, and hold people accountable until you are successful in turning it around.

    A key to getting started with DEI efforts, especially in smaller organizations where there isn’t a dedicated position or team, is to remember that HR should be supportive, but should not own the outcomes of DEI. HR can assist with providing the foundation for change, influence decision makers, and foster the right environment, but ultimately the accountability for progress should come from the top.

    Companies everywhere strive for profits, mastering their craft, and securing top talent, and detailed plans and strategies are used to get there. Why not put a strategic plan in place for DEI initiatives at your organization?

    Be sure to visit the MRA website for more information and tools to help your company’s business imperatives around DEI. 

    Director, Member Content

  • January 11, 2021 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    By Nicole De Falco, Learning Strategist/Sr. ID Consultant, The CARA Group

    Inclusion may not be rocket science, but it is human science. And, in today’s environment, it is non-negotiable. Inclusion is imperative for leaders to drive up innovation and drive out institutional racism. A Deloitte Insights article by Juliet Bourke and Bernadette Dillon, “The diversity and inclusion revolution: Eight powerful truths,” reveals that organizations with inclusive cultures are eight times as likely to achieve better business outcomes and six times more likely to be innovative and agile. 

    Daniel Sanchez Reina, Senior Director Analyst for Gartner, in the article Diversity and Inclusion Build High-Performance Teams, notes that diversity and innovation are correlated, “but inclusion is the key to leveraging diversity.” And, leaders are the linchpins to inclusion.  In the Deloitte Insights article, Bourke and Dillon highlight what they call the “power of a leader’s shadow.” Leadership behaviors can “drive up to 70 percentage points of difference between the proportion of employees who feel highly included and the proportion of those who do not.”

    Individual Ghosts

    But, for many leaders, exactly how to be inclusive is elusive. In an HBR article, The Key to Inclusive Leadership, Juliet Bourke and Andrea Titus cite their research indicating “only one in three leaders holds an accurate view about their inclusive leadership capabilities.”

    Every leader has the potential to be radically inclusive; creating a culture where people feel safe, valued, and a sense of belonging. Inclusive leadership is everyday actions done with eyes open and ears engaged. Inclusion happens when leaders know and treat each person like the unique and valuable human they are.  

    Inclusion happens when leaders know and treat each person like the unique and valuable human they are.”  

    A truly inclusive culture begins with leaders with truly inclusive habits. Organizations can move the needle on inclusion by equipping leaders to act inclusively as part of their routine interactions with employees. Most people are just not aware of the biases that get in their way. It’s like being tripped up by invisible ghosts – you’re stumbling and just not sure why. This is where the human science comes into play.

    Neuroscience in Action

    Neuroscientist Beau Lotto in his book Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently teaches us that “Every decision you make in the future will remain grounded in history.” We draw on experiences to inform our actions and decisions today. How we treat others may be the result of perceptions formed by past events. Lotto’s research provides insight into how we can “use our brains to change our brains” by re-writing our past perceptions, so we make better decisions in the future. 

    The first step for leaders looking to act more inclusively is learning to surface, question, and recognize the impact of assumptions and biases on their behavior in certain situations or with particular people. 

    Seeing the implications of assumptions and biases kick starts an intrinsic drive; motivating leaders to ask questions like “what else might be true?” to replace unproductive perceptions with possibility thinking. They have formed a “new past” to reference when faced with these situations or groups. 

    With potentially limiting assumptions neutralized or replaced, leaders now need to get comfortable selecting and tailoring inclusive actions to fit their situations and the unique humans in their care.

    Finally, leaders need methods and practice in the formation of habits to promote daily use of these inclusive intentional actions. To ensure habits stay ingrained, organizations are wise to design requiring environments rich with accountability and recognition for inclusive leadership. 

    Institutional Ghosts 

    Which brings us to the organization itself. Just as leaders desiring to behave inclusively bump into personal ghosts, organizations are haunted by the institutional ghosts of historic and systemic racism.  In her Forbes post, Four Strategies For Moving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion And Belonging Beyond Lip Service, L’Wana Harris explains, “It’s your responsibility to reimagine and redesign your organization to create an environment where all of your employees can thrive. We must go beyond simple “inclusion” work and venture into the work that reforms and disrupts. Conduct an enterprise-wide audit for bias and discrimination.”

    Organizations must identify and address the myriad causes of imbalance among employee groups. The key question to go after is, what are the business practices, systems, and processes tripping up the progress, engagement, and productivity of people of color, women, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented employee groups in our organization? Organizations with an inclusive culture spearheaded by inclusive leaders unlock the power of diversity to drive innovation needed for market success and for identifying and unseating inequitable business practices.


    “The Diversity and Inclusion Revolution:  Eight powerful truths by Juliet Bourke and Bernadette Dillon, Deloitte Review, Issue 22

    Diversity and Inclusion Build High Performance Teams, Gartner, IT Leadership, September 2019

    Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently by Beau Lotto



  • December 14, 2020 9:40 PM | Anonymous

    By Genevieve Daniels, VP Finance

    The SEWI-ATD Board recently approved our 2021 budget. Most learning functions think about budgets solely in terms of expenses, but SEWI-ATD also has to generate revenue to sustain our operations. So, our budgeting process is an exercise in strategic planning and forecasting as much as resource allocation.

    Our chapter has a tradition of budgeting and spending carefully. I am proud that as a Board we were able to adjust our 2020 operating plan due to the health pandemic. While many non-profits suffered substantial losses this year, SEWI-ATD managed our expenses carefully in order to have a financially stable year. Those efforts put us in a great position for 2021, as we look at how to continue serving our members.

    Because we anticipate that the pandemic will continue to impact the economy, we planned a conservative income estimate of approximately $42,000, which is very small for a non-profit of our size. You’ll see in the graphs below that our 2021 budget relies on three primary sources of revenue: membership dues, sponsorship, and programming income. Having three major revenue streams gives us flexibility in an uncertain business environment. 

    We matched our conversative approach to income with our expenses, focusing on where we need to put resources in order to provide great value to our members and the regional talent development community. In 2021, you can expect to see SEWI-ATD expand our programming, improve our communication, and strengthen partnerships with other organizations in our community. Our 2021 budget also keeps us on target to reach our goal of 100% operating reserves by 2025., ensuring that the organization is fiscally sustainable for the long term.

    The new ATD Capability Model includes business acumen skills because talent professionals are increasingly expected to understand their business in order to deliver impactful performance. This year, the SEWI-ATD board saw firsthand the value of strong financial acumen. A great way for our members to develop their personal business acumen is by volunteering with the Finance Committee. The committee meets once a quarter to review financials, advise on our financial operations, and develop participants for future roles in the chapter. The time commitment for this role is 90 minutes each quarter. If you are interested in learning more, please contact

    Gen Daniels, VP of Finance.

  • December 14, 2020 9:03 PM | Anonymous

    From the CARA group: 

    Transforming instructor-led training to virtual learning is not going away anytime soon.  Read our infographic that highlights the seven steps to transform from ILT to vILT.

  • December 14, 2020 8:56 PM | Anonymous

    Written by Andy Marris, CPTD; Learning & Development Manager for MRA

    We have heard the word pivot a lot since the onset of the pandemic. And while this word may be a bit overused, it’s incredibly fitting for our trainers here at MRA. What was once mainly in-person activities, our hands-on classroom learning has moved to predominately online instruction.

    This new way of training comes with a new set of rules, which have been written along the way. Instructors have had to get creative, figuring out how to make the learning components virtually appealing. The good news is, it’s working!

    Here are a few new ways we work when it comes to MRA’s virtual learning.

    We want to see your face. The obvious one and biggest game-changer is making a worthwhile face-to-face experience. It is important for attendees to have their cameras on, which makes them more engaged and regular contributors in class. It also helps the trainers read body language and know when people have questions or are getting lost in a meeting by the expressions on their faces.

    It really can feel like a class. Trainers have the ability to use the whiteboard, capture ideas in real-time and send participants to breakout rooms, which mimics what trainers do in a physical room. And it’s not only similar to the classroom experience, but the virtual platform can be more efficient for getting small groups to talk.

    Knowing breaks are important. Every 35 minutes the class gets a quick break. Everyone turns off their cameras, takes their eyes off the screen, stretches, and does what they need to do. Zoom fatigue is a real thing and breaks help learners refocus, reenergize, and get back to it.

    The importance of a tech pre-meeting. Attendees are strongly encouraged to show up ten to 15 minutes before a virtual training session begins. This time is spent making sure everyone’s technology is working and to answer any questions on how to use the tools. COVID-19 has brought with it lots of firsts, and for many people virtual meetings are one of them. Knowing their technology is working before class begins eases participants’ minds, allowing them to focus on learning.

    Learning gets creative. There are some things that cannot be replicated virtually—activities like touching materials, putting together a group puzzle, and shooting baskets blindfolded. MRA trainers get creative to simulate these learning points in a new way.

    One new activity is a video game that allows people to be coached while shooting virtual baskets. Another is having participants talk through the process of making a peanut butter sandwich with the trainer following the verbal instructions. When the message isn’t clear enough the trainer may do the wrong thing. It’s a great way to watch someone try to make something simple and realize how the message needs to be very specific to get the right behaviors, highlighting the litany of ways people can misinterpret a message.

    Training will continue moving forward and MRA is finding ways to make it happen. Interested in learning how to make it work for your organization? Check out our website for our virtual (and in-person) training options that are available to you, or call Andy Marris at 262.696.3409 to talk about a training plan for your company.

    To read more blog posts from MRA, please access the MRA Edge publication.

  • December 11, 2020 8:00 AM | Colin Hahn (Administrator)

    We are excited to welcome three new board members to fill vacancies on the SEWI-ATD board.

    • Rebecca Reindl is stepping into our VP of Marketing and Communications role
    • Nathan Sheets is our new VP of Membership
    • Dan Jakubowski is taking on a newly created role for VP of Special Projects.

    Thanks for all three for volunteering to serve the chapter!

  • November 17, 2020 4:00 PM | Colin Hahn (Administrator)

    The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce has announced their next session in their Talent Matters series: a resource connection forum for participants to share information on talent retention and development challenges.

    SEWI-ATD has partnered with MMAC on the Talent Matters series throughout the year. As part of your SEWI-ATD chapter membership, our members can attend MAMC events like this at the member rate--which means you can participate in this forum for free!

    This virtual event will occur on Monday, December 7th from 11am-noon. Sign up now on the MMAC website.

  • November 10, 2020 8:40 AM | Anonymous

    Every year, the chapter recognizes one member with the Bob Von Der Linn Outstanding Chapter Service Award. This award is the chapter’s highest volunteer recognition; it celebrates a chapter member who exemplifies a commitment to the chapter and the talent development profession in our area.

    Nominations are open for this year’s award. Please submit your nomination by Tuesday, November 24. If you have any questions about the award criteria, please contact Matt Meuleners at president@sewi-atd.org.
  • November 02, 2020 9:00 AM | Colin Hahn (Administrator)

    Our chapter wants to build stronger relationships with larger employers in the area, and we need your help! We are forming a task force to build out our strategy for recruiting and engaging organizational members.

    If you are interested in meeting large employers in the area or helping to design a marketing strategy, this is the perfect opportunity for you. This is a great chance to develop your skills at understanding customer needs, crafting a value proposition, engaging an audience, and project planning.

    Interested, or want to find out more? Email Colin Hahn at presidentelect@sewi-atd.org

  • October 23, 2020 8:17 AM | Colin Hahn (Administrator)

    We are proud to announce the results of the election for the 2021 board openings! Please join us in congratulating the following board members-elect:

    • Nikki Palmer-Quade for the Presidency track
    • Genevieve Daniels for VP of Finance
    • Annette Caraulia for VP of Professional Development
    • Eric Waters for VP of Community Relations
    • Susan Davies for VP of Special Projects/Sponsorship

    These new members will officially begin their terms in January. Over the next several months, they will be collaborating with the existing board to transition responsibilities and contribute to our operating strategy for 2021.

    Once again, congratulations to all our new board members!

© Southeastern Wisconsin ATD

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Phone: 608-204-9815

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Seth Trickel
Heather L. Dyer, CAE

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