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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Company: Cargill, Prospanica, and Briggs & Stratton
This month, we are pleased to feature
Tell us a little about yourself.
The start of my 16-year career began with Cargill, beginning as a production stakeholder then growing my career into corporate training. Then I transitioned into a contract role with Briggs and Stratton, as Organizational Development Consultant for a major business project. Alongside my career, I am a very committed volunteer for Milwaukee chapter of Prospanica which focuses on empowering Hispanic professionals to achieve their full educational, economic, and social potential.
I’m a proud, first-generation graduate, earning my bachelor’s degree in Leadership and Organizations with a concentration in Organization Development from Marquette University.
For the past 18 years, I have personally grown and learned a lot with my husband. He’s a native of Mexico and I’m Milwaukee raised. Although I have native Mexican parents, I didn’t use my Spanish as much. So, throughout time, my husband and I taught each other. He helped me improve my Spanish and I helped him improve his English. I also have two bilingual kids, Savanna (10) and Santos (5). My goal for is for them to embrace their bilingualism throughout their education and in their future careers.
What is your hidden talent?
I’d have to say being able to interchange technology, business and learning & development.
During my time at Cargill, I learned the operation of the business very quickly down to the frontline production work. My work also relied much on technology, such as inventory management systems, HRIS, LMS, graphic design tools, and digital communication software. I came to understand why the business relies on these systems and today it’s intuitive for me to leverage technology to educate and communicate with people, making it an attractive way to learn. In a broad sense, technology, business, and L&D are interchangeable ingredients for the design in my work. I always ask what’s the objective, what does it mean for the business, what does it mean for the learner, and what is the change impact on the learner (if any). Then after, it becomes easy for me to develop and design deliverables that are meaningfully creative and engaging for learners. Understanding the business and the end user, and my knowledge with technology and fundamentals of L&D and change management has always made it much more engaging for others and myself.
Education technology has a lot of opportunities
Can you recommend to our members, a resource that you love?I absolutely love being a well-rounded person, meaning that aside from growing professionally – I enjoy growing personally. The most impactful resource, for me, would be Marquette University. This may not seem like the typical L & D resource, but they offer many events, with subject matter experts from all levels and fields of work. For example, “Mike Gousha: On the Issues”, these learnings have not only educated me on what’s happening in our city, but have also made me emotionally aware of our external factors that may possibly impact our business (or my employer). Another one that stands out to me is the Insight Digital Summit, by Marquette’s College of Communication. It’s open to the public and gives you tangible marketing and communication tools that can also be used by L&D professionals to make learning more interactive, more digital and engaging for our learners.
What advice would you give to a recent new hire in your industry?Connect with your organization…learn everything, inside and out. Why is the business important? What intrigues you? What drove you there? Initially for some folks it may be a financial decision, but over time there’s still something that intrigues you to stay. Over time, it’s amazing how many connections and ideas come to mind when you really start seeing the broader picture, when you know the organization, you know and understand how your role fits within the organization. The ideas that result are endless and the solutions are much easier to reach.
What do you get out of being a SEWI-ATD member?
Staying current and in the loop of new techniques shared from subject matter experts. One of my favorite SEWI-ATD events was on digital learning. The speaker was David Zach, a futurist. He was amazing as he had the same mix of skills, technology, business and learning and development. When I heard him speak, he was one of those speakers where it felt like he knew you and everything he said was targeted towards you. I remember him sharing that creativity is about connecting, because of the ideas and information. That the thinking of L & D professionals is very similar to systems thinking and we work much like engineers.
Being a connector of ideas and information, I immediately thought of block chain; structured knowledge and quickly reusing information we have. We have so much information and ideas, brought from various resources, that we can easily connect and interpret to help our audience make sense of it. We know where our learners are and where they need to be, but everything in between there can be full of these infinite processes and solutions of thinking and creativity to fit the learner. Each training is like a project, just as how an engineer works. We are project managers of our work. So after hearing David’s concepts and stories I started to refer to my work as a learning engineer. That seemed so much more relevant to what we, as learning professionals, actually do.
If you could meet anyone in the world who would it be and why?Geisha Williams, first Latina CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Currently she’s the CEO and President of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Company. As a female Latina business professional, I want to embrace my personal culture and values while still having career aspirations. I feel she’s a great example of a person who has addressed the diversity challenges and sought opportunities in Corporate America while embracing her story.