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.
Title: Senior Operations Training Specialist
Company: United Heartland
This month, we are pleased to feature
What brought you to join SEWI-ATD?ATD is the premiere training association, and SEWI-ATD’s programming is robust (and its people are pretty terrific too.)
When did you know you wanted to be in talent development?
I have wanted to teach since I was in middle school. As often happens, I ended up with a Lombard St. career path that took me from teaching high school theatre, English and German, through getting a Masters’ degree in Information Studies, to accidentally ending up in corporate training. I use everything I developed during my studies (except perhaps the German) on a daily basis, and I couldn’t be happier.
Tell me about your current professional role. (Job title, where you work, what you do, fun information.)
Oh, my goodness, where to start.
First of all, I. Love. My. Job. I love my company and am fiercely protective of the amazing culture we have here. On paper, I am an Operations Training Specialist. In reality, my role has evolved over the past nearly 8 years. I do oversee, develop and deliver cross-discipline and high-level strategy training, as well as develop and deliver content for our agency partners.
However, I also get to champion our amazing internal culture, through supporting our work with Diversity and Inclusion, chairing our Innovation Team, and supporting our Executive Team with internal messaging and culture communications. I’m seriously in love with United Heartland – I cannot imagine working anywhere else!
If you weren't in talent development, what else will you be doing?
Hopefully something at United Heartland (see above 😉). I love theatre and connecting people to information and ideas. I love language and communication, and leveraging the diversity of perspective for the greater good.
What that would look like as a career path? I’ve found that few things have served me better professionally than staying open to possibilities.
What piece of advice would you offer to people coming into talent development?
Say ‘yes’ and figure it out.
Say ‘yes’ to everything you can – communicate and ask for help if needed, but start with ‘yes’. I have found that every ‘yes’ I can say has led to another.
People begin to see you as a resource, and every time you deliver, it solidifies that reputation. Also, never forget to start by asking why. I find I am least effective when I fall into reactive mode – someone asks for training and I simply deliver, rather than starting with the ‘why’. What is the real need? What’s the objective? Why is there a gap? Is training truly the solution?