Downtown DC. ATD ICE 2019. May 18-22. ATD's International Conference is the largest talent development conference in the world (which is why they should have it in Dallas more often!). I attended on behalf of ATD Dallas with my fellow-board member, Todd Strosnider. I also spoke at the conference. But before I get to that, don't forget what's right here in our own community this month.
Joe MacKrell is a fantastic photographer and learning professional. Join him on June 7 to learn about creative ways to use video in eLearning. Instructional designers don't want to miss it.
On June 18, join me, the board and your fellow-members for an evening with Adrianne Court, the CHRO of Alkami, and Kim Zoller, CEO of ID 360, for Sculpting a Growth Mindset Culture. Chapter meetings have been awesome this year. This evening will be no different. A light dinner will be served and your talent development friends will be there!
Don't miss the inimitable Jed Gifford on June 24 to Leverage Your LinkedIn Brand! I've benefited from Jed's presentations in the past. Make your profile sizzle!
Our prestigious one-day conference, the Southwest Learning Summit on August 22, is quickly approaching. Register today!
If you are a member, you have access to a free Degreed account, with content from Harvard MentorManager, getAbstract and the additional content ATD Dallas has curated to supplement all of our live events! Start using Degreed!
Congratulations to Andraya Goodwin for receiving a free national course! Twice a year, national offers a selection of our courses for meeting certain requirements. The board nominates recipients of these courses from our pool of active volunteers and/or Power Members (Members of both National and ATD Dallas. Volunteer. Become a Power Member. The benefits of ATD Dallas keep growing!
Now, here's a snap shot of my experiences and take-aways from ATD ICE 2019!
When I stepped out of Reagan International Airport on Saturday afternoon, I was shocked. It was hotter in DC than it was in Texas! On the plane ride over, I had a great conversation about some of the challenges of talent development in the private and government sectors with Jeannette Johnson of Fort Worth. She's been to several ATD Dallas events and is considering joining our chapter. Hint, hint, Jeannette! As soon as I checked into the hotel--first things first--I registered in the Speaker Ready Room and was thrilled that Hadiya Nuriddin was registering at the same time. She just released a book called Story Training, a great read for facilitators who need guidance for mining personal experiences for relevant stories in the classroom. Preconference sessions were just ending and the conference bookstore was packed. What a pleasant surprise to run into Lou Russell (an absolute gem in our industry) and Jack Phillips, who spoke at our January community meeting. It was great catching up with both of them.
Sunday was Chapter Leader Day, where board members from chapters all over the United States met to learn from one another. Todd and I made some good connections with the Pennsylvania, New York, Detroit, Chicago and Rhode Island chapters. As always, it was great to see Texas well-represented by Houston and Austin chapter leaders. We had a meeting later in the day with board members of the large chapters--there are seven--and guess who the largest one is? ;) In addition to learning, and sharing, about the great work being done by ATD locally, we left meetings with fuel for future goals regarding student outreach, CPLP support and virtual communities. Later in the week, I had a great one-on-one with Erin Murphy, who is an amazing resource for our chapter at the national level.
Sunday was also filming day. ATD Press asked me to shoot five short videos in preparation for my book release in 2020. The book's focus is, not surprisingly, Story Design, a methodology for creating relatable characters in strong conflict that connect with your audience emotionally and impact performance. Though my undergrad degree is in acting, it's been a very long time since I've been in front of a camera, but the staff and film crew were great and, besides an occasional passing fire truck which forced a couple of re-shoots, the filming went off without a hitch! Todd and I had dinner together at a hole-in-the-wall shop in Chinatown. Great conversation about the ATD Dallas over fresh dumplings and homemade noodles. Looking back at the day's events, I was grateful that our community stands out as one to follow among other chapters. It's a privilege for me to know and work with so many amazing talent development professionals right in our own backyard.
Monday morning was all about Oprah. The line was long, but I arrived just in time to snag a reserved seat (for chapter leaders) near the front. It goes without saying that Oprah is a polished storyteller. She shared about her school for girls in South Africa. She shared about the mistakes she made along the way. One of the mistakes was that she focused on the girls, not the leadership, which caused big problems later. She had some solid advice about being fully present in the moment and never making decisions based on ego. ATD National members can view a summary of her keynote here.
I met up with Todd and together we tackled the Expo Hall. I should say, Todd finessed the Expo Hall and I enjoyed the ride. He introduced me to key people in companies like Degreed, eCornell and AllenCom, partners and sponsors of ATD Dallas. It was fun to meet the people who make that partnership possible. Todd and I took the opportunity to deepen those relationships. Thank you Todd, for all you do to make our partner relationships a win-win! You're amazing! That evening, two of our partners, Degreed and Training Orchestra hosted a river cruise on the Potomac. Had a surprise meet-up with Erika Dorsey and Millicent Poole, both ATD Dallas members, plus a new friend from Fort Worth, Bryan Cox. A great night for networking and enjoying Washington DC at sunset.
Seth Godin got our Tuesday started off with a fire hose of big ideas. Another great storyteller! He proposed that our society is mass producing for the average person. No one is treated differently. It made me think of talent development and the mass production of training that is engineered for the average audience. Who is, he asked, the smallest viable audience? He challenged us to treat different people differently. Meet them where they're at. For our industry, it comes down to thoughtful analysis to identify and design for our real audience, not a canned course that may, or may not make a difference. Technology can help span that gap, and there were a lot of technology solutions on display in the Expo Hall, like AR, xAPI, even a do-it-yourself VR tool (by Trivantis) that blew me away. Some fun quotes from Seth: "Are you making art or are you making copies?" "Soft skills are real skills that can be trained." He delivered a three hour presentation in one hour…flawlessly. ATD National members can read more here.
After Seth's keynote, I met up with colleague and friend, Karl Kapp, in the Speaker Ready Room. The night before, Karl had received the ATD Distinguished Contribution to Talent Development Award for his work in gamification and, more importantly, his work with students and his international work. I also got to meet his wife, Nancy, whom I've worked with long-distance for years, but never met in person. Both of them have worked in the talent development industry for a long time. We talked about their son's recent graduation and their recent travels to Cambodia, Vietnam, and other countries and some of Karl's recent articles about role play and culture that these travels inspired. You can read more about our conversation from his point of view here. There's a surprise in his article about SWLS that ATD Dallas members will be interested to know. Check out his comments in the Tuesday morning section of his blog post!
Later on Tuesday (the last session of the day), I presented. The title of the session was Story Design In the Real World. I called it that because the real world is demanding. Work is coming at us from all sides. Talent Development professionals want to be better at storytelling, but it seems impossible to design a story in a real world environment where time is short. I had a great time with this crowd. They participated as characters in the stories (our very own Krista Allen, of Toyota, played one of the roles--represent!) and people left inspired and equipped to bring stories center stage in their training initiatives.
I did actually get to attend a few sessions: Talent development from a marketing point of view, the intersection of gamification and microlearning, the role of the Business Learner Advisor and another session on storytelling. And I chatted with a slew of thought leaders and practitioners, including ATD Dallas members, Rich Cordrey, who received an award the same evening as Dr. Kapp for his advocacy of the CPLP with AutoNation, Jeff Kribs of Infinitude (former ATD Dallas board member), Grace Linehan, who was a panelist for a breakout session on creative video, Sheila Kay and Aislinn Lowery of Santander and engagement engineer, Frank Larson. Aislinn, Frank, Sheila, Aislinn, me Todd and Grace are all in the title picture at the top of this blog.
I got off the plane at Dallas Love Field on Wednesday evening. Ironically, Jeannette was beside me on the plane again! Good conversation. Good to be home. I was exhausted, but pleased with the meaningful connections Todd and I made with other chapter leaders. The recruitment of additional sponsors and deepening of relationships with our current partners. Inspired and ready to further our reputation as the talent development capital of the world!
ATD Dallas, President
June 1, 2019