ATD Greater Twin Cities Monthly Newsletter: April 2021
Welcome to the new monthly ATD Greater Twin Cities newsletter.
As I look back over the past year, I often hear about the challenges and obstacles COVID has caused, both in our professional and personal lives. But as I begin to actively look for the silver linings, I see many positive outcomes –including things like how we connect with one another, a deeper appreciation (or more time) to enjoy the outdoors, innovation that has taken place in all aspects of our lives (including tons of creativity), and a transformation in how we educate and train.
ATD-GTC has leveraged these silver linings and the leadership team has tailored our programming and networking events to take advantage of these times. Each of us has had to pivot over the past year and I’m proud of the opportunities that have and are being presented to learn from others while each of us continues to grow professionally.
In this issue we take a close look at our Networking Sessions – the newest initiative by our Membership Programming team for you to stay connected to the ATD-GTC community even while we cannot meet in person. We’re also beginning to spotlight ATD-GTC members to help us get to know one another a little better. All members are invited to contribute and participate in Member Spotlights.
My hope is that you find this newsletter informative and consider contributing sometime in the future.
The following new members have joined our chapter so far this year:
On behalf of the Board and all members, we would like to extend a warm welcome.
Community Spotlight: ATD-GTC's New Monthly Networking Sessions
Q&A with Member Engagement Director, Liz Grossman
Many of us remember ATD-GTC events prior to the pandemic as not only a great place to learn what’s trending in the local learning community, but also as an ideal opportunity to meet face-to-face with other L&D professionals in our local area. Like many communities, we’ve adapted —using Zoom to continue to deliver great events that bring our community together throughout the pandemic. And we are grateful for the support our community members have shown by continuing to turn out in full force to support these events.
In this environment, long-time ATD volunteers and ATD_GTC Membership Engagement Co-Leads, Elizabeth (Liz) Grossman and Betsey Pedersen, identified a gap: “Over the last year, we’ve had many of our members request an opportunity to network, and when we went into Covid last March and people were sent home to work, all of our activities became remote and we realized we wouldn’t be able to offer those opportunities in person. We had to think creatively about how to bring people together and support their desire to network in a virtual setting,” Liz explained.
Responding to members’ requests, Liz and Betsey worked together to start the new ATD-GTC monthly Networking Sessions. Last month, we called Liz and asked her some questions.
When did you (and Betsey) start these Networking Sessions?
Starting this year in 2021, we now offer networking events for members on the third Friday of each month, during the lunch hour.
So far, we've done one in January, February, and now a third one in March and we’ve had anywhere from, I’d say, 10-15 people come together each month.
It's been a really neat way for people to get to know each other a little bit more outside of the general programming events where sometimes there won’t be as much time for people to connect individually.
When members attend the Networking Sessions, what can they expect?
It’s a very casual environment; very welcoming. No one’s formal. I would say everyone’s very informal.
We start off with a really nice icebreaker to get to know each other. People share a little bit about their background and their role within their organization; who they work for. We often ask them to share what motivated them to join ATD and what they’d like to get from it and give to the organization.
We do a little bit of an overview of our chapter events, and talk about ways they can become engaged and contribute to programming. We introduce them to the board members virtually, and then we conduct two rounds of networking.
We use our virtual platforms to put people into Breakout sessions, usually 2-3 people in a Breakout.
So, they spend about 45 minutes of the hour talking to each other and we’re just facilitating that process. Just like we would do in a coffee shop.
It can be really tough for people to talk to strangers. How do you get these conversations get started?
We usually have a list of questions. But what we’ve discovered is that it’s easier just to give people one specific question to reflect on, and then if they want to choose another one of their own, that’s fine.
So, for example, this Friday, we have a Networking Session coming up for an hour during lunchtime, and during those breakouts we’ll ask folks to introduce themselves, their company, their position, and we’ll say, “share one learning and development initiative you’re working on now”, or you’ve launched this year that you’re really excited about.”
So, we’re giving them an opportunity to get a sense of the kinds of work that folks are doing in L&D.
Another question that we’ll offer on Friday is, (we’ll rotate the group again, or we’ll randomly shuffle so people get to meet other folks), and we’ll ask, “how has your role changed in the last year in L&D?”
Those are just a couple of examples of the kinds of questions we ask before we get into more specifics. We’ve found that's been a nice jumping off point for people who want to reach out further.
So far, how have things been going? Is there anything that’s surprised you?
The first one, we had about 12 people, and I was really excited that! Because of the nature of the people on the session, it was super-easy to get one person to facilitate within each group. I mean, even though we say the person furthest south facilitates, the facilitator for each little breakout group really took it and ran. I was just very pleased that people were really engaged and willing to share about their backgrounds.
I think I was also surprised to see such a wide range of familiarity. You know, you have people who are relatively new, and you have people who have been with the organization for a number of years trying to reconnect.
That sounds like a great environment. What if members want to stay connected after the session?
With members’ permission, we send out a list of people to the group who have attended after the Networking Session. So, they can share their LinkedIn profiles, and they can connect afterwards. That’s happened quite frequently.
The other thing that I really like about these sessions, is that if Betsey and I are available after the hour, we do stay on for about another 15 minutes. Oftentimes we’ll have a few people remain and ask additional questions about ATD and the upcoming programs and events. That’s how I got met three ladies who wanted to volunteer! They attended the first session, then contacted me afterwards, and said they wanted to help with Member Engagement.
Hopefully, this pandemic has turned a corner. What the plans for the Networking Sessions post-pandemic?
I think we’d like to get some feedback from people who’ve participated in the Networking Sessions to see if they’d like a different format or approach. But we’re trying to do our best in this remote environment, and once we get post-COVID, we can think about bringing our Networking Sessions to local coffee shops. That’s really the desire.
Would you like to encourage people to come back for a repeat session?
I would encourage people to come every month!
So, now would be a great time to get involved, and become a part of these regular Networking Sessions then! How can we sign up?
These are members-only sessions. They can use the Events page to get details of the next ATD-GTC Networking Session and to register. Members will need to register in order to receive the Zoom link to join the session.
Would you like to encourage people to come back for a repeat session?
They can connect with me through LinkedIn. That’s the best way I think; the link is available on the Board member page of the ATD-GTC website.
Elizabeth Grossman is a dedicated learning consultant with a background in training who excels at driving high-performing technical teams. She is a Senior Project and Program Manager in the Research and Evaluation Division at HealthPartners Institute.
Member Spotlight: Bringing Clarity to Supply Chain Chaos
Q&A with Member, John Melbye
Our goal is to bring a short Q&A with an ATD-GTC member each month to help us get to know one another a little better. Anyone can participate and everyone is encouraged to be involved. Whether you are new to Talent Development, aspiring or seasoned your opinions and perspectives are interesting and welcome.
If you would like to be interviewed for this short Q&A, please email Marketing[at]atd-gtc.org.
Our sincere thanks to John Melbye for engaging as our first ever Member Spotlight!
What motivates you?
I have spent years struggling with the chaos of supply chain. I know the realities of that chaos, but I also know the recent developments that bring the direction of the solution closer to us. My current effort is to bring that solution, called Demand Driven Material Requirements Planning (DDMRP), to my fellow supply chain professionals. Too many supply chain professionals are frustrated, stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling inadequate and yet they are using tools that perpetuate the problem rather than solve it. I strive to help people by letting them know that the solution exists, that they don’t have to struggle alone, and that joy can be found in the workplace.
How has your motivation changed over the years?
Originally, I was simply trying to figure out my own path. I felt like I had to solve the unique challenges that I faced in my company. As I met more people and got outside of my small world, I realized that my challenges were not unique. That others were struggling with the same things. That step led me to the thought that the world is a classroom. We are all students, and if we choose, we can all be teachers. We remain both, no matter how much we know. So now my motivation is still to figure out my own path, but also to help guide others along their path, and in doing so, form circles of continuous learning.
So much in our lives today is dependent upon connecting and being informed via Social Media —particularly during this pandemic. Are there any ways you’ve found to leverage social media for teaching and learning?
The simple answer is that I use social media to connect with people, to inform people of my upcoming training sessions, and to generally spread the word about what I do.
The real answer is that I have started using social media as a network. I have used #smilecreator to share little bits of comic (hopefully) moments and create a regular, expected, and maybe anticipated moment each week that gets people to smile and therefore eventually make a connection with me. I also use social media to share my blog with people. Hopefully something I write will resonate with people and get them to regularly turn to me for information. The underlying goal is to create a real connection and generate brand ambassadors who will tell others about me which results in spreading my message to a wider audience.
What are your hopes post-pandemic?
I hope that the lessons we have learned and the improvements we have made will remain part of our future journey. Even in cases where we revert to the pre-pandemic practices, the improvements we can incorporate will improve those practices too.
John Melbye has been a member of ATD-GTC for about 2 years. He is passionate about exposing the complexity of Supply Chain and inspiring people to think beyond business as usual. He is the owner of Become Demand Driven LLC and the current President of ASCM (The Association for Supply Chain Management) Twin Cities Chapter. He publishes short articles at SupplyChainIllustrated.com. In the evenings, he can usually be found reading or contemplating the wonders of the universe.