My name is Jason Sturges, and I have the pleasure of serving the talent development community, here in the great state of Utah, as President-Elect of the Utah ATD Chapter. There are many hands that help run a smooth chapter, and the role of the President-Elect is to support the President in strategic planning & innovation, all things chapter operations, and all collaborations & partnerships. In terms of short introductions, I have been in the talent development industry for 15 years – having worked for franchising, biotech, non-profit/associations, and academia – and this is my 5th year on the Utah ATD Board of Directors. I have a personal mission statement of “using what I have to make the lives others better,” so when it comes to the areas of expertise that I like to focus on, they include management, leadership and organizational development; trainer development; and orientation & onboarding (my master’s thesis topic).
The majority of my experience has been working for organizations here in Utah. But prior to my return in 2018, I had the opportunity to work for four years at ATD National – back east, out in the northern Virginia/DC area – as a senior instructional design project manager in their Education department. You might be familiar with that group, as they develop and deliver the Certificate, Masters and Essentials classes popular among many ATD members worldwide. The reason I bring this up is because, during my time at ATD National, I learned that many people don’t know the resources available to them when they join a professional group like ATD.
With that said, having been on the inside at ATD National, I could easily present you a laundry list – longer than necessary for this newsletter – of items to look into; with a worry that it would come off only as a blatant sales pitch for ATD. So, I don’t want to do that. But what I would like to do is focus on three overarching resources – content, connection and certification – that you can follow-up on and I hope brings you value.
CONTENT. ATD National is an amazing, and continuous, content curation machine. Their team works tirelessly to bring to market new information on 14 different topics relevant to talent development professions, covering over 8 different roles in the industry, and even some deep dives into specific niche sub-industries (like health care and government, etc). Whether you are looking for a class, a book, a topical/current magazine article, a new research/trend report, a webinar series, some speakers for your next event, or even some industry data and best practices – you can find all of it and more through ATD National. And though there’s no such thing as a free lunch – depending on your membership status – a lot of the content can be found for low- or no-cost.
CONNECTION. Though I very much appreciate (and utilize) the content wing of ATD National, one of the resources that I truly love the most is their dedication to connection … or we could even say community. I am a firm believer that you can only learn so much from “things” – but that you can accelerate your learning and development when you partner with someone else (formally or informally). If you have ever been to an ATD conference, you know what a great job they do in bringing together people from all over the globe to share thought leadership and best practices. (And if you haven’t been, then we need to see how we can get you to it next year – as it’s in our backyard of Denver!). Additionally, the infrastructure they’ve setup for local chapters (nationally and internationally) is another great resource they offer us – giving us leadership development opportunities along with a large network to reach out to for support, feedback, collaboration, brainstorming, other assorted resources, and more!
CERTIFICATION. The final asset that I think is a great resource from ATD National is their certification institute. ATDCI is the managing body for both the CPLP and APTD credentials. I held off from seeking certification, for many years, thinking that a master’s degree in adult education would be sufficient. And though my academic training was amazing, and has done great things for me professionally, pursuing (and achieving) my CPLP was transformational. Reviewing the Learning System (aka ‘body of knowledge’) that they recommend you study, along with the study guides, study tools, and practice tests were a great assessment of all of my graduate school content. And the final tests and projects were great ‘refining fires’ that proved I had what it took to be recognized as a professional. The CPLP & APTD programs are great tools to help us in talent development more easily get a seat at that proverbial table, by having an outside group validate our skillset and require us to maintain it over time.
As I mentioned earlier, I have a mission to “use what I have to make the lives of others better,” so I get really excited (aka lengthy) when talking about resources. Those that work with me, or have collaborated with me in the past, know that I have a “small library” when it comes to the topics I am passionate about. (I may or may not have moved 30 boxes of books to and from DC!) With that said, before I go too long in this piece, I will bring it to a close here. I am always happy, willing and excited to “talk training” with anyone, so please feel free to reach out. Connect with me on LinkedIn, drop me a line through the chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can learn more about what I have done and what I am doing at www.jasondsturges.com.
Thank you for all that you do to develop the talent – and develop those that develop talent – in your organizations. All of us continuing to do that every day, will most certainly – as the ATD vision states – “create a world that works better.”
President-Elect, ATD Utah Board of Directors,
Employee Development & Engagement Manager, BioFire Diagnostics