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Chapter Blog

Welcome to the ATD Atlanta Chapter's blog. Here, you will find posts from our Executive Board members. We also encourage our members to submit a blog post to be featured on our site. This is a great opportunity to share your knowledge and grow your brand.

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  • 02 Oct 2022 8:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As the days grow shorter and the leaves start to change color, that can only mean one thing - it's Fall! Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back in season, the temps are cooler, and our chapter is in the midst of change. In this update, you'll find information on new chapter leadership, upcoming events, and how to participate in the annual chapter survey. So grab your favorite cozy blanket and settle in for a quick read.

    We've welcomed new leadership this term, and they're hard at work planning upcoming events and updates for the chapter. The annual chapter survey is also coming up soon, so be on the lookout for information on how to participate. In the meantime, watch the video message from our President, Allison Baldwin and be sure to register for upcoming events.

    We're excited to kick off this Fall season and can't wait to see all that our members accomplish. Be sure to stay tuned for more updates by following us on social media and checking your email regularly. As always, feel free to reach out to any member of the board if you have questions or would like more information about getting involved.

  • 19 Jun 2022 10:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This post is brought to you by our Alliance Partner

    By: Ndege Diamond

    As a developer I often get questions about the future. Specifically, how much time it would take me to develop an (often nebulously conceptualized) eLearning course in Storyline. A good rule of thumb is that it will take a bit more than an hour of production for every minute of limited interaction course time. That doesn’t include developing a storyboard (or script) or custom content. Custom content can include audio narration, icons that are specific to the content of the course, or custom video content.

    Sometimes, the final number can be a shock to a stakeholder or client, and it can cause the budget to be in jeopardy. So, let’s talk about some ways you can reduce a project’s production time. To do that, we need to first cover the steps included in producing a course. The steps can broadly be grouped into Preproduction, Production, and Revision stages. Preproduction includes building the course template, sourcing images, graphics, and audio. Production consists of adding the actual images/graphics and text, layout, and animation. Interactive elements such as buttons, quizzes, and scenarios are set up during production as well. Revisions involve testing, fixing errors found during testing, changing content after client review, and final publication (e.g., LMS, web).

    You can cut down on preproduction time by using preexisting content as a resource. Obviously if there is already an eLearning template available that you can reuse, then that’s a considerable reduction in the amount of time spent in this step. But even something like a well-made PowerPoint template can be leveraged as a resource. In addition, if a previously curated library of images that apply to the subject is available, then that cuts down on the time a developer needs to spend sourcing them.

    Reducing production time can be a bit trickier. Again, if there’s already an eLearning course, that can be a huge time saver. Consider if the eLearning needs can be met by building around or updating a pre-existing eLearning course. If you have learning assets in the form of PowerPoint presentations, consider leveraging them as well. Storyline can import PowerPoint files, which can potentially save on production time.

    From a production standpoint it’s harder to reduce revision time. If something needs to be fixed, then you just need to fix it. It’s not impossible, though. Just like the other steps, leveraging pre-existing content can shorten this process. I’ve worked on a few projects where a PowerPoint presentation was developed and approved by the client and then handed off to me. I then imported the PowerPoint into Storyline, took care of any conversion issues, and added interactivity. Since the content had already been approved, the revision process only addressed reviewing for proper functionality. Another way to reduce revisions is to be diligent about the content in the preproduction phase. Changing an image or paragraph of text in a storyboard is a lot more time efficient than changing it once it’s been added as content in the final course.

    The bottom line is the future looks good if you can leverage your resources to reduce overall development time.

    Get more tips from Judge Learning Solutions!

  • 01 Jun 2022 7:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Many have heard about certificates and certifications.

    What’s the difference?

    According to the Talent Development Body of Knowledge (TDBoK, 2020), “A certificate is earned by acquiring knowledge. Course attendance is often the only requirement, although a test or project may be required. Individuals receive a certificate that never expires; however, they are not “certified,” which is a designation only bestowed on those who are in practice, such as a CPA.

    “Certification is a program that is administered by a non-governmental organization and assess whether an individual has the knowledge and skill to perform a role measured against a set standard. The administering body grants individuals a credential for a specified period of time. Certification is available to those who meet predetermined, standardized criteria, and the knowledge required to pass an assessment is learned through classes, self-study, and experience. The assessment is independent of a class or training program. To retain the credential, recipients must meet renewal requirements.”

    In plain English:

    One you receive for completing a lesson, program of study, participating in a class or event. You get a lovely piece of paper to hang on your wall, and it never expires, there is no required maintenance to keep it.

    The other requires self-study and experience in that industry, to pass a rigorous exam created by industry experts. You receive industry recognized designation of letters to place after your name, like CPA, APTD, SHRM, etc.

    What are the benefits?

    Depending on your area of expertise, location, and experience level, most certifications can result in a nice bump of salary or desirability to hiring managers.

    Why Did I Choose to Get Certified?

    After I finished up my masters, I went to work as an ID in a newly forming Talent Development department…WOW, if only I knew then what I know now…

    Bottom line, I knew instructional design. I knew training, facilitation, and coaching. I knew about evaluations and technology. But Talent Development is a very large, all-encompassing, different bag of nuts and I quickly realized I had a ton of best practice gaps that were leaking water from my lifeboat like a sieve!

    I realized that if I wanted to succeed in the Talent Development arena and become a trusted business partner, I needed to close those gaps, and quickly!

    So…. da da da daaaaaa…. Enters the APTD certification!

    I asked the question of several people, “Why did you get certified?” They answered, “To provide credibility, validate my expertise, leverage my knowledge and grow my skills, fill gaps, get noticed by hiring managers, etc.”

    According to a recent search on, 54 jobs appeared for APTD, 104 for CPTD, 249 for CPLP (I guess they don’t know the title of the certification changed to CPTD), 5127 for PMP certified, and 2,729 SHRM certification.

    What does it all mean?

    It looks to me that certification is becoming a regular either job requirement or preferred job qualification!

    So, if someone wants to make sure they stand out from the crowd, it might be beneficial to find an industry recognized certification showing up in job postings for your desired role, make a plan to go for it!!!

  • 17 May 2022 5:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Ndege Diamond, Creative Lead  

    One of the interesting and maybe ironic things I’ve found about designing eLearning is, in many cases, if the job is done well, the design itself is never noticed. I’m not saying that someone who engages in a well-designed eLearning course shouldn’t appreciate the work that went into it, but that the design should serve to present the content seamlessly to the learner. In other words, the design should be the background, pushing the content forward.   

    In his book Don’t Make Me Think, Steve Krug has a great analogy for user experiences on the web that resonated with me. He asks the reader to think about having to rent a car with entirely different controls than usual, e.g., the gas pedal is on the left and the horn is on the door instead of the steering wheel. To get anywhere, you would need to adjust how you would normally operate a car significantly.  

    To take this analogy further, imagine if once you find the horn on the door of the car, you push it only to realize it controls the windshield wipers. Instead of getting the usual feedback you expect from your car driver experience, you get unexpected results. You would be so busy dealing with the controls and how to use them that you wouldn’t enjoy the journey. You would probably get to the destination (if you were lucky!) and be glad it was over.  

    I didn’t start writing this intending to make a car analogy, but I think it illustrates the point. If taking an eLearning course is a journey, then a good designer will make sure the controls the learner uses to navigate are located and work as expected, so they can enjoy the scenery in the form of content presentation and get to the desired “destination.”  

    Great design is also about keeping the learner “focused on the road.” My philosophy when designing a course is to choose design elements that enable learners to give their attention to the task at hand rather than being distracted by the choice of colors or fonts for the graphics and text. This is not to say the design or course itself should be forgettable. Quite the opposite; it should communicate information quickly and efficiently. There is plenty of room for creating memorable moments in eLearning, but those moments are much more effective when they are easily accessible and readable rather than drowned out by a cacophony of poor design choices and inexplicable controls. 

    Check out more resources and publications from our partners at Judge Learning. 

    Read More

  • 01 Apr 2022 6:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Volunteering: What’s in it for You?

    There are hundreds of articles on the internet that will tell you the benefits of volunteering.  Many include numbered lists for why you should volunteer.  These are typically targeted towards physical labor volunteering or the kind that takes you overseas to some remote jungle location.  I thought I would give you my take on volunteering for a professional organization, what those benefits are, why I started, and why I’m still doing it.

    Building Self-Esteem

    I identify with this one.  Who doesn’t like to be thanked?  What about being thanked for something that seems really easy to you but is a big deal to someone else?  The types of tasks I perform for ATD are usually within my skillset. However, someone is always really grateful to receive assistance with the project.  Being helpful and using my skills feels good!

    Moved by a Cause or Giving Back

    Thank goodness for these folks!  There are those who feel that they were helped along the way by professionals in ATD or other professional organizations and they want to pay it forward.  Volunteering is a great way to do that.

    Try out a New Skill or Leadership

    Volunteering is the perfect place to attempt something new.  Maybe you are a software programmer, and you’d like to try project management.  Or you’d like to showcase your leadership skills but don’t have the opportunity in your current position.  These items will look great on your resume and LinkedIn profile.  Employers do notice!

    Get out of Your Comfort Zone and Increase Social Skills

    I have to admit this was me.  I didn’t want to volunteer, and I was intimidated by the people.  I started taking minutes at Board meetings and would barely make a sound.  Now I’m very knowledgeable about past processes and the bylaws.  You’ll be amazed by how little time It takes to become accustomed to a new role.  You weren’t comfortable driving a car the first time you tried it, were you?

    Sense of Community and Networking

    Sure, you can build community and network by just coming to meetings (in-person according to your comfort level).  This community-building works better and sticks if you volunteer.  When people work together toward a common goal, you develop a bond.  These are the people who will recommend you for a job or help you with your resume.  I’ve been recommended for jobs and helped and been helped with resumes and portfolios. These types of connections will build a community that you can call on in an emergency.

    Job Prospects and Mentorship

    I believe this is one of the more common reasons people even join ATD. That’s ok.  The sad part is that as soon as a job is found, they leave.  If you expect to find a mentor or someone who might be willing to give you a job at ATD, then shouldn’t you also want to be a mentor or someone who might give someone a job?  Volunteering as a mentor is a great way to volunteer.  Mentorship allows you to bond really well with one person and influence their life and career.

    Volunteering is Good for the Community

    Everyone benefits in a community when the volunteer pool is healthy.  At Greater Atlanta ATD, there are programs and initiatives in place to draw us together and help us work together.  We work with businesses, universities, and other philanthropic organizations.  All these connections make a stronger, healthier Atlanta.  Similarly, some are motivated by helping people and knowing they are making a difference for individuals.  ATD hosts programming to develop skill sets among all levels of learners. 

    Enjoy the Work and Have Fun

    Enjoy doing work for free?  Am I serious?  Yes, there are those out there who enjoy what they do so much that they will do it in their free time and donate to the common good.  I’m thinking of computer programmers who program and post free software on the internet for anyone to use.  They do it for the joy of figuring it out and making it work.  You should have fun at whatever volunteer work you choose.  The best volunteers find the most joy in what they are doing.

         Nora has been volunteering with the Greater Atlanta chapter of ATD since 2016. She believes everyone should volunteer if only to gain the knowledge of what it takes to provide the programming and services the chapter provides. It has been a wonderful and beneficial experience for Nora and she'd love to tell you more about it during one of her Volunteer Engagement calls.
  • 07 Mar 2022 8:52 AM | Anonymous member

    As a community of Training & OD professionals, ATD Greater- Atlanta Chapter wants to help you be celebrated, enhance your professional brand, and continually elevate the perception of the profession. Additionally, we want to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace and inspire best practices in others.

    So what are some Best Practices for Employee Engagement? According to the 2022 Inspirus Trends & Forecasts Report  which uses the collective wisdom and thought leadership of its' members to reveal what is trending and how these trends will impact the future of industries . Let's take a peek!!

    When focusing on Strategy for example, there seems to be a critical need for organizations to   find a balance between their on-site business needs and the needs of their employees (who desire remote flexibility). Still, while employers certainly need to consider employee needs and preferences, they must also ensure that they are adequately addressing business needs. Has your organization implemented any of these strategies for enticing employees back into the workplace, as needed, for business-critical tasks? 

    • Craft a back-to-work strategy Offer a place of community
    • Motivate by using rewards and recognition Communicate consistently, with transparency
    • Focus on diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) to represent  all employees
    • Incorporate change management strategies

    Aligning HR priorities with ever-changing business goals in 2022 really boils down to focusing on the employees and their needs.

  • 03 Mar 2022 10:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written by: James Lovas

    Dale Carnegie in his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living wrote that one of the best ways to fight worry and find happiness is to "Find yourself and Be Yourself". He says "Never before, since the beginning of time, has there ever been anybody exactly like you; and never again throughout all the ages to come will there ever be anybody exactly like you again." (Carnegie 134). I found that a big part of being myself is embracing my love of learning and training. Through a few of my stories I hope to encourage you to embrace who you are.

    Find Your Place of Peace

    Back in 2019, I needed to find a new home. Finding the right place is stressful! My girlfriend Lindsey went with me on the apartment search and helped me understand that it's okay to be honest with myself about what I really liked. Snapping turtles!

    The place I picked is right next to a park where I snapped that photo of a snapping turtle. The park is a wonderful place for long walks to exercise my mind, body, and soul. It was liberating to embrace my love of walking. Find the place where you find peace and you'll find rest for your soul.

    Find your Happy Work

    For me my Happy Work is learning. The summer before my high school senior year, I attended Georgia's Governors Honors Program, where along with several hundred of my peers I took summer classes for the pure joy of learning. I felt so free at not being graded on my work. I could be creative, I could stretch myself, and I could choose subjects just because they were interesting. I learned that learning could be a way of life, and that summer I decided to make it so! Find your Happy Work and a sense of accomplishment will be always be yours.

    Find How You Love Serving Others

    In the autumn of 2020, my colleagues presented on the importance of a growth mindset, the mentality that never complacently accepts the status quo but always seeks to improve. I said to myself, "That's me! That's what I've been doing since high school. I find learning and growth so viscerally satisfying that I want to help as many other people as I can grow into the best versions of themselves!" Thus I wrote my career mission statement, "to nurture others' strengths to equip them to solve fun and interesting problems." Find how you love serving others and you can make a true impact.

    Grow Loving Relationships

    In the summer of 2021 I read Keith Ferazzi's book Never Eat Alone. For Ferazzi, the best way to achieve your goals is to  grow respectful, loving relationships with as many relevant people as you can. His ideas were like rocket fuel for my efforts to pivot my career to learning and training. I've gotten to know my organization's leaders in the learning and training space, and through them have found some fun opportunities like:

    • Mentoring and coaching junior employees
    • Facilitating onboarding training
    • Transferring to supporting our global learning strategy as my full-time role

    I joined ATD Atlanta to meet as many people as I can in the learning and training space! Grow deep relationships with others and you too will grow.

    Find How to Tell Your Story

    Last year I completed the Dale Carnegie Course in leadership and public speaking. In each course session, the participants tell a two minute story from their own experience. The story must end with a call to action, a principle on how to live better. 

    I love reading history books. Every two weeks I illustrate a principle on love and leadership with a story from history or popular culture on my blog, Whimsical Learning ( I love reaching and inspiring people. That's why I wrote this post! Tell your authentic story to a wide audience, and you'll find your tribe

    I'm looking forward to getting to know the ATD Atlanta community and hearing y'all's stories!

  • 28 Feb 2022 10:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As a community of Training & OD professionals, ATD Greater Atlanta wants to help you be celebrated, enhance your professional brand, and continually elevate the perception of the profession. Additionally, we want to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace and inspire best practices in others.

    So, what are some Best Practices for Employee Engagement? The 2022 Inspirus Trends & Forecasts report uses the collective wisdom and thought leadership of its' members to reveal what is trending and how these trends will impact the future of industries. Let's take a peek!!

    When focusing on Strategy for example, there seems to be a critical need for organizations to find a balance between their on-site business needs and the needs of their employees who desire remote flexibility. Still, while employers certainly need to consider employee needs and preferences, they must also ensure that they are adequately addressing business needs. Has your organization implemented any of these strategies for enticing employees back into the workplace, as needed, for business-critical tasks?

    • Craft a back-to-work strategy 
    • Offer a place of community
    • Motivate by using rewards and recognition 
    • Communicate consistently, with transparency
    • Focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to represent all employees
    • Incorporate change management strategies

    Aligning HR priorities with ever-changing business goals in 2022 really boils down to focusing on the employees and their needs.

  • 31 Jan 2022 7:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I am humbled and excited to serve the chapter as the VP of the Strategic Partnerships committee this year. Our committee works with businesses, associations, and colleges & universities in the greater Atlanta area to create mutually beneficial partnerships and add value for you, our members. We have some exciting things in the works for 2022 and I would love to share some key highlights with you of what is to come!

    We are partnering with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) for our members to attend ICF Atlanta events at a 50% discount of their non-member rate! In addition, we are partnering with NAAAHR, the Interaction Design Association of Atlanta (iXDA Atlanta), and the Southeast Association of Facilitators (SEAF) to bring complementary content to our programming this year. Keep your eyes open for details on programming content in the next few months as well as information on a fun networking event with NAAHR in late Spring/early Summer!

    For our student members and young professionals, we have been working with colleges and universities to spread the word on opportunities for networking, job experience, and mentorship. We are currently collecting applications for our mentor program, which is a wonderful opportunity for students interested in the Talent Development field to be partnered with a more senior member of our chapter and learn. If you are interested in being a mentee or a mentor, you can find more information on our mentorship page.

    Potential mentors, we need you too! This program is a great opportunity for our more experienced members to give back to our community, gain mentorship experience, and possibly even source new talent for your organization. In addition, we will be hiring an intern for the chapter later this year and holding an instructional design competition that will help you build your professional portfolio of work. More to come!

    We have a lot planned for this coming year, more than I could possibly highlight here, but know that our small and mighty committee is working hard behind the scenes to help enable our talented Programming and Membership committees to bring world class experiences and resources to you. As a member, we invite you to share potential future partnerships you would like to see. And if you are part of a business, association, or college/university that would like to be a future partner or sponsor of our ATD Greater Atlanta Chapter, I would love to connect with you! 

    Jennifer Schmelter

    VP Strategic Partnerships

    ATD Greater Atlanta

  • 06 Dec 2021 4:39 PM | Anonymous member

    Author: allison baldwin, ATD Greater Atlanta - president elect

    I started volunteering with ATD Greater Atlanta in 2017, and officially joined the chapter in 2018. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot, and gained valuable experiences throughout my leadership journey in the chapter. I’ve also been fortunate to have great people to learn from and lean on along the way.

    How my journey started…

    Back in 2018, I was asked to help plan the December chapter meeting. The December meeting serves as an end-of-year celebration for members and volunteers, so I was excited to help plan the event. I remember recruiting volunteers to help and determining the set-up for the food, professional headshots, presentations, and more.

    During the chapter meeting, we watched Julie Padgett and her team sign off for the year and induct Dave Adelman and his team for 2019. And throughout the meeting volunteers were recognized for their work, including myself as Volunteer of the Month. At the end of the event, I was simply happy it went well and everyone had a good time. I had no idea that in three years, I'd be completing my year as President-elect for the chapter. I was approached to run for President-elect in August 2020.

    At the time, I was like a lot of working parents, juggling kids and work at home due to COVID-19. On top of still adjusting to the circumstances, I was preparing to transition into an Instructional Design role at the end of the month. At this point in my ATD Atlanta journey, I was serving as the VP of Communities of Practice (CoP). While I wasn’t quite sure how I’d fit this huge, but distinguished, President-elect role into my schedule, I figured I could plug the experience and skill building into my career development, so I gave it a go.

    Overall, the last 14 months on the path to Chapter President have been an adventure, to say the least. I’ve had the honor of working closely with and learning from our fearless Chapter President, Cornelius Dowdell. In addition to directly building a ton of leadership competencies, I’ve had opportunities to develop my facilitation skills for different audiences and meetings, collaborate with brilliant professionals in talent and development, and build relationships with quite a few of my fellow chapter members.

    How my journey is going…

    One of the great things about being President-elect is that you can make the role what you want it to be. Yes, there are certain initiatives you’re required to complete, but you have a year to learn how the organization operates, and experiment with methods that could work for your year as President. I decided to focus on helping enhance a couple of our current programs, like the ATD Atlanta Mentorship Program and Leadership Academy. I also kept a pulse on how our members were feeling about virtual versus in-person events and meeting.

    For our mentorship program, I partnered with Buddy Schwenk to create a framework to align with the Association for Talent & Development (ATD) Talent & Development Capabilities Model , and we formed a committee to help plan and execute the program. At the end the program, eight out of ten mentees shared their journeys, challenges, and wins, which inspired many of us in attendance. Establishing the ATD Atlanta Mentorship Program as a signature event was one of our strategic goals for our leadership team in 2021, and we accomplished it thanks to the dedicated mentees, mentors, and planning committee. In addition to the overall program being successful, the framework Buddy and I created earned us Sharing our Success (SoS) recognition from ATD. The SOS recognition is promoted as a resource for other ATD chapters looking for ideas or best practices to use within their chapter.

    Leadership Academy is the one chapter program the President-elect owns. My vision was to offer a leadership topic that translates across a variety of roles and experiences, plus find a facilitator to keep attendees engaged in a virtual environment. I collaborated with Master Trainer and chapter member, Jeff Welch, on the event, and he facilitated the leadership session Influencing for Results. From a planning perspective, the program was a winner.

    This year's format was acknowledged by ATD as a blueprint for what an ATPD/CPTD-certified program looks like for our chapter. This means that next year, our chapter can offer continuing education units (CEU) for Leadership Academy¬—a great value-add for our members needing recertification credits. From an attendee perspective two of my goals for Leadership Academy were met. I was able to directly apply the topic to my role as an Instructional Designer, which led to a teach back for my team at work. The team identified an objective that impacts all of us within our projects and applied the influence strategy steps Jeff shared in his session. Additionally, three attendees from Leadership Academy joined the 2022 Executive Board, which met my goal of identifying volunteers for the chapter’s leadership pipeline.

    I experimented with a few ad hoc ideas this year but, for me, one of the most impactful experiments was determining how I would host our strategic planning meetings for the incoming Executive Board. Since we are still in the midst of a pandemic, I decided to host the first strategic planning meeting, which is typically several hours, in a hybrid format. Out of the eleven attendees, six attended in person and five attended online.

    We did encounter some technical issues, but everyone had the opportunity to attend the first meeting in the format they were most comfortable with. With lessons learned after experiencing the pros and cons of a hybrid meeting, we organically generated conversations about how we could solve for in-person versus online events and meetings in 2022.

    What’s next…

    Our current leadership team is wrapping up the year by coaching the new leaders and ensuring they have a smooth transition in January. Concurrently, I’m working closely with the 2022 Executive Board to get them onboarded and finalizing strategies and goals. I can confidently say that we are working hard to plan for another great year. We will continue working to improve member engagement and retention, provide relevant topics through our chapter programs….and I will be back in January to share what our members can look forward to from ATD Atlanta in 2022! I hope to see you on Friday, December 17th, at our end-of-year celebration!

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