Benefits of Getting Involved With Your Local ATD Chapter

About 10 years or so ago, I decided to join my local ATD chapter so that I could connect with other training professionals in the Seattle area. Bit by bit, I grew more involved. I’d attend a monthly member meeting/workshop before work. I’d attend their conference. Eventually I had an opportunity to present at the local ATD conference, and later I began to volunteer. Through my local ATD connections, I’ve found new friends and I’ve also cultivated relationships that have led to training projects.

Recently, I had the chance to speak with Sarah Schillen (president of ATD Puget Sound in Seattle) and Gwen Navarrete Klapperich (president of ATD Hawaii) to hear their thoughts on the value of getting more involved in local ATD chapters. Give it a listen for their thoughts on the benefits of getting involved in a local ATD chapter… stay to the end to hear them go head-to-head in a tightly contested match of training trivia!

Introduction 

Brian Washburn: Welcome, everyone, to another episode of Train Like You Listen, a podcast about all things learning and development in bite-sized chunks. I’m Brian Washburn, I’m your host. And I’m also the Co-founder of a company called Endurance Learning. Today, I am joined by Sarah Schillen, who is the President of ATD Puget Sound. And I’m also joined by Gwen Naverrete Klapperich, who is the President of ATD Hawaii. So two local chapter Presidents who will be talking to us in just a moment. 

Brian Washburn: But before I get to any of that, I do want to let you know that we have a sponsor. Our sponsor is Soapbox. So today’s podcast is brought to you by Soapbox, which is an online tool that you can use for 5 or 10 minutes, and you can take care of about 50 or 60% of the work when it comes to developing a live, instructor-led training. Basically, how it works is you tell the computer how long your presentation is, how many people are going to attend, whether it’s in-person or it’s virtual, what your learning objectives are, and then Soapbox will in an instant generate a training plan for you with clusters of training activities that are designed to help you accomplish all of your learning outcomes. And if you don’t wanna just listen to me babble on about it, you should try it out for free for two weeks. You can find out more information – you can try it for free – at www.soapboxify.com

Six-Word Biography

Brian Washburn: Okay. Now let’s get down to business here. I’m joined by Sarah and Gwen, and they have had the assignment of being able to introduce themselves in exactly six words. So why don’t we start with Gwen? How would you introduce yourself to the listeners in a six-word biography? 

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: I don’t know if it’s six words, but I’ve been in talent development for over 20 years, talent development roles for over 20 years. 

Brian Washburn: That was nine words. We’ll let you–

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: Let me slide. I don’t count very well. 

 (LAUGHING) 

Brian Washburn: How about you, Sarah? How would you introduce yourself? 

Sarah Schillen: Grateful President enthusiastically recommends chapter volunteering. 

Brian Washburn: Ooh. And we’re gonna get into that here because both of you are at the top of the world when it comes to the local chapters. And I’m curious– my first question that I have for you is when it comes to your local Association for Talent Development chapters, even beyond just the volunteering or maybe it was a volunteering that attracted you to it, what made you decide to get involved – to join the local chapter and then get involved in the volunteering part?

Why Did You Decide to Get Involved With Your Local ATD Chapter?

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: I can start. So this is Gwen. I actually– this is my second chapter. So when I first joined ATD National, I was actually on the board of directors for the greater Las Vegas chapter. That’s actually how I got involved. I went to a meeting, I introduced myself. And then of course, usually what happens with people who are enthusiastic and show up to meetings, they go, “Would you like to be on the board?” (CHUCKLES) So that’s how I wound up on the board, and I was on their board for four years. 

This actually really helped me kind of pivot my career so I could do talent development full time.

But through them, I actually became an ATD National Member and kind of networked, and that’s how I really developed my talent development skills. This was probably about 10, 11 years ago. I mean, like I said, I’ve been in talent development for a while but just in different roles. So you do talent development aspects, but your title isn’t talent development. And this actually really helped me kind of pivot my career so I could do talent development full time. And so when I moved to Hawaii, just to show you how much of a nerd I am, I actually joined ATD Hawaii before I got my driver’s license. So. It was easier. (LAUGHING) 

Brian Washburn: So for anybody who’s listening, there’s no test. There’s no test. You don’t have to take a paper and pencil test. You don’t have to go out in a parking lot and drive to take a test. You don’t have to do anything. You can just join, whether it’s the local chapter or national chapter. How about you, Sarah? What made you decide to get involved with ATD Puget Sound? 

Sarah Schillen: Yeah. When I started volunteering, I had been a member for about two years, and I truly got involved in volunteering because I was invited to. It sounds really simple, but I had a colleague who was volunteering at the time and she invited me to join her. And so I did. It really wasn’t a profound thing that happened. 

I was really new to L&D. And actually, because of that, I generally recall feeling very awkward at chapter events because I didn’t know anyone, and I didn’t particularly perceive myself as adding much value. Which looking back is really just a self-limiting belief, you know? But I thought that by getting involved, I could have the opportunity to connect more authentically with volunteers and begin to feel more comfortable in that space. And so I did. 

Brian Washburn: You know it’s really interesting– and I’ll just kind of throw in my own 2 cents as somebody who was a local chapter member, and then got involved in volunteering and eventually became the President, and then gave way, Sarah, to you. But I would go to the chapter meetings and I would want to be asked to be involved, but nobody ever asked me. And so one day at the very beginning of a chapter meeting, they were sharing some of the different opportunities that were available and that they were looking for some help with, and I was like, “Ooh, I think I can do that one.” And so I went up and spoke to somebody after the meeting. 

And so while it sounds like both Gwen and Sarah, both of you sound like you were invited, I want to make sure that people understand that it’s kind of fun, especially for the ego, to be invited, to be wanted. And at the same time, if you want to get involved, if there’s something that you can be doing, or you’re thinking you can be doing, then, don’t wait for somebody to ask because I think that every chapter is certainly looking for some help. Now that being said, I’m gonna stay with you, Sarah, for just a moment, and then I’ll go to you Gwen, because I know that different chapters offer different things. And so Sarah, I’m kind of curious, from your perspective, what would you say your chapter offers like talent development professionals who are local to your area? 

What Does Your Chapter Offer Local Talent Development Professionals?

We offer a space to get really nerdy on L&D trends and challenges and successes with others who are equally as passionate about the work that we do as talent development professionals.

Sarah Schillen: Yeah. I love this question. So– and we offer a lot of things, but I think I’ll center on the community piece. So we offer a space to get really nerdy on L&D trends and challenges and successes with others who are equally as passionate about the work that we do as talent development professionals. And it’s a really great place to build meaningful professional relationships and just be in community with others who can add value to your personal and your professional life. 

And so I think one of the unique things about our field is that we often work in small teams, and so having the chance to ideate and solution and explore and kind of just “nerd out” with other TD professionals outside of the four walls of your proverbial organization is really invaluable. And so of course there’s development sessions, there’s online community, and we put a lot of intention and effort into those things. But the biggest value for me is community. 

Brian Washburn: Yeah. How about you, Gwen? What would you say the ATD Hawaii offers to some of the local talent development professionals?

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: I would say the same thing as Sarah. It’s that local community. Especially here in Hawaii where everything is very local-centric, people find value more in joining a local chapter than they would necessarily a national organization. The culture here is very different, the business climate is very different, and the issues that we face are kind of unique in that way. So for us to be able to get together with other L&D professionals who are actually in Hawaii, who know what it’s like to be here, and building that sense of community, as Sarah said, is really important. 

Brian Washburn: Are are either of you doing in-person events yet? Or is it still all virtual? 

Sarah Schillen: Not yet.

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: Yeah, we’re doing in-person events about once a quarter and it’s usually a networking thing. Because our members are so hungry, especially in Hawaii where everything is– we’re very huggy people, we’re very–. So for three years of not being able to hug people and you know, just be close to people, it’s– people in Hawaii and I’m sure all over the world, but especially here, they’re really hungry for that in-person connection. So we decided that we would go back to in-person events once a quarter and make it a networking event because people just wanna talk. 

Brian Washburn: Yeah, Sarah, you’re not back to in-person? 

Sarah Schillen: Not yet. It’s definitely something we’re in high conversation about, and we intend to do that soon. It’s just, you know, getting it right.

Brian Washburn: I’m gonna go over to you Gwen to start this question, and Sarah feel free to jump in or add on. I’m kind of curious, Gwen, what benefits have you take– so we talked about what benefits ATD offers, just kind of in a generic sense, some of the local members. But what benefits have you taken away from getting involved locally? Especially because you’re not just a member, you’re obviously a leader of the chapter. 

What Benefits Have You Taken Away From Getting Involved Locally in ATD?

It keeps my skills fresh.

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: I think, one, it keeps my skills fresh. I’m also the founder of a company that’s very small – it’s called Klapperich International Training Associates. And it’s a team of two, me and my husband, which is basically, that just means me. (CHUCKLES) So, you know, it was a way for me to keep certain skills fresh, especially leadership skills. And since I don’t have any full-time employees, it was a way for me to give back to the community that has given me so much. And, you know, I’m– also just because I have my CPTD, you get your re-certification credits, you get all of those things. 

But really what it’s given me is an outlet to be able to find people who are in my field and make those connections, and I’ve gotten several projects out of that. So, you know, it’s that community that is built, that’s the most thing that you get out of there are the people that you meet. And just even from being on the leadership team, being able to meet people like Sarah and being able to do a project like our coast-to-coast conference last year, which was a huge project, and being able to work with other people throughout the country as a chapter leader is really invigorating, I guess is the word I can use there. 

Brian Washburn: Yeah. I think that’s really cool that, kind of, the idea that the more involved you get, the more people you’re going to meet, the more relationships you’re gonna develop in a genuine sense, right? People can go to chapter meetings, whatever, and network and meet some people and exchange business cards, and I think that’s great. I think it feels to me, and what I was hearing from you, Gwen, was that the more involved you get, the more connections you can make – both deeper and also broader. 

How about you, Sarah? What have been some of the benefits you’ve taken away from getting involved? 

Sarah Schillen: Yeah, I definitely would echo what Gwen said as far as, you know, expanding your network authentically and meaningfully. While we were kind of bantering before the call, we talked about casually running into each other at the national conference. And we like ran into each other’s arms because we were so excited to see each other for the first time in-person. So, you know, you build these really strong connections, and that’s something I didn’t expect. And that has really only happened for me being involved at the board level. 

Volunteering helped me, you know, at the, kind of, coordinator/manager level, helped me build connection with my local community, but being involved at the board level really helped me expand my network nationally. And then I think volunteering offers the opportunity to altruistically create something from nothing, and there’s something really intrinsically rewarding about that, for me anyway. And then the other thing that I think just I would’ve never expected is professional confidence. So because you’re collaborating with professionals across industries, across companies, sizes, and cultures, and experience levels, you’re learning from others, and it’s a great way to grow professionally. And as you’re growing and stretching, each of these moments comes with some kind of, like, gift or, you know, a benefit and being able to do that with other volunteer comrades is really humbling and validating. 

And so one other example that I think I would share of that is that stepping into the President role has been really invaluable for me because I learned that I’m really passionate and fueled by leading people-leaders. And I hadn’t done that prior to being in the President role. And I loved leading my team, but having the opportunity to lead other people-leaders has been a really great growth and awareness for me.

Brian Washburn: Yeah, I love this and it’s kind of– you might get involved with some ideas in mind, but then, like, unexpected things can come out of it as well. Sarah, I’m gonna stick with you for this last question that I have here is, you know, if there are people who are listening right now and they’re on the fence about joining a local ATD chapter, what do you wish you could tell them? 

Advice To Those Considering Joining a Local ATD Chapter

Sarah Schillen: Yeah, I– my best advice would be to go LinkedIn stalk a board member of your local chapter or a few of them, and find one or two that you wish you knew professionally, and just send them a message and let them know you wanna learn more about them, learn more about the chapter. It’s a really easy, no pressure point of entry. 

And board members, because inherently what it is that we do, we’re always excited to meet new people in the field, help connect people, help, you know, share lessons learned or whatever, and happy to just be a resource. So I’ve met a lot of chapter leaders over the course of my time, and I think every chapter leader I’ve met at every chapter would be more than happy to quickly and readily respond to that kind of ping. And it would be, you know, a great opportunity just to meet someone new, even if you never become a chapter volunteer or member, it’s just an easy way to connect.

Brian Washburn: I love that. That’s a very specific action step that somebody can take. And like you said, I can’t think of a single chapter leader who wouldn’t– it can be kind of awkward and weird to find somebody on LinkedIn and then reach out kind of cold and say, “Hey, I see that you’re involved with this local chapter, I’m thinking about getting involved.” I know it’s kind of weird and it can be kind of awkward. And I can’t think of a single chapter leader who would not respond by saying, “Hey, let’s do a Zoom call or let’s have coffee,” or whatever it might be. So I love that suggestion. 

Gwen, same question for you, you know, if people are listening right now and they’re kind of on the fence about joining, what would you tell them?

Attend a chapter meeting. Check it out, you know, meet some people and see what the chapter is because each chapter has its own character and its own, kind of, sense of culture.

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: I would tell them to attend a chapter meeting. Check it out, you know, meet some people and see what the chapter is because each chapter has its own character and its own, kind of, sense of culture. So check out your local chapter. And if you’re fortunate enough that you are in the area where you have multiple chapters, unlike here, you can actually check out different chapters and figure out, you know, where you fit and where you would like to be and who you would like to make connections with. So I would welcome anybody to attend a chapter. Even if you pay like a non-member price, it’s still, you know, for most chapters it’s a nominal fee. And just to check out a chapter is, you know, it’s worth doing.

Brian Washburn: Yeah. It’s like the cost of lunch, right? So. 

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: Yeah. 

Brian Washburn: And so for those who are kind of interested in what Gwen just said, if you– you can probably Google local ATD chapters, or you can go to http://www.td.org, and you can find a local chapter just by putting it in your zip code too. 

Training Trivia Challenge

Brian Washburn: All right. So we are done with the questions that you can answer just kind of off the top of your head. And now we’re gonna transition to the end part of this podcast where I have some trivia questions for you, and we’re gonna see who can answer how many questions faster. So the way this works, I’m gonna throw out a question for you, and if you think you know the answer, go ahead and say your name. That’s gonna be how you buzz in, and then I will hear who answers. The first person who answers five correctly will be declared the winner for today’s training trivia challenge. All right. So are you ready, Gwen? 

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: Sure. 

Brian Washburn: Are you ready, Sarah? 

Sarah Schillen: So ready. 

Brian Washburn: Here we go. The first question: what does the acronym LMS stand for?

Sarah Schillen: Sarah!

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: Gwen!

Brian Washburn: Sarah!

Sarah Schillen: Learning Management System. 

Brian Washburn: Sarah has one. All right. Next question. When you’re using Microsoft Word, what is the keyboard shortcut to copy something? 

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: Gwen! 

Sarah Schillen: Sarah! 

Brian Washburn: I think Gwen buzzed in. Yes, Gwen. 

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: Ctrl C. 

Brian Washburn: Ctrl C. We are tied at one a piece. What does the acronym ATD stand for? 

Sarah Schillen: Sarah! 

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: Gwen!

Brian Washburn: Sarah!

Sarah Schillen: Association for Talent Development. 

Brian Washburn: Woohoo!

Sarah Schillen: That would be embarrassing if I got that one wrong.

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: I know!

 (ALL LAUGHING) 

Brian Washburn: Next question. What scent is a brown Mr. Sketch Marker

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: Gwen. 

Brian Washburn: Gwen.

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: I’m gonna go with chocolate. 

Brian Washburn: That’s a good guess. That’s a great guess. It is not the correct answer in a standard pack. There might be some specialty packs, actually that it is chocolate, but that’s not the answer we’re looking for. Sarah, do you have a guess? Brown Mr. Sketch?

Sarah Schillen: Coffee? 

Brian Washburn: Oh, that’s another good guess. The actual answer is cinnamon. 

Sarah Schillen: Ohhhh. 

Brian Washburn: Brown Mr. Sketch is cinnamon. All right, so next question. Within three years, in what year did Articulate release their first version of Storyline?

Sarah Schillen: Sarah. 

Brian Washburn: Sarah. 

Sarah Schillen: 2010. 

Brian Washburn: The answer’s actually 2012, that is within three years. So yes. So we have a score of Sarah has three, Gwen has one. Prezi is an alternative to what presentation software? 

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: Gwen! 

Sarah Schillen: Sarah! 

Brian Washburn: Gwen! 

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: PowerPoint

Brian Washburn: PowerPoint is correct. Three to two. The comeback is on. I’m gonna run out of questions. 

 (ALL CHUCKLING) 

Brian Washburn: What is the name of ATD’s annual conference that focuses primarily on using technology to facilitate the learning process? 

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: Gwen. 

Brian Washburn: Gwen.

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: ATD Technology. 

Brian Washburn: ATD Technology is correct. That usually happens in February for those who are interested in that. We have a tie score here, three to three. Next question. What is someone called when they are members of both their local ATD chapter and national ATD?

Sarah Schillen: Sarah. 

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: Gwen.

Brian Washburn: Sarah!

Sarah Schillen: Power member. 

Brian Washburn: A power member. That is correct. We have Sarah at four. One answer away– one correct answer away from fame and glory and being today’s trivia challenge. But Gwen is only two correct answers away. Next question. What does the acronym AR stand for? 

Sarah Schillen: Sarah. 

Brian Washburn: Sarah, for the win! 

Sarah Schillen: Augmented Reality

Brian Washburn: Augmented Reality is correct. 

Sarah Schillen: Woo woo! 

Gwen Naverrete-Klapperich: Yay!

Brian Washburn: We have over winner. Well, thank you both for humoring me with an intense game of training trivia that was very close. Actually, I think that we’ve played this three times and every single time the score has been five to three.

Well, thank you, Gwen. Thank you, Sarah. Thank you everyone else for listening. If you know someone else who might find today’s conversation about getting involved with ATD to be helpful, go ahead and pass on a link to this podcast. If you wanna make sure that you are notified when a new podcast comes out and hot off the press, go ahead and subscribe at Apple or Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Even better is if you would give us a like or review the podcast because that’s how other people find out about us. If you’re interested in learning more about a ton of different learning and development strategies, you can always pick up a book – one of the best books ever written about training called What’s Your Formula? Combine Learning Elements for Impactful Training at amazon.com. Written by yours truly. And until next time, happy training. 

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