8 Highly Successful L&D Professionals Share Their Trainers’ Holiday Wishlist Items and New Years Resolutions

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in ATD’s Core 4 conference in Nashville, TN. I used the opportunity to pull together a handful of conference speakers to just have a fun conversation about what is on their holiday wishlist as well as what their 2022 New Year’s Resolution would be if they were only allowed to use one word to set their resolution.

Today’s podcast is a little less traditional than the 1:1 interviews you may have grown accustomed to on the Train Like You Listen podcast, but I hope you’ll indulge us as we begin to experiment with new formats. Enjoy listening to some wisdom from Sharon Wingron, Cindy Huggett, Kassy LaBorie, Cara North, Tim Slade, Shannon Tipton, Myra Roldan and Betty Dannewitz.

This will be our final podcast in 2021, and we hope you’ll join us in 2022 as we bring a bunch of new ideas and continue to experiment with new formats!!

Happy holidays!!

Introducing 8 Friends of the Train Like You Listen Podcast

Brian Washburn: Welcome, everyone, to one final episode of Train Like You Listen for this year. Happy Holidays to everyone. This is Brian Washburn, I’m your host for Train Like You Listen. I’m also the Co-founder and CEO of Endurance Learning. And boy, do I have some gifts for you all! And those gifts come in the form of a podcast with Cindy Huggett, Cara North, Betty Dannewitz, Kassy LaBorie, Myra Roldan, Sharon Wingron, Tim Slade, and Shannon Tipton. 

We are here to talk a little bit about what we want out of this holiday season, as well as what we’re looking forward to in 2022. So I have just introduced them and they will introduce themselves in just a second. And basically the way that today’s podcast is going to work is – it’s a little different than normal where we’re just going to have two questions. The first question is: what is one item on your trainer’s wishlist for this holiday season? And the second question is: what is your one-word resolution for 2022? I would love to start with the person to my left. Sharon, go ahead and kick it off.

Sharon Wingron: CEO/President, DevelopPEOPLE

Sharon Wingron: Thank you, Brian. So this is Sharon Wingron with DevelopPEOPLE, and I am in the throws of scaling my business, working on processes, and streamlining and documenting as we grow the business. So on my wishlist is a virtual assistant that really knows all the different SAAS applications and tools we use so that they can knit them all together using Zapier and Integrately to really streamline my workflows and make us more productive. 

And then my one-word for 2022 is “soar.” And the reason I say that is because 2022 will be the 20th year anniversary of my business. When I started the business under the name Wings of Success, my tagline was, “Soar to new heights of personal and professional development.” Along the way, we rebranded and we have soared. And so as we enter this next phase, I want to continue to soar.

Brian Washburn: Now we are going to go to Cindy in just one second, but I’m curious about the virtual assistant. Now are you talking about somebody who works virtually, but like a real person? Or are you talking like something to automate all of this stuff?

Sharon Wingron: Oh, that’s a great question, Brian. Right now I think I would need a real person who knows the different tools. So for example, someone that when we get a training request, they would put together the workflow so that automatically, the proposal is started in new CR Proposal Software, the client– the prospect is logged in Company Hub, our CRM. The notes are set up for us to take when I do the needs analysis– needs assessment discussion, the notes would be started in Nimbus Note, which is our note taking app. You know, and basically it would just like tie the system all together for me. So then as our team gets in and has these conversations and puts the human element into it, the whole system’s set up and we can execute quicker.

Other Guest: It sounds like a great job description.

Sharon Wingron:  Thank you. I’ll look forward to getting this transcript.

Brian Washburn: The Transcript!

(LAUGHING)

Brian Washburn: Well, spread those wings – that is awesome. 

Cindy, let’s hear about you.

Cindy Huggett: Principal Consultant, Cindy Huggett Consulting

Cindy Huggett: Hey everyone. I am Cindy Huggett and I’m a Principal Consultant of Cindy Huggett Consulting. I specialize in helping organizations move to the virtual classroom and all sorts of hybrid online digital working. 

So I am right in the midst of completely overhauling my home office. I’ve worked from home for 20 years almost. And I’m in the process of rearranging, removing, redesigning. And so my wishlist is long. (CHUCKLES) But I had to narrow it down to just one for this conversation. So I have my eyes on a Samsung Frame TV.

Other Guests: Ooh!

Cindy Huggett: And if you’re not familiar with it, it is a television that looks like an art frame and you can select what digital artwork you want in it. But then at a click of a button, it changes to a monitor, to a TV. So it’s flush with your wall. You would never know it’s television unless you switch it over to monitor or TV mode.

Other Guest: Black Friday is coming!

(LAUGHING)

Cindy Huggett: I know! They are not cheap though. So it is on my wishlist and we’ll see, yes.

Brian Washburn: It’s very Jetsons-like.

Other Guest : I think I want it on my wishlist now, too.

(LAUGHING)

Cindy Huggett: If only we lived closer – we could share it.

Other Guest: We could share it.

Cindy Huggett: So my word for 2022 is “hope”. And it’s hope because one: I’m very hopeful about the future and the direction that I see many organizations taking as really rethinking, “Okay. We know what things were like 2019 and before, and we know what things have been like for the last two years. So now let’s intentionally craft out what’s going to be different as we move forward.” And I know I’m doing that in my own business, thinking about what good things have come out of the last two years. What things do we want to keep? What things do we not? And I think it’s a time of hope looking forward to next year.

Other Guest: Beautiful.

Brian Washburn: I love these words. There’s so much optimism as we look at 2022, which I think is really, really–

Other Guest: Was that like a little breadcrumb to your word?

Brian Washburn: To mine? (CHUCKLES)

Other Guest: Foreshadowing.

Brian Washburn: People have to read the blog post.

(LAUGHING)

Brian Washburn: Kassy, let’s go to you.

Kassy LaBorie, Principal Consultant, Kassy Laborie Consulting

Kassy LaBorie: Hi, I’m so excited to be here. I am Kassy LaBorie and I am the Principal at Kassy LaBorie Consulting. And I too help people transition to the virtual environment – becoming virtual trainers, designers, and producers. And it’s a whole lot of fun and it’s a lot of tech all the time. 

And it’s an interesting question, you know, what new gadget am I interested in? I’m interested in no more new gadgets. I want to figure out the iPhone 13 that I just bought that I’m just using like a boring boring. And I also– I guess I can make movies on this thing and so I want to do that. And then I also have a new computer that’s sitting in my office that I haven’t even opened yet. And I also have a new deck of cards from Brian Washburn that I’ll be using.

(LAUGHING)

Kassy LaBorie: Its– I need my readers, “The Elements of Amazing Learning Experiences.”

Other Guest: A product shameless plug.

Brian Washburn: Love it.

Kassy LaBorie: So I’m interested in taking care of the tech that I have and using it effectively and at its best and most. And that actually leads into my one-word, which is “discernment”.

Other Guest: Ooooh. Fancy word.

Brian Washburn: Triple word score! What does that mean!?

Other Guest: That’s a college word right there!

Kassy LaBorie: There’s just been a lot. There’s so much coming at us, there’s so many apps, and there’s so many add-ins, and there’s so much tech. And I’m interested in people and how we use that tech to connect authentically and in real ways that help people learn. And so I’m interested in seeing what’s going to rise, what’s going to be the cream of the crop, if you will. And, you know, to use the right ones for the right reasons.

Brian Washburn: I love it. Discernment, and your wishlist is user manuals, it sounds like.

(LAUGHING)

Other guest: The patience to actually practice it!

Kassy LaBorie: I don’t read those. That’s part of the problem, right? I need to unwrap it and try it. I’m a–hands-on learning.

Brian Washburn: Learn by doing. 

All right, Cara, what do you got?

Cara North, Operations Training Manager, Silfex

Cara North: Hello! I’m Cara North. I am the Operations Training Manager at Silfex and we are a manufacturing plant that manufactures wafers for the semiconductor industry. So to say that 2020 and the pandemic was good for business – sadly, it was. A lot of things used semiconductors and so because of that, we’ve seen a tremendous growth in our company. 

And with that tremendous growth, my wishlist is I would like to purchase a LOMAK. So a LOMAK is a laser operated mouse and keyboard because a large population of our new hires don’t have the technological literacy to use a computer appropriately. So a big problem that the team is having is, not only are we onboarding people to these pretty substantial, very dangerous in many cases, jobs, but unfortunately they don’t know how to use a keyboard or mouse. And they are very mobile, they’re moving around a lot. So I really think using these LOMAKs might be great because it’s a light-operated, so it can kind of go with a laser and they use the lasers in the plant quite frequently. So I like to try it out and see how it goes. It might really help fill a need because unfortunately I do think we’ve lost a lot of really good people because they just couldn’t get over the technology and using the computer. 

So, my one-word resolution for next year would be “health”. And I think the reason for that is obviously there’s a lot of things going on, and I know in my organization and myself, I’m very burned out. I think a lot of people are burned out. And to the degree next year, that the team can support, you know, health initiatives, not pushing out a lot of compliance stuff. You know, really focusing on the intentionality of what it is that we do and really value people’s time. And then also, personally, actually taking care of myself for once is really important, too. So.

Other Guests: Agreed.

Brian Washburn: Yeah. Yes. I love all these resolutions and I love hearing about all these different things that people are looking for, because I would never have thought of some of these things. So it’s pretty fun. 

Tim, what do ya got?

Tim Slade, Founder, eLearning Designer’s Academy

Tim Slade: Hi everyone. Thanks for having me. My name is Tim Slade and I am the Creator of The eLearning Designer’s Academy, where I focus on helping people learn the ins and outs of elearning design and development. And on my wishlist for this year, it’s really specific– and I already know I’m not going to get it – is a native Mac version of Articulate Storyline.

(LAUGHING)

Tim Slade: I really want it.

Other Guest: You’re such a dreamer.

Tim Slade: I am a dreamer and I will be dreaming forever on that one. So. Yeah.

Brian Washburn: Is that directed at David Anderson? Tom Kuhlmann?

Tim Slade: No comment.

(LAUGHING)

Other Guest:  Whoever is listening that can help, basically.

Tim Slade: I know they don’t make those decisions.

Other Guest: They might influence those who make those decisions.

Tim Slade: Influence harder, you know? I don’t know.

(LAUGHING)

Tim Slade: Okay. So my word for 2022 is “balance”. I think with the last two years, for a lot of us in this industry, business has been good. And we’ve been going, going, going, going, going, going, going, going, going. And I know I have, and I haven’t had two seconds to, like, take five minutes off. And so as I think about next year, being more thoughtful about my time and taking time off and relaxing and resetting so that I can focus on giving all of my effort to all the things I want to do.

Brian Washburn: Absolutely. 

Shannon. What say you?

Shannon Tipton, Chief Learning Officer, Learning Rebels

Shannon Tipton: I am Shannon Tipton and I am the Owner of Learning Rebels. And Learning Rebels focuses on microlearning strategy. And so we will take your big, enormous, bloated content and turn it into something more effective.

Brian Washburn: And can I just stop right there and say that I think that Learning Rebels might be one of the coolest names in all of business?

(AGREEING)

Shannon Tipton: Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that. So my one idea– and I’m listening to everybody and I’m like, “I want that. I want that. I want that.” But simply I think what I would really enjoy playing around with is a gimbal and a gimbal is a video stabilizer thingamajig – and that’s a technical term.

(CHUCKLES)

Shannon Tipton: You know, because I really want to experiment more with video and video production because it’s 2021, right? And so that’s something that we all should be doing and getting better at it. And towards that point, my one-word mission, if you will, is “experiment”. 

Other Guest: Hmmm. I like that.

Shannon Tipton: So I think we get– and we were having this conversation earlier, ironically, about being in our comfort zones, you know? And even as experienced L&D people, it’s kind of hard to break away from your comfort zone. You know, you find something that you like and you stick with it, right? And I know that I’ve been a victim of that, as well. So now it’s just a matter of looking at things differently – I really want to turn things on their head and look at things from a very different perspective, whatever that perspective may be, and then take that for a ride. Where can that go? 

So it’s not unlike the MCU, you know, series What if? So what if, you know, Superman, were actually the bad guy?

Other Guest: I love that series, by the way.

Shannon Tipton: Yeah. So if we turn the world around or our world, as we’re speaking, and look at things from a really different perspective, what does that mean? And we can experiment in these little itty bitty ways – we don’t have to do big ginormous experiments. We can do little itty bitty things. And see– almost dare I say–

Other Guest: Maybe micro-experiments? Kinda like microlearning? (LAUGHS)

Shannon Tipton: MICRO! Micro-experiments. But I almost want to say set ourselves up for failure because those little experiments, the more we fail, the more we succeed, you know? That gets us to an end point. And so I’m really looking forward to doing more of that in the upcoming year.

Brian Washburn: Yeah. There’s the whole Thomas Edison saying, right? “I haven’t failed 10,000 times. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t quite work.” Now that said, I have heard that there is a really cool periodic table of learning elements you can experiment with.

OOOOOH!

Other Guest: I heard that, too!

Other Guest: Isn’t it a book?

Other Guest: There’s a book, too!

Brian Washburn: So, Shannon, my biggest question is: what is your formula going to be for 2022? You can think about that.

Other Guest: Woah!

Other Guest: Homework!

Other Guest: We didn’t know we were getting an assignment!

(LAUGHING)

Brian Washburn: All right–

Other Guest: Science is all about experimentation. Or experimentation is science.

Other Guest: Yes, it is.

Brian Washburn: How about you, Myra?

Myra Roldan: Senior Technical Program Manager, Amazon Web Services

Myra Roldan: So, first of all, I’m really honored to be like sitting at the table with everyone.

Brian Washburn: Isn’t this a cool table to be at?

Other Guest: Yes!

Myra Roldan: It’s very cool.

Other Guest : It’s where the cool kids are!

Myra Roldan: Yeah, definitely. So I’m Myra Roldan. I am a Technical Program Manager at AWS, but I also run my little side gig which is Learn with Myra. And so, I experiment a lot and I try to figure out how to teach very technical things to people in easy ways to understand. And so on my wishlist– this is going to sound very intangible, right? You can’t touch it.

Other Guest : You can’t touch this!

(LAUGHING)

Myra Roldan: Right! You can’t touch this. But I want my own cryptocurrency–

OOOOOH!

Brian Washburn: Myra coins! I like it.

Other Guest: Yeah, Myra coins.

Myra Roldan: –in 2022 – working towards that. Hopefully it’ll, you know,– I’ll be able to make that a case because I’m building a Blockchain game, that will be marking it.

Other Guest: Oh nice!

Myra Roldan: I want to be able to issue NFTs to people who actually get the game. So they’ll get an NFT and then NFT is tied into the inside. For those who don’t know, an NFT is a non-fungible token, which is like a piece of– you own a piece of something, right? That’s digital. And so working towards that.

And so I would say given to that, my word– I have two words, but my first word is very negative, but I’m gonna do my positive word.

Other Guest: She’s breaking the rules.

Brian Washburn: She is breaking the rules– she hasn’t broken the rules yet.

Myra Roldan: Yeah. So my negative word is “no”, which ties into my positive word, which is “play”. So I need to be able to say “no” to things so I can play a little bit more–

Other Guest: Yeah, there you go.

Myra Roldan: –because I get to go the 50,000 directions. And so I want to be able to play more in 2022 because there’s so much that I have, kind of, in the mix that I don’t get to work on. And so, you know, going from working 80 hour weeks to sometimes 90 hour weeks, I want to be able to say “no” and open up more space for myself so I can play. And see how I can– there’s so much technology out there that I want to be able to like dumb it down– not dumb it down, but make it easier to consume–

Other Guest: More accessible.

Other Guest: –More accessible, and easier to understand.

Other Guest : So Myra, I just have to jump in here and say, you need– I encourage you to do a little bit of a mindshift where no is not negative.

Other Guest: Right!

Other Guest: But the way you just described it – no is so powerful. It’s so affirming. And so the only way that no is negative is if you’re putting it on it. But instead, what I heard you describe is really giving yourself freedom to play and to pursue your passions and what you’re interested in.

Myra Roldan: But everyone takes no as a like negative because every time you say “no” to people, they’re like, “Aw”–

Other Guest: Well, let’s change that with this podcast, right?

Other Guest : And honestly my– I had thought no first as well, and that’s what led me to “discernment”.

Other Guest: Interesting, right?

Brian Washburn: Well I think it applies to a lot – Cara said “health”, Tim said “balance”. I think that it is really a key element to those.

Other Guest : Every “no” means you can say “yes” to something else.

Myra Roldan: I can say “yes” to myself.

Other Guest: Yeah, there you go!

Brian Washburn: And I can–

Other Guest: Mic drop.

Brian Washburn: Yeah. I can envision next year’s episode where everybody’s wishing for a Myra coin.

Myra Roldan: Hopefully we’ll get there.

Other Guest: And I want your glasses, too, by the way.

Other Guest : But can I say like one thing I really love about Myra is I love she experiments with the technology. Like there’s just something random out there happening and I’ll hear about it and I’m like, “I bet Myra’s looking at that. I bet Myra’s doing something with–.” So I think that’s awesome that you want to do Blockchain and NFT.

Myra Roldan: Thank you.

Other Guest: And thank you for sharing that. I think that’s really cool.

Brian Washburn: And thank you for blazing that trail because it’s too intimidating for me.

Other Guest: Same.

Brian Washburn: Yeah. All right, Betty, what do you got?

Betty Dannewitz: Learning Solutions Architect, Ken Blanchard Company / Founder, If You Ask Betty

Betty Dannewitz: So, hi. I’m Betty Dannewitz of If You Ask Betty and my one item that’s on my wishlist is not profound. It’s just like I really want something super fun and sparkly to play with. So it would be like an all access pass to Envato Elements. If you have not checked this out, you need to.

Other Guest: Oh, love it!

Betty Dannewitz: Yes. I think I should just spend all the money and make that happen. It’s really not that expensive.

Other Guest: No, it’s not.

Betty Dannewitz: It’s just a matter of saying yes to that. So do you know what that is, Tim? You’re looking–

Tim Slade: Yes, I’m like, “You don’t have that yet?!”

Betty Dannewitz: I’m just double-checking. I don’t but I need it. So that’s–

Other Guest: Yes.

Other Guest: Oh so much worth it!

Betty Dannewitz: And the reason is because of my one-word. And so my, what is it? My one-word resolution is “growth” because the If You Ask Betty experience, for lack of a better word, is growing in 2022. And I need more dynamic and exciting artwork to go with that. So I’m excited about that.

Other Guest: Congrats.

Brian Washburn: Yeah. What is the If You Ask Betty experience? I know there’s a podcast and some other stuff out there, but it sounds like the experience is bigger than just one thing.

Betty Dannewitz: It is. So If You Ask Betty‘s mission is to help equip learning professionals to think differently about how they design and develop learning solutions, specifically around immersive and alternative modalities. So those were a lot of words to say. We like to hang out and play with AR, VR, podcasting, etc.. There’s so many other things that are coming up – like 7taps, which is a really cool microlearning, is I think amazing and has huge potential. And I think there’s a way for us to combine that with even something else. So a different modality that’s alternative. So that’s what If You Ask Betty is all about.

Happy Training and See You in 2022!

Brian Washburn: Well, I love this episode – I think that we need to try this more. As we head into 2022, we’re going to see some different formats for the Train Like You Listen podcast. And this could be one – where we have a jumbo panel where it’s just more than just me and one other person. 

And for today, what I’d like to do is just thank Sharon, Cindy, Kassy, Cara, Tim, Shannon, Myra, and Betty for just sharing their insights as we head into 2022. 

And for everybody else who’s listening, thank you so much for listening to another year of Train Like You Listen, which can be found on Spotify, Apple, iHeartRadio, wherever you get your podcasts. And until next year, happy training everyone.

(CHEERING)

 This week’s podcast is sponsored by Soapbox. Sign up today for a free demo below.

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