Presenters for 2020

We are excited to share the list of selected presenters and sessions for our 2020 conference.  Many thanks to everyone who submitted a proposal.  And, many thanks to the Design Committee for their work on this year's lineup.

Eric Bloom

Maximizing Your Office Influence

The speaker, Eric Bloom, in his new book “Office Influence: Get What You Want from the Mailroom to the Boardroom” has identified 76 personal and business attributes that enhance or detract from the ability to influence others in the workplace. This talk, which includes the results of his research in cooperation with the University of Northern Colorado, explains how those in the audience can use this knowledge to enhance their office influence!

Features include: 

  • Pre-talk online survey to understand attendee thoughts on office influence
  • Summary comparison of our overall research results and attendee results  
  • Insights and techniques on how to enhance your office influence
  • Post-talk online individualized assessment analysis, advice and action plan

This talk will help attendees:

  • Increase their knowledge of key influence concepts, techniques and practices
  • Enhance their ability to influence those inside and outside your organization 
  • Create their own action plan designed to maximize their office influence

Kimberly Devlin

Focus on This, Not That

Being a manager is a job; it takes work. Being an incredible manager, however, is a choice. It requires focusing on “this”—establishing employee expectations, setting goals, giving recognition and feedback, and delegating as a means to develop your team, and not “that”—whatever you did yesterday. This session will take participants through the steps to avoid and fix three common mistakes managers make and set them on the right track for crafting work goals that take employees out of their comfort zones, into their growth zones, without encroaching on their panic zones. The session’s strategies and activities have been field-tested by thousands of managers who have applied them while attending training with the speaker, and they have been published in Focus on This, Not That: How to Engage Employees, Manage Performance, and Get Results from the Smarter in an Hour book series. This practical, application-based session will have managers getting results to brag about – in surprisingly little time!

JD Dillon, Principal, LearnGeek

Prepare for Impact: Getting Started with AI in L&D

We’ll explore the impact AI will have on workplace learning and performance within the next 5 years. We’ll begin by dissecting the influence of AI on the employee experience, including both the automation and humanization of work. Then, we’ll identify a range of AI applications within L&D, including personalization, performance support, advanced analytics and content development. We’ll discuss the changes L&D must make to our approach maximize our AI potential, including new skill requirements for L&D professionals. We’ll take a deep dive into data and demonstrate why L&D must evolve beyond antiquated, ineffective measurement models to power AI-enabled technology. Finally, we’ll address critical AI considerations, including privacy, transparency and governance. You’ll walk away with everything you’ll need to kickstart your own AI conversation with your stakeholders and peers.

Erinn Gerry, Senior Manager, Learning and Enablement and Liana Nunziato, Instructional Designer

Tales from the Scrappy Side: Microlearning for Microteams

In businesses both large and small across the globe, transformation is happening. Not only must companies rapidly and continually evolve to remain competitive, but they must deliver more, faster, and often with less resources than ideal.

This new reality also means there are more and more demands on training teams.Whether you are training customers, partners, or employees, training must be produced faster than ever before and often has a much shorter shelf life.

Couple this new reality with the fact that many fast-moving small-to-medium sized companies often have tiny training teams or no organization-wide training strategy at all.Everyone knows how important training is, but what do you do when the size of your vision doesn’t match the size of your resources? You get scrappy!

In this session you will learn how to:

•Implement a microlearning strategy to increase your speed to market

•Design your content and program in a way that reduces maintenance

•Influence other areas of the organization to adopt microlearning techniques

Nancy Giard Hawthorne, TD Consultant

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Are you thinking about becoming an independent learning consultant? Do you need help deciding if consulting is a good fit for you? Would you like advice from someone who’s spent the last 3 years successfully launching their own consultancy? The new gig economy has given momentum to the notion of going solo. Join this successful Talent Development entrepreneur for this session about what it takes to go solo and thrive. You'll gain tips and tools to help you decide if you're ready to strike out on your own. Plus, you’ll build an instant network during the session and leave with a list of colleagues to leverage right away to help you reach your goals. And in case you do decide to take the leap, you will be provided a robust list of resources you’ll need to get started.

Andrea Laus and Matteo Malatesta

AI-Driven Role-Play for Practicing Leadership Conversations

"L&D professionals are familiar with many models of learning, but there's one area, soft-skills improvement, where role-play practice remains one of the most effective strategies.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) may be a very efficient answer to boost its effectiveness expanding its usage and objectivity.

The are several ways AI-driven digital role-play can be used to empower employees and leaders at scale for better performance.

Remote practicing, smart objective setting, big-data benchmarking and adaptive learning scheduling are some of the strategies that can help to go

beyond the limitation of soft-skills knowledge-led e-learning solutions, to start providing continuous empowering value to the learners.

The workshop will touch many aspects connected with that, providing a direct interactive experience with this approach and an in-depth sharing from the speakers’ experience about:

  • What digital role-play is and how it can help corporate L&D professionals deliver effective and practical soft skills learning strategies;
  • The main characteristics to look at when designing a learning strategy based on digital role-play;
  • What early-adopting L&D professionals report are the leading advantages behind this new learning strategy;"

Valeria E. Lopez, Founder and CEO of OnBeat Consulting

Jetsons vs. Flintstones: Designing Organizations Ready For the Future Now

Conversations and Google search results on the future of work tend to focus on the disruptive nature of technology – the number and types of jobs created, the tasks that are now (or will be) automated, the skills needed (and no longer needed) and the rapid pace of change. While the future of work demands new skills and ways of thinking and working with technology, it also calls for new systems of work that allow for innovation, creativity and diversity. What will a future organization look like? And are there any organizations operating in the future now? How can organizations be ready for the future? In this session, we will explore the evolution of present-day organizations to help the audience understand how past ideology and definitions of work continue to inform our current practices. Then, I will engage the audience in imagining and reinventing the essential elements of a future organization as they “play” with a few case studies. As the audience plays, we will discuss the role of self-organization, learning and failure in these organizations – to name a few of the elements. I will conclude with implications and practical next steps for consultants, leaders and talent development professionals as they courageously venture into the future of work.

Julie Palazini and Colleen Wheeler

Transforming Virtual Collaboration

Virtual meetings, while increasingly popular, often lack opportunities for meaningful engagement. As a result, participants multi-task and become distracted—and their organizations lose potential, time, and resources. We believe that building rewarding and productive meetings can ultimately shift a team’s culture to one of engagement and shared ownership for success. Meeting leaders and facilitators have a critical role in making this happen. If you agree, please join us and roll-up your sleeves to learn by doing! During this highly-interactive session, participants will explore tools to break down barriers to engagement, increase a group’s capacity to focus together, and discover the best tools for your context.

Sarah  Scala

What's going on up there?  Understanding Coaching and the Brain to Build Business Performance

In this workshop, participants will learn about neuroscience and what happens in the brain with different approaches to coaching. Partner and small group activities will include both Compassionate coaching and Compliance coaching approaches for people to practice new skills. A Compassionate approach is focused on the coachee’s vision and ideal self, while a Compliance approach is focused on the organization’s objectives and goals. Both are important for sustained change for both individuals and organizations. Participants will also learn about Intentional Change Theory (ICT), a process that supports behavior change. Participants will gain skills and tips to bring change to individuals and teams, and what happens neurologically in the brain when these approaches are used.


Rahul Singh, Senior General Manager and Poonam Jaypuria, VP eLearning at Harbinger Group

Designing an AI (Artificial Intelligence) based Learning Ecosystem for Talent Development

In this session you’ll learn how to implement AI enabled virtual coach for establishing a continuous process of talent development. There are two parts to this implementation. First one is about creating a framework which would act as a guiding tool and the other part is the actual solution implementation. 

ahul Singh, Senior General Manager and Poonam Jaypuria, VP eLearning at Harbinger Group

Designing an AI (Artificial Intelligence) based Learning Ecosystem for Talent Development

In this session you’ll learn how to implement AI enabled virtual coach for establishing a continuous process of tal

Susan Soares, Executive Team Advisor & Consultant

12 Principles of Enlightened Management and Effective Training

The challenge for a trainer is that preconceived notions are not just participants but can be the stakeholders or sponsors also. When a sponsor has a preconceived notion, they can become a reluctant sponsor and it has an impact on the level of engagement if they broadcast it negatively to their downline.

How do you overcome that way of thinking? How do you use language to positively reframe thinking about return on investment, return on time, and return on pulling people out of operational roles?

How do you hold space where there’s collaboration and communication in a dialogue group and an energy of “there’s room for conversation” rather than “here’s what the mandate is”?

It’s critical to ensure that learning outcomes are achieved. How do we do that as a trainer, consultant, HR professional, instructional designer, educator, or development specialist?

The 12 Principles of Enlightened Management and Effective Training workshop will introduce a framework with a focus on:

  • Identifying preconceived notions of stakeholders, sponsors, and participants
  • Establishing new principles and assumptions to overcome those notions
  • Creating space to hold conversations about training and talent development

Developing a strategy to transform how we approach the future of learning within an organization requires finding new techniques or maybe revisiting old techniques – like conversation, collaboration, and shared values.


Monique St. Paul, L&D Graduate Student & Marketing Manager

Training without the Pom Poms: Use Storytelling to Change Naysayers Into Promoters

Fun trainings don’t require poms poms, a fake smile, and wacky activities – talent managers know this but often learners, don’t. This session helps talent managers dispel the myth through the technique of storytelling. From the first marketing piece to the actual training storytelling can keep the enthusiasm but apply it sparingly to practical ways to share the content. Participants will take a journey that addresses their pain points, shares failures, and leaves them with a map on how to integrate it into their existing projects.

Ross Tartell, PhD

Building a Pipeline of Talent: It's Not Magic

Think about how often a key person leaves and the organization is surprised – and has no one who can step in. Maybe another scenario – there’s an opportunity for the business to grow, but no one has the skill to make it happen, so the business opportunity is lost. These situations only get worse when there is a war for talent and it is a full employment economy. Maximizing Organizational Horsepower: Building the Talent Pipeline looks at this from three interconnected perspectives: 1) How do you align learning and development efforts with the strategic direction of the organization? 2) How do you create a succession plan that addresses the strategic issues and charts a path that ensures the organization has the necessary talent for the future? 3) How do you create learning pathways that effectively prepare employees to meet the organization’s talent requirements while simultaneously addressing their individual development needs? These three approaches are woven together in a highly interactive session to provide the perspective to participants to enable them to become better able to increase the depth of talent - the horsepower necessary – for their organizations to win in a rapidly evolving and competitive marketplace. Because the learning and development professional has a unique perspective on learning, this session will help you become the linchpin connecting line management, Human Resources and Learning and Development. Understanding these three perspectives and combining it with your personal experience will give you insight into how to best engage with the employee, develop their talent, build credibility with senior management and deploy appropriate organizational resources that drive market success.


Donna Volpitta, Ed.D.

Employee Mental Health & Wellness: Understanding the Simple Brain Science

The Future of Talent Development will be determined by the mental health of our work force. Right now, young adults, the foundation of our future talent, have extremely high rates of depression, anxiety, addiction, and suicide. Above all else, the mental health and wellness of our work force needs to be understood and addressed. In this interactive workshop, participants will learn The Resilient Mindset Model to understand the brain science of resilience and mental health. Though the model is simple enough for participants to share it with their children, it clearly explains complex concepts such as mindfulness, growth mindset, and mental health. Come learn how to use any challenge as an opportunity to proactively build resilient brain pathways. This session will completely transform your understanding of your brain.

Diane Weir, Staff Instructor

Getting started with video-based training on a budget

We’ve all heard that video is the future. And indeed, video can be an excellent part of your Learning & Development portfolio. But, how do you know if it’s right for your organization? What are some of the obstacles you might face, and how can you overcome them? How can you get started without busting your budget? We’ll start by identifying the types of training that are well-suited to video and obstacles you’ll want to anticipate and address as you get started. Next, we’ll get hands on making videos using our smartphones. This session will not teach you how to use your smartphone camera. But, it will cover items like lighting, sound, and directing your on-camera talent. We’ll also look at some inexpensive tools you can use to create storyboards and edit your video. We’ll look at a variety of simple ways to enhance the quality and effectiveness of your video. You will leave this session with a roadmap in how you can get started with video as part of your employee development program.

ATD New England is a partnership between the existing ATD Chapters located in the New England Region.

Learn more about the Association for Talent Development.  Visit www.td.org.

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