Chapter Connections

Welcome to Chapter Connections, your Community Hub for everything related to our Chapter's journey. More than just a space for reading, it's where you'll find the heartbeat of our community—connecting you to the insights, stories, and opportunities that empower your professional development.


  • 02/22/2024 10:25 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Our membership is the heart of our community. Our Membership VP thrives in the midst of this community, seeking feedback on how the Board can enhance member value and promote opportunities for our members to connect, invest, and grow. This year’s VP of Membership is none other than Cyndi Nagel, who looks forward to leading and coordinating ATD-OC’s membership activities.

    We asked Cyndi about her new Board role:

    Why did you join the ATD-Orange County Board?  

    I find great pleasure in taking part in the ATD-OC events and have been eager to become a board member for some time. It's a personal commitment of mine to contribute annually to the L&D community. The ATD-OC community has supported me in various ways over the years, and I wish to extend that same support to fellow members. I genuinely believe our industry is inclusive and welcoming, and I'm excited about welcoming new members who bring diverse perspectives and expertise to our community.

    What do you hope to get out of your role?

    My goals are to establish new connections, introduce fresh ideas and individuals to the community, and build new friendships along the way.

    What is your proudest accomplishment of the past year? 

    I am most proud of developing an in-house mentorship program within my organization, which we have named "Belkin Mentor Connect." Unlike conventional mentorship programs, our focus at Belkin is to focus skill development through mentorship from peers. This program is designed to be skill-centric, enabling us to establish micro-mentorships with specific objectives and shorter engagement periods throughout the year. As a result of this initiative, I am honored to announce that I will be speaking at the ATD International Conference & Exposition (ATD ICE) in May (2024), where I will proudly share my Mentor Program ideas with a global ATD audience.

    Connect with Cyndi Nagel via her Member Profile!



  • 02/20/2024 10:31 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Ask any business person, and they'll tell you the CFO plays a critical role in shaping a company's strategy and future. Beyond managing finances, they provide insights that influence decision-making, drive growth, and ensure long-term sustainability. Our CFO, Michele Bivens, is entering her third year in this position. Her experience, both as a Treasurer for PIHRA Long Beach and as a business owner, has honed her ability in financial stewardship and in fostering sustainable growth. This aligns perfectly with our company’s values and vision, positioning us for enduring success.

    We asked Michele to share a bit more about her experience on ATD-Orange County’s Board:

    Why did you join the ATD-Orange County Board?

    I joined the board to give back to the L&D community. I'm passionate about developing others and helping them be successful in their chosen field. I was also interested in networking with other learning leaders to share best practices, technology, and ideas.

    What did you get out of your role?

    All of that and more! I have mentored several people new to the field who are now working in L&D roles - so exciting! I am also giving back to our community, which is important to me in a 'service above self' capacity. I have met so many wonderful professionals at all levels, and it has enriched my life at many levels - as a mentor and as a mentee.

    What is your proudest accomplishment of the past year?

    We know that it is critical to change with the times, thus we are working to ensure the chapter is impactful to members in this post-pandemic world. I have been working with the current President and President-elect to develop several focus groups where we might engage with members to learn what is most important to them in a professional organization. I'm very excited about what we will learn and the new ideas we can implement.

    You can learn more about Michele by visiting her Member Profile. 


  • 02/15/2024 7:51 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    As Past-President of ATD-Orange County, Gillian Wilson offers invaluable guidance and support to the current President and President-Elect. We asked her, as she approaches the final year of serving in our “C-Level Suite” to reflect on her experience with the Chapter.

    What did you join the ATD-Orange County Board?

    I was serving on the Board as Vice President of Technology when Susmitha was President Elect. I think very highly of her. I had never planned to be President but was when Susmitha asked if I would be interested I was persuaded along that path to try and keep the Chapter going strong.

    What do you get out of your role?

    I get a chance to meet lots of different people. Meeting new people is always impactful personally and professionally. Susmitha and I have continued our friendship beyond ATDOC. Lynn Nissan and I work for the same company on different sites and have connected at work as well as at ATD-OC.

    Additionally, I get a better appreciation for L&D. When I first joined ATD-OC I was more on the LMS side. The MLEs and other Chapter programs let me see what else there was related to L&D. Coaching, DISC, etc., to help you grown professionally and personally.

    What is your proudest accomplishment of the past year?

    The introduction of different L&D tools in a GMP manufacturing environment. I have introduced Simpleshow for communications and micro-learnings and we've adopted Absorb LMS for instructor-led sign ups in place of ComplianceWire LMS. Simpleshow I have used before and like it. Absorb was already in place at Gilead, and although not a validated GMP system, it has some features that can be used that are more user friendly.

    Want to know more about your Past President?

    View Gillian Wilson's Member Profile.




  • 02/13/2024 12:24 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Extended reality, also known as XR, is an industry term that encompasses a wide range of immersive reality design solutions. It includes augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and 360 video. While AR and VR are the most widely recognized immersive technologies, XR is often used to describe the broader spectrum of these innovative experiences.

    What makes each of these technologies unique?

    Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that enhances the real world by overlaying digital data onto it. With a smartphone, tablet, or pair of smart glasses, AR allows users to interact with virtual elements in real-time while still being aware of their physical surroundings.

    Virtual reality (VR) creates a completely immersive digital environment that transports users into a simulated world. Users wear headsets or goggles that block out their view of the real world and replace it with a computer-generated one. 

    Mixed reality (MR) combines elements of both AR and VR, integrating virtual objects into the real world, allowing users to interact with them as if they were physically present. MR enables users to see and manipulate virtual entities within their actual surroundings in an interactive and engaging manner.

    Each of these technologies has its own unique capabilities and applications. AR enhances our perception of reality by adding digital information to our physical environment, VR provides fully immersive experiences in virtual environments, while MR merges these technologies to create interactive experiences that blend the virtual and real worlds together. 


    Where can I experience XR applications?

    XR applications may seem like something best suited for entertainment purposes.  Perhaps the most familiar of augmented reality applications has been Pokemon Go (Pikmin Bloom was a good follow-up game in a similar vein).  The newly released Microsoft Mesh world is an immersive virtual reality world, albeit one that is accessible on the desktop via a Teams viewer, that appears to be more frivolous than practical at this time. 

    But there are practical, realistic learning applications for these technologies.

    The most readily available may be on your smartphone, which may have an Augmented Reality translation app that can take an image of text and translate it into a different language.

    What’s neat is that companies like Microsoft and Meta are making Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality L&D applications nearly as attainable as a translation app. 

    That’s what we’ll be showcasing this Leap Day at CraneMorley.  You’ll get a chance to experience multiple use cases in which either Mixed Reality or Virtual Reality addressed a training need in a unique and innovative way that enhanced the learners’ ability to achieve learning objectives. You’ll find that these applications can be well suited for a variety of industries, from automotive to manufacturing, from healthcare to utilities.

    Want to see this for yourself?  Don't miss your chance to experience virtual and mixed reality learning applications!

    Experience eXtended Reality (XR) Applications in Learning and Development ~ Training & Technology SIG



  • 02/12/2024 7:44 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Since servicing as ATD-OC's Chapter President in 2009, Anthony Harmetz has founded the Training Manager’s Special Interest Group, was highly involved in the Total Training program for many years and has led countless other Chapter projects. Ask Anthony about the halcyon days of our Chapter and he’ll probably describe the day prior, because “It’s a great time to be part of ATD-OC!”

    We asked Anthony about his new Board role as Vice President of Professional Development — Workshops.

    Why did you join the ATD-Orange County board?

    I've been a member and a volunteer a long time and see ATD-OC as my professional home, so I was happy to help out when solicited.

    What do you get out of your role?

    As a board member, I get a chance to regularly connect with a bunch of my peers as we work together--and to try out new ideas I don't get to experiment with during my regular work. 

    What is your proudest accomplishment of the past year?

    It's hard to pick the accomplishment I'm proudest of last year, but one of the contenders would be making time in the morning to work for 30 minutes every day on a personal project before doing anything else--it may not sound like a big deal, but it's really helpful to me.

    Want to know more about your Vice President of Professional Development — Workshop?

    View Anthony Harmetz's Member Profile.  



  • 02/06/2024 9:59 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    In a recent ATD webinar, a panelist cited a surprising benefit to CPTD certification. The opportunities within the talent development field are vast, she stated. Completing the CPTD certification allowed her to determine where she wanted to focus her career.

    Other panelists echoed that sentiment.  One shared that just by beginning her CPTD certification process, she learned where she needed to develop in order to achieve her career goals.

    There were other ways the CPTD certification impacted the panelist careers:

    • Expanded network of skilled L&D professionals

    • Credibility in the field

    • Credibility with other professionals for whom certification is an important element in their field

    But of all the benefits, the idea that the CPTD provides guidance and structure for one’s career progression is appealing.  It’s easy for someone with a career in talent development to become a jack of all trades, master of none. Maybe such career focus is something that appeals to you?

    You can review the varied ways in which a CPTD or APTD certification can impact your career hereor learn more about the opportunities to invest and grow as an L&D professional by attending our multi-chapter CPTD Study Group information session.



  • 01/31/2024 5:18 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Kim-Khue Chieffo has been a mainstay of ATD-OC’s Talent Development team for years, starting as the Change Management SIG co-leader and progressing to the VP of Talent Development in 2018.  She’ll be applying her Change Management expertise as she assumes the President-Elect role for a second term, then later the Chapter Presidency.  We asked a few questions to get to know Kim better.

    Why did you join the ATD-Orange County Board?  

    I wanted to give back to the community and continue our tradition of life-long learning, sharing knowledge, and supporting other professionals to grow in their personal and professional lives.

    What did you get out of your role?  

    I've learned to balance life, work, and volunteering; and managing and leading a nonprofit volunteer-based organization has taught me some great skills that I will carry on to my for-profit work.  

    What is your proudest accomplishment of the past year? 

    Resilience! I've remained resilient, continuing to serve on the Board, contributing to the Chapter's success, and keeping the positive energy going. Thank you to our awesome Board members!


    You can learn more about your President-Elect on her Member Profile, or by introducing yourself to her at any of our Monthly Learning Events.



  • 01/25/2024 4:32 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Matt Zinman will be the first to admit that he broke a few L&D rules last night, but we don't think he's going to ruminate over it. He had set a definite goal — to provide a group of L&D professionals beset on all sides by change and competing priorities with a framework for developing resilience — and he was determined to meet that goal.

    Throughout the event Matt returned to his basic outline for resilience:

    • Keep things in perspective

    • Be present

    • Stay purposeful

    As always, there's a great detail of practice and reasoning that goes into a three-step process, which is why Matt acknowledged he was including what amounted to a three-hour workshop into a one-hour webinar.  

    Not that it mattered much to a group of L&D professionals used to cramming three months of work into a one-month workflow or increasing amounts of "need to know" information into shorter and shorter periods of time. We had been given the highlights and were connected to a veritable learning ecosystem to support us in our pursuit of happierness. 

    • A link to the webinar recording.

    • A book of Z-isms (who among us does not love a book?).

    • A collection of post-webinar job aids, worksheets, and references to refer to after our session.

    Matt ended the presentation with a challenge for self-reflection, and we pose it to those of you who attended the event last night.  We’d love to see some of your thoughts in the comments below. 



  • 01/19/2024 4:00 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    As we approach our first webinar for 2024, we're reminded of this article from ATD:

    "As an L&D professional, you help others heighten their self-awareness, and you observe its impact on employee happiness and engagement. But how often do you enhance your self-awareness? After all, it’s foundational for many of the skills leaders and professionals need—including YOU—to succeed in the new world of work, especially hybrid and virtual formats. And although 95% of us believe we are self-aware, that’s not the case. According to a study by organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich, only 10 to 15 percent of us are self-aware."

    Link to full article.


  • 01/10/2024 8:11 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    When you join ATD, you belong to the strongest community of talent development professionals in the world.

    When ATD members join both the local ATD-Orange County chapter and ATD National, they choose to be change makers in their own backyard and knowledge leaders in the talent development profession. Joint membership offers learning professionals a unique opportunity to connect with local, national, and international professionals. Joint members can learn about trends in the field, and gain access to research, best practices, and templates they can apply directly to impacting organizational results, their community, and advancing their career.

    • ATD membership provides the tools you need for success.
    • Chapter membership applies those tools to your organization and community.

    Make 2024 the year of lasting improvement! Take advantage of ATD National's Member Appreciation sale before January 12, and get a 10% discount on your ATD-OC membership, as well as National membership at 2023 prices.

    Learn more about Power Membership here.

    A final note: when you do take advantage of these opportunities for your career, kindly think of ATD-OC when checking out.  You'll find a Chapter Incentive Program (ChIP) field.  When you select the Orange County chapter (CH8091), then 10% of the cost of membership will be directed to ATD-OC to support our operations.  We appreciate it!






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