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.

  • 01/05/2016 8:27 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    If you're someone who wants to get into writing, explore what's involved in the marketing and communications aspects of talent development, or simply looking for unique opportunities to network with seasoned practitioners in the talent development field, we're eager to chat with you.

    ATD-OC is looking to add to our community's pool of knowledge through the creation of original content. The content would address topics of interest to the talent development community, and would explore the myriad of development opportunities our chapter offers its members.

    You could submit original content based upon your experiences in training, instructional design, or eLearning, or you could select from one of our Community Content Calendar topics. And while we'd be thrilled to list you as a "Chapter Writer," we'll be equally elated if you elect to take on a single article. Either way, you'll find a way to get your unique voice out to a community of talent development professionals.

    To get started, simply complete our Call for Writers interest form, or contact our Social Media Coordinator at

  • 12/01/2015 1:45 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    by Denise Zdunyck

    With knowledge at our fingertips, we sometimes forget the beauty and power of connecting with other people. When like-minded people gather to share their insight and experience, the room comes alive.

    On Oct. 28, 2015, ATD-OC welcomed award-winning eLearning designer, Kevin Thorn, for an evening of “Tapas, Wine, and Storyline.”  The evening had almost a fireside chat feel to it as Gloria Hays expertly guided the conversation with Kevin. Sitting in the audience, we felt we were as much a part of the conversation as the star speaker.

    Listening to Kevin, one gets the feeling that it is possible to attain one’s dreams even when unsure where those dreams lead. Kevin learned Storyline basically on a dare. And, in his stories, he dares us to dream and think bigger – or at least differently.

    Kevin shared tales about how something as simple as doodles became the logo for his company, Nuggethead Studioztm, along with insightful perspectives on process design.

    Through that story, and several others, Kevin encouraged eLearning developers to “think differently about their design” -- to think through the behavior of what they want their learners to experience -- the user experience. Focus on this, and design from this. Too often, Kevin shared, individuals building programs ask development questions when they should be focusing on design questions.

    One of the questions asked by Gloria prompted a lively discussion amongst the group. She asked “[Do you have] any tips for how to get the stakeholders involved in the eLearning review cycle, earlier in the Design process?”

    In the subsequent discussion, one guest in the audience insightfully leveraged her Executive Experience saying: “Tell them nothing. Ask them everything”.

    Not only is Kevin Thorn a Storyline Star, he’s genuinely a nice guy. He took the time to talk with all of the participants who approached him, he answered questions, told fun stories, and, to top it off, he described ATD-OC’s hospitality as “exceptional.”

  • 11/16/2015 8:00 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    When Senator Paul Ryan announced that he would entertain the House Speakership, he did so with a few conditions. One of those: that his weekends were reserved for his family. "I cannot and will not give up my family time," he said.

    This requirement for work-life balance isn't new, but it is a defining trait of today's leaders. According to an EY study: "Work-life Challenges Across Generations," approximately half of managers globally are working more than 40-hour work weeks. Four in 10 say their hours have increased over the past five years. 

    This challenge to work-life balance appears to have impacted Millenials the most, who the EY report states are almost twice as likely to have a spouse or partner working at least full-time than Boomers -- a conclusion that highlights the differences between the multiple generations within our workforce.  

    Baby Boomers are typically characterized as driven, working long hours to establish self-worth, identity, and fulfillment.  Seen as sacrificing family for work-ethic, they're currently blamed for a rising divorce rate, a sharp contrast to the Millennial desire for both solid family time and rewarding work.

    A potential side-affect from this approach to work: Boomers perceive that the ability to lead comes from the work experiences they have gained during those long work weeks.  Millennials, coming into management with fresh MBAs and leadership certifications, lack that experience.  As they bring their ideas and mindset into the workplace, these young leaders often challenge the established workforce with their "way of doing things" that hasn't been tried and tested over time, and won't be tried or tested if they insist on sticking to an 8-to-5 schedule.

    Work-life balance is one snapshot of many in which Millennial managers impact a multi-generational workforce.  This month Devon Scheef, co-founder of The Learning Cafe, will share other snap shots of Millennials as formal organizational leaders, how they view their own leadership, and how these create a gap between those protecting an organizational legacy and those pushing forward with approaches unencumbered with past practice.

    Join us for lunch this November 18 to explore this topic further!

  • 11/12/2015 8:03 PM | Denise Ross-Admin (Administrator)

    With sadness, we announce that ATD-OC has lost a long-time member, devoted volunteer, and friend. Sheri Long passed away on Monday, November 9, after a two-year battle with cancer. She was at home, at peace, and surrounded by family and friends. 


    Sheri, who joined our Chapter in 1993, was a consummate learning, development, and diversity professional. As a child, she grew up on a ranch alongside Mexican farm workers, thereby learning Spanish at the age of six. Later, she lived and studied in Mexico. This background, plus training and experience as a family counselor, lead to the vocation she loved so much. Her company, Amigos At Work, helped organizations lead, train, and engage their Hispanic workforce. Sheri volunteered for many organizations, especially those serving Orange County's Hispanic communities. She performed many volunteer roles for ATD-OC, including 2014 Vice President of Talent Management.


    If you knew Sheri, you know how much she is already missed. She had a rare kind of positive energy, which she brought wherever she went. David Hartl, Sheri's close friend and fellow Chapter member, captured her perfectly in the email he sent to inform us of her passing: 

    "Please, take a moment to pause and remember Sheri: her vitality, her talents, her laughter and party spirit, her colorful ideas and surroundings, her extraordinary bilingual skills, her knowledge of people and organizations . . . her impact on her many clients and systems that benefited from her leadership . . . Also, remember her love of fun and joy, and her amazing ability to share those qualities . . . "

    If you called Amigos At Work, and got her voicemail greeting, "Hola, amigo!" you felt she really meant it. When Sheri and I first worked together on the Chapter Board, I noticed right away her generous use of the Spanish word for friend -- and got used to being called "amiga." 

    Sheri's husband, Lee Pound, asks those who wish to share thoughts and memories of her to email them to Be sure to type "About Sheri" in the Subject line. Also, a celebration of her life will be held at a time and place to be announced. If you wish to attend, please be sure Lee has your email address. 

    In the meantime, as David Hartl said, "we're going to miss that girl." 

    Yes, we will. Good-bye, amiga.


    Kathleen Ashelford, Past President

    On behalf of ATD-Orange County

  • 11/12/2015 9:34 AM | Denise Ross-Admin (Administrator)

    2016 News: Your 2016 ATD-OC Board has been working hard in preparation for next year. First they met with the current board for wisdom transfer and next an onboarding session and idea exchange meeting on October 17th. Last night we met in virtual meeting to discuss details to create member value through programs, volunteer and leadership opportunities.

    The underlying theme for 2016 is Explore, Experience, Share and our focus for first quarter ATD-OC programing is ‘Local Treasures’.

    Over the next few months, we will be reaching out for presenters to fill various program needs for 2016. Additionally, if you have dynamic content to present or know others with exciting content our members would enjoy experiencing, please contact or have them contact or with information about these "Hidden Treasures."

  • 11/09/2015 9:34 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    We are saddened to learn of the passing of Jay Cross, a pioneer in the informal learning field. Jay was an ASTD Orange County presenter in the late 'aughts where he spoke, I believe, on what he called "time deflation" and its impact on learning, predicting a further reliance on eLearning as a training solution, and identifying a push for informal learning to support an employee's need to learn on the job.

    This presentation was unique (for our chapter) in that Jay delivered it from his boat anchored off the Central American coast while we listened in the DoubleTree Club conference room, simultaneously informed and inspired with new life goals.

    Jay was on a continuous quest for knowledge, the results of which you can glean from his continuously expanding digital footprint.  You can learn more about how far-ranging Jay's quest took him from his Internet Time Alliance peer Harold Jarche.

  • 11/02/2015 7:57 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    2015 ATD-OC Programs Value Survey

    We would like to start by thanking each and every one you for your time, your attention, your perspective, and your obvious genuine interest in advancing the mission of the ATD Orange County Chapter.

    In July, we sent a survey asking for your input and insights into chapter activities, programs, and overall value. Click the link to find the final results and recommendations from the program survey.

    Thank you again for contributing to YOUR chapter and YOUR membership. Look forward to seeing YOUR programs in 2016.

    Yours in service,

    Jolynn Atkins, President

  • 10/06/2015 10:36 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    We asked Kevin Thorn, Articulate Community Hero and facilitator of this month's Articulate Fundamentals Workshop, what will you want you learners to be able to do by the end of the class? 

    The answer surprised us.  "By the end of the class," Kevin replied, "I want them to think differently about their designs.

    "If you think differently about the way you design and not try to design within a tool... if you think through the behaviour of what you want your learner to experience -- the user experience -- think about that first, design that, and I guarantee you Storyline can build what you want to design." 

    In this "extended cut" from our Kevin Thorn interview, we hear more about his approach to eLearning design, and why pencil and paper are such important resources at this stage.

    You can listen to the extended cut here. 

    Haven't heard the entire interview? Check it out here.

    More details on the Storyline Fundamentals workshop here.

  • 09/30/2015 4:23 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    These members were selected because of their great work and the positive impact their having on our association and programs.  Among other things, we appreciate their:

    • Leadership and contributions to the Program Committee and Marketing Committee
    • Dedication to excellence in all they do

    LaVasha Lobbins

    Karina Napuri

  • 09/28/2015 9:03 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Kathleen Ashelford has had a long and storied career at ATD-Orange County.  She joined us in 2009 with a passion for mentoring others, and dove in to support our ever-evolving Chapter Website.  This year, she's our Chapter Past President.  We sat down with her to learn more about her relationship with our community, and what's next for her and ATD-OC.

    1. You've held several positions at ATD-OC (formerly) ASTD Orange County. What was the first volunteer position you filled?

      As soon as I joined, I asked to volunteer. The Chapter was piloting a new program, and the team needed help, so I signed up. Shortly thereafter, I ended up leading the team.

    2. There are many opportunities at ATD-OC. What about that position appealed to you? 

      Which position didn't matter. I just wanted to contribute, to connect with others, and to make a difference. Every role since has been an opportunity to do what I love - to help an organization grow its ability to serve stakeholders and fulfill its mission. Later, I worked on the Chapter website, and then served two terms as VP of Technology. 

    3. We speak of the Past President as a single position, but in reality it's the conclusion of a three-year commitment in ATD-OC's "C-level." What skills did you feel you brought to this leadership level coming in? 

      My previous work in software quality and IT involved much cross-functional facilitation, process improvement, and team development. It meant getting very diverse groups to work together. I'm a natural systems thinker, and good at creating collaboration, helping people to identify a common goal and integrating their expertise to reach it.

    4. What skills did you develop while serving as a Chapter President?

      I’ve learned things about leadership and true engagement that you don’t necessarily learn managing employees. Working with volunteers requires greater leadership skills. 

      When I attended the 2013 ATD Leaders Conference, one speaker in particular impressed me greatly when he said, "when you manage employees, your first concern is what the organization needs from them. With volunteers, it’s the exact opposite. Your first concern is what volunteers need from their service." That was hard to get my mind around at first.

      Volunteers give their time and talents because they want to. However, as soon as they lose that desire, you lose them. The key is to learn what they want from volunteering - to develop a new skill, to find peers who can give advice and support, to increase their professional visibility - and help them get it.

      Also, anyone who has managed knows the difference it makes when people are truly engaged rather than working only for the paycheck. People give more of themselves when they are moved by something transcendent, something else they feel strongly about. I would like to increase understanding of this truth in the corporate world – that engagement in the real sense is always volunteered. 

    5. Looking back over the past three years, what would you say is your greatest accomplishment while leading the Chapter? What was the Chapter's greatest achievement under your leadership?

      My team and I solidified the Chapter’s finances and operations, and laid the groundwork for transforming ATD-OC into a 21st century community of practice. As we did so, we took steps to elevate the importance of all volunteers and their efforts. 

      Kathleen Ashelford TeamThanks to our predecessors, ATD-OC survived a long, deep recession. When we began our term in 2014, we saw the need for big changes. Short-term, we faced a projected revenue shortfall of $14,000 for the year. We had to offer more attractive programs, and improve our marketing and communications. All Board members took collective ownership for Programs, SIGs, and Total Trainer -- recruiting speakers, finding sites, marketing, everything. 

      Thanks to my team – Jolynn Atkins, Javier Garza, Damion Donaldson, Kathy O’Halloran, Jeffrey Hansler, Sheri Long, Christopher Veal (pictured right) – programs and courses came together, and we filled seats. We ended 2014 with a $5,000 surplus, even after doubling investment in leadership development and marketing. Also, we redesigned the Board itself, created many new roles, including two new Vice President offices, Talent Management and Professional Development. And, we put new processes in place.

      Long-term, the challenges are those of strategy and vision. Our members today face a business environment very different from what it was 10 years go. Their needs are different. We began the process of deep discovery, questioning everything we do, and asking, “what kind of organization should ATD-OC be going forward?” The answer will take more than one Board’s term.

      Our current President, Jolynn Atkins, and President-Elect, Jeffrey Hansler, are moving us to the next stage of transformation. Two new Special Interest Groups (SIGs) have formed this year, and they are flourishing. Jeffrey has organized committees of volunteers to focus on Programs and Marketing, and other topics. 

    6. How does the work performed in this position mirror the work that needs to get done in a training/OD department?

      The organizations we work for – our employers and clients – depend on OD, training, and other “people” practices to help them succeed. So must ATD-OC. Cultivation of strong, principled leadership is critical, as is the need to attract good people at all levels – in our case, members who want to participate in creating a community that meets their needs. This is why we created the role of Vice President, Talent Management. Sheri Long was the first, and made a great start in 2014, followed by Wendy Danbury in 2015. I look forward to holding that role in 2016, to build on what they’ve accomplished. 

    7. Tell us a little bit about what you do specifically as Past President. What do you enjoy the most? What challenges you?

      The Past President ensures strong leadership succession and knowledge transfer for those who come after her: the President, President-Elect, and current and incoming Board members. This is a challenge, and I love it – especially working with Jolynn and Jeffrey. We three are of very diverse personality types and temperaments; our strengths complement one another, and we share the same vision and values. Our collaboration is one of the most powerful I’ve experienced. 

    8. What are you looking forward to doing next?

      Gloria HayesThings I wanted to do as President, but didn’t have time! For one, supporting Gloria Hays (pictured, right), Vice President of Professional Development, this year and next. She is the first to hold this role, and has made incredible progress with re-vamping ATD-OC’s courses, workshops, and other offerings.

      Under her leadership, Anthony Harmetz and I are piloting the Skills Development Academy. For years, members have been saying they want opportunities to develop specific skills, while receiving guidance and feedback from experienced professionals. Starting in early 2016, the Skills Development Academy will help them do that. We will communicate more about it very soon. 

    9. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you look forward to doing when you face the day? How do you unwind at day's end?

      My undergraduate degree is in Comparative Literature - so, of course, I love to read! I have a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Biola University, and chose that program for its emphasis on the spiritual aspects of leadership. My first job in the technology industry was writing software documentation at Xerox Corporation, where I made the leap into product development. After that, I wore many different hats in organizations of all types and sizes. My observations and experiences about why projects and organizations succeed or fail were what drew me to Organizational Development. 

      I met my husband, Luis, when we were co-workers at Xerox. Through him, I rediscovered my girlhood love of science. He recruited me into the Los Angeles Astronomical Society. Studying the sky through a telescope shifts your perspective. Day-to-day stresses disappear when you see the vast, infinite creation, of which we are a tiny part.

      I give time to causes I care about. On my mother’s side, I am Lakota, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, hence my involvement with the American Indian Science & Engineering Society. Our mission is to bring more Native youth into the STEM fields. We emphasize the importance of education, but also of embracing one’s tribal values and culture. It’s another way to make an impact, to be a force for positive change.

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