Ideas and Insights

  • 11/01/2011 4:36 PM | Rhonda Askeland

    I attended the ASTD Chapter Leaders’ Conference a few weeks ago and shared the ASTD-OC motto, “Come for the content. . . stay for the community” with fellow chapter leaders.  All were very impressed – it may even show up as a motto for other chapters.  The reason I mention this is that we have a very strong community where people are able to gain many benefits from being a member.

    When you go to our Membership tab and look at the benefits, you see quite a number of events and offerings.  Yet, the power of those events and offerings that the community gains aren’t always clear.  A few highlights:

    • This year we showed a commitment to our chapter membership with a new website that meets our member needs for registration and membership renewal. That was a significant change for our chapter, and now makes it easy to become/continue as a member, search information, see a quick glance of upcoming events, scan community posts to our blog, and find a trainer with ease, just to name a few of the changes.
    • Opportunities for professional development in small, local venues prompt discussions between ASTD-Orange County members and industry experts. Our Monthly Learning Events expose you to new skills, or techniques that you just haven't tried yet.  Continuing Development provides structured learning opportunities like the Training Institute workshops and Mentoring.
    • The Career Management SIG was re-established, expanding the audience of our Technology and Training SIG with the establishment of virtual meetings held in conjunction with the live meetings.  In conjunction with the OD SIG, our members are able to connect with content that meets their particular needs across a broad range of interest and skills.
    • We partnered with Brandman University to support our Continuing Development initiatives, and our efforts with UCI resulted in an eLearning Certificate course that we've been promoting. Our partnerships have given the Orange County community a broader awareness of what ASTD-OC Continuing Development has to offer.
    • 12 OC Learning Events were held with a variety of topics ranging from Organizational Accountability to Visual Communication for Trainers, each with its own structured networking opportunity.  The monthly learning event continues to add new members to our community and give our members content that they can apply immediately.
    • The Chapter Job Board offers members an inside track to jobs that may not be listed elsewhere.  There are a wide range of jobs, ranging from Training Specialists, eLearning Developers to Senior Training Manager positions.
    • This year Past-President Anthony Harmetz and Karen Wales started the Training Management Meet Up (TMMU) that is specifically for anyone in a training management role inside an organization.  The TMMU provides an opportunity to network, share insights, build on ideas that help training managers lead the learning function.  The response has been great and we can’t wait to see what happens in 2012.
    • Our Find-a-Trainer feature helps members connect with other workplace learning and performance professionals of specific expertise/specialty. 

    Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.  We have a community that continues to build success by working together.  We’re proud that ASTD-OC provides high value to its members and has helped many people connect through the power of community.

    Rhonda Askeland

    President-elect, 2011

  • 10/17/2011 3:36 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)
    This week we're doing something a bit different in the OrangeSpiel Online -- we're posting three interviews of ASTD Chapter Board Members.  In each article the interviewees -- one from ASTD-San Diego, one from ASTD-Mt Diablo, and our very own Rhonda Askeland -- share the lessons and experiences they've gained from serving on an ASTD Chapter Board.  

    We're letting Rhonda set the mood with our first article (you can find it here).  Her big ah-hah: being exposed to different disciplines allows members to develop an awareness of various business skills that can expand one's "breadth of experience" in the working world.  

    Stop by again tomorrow, and then Wednesday for interviews with Paul Signorelli(Past President, Mt. Diablo) and Jeff Toister(Past President, ASTD San Diego).
  • 10/11/2011 6:52 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    A little over a month ago, Kathleen Sedwick (pictured, right) filled out ASTD-OC's online Volunteer Interest Form.  "I am a mid-life career changer (former teacher with an M.Ed.) and have been in graduate school earning an MBA with an HR concentration since last June, 2010." she shared.  "I had lunch with Janet DiVicenzo a few weeks ago ... and she suggested getting more involved with ASTD-OC and volunteering to work with the chapter." Kathie and I subsequently exchanged emails in an attempt to connect, with little success until we both attended a Career Management SIG Meetup.

    We took the opportunity to meet right then and there. I learned that as a teacher, it was the areas of instructional design and educational technology that Kathie found most interesting and satisfying. During that time, she saw the need for more well-designed, engaging, effective, research-based instruction utilizing today's technology in both education and training and development. Recognizing that this is the direction she wanted to take her career, Kathie sought out opportunities to develop those skills. Along the way, she found ASTD-Orange County.

    "ASTD-OC has provided invaluable benefits to me through its SIG groups, Learning Events, and networking opportunities," Kathie shared with me. "I decided I wanted to be more involved in the organization for the opportunities in my own personal and professional development, to further develop my skills in communications and social media, and to expand my network."

    One member benefit that Kathie has taken great advantage of: our Special Interest Groups (SIGs).  At the time of our meeting, she had been to both OD SIG and Career Management SIG Meetups for the month. She was looking forward to the Technology and Training SIG Meetup the following week.

    The role of SIG Liaison seemed tailor-made for her.

    This role interacts with Special Interest Group leaders to identify what they'll be doing in upcoming months, and ensures that the information is:

    • placed on the website
    • published in our eNewsletter, SIGnificant Information
    • spread through our social media sites

    Kathie's position will ensure that she collaborates with the SIG, Communications, and CTO functions, and sometimes Marketing.

    This position appealed to Kathie for a few reasons:

    • It's relatively low-impact -- the busy work involves little time out of the month.
    • It networks her with a broad group of individuals.
    • It allows her to develop her skills in communications and social media.
    • It plays to her strengths while allowing her to identify what further positions are available within the Chapter in which she could develop further.

    Kathie sees herself assuming a leadership role within the organization and contributing to ASTD-OC's growth and presence in our local communities.
    "I believe that, as an organization, ASTD-OC must continue to promote T&D as an integral and essential component of strategic planning for businesses and support the professional development of its members."

    Welcome, Kathie Sedwick! We look forward to great things!

  • 09/28/2011 4:13 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Training Program Sustainability
    Interview conducted by L'Oreal Battistelli, OS Online Editor

    Training veteran Anthony Harmetz said in a recent interview that training program sustainability “is the holy grail of many training departments.”  

    “What does he mean by sustainability?” one might ask.

     “The term sustainability refers to a training program’s ability to survive over time,” the 18 year training veteran said.  “Many corporate training programs are provided only once, and then are never offered again.”

    ASTD past President Harmetz is a training professional who has been mentoring and coaching people since he was a child, long before he had heard of the training and instructional design fields. 

    “There are different ways to  think about your program’s potential sustainability,” Harmetz said, “One way to start would be by asking yourself three questions:” 

    • 1.      Will the training program survive past its initial offering?
    • 2.      Will it outlast the people who created it?
    • 3.      Will it outlast the initial sponsors who requested and championed it?
    Anthony Harmetz is a Training Consultant based in Orange County, CA.   Currently specializing in train-the-trainer, presentation skills coaching, and improving workplace communication, Anthony has extensive experience designing, developing, delivering and implementing comprehensive curricula.  Prior to initiating his own consultancy in 2006, Anthony established and for 13 years led the training function for Bally Total Fitness, a major services sector corporation operating out of more than 400 retail and administrative facilities in 30 states, where he was responsible for the training of Bally’s 25,000 employees.

    Sustainability was the topic of discussion at a recent ASTD-OC Training Management Meet Up.  Harmetz said that the discussion focused on the various components that improve the chances a training program will stand the test of time.  

    “While the group certainly didn’t come up with an exhaustive list,” Harmetz said, “and while some programs last without all of the components the group discussed, paying attention to nine factors  in particular should increase the odds that any training program will be sustainable.”

    The complete article is in our OrangeSpiel Online.  Members, log in to review Anthony's Nine Factors that Improve Sustainability.

  • 09/21/2011 10:55 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    People are looking for skilled Training and Development professionals -- for us.  You need to make every effort to help them find you.

    My profile pic -- a best practice?I speak of ASTD-OC's Find-A-Trainer feature, which has suffered quite a bit from our website transitions.  Not only has our functionality profile changed, your own profile content may have changed as well.

    Here's how Find-A-Trainer can work today.    

    • You can search by name.
      Let's say you want to contact me.  In the search field, type "Venderley," and my profile will appear. It's an active search, so my profile actually appears by the time you type "vend."
    • You can search by Company.
      Let's say you want to reach out to any trainers at Corinthian Colleges. In the search field, type "Corinthian."  You'll find three people, one of whom I know has moved on to a different company. I'll make a mental note to urge everyone to update their profiles.
    • You can search by skill.
      Let's say you want to find a designer who knows Captivate.  Type "Captivate" in the search field.  Anyone who has included that word in their profile, even in the sense of "I captivate learners with my winning facilitation skills." will appear in the search feature.

    Once you find the member you're looking for, click on their photo. If there's no photo, click the View Details link.  The member's complete profile appears, along with a link to send a message to that member through our website.

    This is a cool, fully functioning resource that will work for you if you work with it. My recommendations:

    • Keep your profile updated.  The "Send Message" button will send a message to the email address on file.  If it's wrong, then whoever's trying to reach you, won't.
    • Include your skillset in your profile.  Powerpoint guru? Type that in. Captivate? Camtasia? Flash? Make sure those words exist in your profile, even as keywords.  This is how people will find you.
    • Include a photo with your profile.  The photos will catch the eyes of those wanting to find a trainer. The words "View Details," not so much.

    To update your profile:

    1. Log in to
    2. In the upper right hand corner of the screen, you'll see a link: View Profile.  Click that to see what's in your profile.
    3. From there, you can click "Edit Profile" to make sure that you're visible in our community.
  • 09/08/2011 3:48 PM | Rhonda Askeland
    Fall brings us the start of school, the changing of seasons (although, given our recent heat wave, you wouldn’t know it in Southern California), and the ASTD-OC elections.  Elections will conclude September 30th and the 2012 ASTD-OC Board of Directors will be announced in October.  The slate of candidates is impressive and I hope you take a moment to learn more about the potential leaders of our chapter.

    The current Board of Directors have laid great track for the coming years.  We’ll be able to advance on the strategic imperatives of 2011 with several current board members up for re-election leading the way.  A quick update on those who are up for re-election who have served on the board in 2011:

    • ·         Kathleen Ashelford has been our technology guide (with Past-President Paul Venderley by her side) and her experience and skills will help us meet the ever-changing technology demands.
    • ·         Damion Donaldson has been the Co-VP of Programs (with Emily Newton) and will be overseeing all learning programs in 2012. He is adding the Special Interest Groups area and the Continuing Education programs.
    • ·         Kathy Randle is continuing on in her role as VP of Finance.  Kathy has helped the chapter work toward a balanced budget and her experience in 2011 will provide valuable insights to the chapter’s financial health.
    • ·         Linda Huey returns to the board in a different role.  Linda has been the VP of Volunteers and will be assisting the board in 2012 as the Secretary.  Linda’s knowledge of the chapter will be an asset to providing the process and document detail.

    We are fortunate to round out the board with Jolynn Atkins as the VP of Marketing candidate and Carol Adams as the VP of Membership candidate.  Both women bring skills, passion, and experiences that will benefit the chapter greatly.  I encourage you to take time to learn more about them and meet them at the Chapter Learning Event on September 28th.

    As with all types of elections, this is your time to let your voice be heard.  I encourage you to learn about the candidates, submit additional nominations of people (you included) you know would be an asset to our team and to our chapter.  You will find election links on the home page.  Thank you in advance for a few minutes of your time to vote!


    Rhonda Askeland


  • 09/05/2011 11:04 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    "May I ask a question?" asked a Board member. "Was this a big deal? Did a lot of people express disappointment that the Picnic didn't happen this year? Why would we share this?"

    The Board member was talking about a "lessons learned" article written by Damion Donaldson after the cancellation of this year's ASTD Southern California Family Picnic.  Damion had taken on the responsibility of coordinating the event with the ASTD-LA chapter, and had found the coordination spin out of control.  In response, Damion offered to share with the Board the lessons he learned from the experience. When he completed his introspective study, he opted to share his findings with the Chapter membership.
    In doing so, Damion captures the spirit of ASTD-Orange County.  I've often shared that this is a community of practice, an organization in which all those who participate get the chance to experience new things, successes and failures, and to learn from them.  By taking part in this "lessons learned" exercise, Damion shows us all that there is no such thing as a complete failure, if one is willing to learn from it.

    This brings to mind a quote from Al Franken:
    "Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from."

    Damion's findings are applicable to any individual planning an event, be it a pilot training session or an all-hands meeting. Learn more in this month's OrangeSpiel Online.

  • 08/30/2011 1:12 PM | Deleted user
    Please go to to register.

    Career Management SIG: Building your Training Portfolio
    When:  Sept 10, 2011 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM
    Location: Brandman University, 16355 Laguna Canyon Rd., Irvine, CA, Room 120
    Contact : Christine Kelly,

    This meetup will help training professionals who are looking to polish their portfolio and skills as well as those in transition and looking for their next opportunity.

    Training and Technology SIG: Training in the Electronic Age
    When: Sep 13, 2011  4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
    Location: Escoe Bliss Professional Resources, 16520 Bake Parkway, Suite #155, Irvine, CA 92618.   **If you can't make the session live, register to attend virtually.
    Contact : Pamela Coca,

    Speaker: Michael Hamilton - VP, Product Management- Madcap Software
    In this presentation Mr. Hamilton will identify the equipment necessary to produce a professional broadcast experience or recording. The benefits, drawbacks, and differences between live screen-casting / web conferencing vs. recorded electronic training will be explored. Mike will share a collection of “lessons learned” and best practices to help the new online instructor avoid the typical beginner mistakes and look like a screen-casting professional right from the start.
    When SMART Goals Aren't Enough -- OD SIG Meetup
    When: Sep 13, 2011 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
    Location: Brandman University, 16355 Laguna Canyon Rd., Irvine

    We are pleased to announce Tom Porter, Director of Human Resources for Kawasaki.  The title of his presentation is "When Smart Goals Aren't Enough".  You will find out how Tom and his team improved the goal setting process to ensure alignment across the organization.

  • 08/28/2011 2:22 PM | Denise Lamonte
    It is with great delight I announce that Carol Adams has agreed to serve our chapter as Membership Manager.
    A new member herself, Carol will be focusing on creating an on-boarding process for new members. This will ensure that new members are welcomed and oriented to all of our services as well as begin to feel like a part of our professional community soon after they become members.
    Thank you to Carol for volunteering her time and creativity. 
  • 08/25/2011 3:24 PM | Denise Ross-Admin (Administrator)
    It is with great sadness that we share that Rich Wong died on Sunday evening of stage 3 cancer, while surrounded by his family. He was 72.


    Rich was a long-time member and active supporter of the ASTD-Orange County Chapter, and held several board positions, including President in 2006. He was a regular attendee at meetings until he moved to Northern California last year.


    We received the following funeral details from his children, Nicole & Scott: 


    Dad will be laid to rest with his family in Los Angeles. Please feel free to pass this along to any friends or family. 


    When:Saturday, August 27, at 12:30 pm
    Where: Church of the Hills, Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills
    Address: 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068


    In lieu of flowers, please make a gift to the National Urban League. Dad's first job after graduation was running the Urban League's work experience program for disadvantaged youth in San Diego.

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