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.

  • 01/07/2022 3:54 PM | Denise Ross-Admin (Administrator)

    Congratulations to Jessica Del Rosario, our ATD-OC Secretary and multi-hatted volunteer, on being profiled as an "Up & Comer" in td: New Learning Daily.

    We're so proud of you Jess and very lucky to have you as part of our leadership team!

    (Do you work with an outstanding young professional? Nominate them for an interview in ATD's TD magazine’s "Up & Coming" column, which highlights the accomplishments of talent development newcomers like Jessica Del Rosario, the most recent Up & Comer. To nominate the rising star you love working with, please complete this form.)

  • 12/22/2021 3:49 PM | Denise Ross-Admin (Administrator)

    Dear Members,

    It is with pleasure that I share the 2020 and 2021 (to November 2021) ATD-OC Annual Reports. Thank you to not only our membership, but also to a committed board and dedicated volunteers. Given the challenging times, we still had good, strong years. I look forward to your continued participation in the chapter in 2022 and beyond.

    Happy Holidays!

    Gillian Wilson
    ATD-OC President 2021 and 2022

  • 08/12/2021 9:56 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    This is a new era of learning, where we can take learning to the next level. Good virtual instructor led training combines collaborative meeting technology with instructional design to offer learners a convenient and interactive way of learning.

    This technology also helps organizations train their employees in a more cost-effective manner as they can hire just one or two instructors for an entire company, instead of sending each employee across the world for training.

    The advantages of virtual instructor led training are:

    1. Training takes place at the organization's office premises.
    2. Trainees are able to learn in a collaborative environment with other trainees dispersed around the nation, or globe.
    3. The equipment is cheaper than travelling for distant trainings and presentations require less space for video projection

    However, this type of training is not without its traps and pitfalls. The design for virtual instructor led training cannot be the same as an in-person instructor led training, yet many is the course that is little more than a slide deck with a talking head to one side. How do you avoid these pitfalls and create an engaging VILT that enhances learning retention? Here are a few tips to explore:

    1. Give Participants a Reason to Care About Your Course

    As the motivation legend Zig Ziglar says, "Everyone listens to the radio station WIIFM, 'What's In It For Me.'" This is true for all training, and is exceptionally important for virtual instructor led training. Why? People are on a device that has within its circuitry the distractions of a world around them. If not the email with the latest problem to be solved, then the innocuous social media post that leads them into a daisy chain of cat videos.

    Should you start the course by clearly stating what you believe is a strong WIIFM? No. Virtual Instructor Led Training exists in a more collaborative environment. Ask questions to elicit what your learners believe their WIIFM is, then tie the WIIFM you uncovered in your needs analysis to their contributions as a means of reinforcing and reaffirming their reasons for joining.

    2. Build in Interactivity With the Learning Content

    Interactive content can help learners retain more information, and be more engaged in the learning process.

    Many virtual instructor led platforms provide a variety of tools to prompt audience response. Commonly found are polls, chat, screen sharing, and whiteboards. Many platforms offer annotation tools for participants to mark on the screen. Most also offer breakout rooms, opportunities to split the students into multiple, smaller, web conferences for more focused discussions.

    Each of these tools provides an opportunity for learners to interact — either with you, or each other.

    Using a variety of those tools throughout the course will undoubtedly keep learners active, but will they keep them engaged?

    3. Ask "why" when implementing interactive content & technology.

    As with any instructional design, asking “why” when implementing a webinar tool is critical to ensuring the activity engages the learners.

    Why does a poll support a learning objective?

    Why will a learner benefit from sharing a screen? Or typing something in the chat box?

    The answers will help you understand the purpose of each interaction. In reality, you’re looking for the “WIIFM” again.

    4. Think holistically.

    Don’t let your virtual interactions stand alone. Use the poll you created at the beginning of a training session as a jumping off point for a brainstorming session. That brainstorming session can lead to the creation of an action plan, so learners have something to walk away with.

    As each online interaction builds upon the other, they create reasons for learners to engage more fully in the process.

    Gather More Tips With The Total Virtual Trainer

    This year, ATD-Orange County is adding to their Total Trainer Curricula with a program on focusing on the design and facilitation of Virtual Instructor Led Training. Participants will improve their ability to design and lead engaging and interactive virtual training sessions that provide a deeper processing experience for their learners than standard webinars which mostly consist of a talking head and PowerPoint slides.

    • If you’ve never led a webinar or VILT and would like to learn to do so.

    • If you lead webinars that are basically informational and would like to learn to lead more engaging and interactive training sessions

    • If you’re already leading VILT sessions and want to “sharpen the saw"

    You’ll want to join us!

  • 12/08/2020 10:08 AM | Denise Ross-Admin (Administrator)

    What is Employee Learning Week?

    ATD’s Employee Learning Week (ELW) is an opportunity for companies to demonstrate their commitment to talent development. During the week, remind employees about all of the learning and talent development opportunities they can access.

    Champion of Learning Certificate Process

    Please share your efforts with us by submitting the form at the bottom of this linked page, to be considered for a Champion of Learning Certificate no later than Friday, January 22, 2021.

    How ATD-Orange County is supporting our Members this week:

    • 15 months of membership for the price of 12.*  Join or renew your ATD-Orange County membership between Nov 27 and Dec 11
    • Limited Time - Special Membership Levels
      • In an effort to assist our members in maintaining their ATD-Orange County Chapter membership and staying connected through these challenging times, we have created 2 additional membership levels, for a limited time.**
        • 6-month Individual Membership - $50
        • Month-to-Month Individual Membership - $9/month
    (New members can signup online. Renewing members, please contact the office to take advantage of this offer.)

    Not up for renewal until the end of December or beyond? No problem. You can still renew now and your membership will be extended.(Email  or call the office 714.527.4785, if your renewal is beyond December.)

    Join or Renew Now


    * 15 for 12 applicable to Annual Memberships only. Does not apply to any other membership levels. The 3 months will be added to the membership term, after payment notification is received by the office. If you are a Power Member, the 3 months will be added after you join or renew at and we receive notification from the ATD Store.)

    ** These levels will be available for a limited time, as we navigate these unprecedented times, and can be reverted back to an annual membership term at any time.

  • 09/08/2020 9:24 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    You know the benefits of attending professional conferences.  They’re filled with opportunities to:

    • Learn something new

    • Develop professional relationships

    • Gain Inspiration

    • And there’s a little bit of the fun factor

    But these days, the opportunities for attending professional conferences are diminishing.  And we’re not just referencing the pandemic.  You may not have the budget, either for the travel expenses or for the conference itself.  You may not have the time.  

    With all that in mind, ATD Orange County presents the micro conference.  Our microconference is a “mashup” of microlearning and professional conference.  Four sessions distilled to their essential information, each session lasting approximately 20 minutes.  

    • How has your organization been handling the change management initiatives forced upon them by the SARS-CoV2 pandemic?  Get some ideas on how to better address change management issues using the STAR Method.

    • Have you been facilitating or attending more virtual training sessions or meetings?  Contribute to our panel’s virtual meeting lessons learned discussion.  Or check out ways to jazz up your online meetings.

    • Looking to address the critical skills necessary for a team to function effectively?  Participate in a critical skills case study.

    All this, and the opportunity to develop professional relationships, can be achieved during this month’s ATD-Orange County MicroConference 2020.

    This September 23, join us to connect, invest, grow, and be back home in time for prime time television.

  • 08/20/2020 8:37 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Watch a few episodes of Shark Tank, and you'll see that those who do not completely understand the numbers that run their business do not get investors.

    Knowing your numbers is important, they'll explain.  And if you don't know your numbers, you don't know your business.

    Finance is not the most glamorous topic in the business world.  But it is one of the most crucial.  For business owners, a clear comprehension of their company's financial statements allows them to make strategic decisions that support the organization's growth and long-term profitability.

    For the talent developer, that same comprehension of their company's financial statements allows them to position their department so that it aligns within the organization's strategic decisions.  A talent development leader who ensures their their team's efforts contribute to the profitability of the organization will be able to position their department above the designation of "cost center."

    Next month, BizSIG Leader and passionate advocate of fiscal familiarity Jeffrey Hansler will lead a three-session conversation titled Finance for the Non-Financial Talent Development Specialists.  And although this series will be facilitated with the talent developer in mind, the skills he plans to share will be valuable for anyone seeking to grasp the basics of accounting, financial statements, and decision making through the eyes of the CFO.

    Jeffrey's made this readily accessible, scheduling both mid-day and evening time slots.  

    If you're ready to position yourself as someone "in the know" in your organization, or if you're considering starting your own consultancy and want to ensure you have a firm grasp on the numbers that drive your business, this is a singular opportunity to explore finances with someone who shares the talent developer's point of view.

    Learn more, and register for Finance for the Non-Financial Talent Development Specialists today!

  • 07/28/2020 2:05 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    “What do you do to ensure your participants and your stakeholders that virtual training doesn't have to be "less than" classroom training?”  

    We were addressing a challenge many organizations are facing today: creating meaningful, impactful, engaging training in an environment notorious for being anything but.  The field is filled with “talking head” webinars.  Six months into the substitution of virtual meetings for all other meetings, employees are fighting “Zoom fatigue.”  The consensus among all our Virtual Happy Hour participants is that organizations have accepted the need for virtual training in order for them to continue, and we’re all working with methods for ensuring that training sticks.

    One method stuck out to me.

    “We’re experimenting with multiple speakers,” shared Tom Partridge.  Taking inspiration from podcasts, he spoke about how people regularly listen to hour-long conversations between two or three people about a wide variety of topics, frequently binging episodes like one might binge a Netflix series.

    “So, I won’t say we’re scripting this out, but we’re trying to pre-plan points.  We’re trying to make it into a conversation that evolves.”  This way, it would come across as though the facilitators are discovering ideas while they’re talking about them.

    Leading a conversation was key. “Our larger trainings are more conversation than content,” added Nancy Ingram.   Subject matter experts would provide some information, but the remainder of the learning came from the experiences the participants shared.  

    An ambitious project, to be sure.  

    “It’s always in the planning,” Vern Vihlene advised.  He went on to share his experience with Dreamworks.  “They map out their movies on the walls throughout the building, and they plan the movie’s highs, and the lows.”    We need to do that for training as well, he concluded.

    An opportunity for talent developers to explore ways to enhance the virtual training experience, ATD-OC’s Virtual Happy Hour can be either an informal sharing of the many thoughts and ideas of our participants, or a sandbox in which our facilitators try new interactions in the meeting platform, and discuss how these activities can be applied in the “real world.”  

    What about you?  In what ways are you experimenting with the virtual training platform?

  • 06/20/2020 6:45 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Attend one of our virtual learning events, and you'll probably recognize that we're continuously experimenting with what we can do in our meeting platforms of choice*.  Last week's Virtual Networking Event was no exception.

    The platform of choice for this event was Zoom.  Zoom had initially been designed for venture capital pitches, with a priority given for displaying everyone's video.  In Zoom, everyone can see everyone's face, as long as their cameras are on.  

    Initial Challenges

    For most virtual meetings, breakout rooms seem to be the elephant in the cloud.  This event, with its planned multiple breakout rooms, was no exception.

    We had intended to utilize Zoom's "Pre-Assign Breakout Room" option, which can be quite simple to use.  Once your attendees register for the meeting in the Zoom platform, you can create the breakout rooms in advance and assign them to any room you choose.

    But ATD-OC uses a separate registration system.  Participants register there, and usually only register in the Zoom platform just before the Zoom meeting.  What to do?

    Fortunately, Zoom has an option to import rooms and participants from a CSV file.  We tested that, creating a spreadsheet that listed the email addresses of our registrants and matching them to breakout room names.  We imported that CSV file to the Zoom meeting description before the meeting began, and Zoom did the rest.

    It's really quite handy. 

    See that note on the bottom?  "You can create up to 50 breakout rooms and assign up to a total of 200 participants?"  You definitely don't want to do that manually.

    But, the catch:  During the meeting, you cannot launch only part of your breakout rooms.

    We had three breakout sessions planned, with eight to ten breakout rooms per session.  With no way to launch only 1/3 of the breakout rooms at a time, the ability to pre-assign attendees to rooms only solved part of our problem.

    Our solution, then, was to pre-assign the last breakout room group, and manually assign the first two breakout sessions.  We had planned for some main room discussion as people joined.  And then some main room discussion in between breakout room sessions one and two.   Which brings us to our lessons learned.

    Lessons Learned

    One: The larger the event, the more time you need between breakout sessions to manually assign attendees.
    It takes longer to manually assign people to breakout rooms that you may think.  This isn’t a big issue if you can get away with randomly assigning attendees to your breakout rooms.  We couldn’t. 

    Two:  Don't plan for more than two breakout room sessions in a 90 minute meeting. 
    While we endeavored to keep our breakout rooms small, in some cases we had just barely gotten through introductions when receiving the prompt to return to the main room.  More time in each breakout session would have allowed for deeper connections.

    Three: Set a cut-off time for registration.
    With a lot of moving parts to the event, last minute registrants challenged us when assigning people to breakout rooms. Since they weren’t on our roster, we weren’t as able to assign them to the best room.  

    Four:  Include a request: if people are unable to attend the event, let us know in advance. 
    When manually populating the breakout rooms, one of the biggest challenges (after properly sorting the roster) was searching for people on the roster who were not in the meeting.  Had they cancelled, and been removed from the roster, assignments would have sped up.

    Five: Too much tech is too much.
    One of the ways we had proposed attendees connect after the meeting is by sharing their LinkedIn QR Code.  Which is a fun way to connect, but it actually became cumbersome for people to share and scan and listen at the same time.  Much easier to post a LinkedIn Profile in that old standby, chat.

    There were some other, smaller lessons learned.  Better sorting of the registration roster.  Have facilitators update their name in Zoom to indicate that they are facilitating.  End on time (always end on time!  But I couldn't let that last breakout room theme go!).  I think the five I listed were the biggest. 

    What would you add to this list?  We encourage you to provide your thoughts in the comments below.

    * We use two, now.  Zoom, and GoToTraining.  We're about to try Google Meet**.

    ** Because it's there, and we're in no position to climb Mount Everest.  

  • 05/07/2020 5:18 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    I wanted to give a quick run-down of some of the tips that were shared during this afternoon's Virtual Happy Hour, because somebody (me) neglected to record the session.

    Lynn Nissen shared an interesting take on the name tent icebreaker in which participants apply codes in the upper corner of their name tent to quickly indicate relevant information about that person.  In our exercise, we used Zoom's rename feature to indicate employment status, years in training, and comfortability networking.

    For example:  Paul V E 23 ':(

    LinkedIn has innovated ways to utilize their app to strengthen your networking power, and Rebekah Hartman expanded that to the virtual realm with this interesting tip.  Use the LinkedIn App to generate a LinkedIn QR Code.  Save that as your profile picture.  When you stop your video in Zoom, your profile picture (now that QR code) will appear, and folks on the webinar who might be interested in connecting with you can scan that.

    I'm a big fan of QR codes to connect people with information.  Using them to connect people with people is brilliant.

    Those were two out of several great ideas for strengthening your online networking game.  Today's was a spirited discussion, so much so that we'll be repeating this topic at the start of each month for the foreseeable future. 

    See you then?

    via GIPHY

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