BLOG - Ideas and Insights

  • 08/07/2018 12:14 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    ATD-Orange County proudly recognizes Jennifer Puente as our August 2018 volunteer of the Month.

    Jennifer has been a commendable behind-the-scenes professional, interviewing and writing about key influencers within the ATD-OC community. She's brought to the table several ideas that fleshed out a role that had, at best, been sketched out on the back of a napkin and handed to her. Her first article, "The Deliberate Volunteer - An Interview with Jeffrey Hansler" was posted on June 4. Her next article: "The Volunteer Who Built Content and Community" focusing on Anthony Harmetz, was just published online yesterday.

    Jennifer is "such a good writer," said Anthony Harmetz upon reading 'The Deliberate Volunteer.' "This is a great service she's providing for the Chapter."  He's recently become one of her biggest advocates for increasing her interview pipeline.

    Now, two articles in eight months may not seem like such a big deal, but as those who've worked with non-profit organizations such at ATD-OC know, it's a fair achievement. Jennifer has mastered the art of persistence and follow-through, collaborating with the proverbial overwhelmed and easily distracted client -- both those she interviews and the person who asked her to do all this in the first place.

    She's building a pipeline of ATD-OC community influencers to interview. We look forward to learning more about them, and her, in the future!

    Jennifer will be at our September Learning Event. Stop by, give her a hearty handshake!

  • 08/06/2018 12:01 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)
    Next in our ATD-OC “Model Volunteers” interview series, we spoke with Anthony Harmetz, who, like many volunteers, has rotated through various leadership positions, including President in 2009 and VP of Membership on last year’s board.  Recently, Anthony shared what attracted him to volunteer with ATD-OC and how the relationships he developed within the group supported him through a challenging career transition.
    Article by
    Jennifer Puente

    In 2005, Anthony Harmetz stood atop a cliff of career change.  His successful rise over the previous decade from technical writer to National Director of Training at Bally Total Fitness was coming to an end, thanks to the fitness center giant’s slowly failing business and looming bankruptcy filing.  Realizing all his training contacts were in other parts of the country, he joined our local ATD chapter, hoping to become part of a training community as he prepared for a job search.

    Anthony recalls attending a few meetings, but wasn’t satisfied with how quickly or deeply his relationships were developing.  He needed to build bridges fast.  He decided to volunteer.

    Rich Wong, who was President-Elect of ATD-OC at the time, suggested Anthony contribute to an upcoming Total Trainer program.  The last cohort had just graduated and there was a small team who had committed to immediately taking the lessons learned in that course into the next offering.  Game for the challenge, Anthony went to the first project management meeting.  He fondly recalls what followed as a “trial by fire.”

    “The decision to launch the next session was sudden, so little was in place. The course was starting in two weeks, no participants were enrolled, various presenters weren’t returning, we had all sorts of enhancements to include—and none of the project team members (especially me!) understood what was necessary to make the program work,” Anthony recounts.  He quickly found himself in the familiar role of project manager and got to work.  Twelve weeks later, the program was a success, and Anthony “suddenly had close relationships with all the people on the project team, many of the facilitators, and a number of the program participants.”

    For his efforts, Anthony was also awarded “ATD-OC Rookie of the Year,” a recognition that was all the more meaningful as his job at Bally officially ended a few weeks after receiving the award, and his job search began in earnest. His ATD-OC relationships couldn’t have come at a better time. 

    He remembers attending a chapter event for the Career Counseling Special Interest Group and talking with the career coach, Tom Porter, sharing how dispirited he was after each interview, especially the ones that had gone well.  He’d like the people, the job, and the company, but feel a pit in his stomach as he contemplated working there.  “Tom told me, ‘What you’re feeling’s natural.  You’re like someone who’s just gotten a divorce—and you’re not ready to get married again.’ That clicked for me,” Anthony recalls.  “So I asked, ‘What should I do?’  His answer: ‘You date.’”

    Thus, began a series of short-term consulting projects, during which Anthony discovered he enjoyed the consulting business.  He soon decided to commit to consulting full-time. 

    But he didn’t stop volunteering with ATD-OC. In 2007, he oversaw the Continuing Education department; the following year, he served as the chapter’s CFO; and the year after that, he was selected as President-Elect. 

    The benefits of volunteering have been substantial. “Not only have I developed the community I was looking for, but I’ve also found sub-contractors who’ll help me on my consulting gigs, people I can call on to learn best practices, opportunities to try out new skills in a supportive environment (believe me, no one is ever going to make me CFO of a for-profit organization), and an avenue for working on passion projects,” he says.  Additionally, over the years, his consulting clients have come through his network—a combination of people he knows from Bally, from school...and from ATD-OC.

    Anthony loved Bally and his time there, but part of his excitement about ATD-OC was migrating from an environment where people didn’t always understand training and weren’t always great at managing people (sound familiar to anyone?) to a Shangri-la of like-minded people who understood the importance of talent development.  He calls ATD-OC a “friendly oasis.”

    Based on what Anthony has accomplished as a volunteer, the feeling is mutual.  In reading an early draft of this interview, a current board member commented, “I imagine if we were to include every dang thing he’s done, this article would be much too long.”  Anthony’s contributions to the Total Trainer program alone—which he has managed off and on during his tenure, growing it from a single program to a two-program curriculum, and now exploring the option of adding a third component—speak of his enduring commitment, all while operating a successful consulting business.

    A beloved member of the chapter, Anthony is recognized not only for various achievements over the years, but also for helping the organization live up to its slogan: “Come for the content.  Stay for the community.”  Anthony wholeheartedly believes in that slogan.  And he’s grateful to have done both.

    More about Anthony

    Favorite Learning Resource

    Anthony discovered The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning a few years ago and raves about the book’s emphasis on transfer of learning. “It takes lots of accepted lore about training and weaves it together into an effective process,” he says.  “It’s dense in content and impact but easy to read.”

    Official Bio

    Anthony Harmetz is a workforce training professional with over 20 years of experience designing, delivering and implementing solutions to address the learning needs of various organizations. An accomplished facilitator, instructional designer, and leader, Anthony spent 13 years establishing and leading the learning function for Bally Total Fitness as Bally’s National Training Director. Since leaving Bally in 2006, he has been providing training and development services on a consulting basis. Currently he’s helping clients with: elearning and other instructional design projects, training strategy and implementation, and facilitation and coaching relating to train-the-trainer and personality styles models such as DiSC.


  • 06/04/2018 1:58 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)
    As learning and development professionals, we talk a lot about models. The arguments in favor of (or against) ADDIE vs SAM alone could—and have—filled books. In this interview series, we will look at models that are near and dear to ATD-OC: model volunteers.

    Don’t worry. This isn’t going to be a lesson in how to volunteer with endless enthusiasm, boundless energy, and unflinching dedication (although any of those would, of course, be welcome). Rather, we’ll talk with volunteers who are real people facing opportunities and challenges with success and sometimes failure. We hope by exploring these models, you’ll see facets of your own professional journey and goals, as well as a path to volunteering.

    Our first interview is with Jeffrey Hansler, a talent development veteran. We talked with Jeffrey to find out what made him want to volunteer with ATD-OC, the skills and competencies he brought to the table, and his strategy for making the most of his volunteer experience.

    Article by
    Jennifer Puente

    The Deliberate Volunteer

    At the time that Jeffrey Hansler volunteered to serve as the VP of Marketing for ATD-OC in 2013, he had already achieved many career successes: from being a top sales representative for Apple Computer, to leading an international accounting and manufacturing software company, to following his entrepreneurial calling and opening his own consulting business in 1990 (initially focusing on training; and since 2006, Organizational Development).

    Amidst this success, Jeffrey was attracted to serve on the ATD-OC Board for two reasons. One, he saw changes in the learning and development industry—changes driven by technology and ways in which companies approached employee learning—created opportunities for ATD-OC to serve its members in new and innovative ways. And two, he recognized by helping to lead ATD-OC through a period of innovation, he would have the opportunity to hone his own self-proclaimed “rusty” skills.

    “Leading an organization is different than supporting leadership,” he said of his decision to join the Board. “I needed to sharpen my leadership and especially my management skills.”

    So, while serving as VP of Marketing for ATD-OC in 2013, he threw his hat in the ring to lead the Chapter, and was elevated to President-Elect in 2014. One of his first actions as President-Elect was to ask for help.

    “I sought out a few people on the Board who I had developed trust with and told them, ‘I’m using this opportunity to develop my leadership skills. Will you help me?’” Jeffrey recalled.

    The act of deliberately identifying those with the skills and willingness to help set Jeffrey on the path towards receiving mentoring and guidance during a time of significant change in the organization. He began meeting every other week with Kathleen Ashelford (then Past-President) and Jolynn Atkins (then President) for what Jolynn coined “PrezConnects.” The group would talk through ideas and challenges they were facing, drawing upon each other’s experience and rallying one another to keep forward progress.

    In addition to Kathleen and Jolynn, there were others who supported Jeffrey in both big and small ways. “The ATD-OC Board draws from people with lots of experience,” Jeffrey said. Unlike some other boards he has served on or observed, he continued, “this is a high caliber group.”

    Jeffrey’s own skillset supports this assertion. When asked what competencies positioned him for success as a volunteer, he said, “My experience in organizational development has given me the ability to read an audience. I’ve also developed communication and strategic planning skills over the years.” It doesn’t hurt that he thrives on change and pushing innovation.

    There have been some bumps along the way—“it surprised me how long things take to get done with a volunteer vs. paid board”—still he’s extremely pleased with what the group has accomplished in the past five years.

    His message to others considering a volunteer role: “With the changes in our industry, we must adopt a new way of thinking. Working with the ATD-OC Board provides that opportunity. The Board challenges your thinking and increases your talent development skills.”

    More about Jeffrey

    Other interests

    Writing, surfing, freediving, scuba (instructor), kitesurfing, golf, mountain biking, poker

    Favorite learning resource

    “I’m a voracious reader. I deep dive into as many as five books a month. When I say deep dive, I take notes in the book as I read and more often than not, create a summary document of the main points. This locks in the lesson points of the book. I keep my personal library tight. If a book doesn’t offer much, it’s out for recycling. And if a book is a keeper, I have likely read it more than once over a 40-year span: Different stages of life provide different perspectives of understanding. So I have 250-300 favorite books at this point.”

    Official bio

    Jeffrey is an experienced executive, leader, and talent development specialist with expertise in leading business development initiatives. As an organizational development consultant and managing partner of Oxford Company Consultants, he works with companies on the initial implementation of innovative programs during major change initiatives. He has consulted and conducted professional training programs since 1980 and currently serves as an executive board member for two privately-held California Corporations and two non-profits, including ATD-OC. He received the ATD-OC Belisle Leadership Award in 2015.

    Jeffrey is also a Certified Speaking Professional, Certified Selling Professional and NAUI Instructor. He wrote and published Sell, Little Red Hen! Sell! and Better Golf with Gene.

  • 05/30/2018 4:34 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    There were five key takeaways that Paul Signorelli shared throughout last week’s chapter meeting on Blended/Hybrid Learning Environments. Perhaps to nobody’s surprise, our hybrid event about engaging participants in hybrid events quickly became a case study that applied all of them.

    Here’s how:

    Key Takeaway  For Our Meeting
    1. Learn from others We reconnected with Paul Signorelli last year at ATD's Southern California Regional Conference, where he shared his thoughts on how learning environments are expanding and engaging a global community of learners. We’ve been applying hybrid events off and on over the past two years. What techniques could we apply to engage our Chapter’s expanding virtual population?  We tried a few things, and decided that we wanted more.
    2. Push the Envelope (Experiment) We collaborated with Mr. Signorelli to create a hybrid learning environment that both exemplified his message and experimented with activating the hybrid format to promote virtual brainstorming among participants. This would be no mere lecture, but an experiential opportunity in which we would bridge the digital divide that exists between the classroom and the “virtual” environment.
    3. Check Your Tech (Rehearse)

    We rehearsed how best to utilize GoToTraining to share webcam video, slide decks, and Google Docs. We practiced implementing our activities, sussing out the quirks of our platforms, and identifying the system features to highlight.

    What we did not directly test? Room audio. A lesson learned here: get in the room with all your equipment during “normal business hours,” so the person with the expertise to trouble-shoot the gap between your equipment and the venue’s resources is available. Even when we arrived two hours before the event in an attempt to get everything up and running, we ran into trouble in this one area.

    4. Prepare for Failure (Plan B)

    The hotel staff was mystified -- they had just held a meeting in the same room in which twelve microphones worked fine. But for our meeting, the house speakers would not work at all, effectively separating us from our facilitator as he sat patiently in San Francisco, mugging for the webcam, chatting with our four other online participants.

    Our “Plan B” was to have me facilitate the session using our virtual facilitator’s notes. In my opinion, this would have been a far cry from the passion that Paul Signorelli brings to subject matter, so I pressed on.

    I believe it was Seneca who said: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Minutes before the program was scheduled to begin, we got lucky.

    A stray comment reminded me that I had a bluetooth speaker in my car. I had already signed onto the GoToTraining session with my mobile phone out of habit. If I were to connect that phone to my bluetooth speaker…

    It was simple enough to work.

    5. Document Your Success

    Our Learning Event boasted two activities which apply Google Docs to engage both online and in-class learners working on the same content. The first activity, which involved creating a letter one word at a time, was more frustrating than engaging. I’d like to try it again, using smaller groups in breakout rooms, to see how that would operate.

    The second activity worked a bit better -- we’d given the learners a document in which each participant could claim a space to type their views on the document, and then go back and review and augment the comments made by other individuals. You can see the results here.

    There were a few other lessons learned, but these were the big ones:

    1. Seriously. Take the time to test everything. With the expert in the room.
    2. Remember your Plan B exists for a reason, and accept it. Everything worked out in the end, but we were lucky.
      • Paul reminds me that it is part and parcel of an experiential learning environment for participants to see that things don’t always happen perfectly, and there’s as much an opportunity for them to learn in seeing us apply the work-arounds. If you agree with him, let us know in the comments.
    3. Make sure your backup kit incorporates all aspects of the event you are about to facilitate. I had packed video backup. I had packed microphone backup. The only reason I had speaker backup was a quirk of fate and Twitter (ask me if you’re curious). From now on, that speaker is sure to be a part of my training kit, a Plan “C” audio component to use when the fancy stuff decides it doesn’t want to work.
     My hybrid meeting backup kit:
    now with bluetooth speaker!

  • 05/17/2018 1:45 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    A few years back I was the facilitator of the “Total Trainer: Creating Training” Distance Learning module. At the conclusion of this course, a participant approached me and asked about best practices for facilitating a class that would have participants both in the room and online. My response was: “I wouldn’t recommend doing that.”

    The challenge we’d experienced: having discovered how to transfer in-room engagement to the online environment, we were stuck managing that activity in dual environments simultaneously. In other words, the facilitator could have an activity made for the classroom, and a version made for the online room, but never one that broached the digital barrier so that the entire class was interacting as one.

    I’d seen this in action before, and found it terribly inefficient. The facilitator was diverting his attention to one group or the other, never fully invested in either audience.

    Of course, my response was no help at all. The participant had received a mandate from his boss.

    And so, three, maybe four years later, I would like to amend my answer, and extend an invitation to that former Total Trainer participant to this month’s Learning Event. Because we’ve got some ideas. And they’re pretty awesome. And we’re going to try them out, live, in a session titled: “Blended Learning 2018: A Hands-On Evening Of Engagement.”

    Practicing what we teach, folks!

  • 05/05/2018 7:54 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    It's no doubt that Articulate has made a big splash in the eLearning industry over the past few years.  From Studio to Storyline to Storyline 365, their focus on rapid authoring has made eLearning a more palatable solution for corporations that want the training solution to be fast and inexpensive.

    Behind it all, Adobe has been slugging away with its eLearning powerhouse software: Captivate.  Originating what seems like ages ago as Macromedia RoboDemo, Adobe has turned their authorware into a tool that allows you granular control of your online learning intervention. Most recently the company has been at the forefront of responsive eLearning design, creating a template that readily allows you to deliver training on all manner of devices.

    Which is why the Training and Technology SIG is working primarily with Adobe Captivate.  We discuss eLearning design on a general level, but specifically dive into Adobe Captivate when creating content.  The software has made its name in technology demonstrations, and our client organization, OneOC, uses Adobe Captivate for its eLearning authorware.  

    It's also one of the reasons why ATD Orange County is offering a workshop on Adobe Captivate this June 7. It's an opportunity for those who have developed a passion for eLearning, but are weak utilizing systems outside the Articulate Suite, to expand their skillset, broaden their arsenal, and deepen their understanding of what's possible within eLearning.

    So if you're ready to explore the similarities and differences between the eLearning authorware you know and the eLearning authorware you want to know, check out how ATD-Orange County can expose you to new horizons!

    Training and Technology SIG meets every third Thursday of the month.  Check out our calendar of events for our next "public" meeting.

    The Adobe Captivate workshop will be held this June 7.

  • 05/01/2018 4:13 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    This June we’ll be holding the ATD So Cal Family Picnic, and we’re all set to send out the invitations to you and your family, but before we can...

    We’re looking for new and interesting team-building activities.  Something that can be done outdoors, in small groups, in between handfuls of subway sandwiches and potato chips.  Does something come to mind?

    If so, we’d like to learn more!  Send an email to, or complete our Team Builder Activity Form, linked here.

    If  your team building activity is selected, you and one family member will receive admission to the ATD So Cal Family Picnic this June.

    We look forward to hearing from you!


  • 04/27/2018 6:11 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    "'Learners don’t care about application sharing or virtual reality,' she says. Instead, developers and facilitators need to explain to them what they are going to learn and just let the tools 'fall into the backdrop.'" 

    Paul Signorelli, facilitator for "Blended 2018: A Hands-On Evening of Engagement" (see our event scheduled for May 23) would agree. He likes to tell the story of when he himself was so immersed in a blended learning program, a pen was thrown toward the camera and he reached out to catch it. 

    This article from ATD National Insights shares a point shared by several of our presenters this year. "Just because we have new delivery tools 'the importance of design isn't going away.'"

    Check it out!

  • 04/23/2018 1:04 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    It’s with distinct pleasure that we share that ATD-Orange County has been nominated for a Spirit of Volunteerism award!

    For nearly 30 years, OneOC has offered this award “to honor the service of the individuals, teams, and businesses that make our community a stronger and more vibrant place to live, work and play.” In this case, they’re honoring the efforts of our Training and Technology Special Interest Group.


    "Cause Area: Community & Capacity Building

    The Special Interest Group of the Association for Talent Development Orange County Chapter has been working diligently for over a year on a virtual learning project that will serve our nonprofits looking to post volunteer opportunities on our Volunteer calendar. 

    It will serve as an on-demand learning tool for all nonprofits that are seeking to recruit volunteers – giving them the ability to learn, and re-learn if necessary, how to post to our website. It will also alleviate staff time that was utilized twice a week to run the training as a live webinar. 

    By making this training more self-paced and accessible at any time, nonprofit professionals don’t have to wait to post, and can return back to the learning module should they need a refresher; something that was not possible when the training had to be led by an instructor via the webinar format. 

    We are grateful for this group of professionals coming together with the passion and desire to make this training professional and effective for the sake of our nonprofit clients. It has not been an easy process with systems changing, and working with minimal budgets; not to mention that all the professionals within the group have full-time jobs. 

    OneOC wants to honor them for their time and commitment to the project."

    The Training and Technology OneOC team consists of 8 ATD-OC members:
    • Jeannie Jurado
    • Kathleen Dvorak
    • Kimberly Goh
    • Lisa Osborn
    • Susmitha Manav
    • Tom Partridge
    • Wendy Sterndale
    • Paul Venderley

    Throughout the past year, these professionals have dedicated their time and effort both to learning how to maximize Adobe Captivate and to applying this new knowledge in the OneOC project.

    We’re proud to be a recipient of the Spirit of Volunteerism awards, and look forward to sharing our completed project with the Chapter.

  • 04/16/2018 10:57 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Those of you who attended January's flipped learning event may have been pleased to experience another opportunity to discuss flipped learning during this March's Learning Event, "Thinking Outside the Virtual Training Box."

    We haven't really been speaking too much about this, but our 2018 learning events program is not meant to be viewed as a series of exclusive events. Rather, these events are meant to build upon each other. Our March speaker, Corena Bahr, was excited to continue that discussion in her session, and to show how flipped learning could be implemented in a virtual training environment.

    We've excerpted that discussion below.  Click the image below to launch our video.
    Think of this as a mini course* on flipped learning.

    If you didn't attend our January meeting, consider viewing some introductory videos that help define flipped learning here:

    1. Blended Learning & Flipped Classroom
      This 6:26 video shows how we can apply the blended learning techniques we (may be) familiar with to the flipped learning model.
    2. What A Flipped Classroom Looks Like
      This PBS NewsHour report shows how a high school just outside of Detroit took a chance on flipping its curriculum, and the results.

    Got anything you'd like to add to the conversation?  Add your comments below!

    *Not micro-learning, mind you.  This discussion is a little less than 20 minutes.

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