Member Spotlight

Each month we take a moment to recognize a Chapter Member and share a little bit about them.  We hope you find their stories engaging!


partners with colleagues from around the institution to develop surveys so that we can gather data that will facilitate their work. I assist with crafting, distributing, and analyzing results. I also assist my teammates with data requests, both internal and external.  This can range from pulling information to running statistical tests and even recommending courses of action. And occasionally, I am able to present information at our discussion-based, interactive forums, which is my favorite part of my job.

What do you enjoy most about ATD Hawkeye Chapter? The chapter does a great job offering sessions that cover a variety of topics, and pulling in great speakers. From building technical skills to learning strategies for handling interpersonal conflict, the Hawkeye Chapter works hard to bring something of value to everyone. And they maintain an inviting atmosphere during their sessions, where you can always feel comfortable asking questions and you’re likely to make valuable new professional connections.

What piece of advice related to talent and development has made a significant impact on you and your work? My supervisor told me shortly after I started in my position that I should never be afraid to fail. He explained that failure is a great way to know that you’re growing, because it means that you are pushing yourself and trying new things. That changed my perspective on the working world and led me to feel excited to take on new responsibilities. Whereas I was previously too scared of making a mistake to explore new areas of my job, that advice gave me the freedom and security I needed to head out in new directions and take charge of my own professional development. 

What are your hobbies or favorite things to do with your time? I like to stay active, so I really enjoy running and other forms of exercise. I’ve been involved with archery for most of my life, and that’s an area I enjoy building my skills in. Though it’s a lot more challenging these days, I spend time with friends and family whenever possible. And I’m a major cinephile, so I try to catch as many movies as I can. 


Name: Sonja Watters

Position and Employer: Digital Instructional Design Manager with UFG Insurance

How long have you been with your employer and/or in your position? I have been with UFG Insurance for 22 years and in my current position for a few months.  Prior to this position I was the Technical Training Manager.

How long have you been a member of ATD Hawkeye Chapter? I’ve been a member of the Hawkeye chapter for only a month, but I’ve belonged to the national ATD organization for several years.

What do you enjoy most about ATD Hawkeye Chapter? Being a new member of the chapter, I’m excited about all the connections and knowledge sharing opportunities I’ll encounter.

What is your favorite part of the learning and development field? My favorite part of L&D is encouraging others to recognize their potential and then providing guidance to help them reach it.  I also like the instructional design piece of L&D.

What are your greatest strengths, and what are your current development goals? My greatest strengths are that I have a great work ethic, I take a lot of pride in my work, and I try to keep a sense of humor.  I love to learn and will never stop learning.  My current development goals include becoming a better digital instructional design manager and taking some classes to improve my leadership and management abilities.  I’ve been reading The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning and The Business Case for Learning and I can’t wait to incorporate these ideas into my regular workload rather than just reading about them.

Who is currently one of your favorite speakers or authors, and why?  Cy Wakeman is one of my favorite speakers/authors because she keeps everything real.  She’s also pretty entertaining to listen/read.

What are your hobbies or favorite things to do with your time? 

I enjoy biking, hiking, reading, and learning.  You’ll often find me outdoors with a book in my hands.

Name: Ethan Wykert

Position and Employer: Research Assistant, Kirkwood Community College

How long have you been with your employer and/or in your position? 3 years 

How long have you been a member of ATD Hawkeye Chapter?  4 months

What is a typical workday like for you? Most days I spend a good portion of my time working on internal surveys. Our department 





Would you like to be featured in the Member Spotlight?  Submit your information HERE!

ATD Hawkeye Chapter
P.O. Box 10847
 Rapids, IA 52410-0847

Phone: 319-244-8482

© 2020 ATD Hawkeye Chapter

When registering or ordering at ATD, remember to enter our chapter ChIP Code: CH6101

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software