Name: Sara Law
Position and Employer: Staff Development Manager at Exceptional Persons Inc.
How long have you been with your employer and/or in your position? I have been with EPI for 9 years and in my current position for 5 years
How long have you been a member of ATD Hawkeye Chapter? This is my second year of membership
What is a typical workday like for you? Is there such a thing as typical? A lot of my job entails coordinating between teams at EPI to ensure the training generated from my team is meeting their needs. When I’m not coordinating, you can find me developing SCORM material for our online trainings, video editing, and working with my HR partner to develop a system of data collection for our employees that will allow us to make data driven decisions regarding when, where, and how to best facilitate training in a way which will positively impact retention and quality of services.
What do you enjoy most about ATD Hawkeye Chapter? Of course the professional development is great (I didn’t know how much I didn’t know about design and facilitation techniques until I joined), but I also really enjoy the camaraderie and networking opportunities offered through our local chapter.
Name a professional challenge you have experienced, and share how ATD Hawkeye has helped you overcome it. The biggest challenge ATD has helped me overcome is the confidence in my decision making. I tended to second-guess myself a lot before joining ATD. Now I have a body of professional expertise as well as a new found font of evidence-based articles and material to pull from to not only help me make better decisions for the training I facilitate, but also to back up the decisions I do make.
What piece of advice related to talent and development has made a significant impact on you and your work? Align your training with the strategic business plan of wherever you are developing that training. You can make the most technically correct and beautifully facilitated training that perfectly engages the learners, and if it doesn’t produce results that align with the needs of the business or organization you are working with, the training is useless.
What is your favorite part of the learning and development field? I love the opportunity to positively impact change at a large level. This is the opportunity to make things better than they already are.
What are your greatest strengths, and what are your current development goals? In true “Midwesterner” fashion, I don’t like talking about my strengths at the risk of sounding as if I’m bragging. My current professional development goals lie in two main areas. I’m hoping to build my knowledge so I can move towards APTD Certification, and ultimately CPTD certification. The other area of development I am working on is delegation to my team. I’ve long been a training team of one or two, but in the past year or so, I now supervise 3 people in our growing team, so I am working on knowing what projects I have a history of owning that I can pass on to the team, which will hopefully allow me more time for growing the training program at EPI.
Who is currently one of your favorite speakers or authors, and why? Every time I have attended a talk with Cherrie Spurlin, I leave with more information than I expected and the motivation to actually do something with it. Cherrie has a way of demonstrating the techniques she discusses into the training as she is delivering it. I find this not only an incredibly effective method for training delivery, but also immensely helpful as a realistic demonstration of how the techniques could work “in the real world.”
What are your hobbies or favorite things to do with your time? Most of my off-work time is consumed by chasing after and playing with my 18 month old son. I enjoy knitting/crocheting when I find free time away from curious little fingers that like to unwind my yarn, and a few weekends in the summer months, I enjoy taking my car to our local drag strip and racing it (as an amateur).