Learning isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. It takes hard work, dedication and creative thinking. BY JERRY ROCHE
The 2017 Learning! Champion Award honors individuals for exceptional contributions to the learning industry. Elearning! magazine names 28 professionals across six categories for 2017.
“Lifetime Achievement” winners have dedicated their entire lives to learning and have helped thousands of others do the same. “Thought Leaders” are industry experts always willing to share their expertise and are dedicated to bettering their communities and industries. “High Performers” have gone above and beyond, usually in a relatively short time frame, to implement new learning techniques in their organizations. “Mentors” take a special interest in others to help them achieve their potential. “Trail Blazers” forge new processes and procedures in uncharted areas to elevate learning and technology successes. “Innovators” are technologists and problem solvers who often bring these solutions to market for others to share.
The 2017 Learning! Champions are…
Joe DiDonato, Editor-at-Large, Elearning! magazine
Joe DiDonato has proven to be a supremely knowledgeable, well-spoken representative of the learning industry through a long and distinguished career. He’s a customer-obsessed and a “roll-up-the-sleeves” kind of senior executive with background spanning both the for-profit and non-profit worlds. His experience ranges from individual, staff and management functions to CEO and board positions. Roles include senior learning officer responsibilities and marketing at major corporations. He is currently the editor-at-large for this magazine, providing content, expertise and analysis on trends impacting the world of corporate education.
At the same time, DiDonato is co-founder and presdient of The Orphan Foundation, a non-profit that helps find homes for orphans around the world by removing barriers to adoption. Its goal this year is to raise $1 million toward its mission.
Over the course of his career, DiDonato has had executive roles with The Wellness Community, Interwise (now AT&T Connect), Knowledge Planet, Productivity Point International, PeopleSoft (now Oracle). He earned the designation “Mr. Education” at Oracle when launching Oracle’s first certification and education program for the extended enterprise.
DiDonato’s self-professed specialties are business development, marketing, start-ups, professional services, corporate education, e-learning, customer obsession and conference development. linkedin.com/in/editoratlarge1/
Elliot Masie, Futurist, Founder, The Masie Center
Elliot Masie is acknowledged as the first analyst to use the term “e-learning.” Masie founded The Masie Center, a Saratoga Springs, N.Y., think tank focused on how organizations can support learning and knowledge within the workforce. He leads the Learning Consortium, a coalition of 200 global organizations cooperating on the evolution of learning strategies, including CNN, Walmart, American Express, Emirates Airline, Starbucks, General Electric and Fidelity Investments.
Masie’s professional focus has been in the fields of corporate learning, organizational performance and emerging technology. He has developed models for accelerating the spread of knowledge, learning and collaboration throughout organizations and, advocated for a sane deployment of learning and collaboration technology as a means of supporting the effectiveness and profitability of enterprises.
Masie serves as an adviser to a wide range of government, education and non-profit groups. His service has included Skidmore College Board of Trustees and as a Board member of First Robotics, CosmoSid and the CIA University Board of Visitors. He has served as a pro-bono advisor to the Department of Defense and on the White House Advisory Council on Expanding Learning Opportunities.
Masie is known as a highly approachable speaker and trainer, blending humor, applicable stories of best practice and high levels of audience involvement. Over the past 30 years, he has presented programs, courses and speeches to more than 2.2 million professionals around the world. linkedin.com/in/elliottmasie/
Kevin Oakes, CEO, Founder, Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp)
Kevin Oakes is the CEO and founder of the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), a human capital research firm that discovers the people practices that drive high performance.
Ranked among the fastest-growing companies on the Inc. 500|5000 list, i4cp provides its extensive member network of leading global employers and government institutions with the research, peer collaboration, tools, and data essential to developing and executing workforce strategies and practices that deliver higher market performance.
A frequent author and international keynote speaker on talent management and using human capital strategically in organizations, Oakes co-authored “The Executive Guide to Integrated Talent Management.” He also serves on the board of directors for privately held Workforce Insight, the world’s leading provider of workforce management and analytics consulting services.
He has been a leader in the human capital field for the last two decades including: founder and the president of SumTotal Systems, the largest provider of talent and learning solutions in the world; chairman & CEO of Click2learn, which was founded in 1985 by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft; and president and founder of Oakes Interactive, an award-winning technology-based training company in Needham, Mass. linkedin.com/in/kevinoakes/
Dr. Yvonne Marie Andrés, Founder, Executive Director, Global SchoolNet
Dr. Yvonne Marie Andrés has been a trail-blazer and non-stop thought leader dedicated to advancing online education and global collaborative learning since 1981. She has been an inspiration to thousands and thousands of educators worldwide, believing that in a connected world students need a global perspective. Her work has brought together youth online from 194 countries to explore community, cultural and scientific issues that prepare them for the workforce and help them to become responsible and literate global citizens.
Andrés is the co-founder of the non-profit Global SchoolNet and the founder of the Global Schoolhouse. She was named one of the 25 most influential people worldwide in education technology and was invited in 2000 to meet with President Bush to launch the Friendship Through Education initiative.
She also is the creator and producer of International CyberFair and the U.S. State Department’s “Doors to Diplomacy” program.
Andrés produces numerous videos and frequently writes about highly effective education programs from around the globe that blend online and offline learning, while incorporating the latest neuroplasticity findings and constructivist learning methodology. Her works have touched people in the U.S., Canada, Asia, Europe, Australia, South America and Africa.In short, she has offered the learning industry some amazing and tireless contributions. linkedin.com/in/yvonneandres/
Chris Bartlett, Director of Learning Resources, FMC Technologies
Chris Bartlett has made significant changes that enable FMC Technologies’ employees to learn and do more with less, organizing more than 150 employees from 30 countries into a central cost structure, bringing all global learning resources together into a centralized learning resources organization to greatly reduce spending on learning-related activities in just one year without affecting quality.
Here are just a few of the achievements of FMC’s Learning Resources Group, under Bartlett’s direction:
>> Led the way as the first truly global “shared services” organization with a presence in all business units and regions of FMC.
>> Connected people globally (75 percent of employees participating in 90 networks via the corporate knowledge sharing platform, The Edge).
>> Connected people to subject-matter-expert verified information (The Well, FMC Technologies’ wiki, has grown 98 percent since 2012)
>> Reduction in duplication of course development leading to standardization of courses.
>> The near-elimination of the use of non-FMC Technologies facilities for training.
>> Leveraging internal resources and eliminating external expense.
>> Eliminated millions of dollars in travel costs annually through the increased availability and competency in hosting virtual events and training.
>> Through in-house video services, reduced the time and cost of creating training materials while increasing the materials’ usefulness, reach and reuse.
>> Implemented and integrated software to deliver meaningful data to those that need it through cleaning up a SharePoint environment.
Ruth-Ann Clurman, Senior Director of Learning and Organization Development, Ascension Health
During Ruth-Ann Clurman’s tenure, Ascension’s Learning and Organization Development team has led innovation and accessibility through both social and mobile learning tools. The organization has been selected for the Learning! 100 list for the past five consecutive years. Its workforce supports customers both remotely and virtually and needs 24/7 access to learning solutions. The team also needs a way to connect with each other for peer mentoring and solution support.
Ten years ago, Ascension Information Services began with 675 associates from healthcare facilities across the United States. Today, it has more than 3,000 associates and is recognized as one of the best health-care information technology services organizations in the nation.
Co-workers say Clurman is encouraging and insightful, always striving for improvement in collaboration and effectiveness. That she possesses the vision to identify areas of opportunity and determine development plans that improve and engage associates. That she orchestrates changes with persistence and wisdom to allow for growth. That she continues to work ahead of the curve to clear the path in the constantly changing specialties of health care and information technology so that others may follow. Clurman possesses a master’s degree from Missouri State University. linkedin.com/in/ruth-ann-clurman-1a57883/
Ramón García Espeleta, Manager, Gerente Virtaula CaixaBank
Ramón García Espeleta guides Virtaula CaixaBank’s online learning effort throughout Spain. During the six years that had has been responsible for the bank’s learning platform, electronic learning has become of utmost importance. It has multiplied by 10 the capacity of concurrency, has changed the design four times, and has generated more than 15 million hours of learning, including more than 2 million in 2016. Informal training has been enhanced, and knowledge between all the people in the organization has increased. Internal trainers have become facilitators and entertainers through virtual online classroom training. The platform itself has been recognized with several awards.
During Espeleta’s watch, the main challenge of the project is for its employees to evolve together and to maintain the spirit of training and development service.
The bank’s online learning platform was born in 1999. In 2006, Web 2.0 tools, blogs, wikis and forums were introduced; in 2010, the collaborative and semantic Web were introduced; and in 2014, Virtaula emotions were introduced. The bank is now seeking the educational application of augmented and virtual reality within its content.
In the last year, a smart recommendations engine has been included in the online learning effort. This tool allows automatic content personalization and segmentation depending on the actions that the users themselves or other employees related to them have made. The bank is currently working on advanced models of artificial intelligence with analytics that inform managers about what employees need and want, as well as applications of virtual and augmented reality. linkedin.com/in/ramongarciaespe/
Jonathan Fear, Senior Director of Coupa University, Coupa, Inc.
Jonathan Fear is known as a brilliant leader in the corporate education industry. He has taken all areas of education into consideration at Coupa Inc., an enterprise software company. That includes internal training, customer training, and partner certification, which have all been integrated into their existing platforms (like Salesforce CRM).
Coupa’s corporate education program is called Coupa University, of which Fear is vice president, a position from which he has been able to drive training across many different functions within the company.
Fear is detail oriented, customer focused, and a joy to work with according to staffers. He has proven able to manage the expectations and priorities of requests from top customers effectively. He works well under pressure and is always looking out for his client’s best interests. Additionally, he has always had an excellent grasp of the technology and manages resources wisely.
Fear has been with Coupa for the past six years, but has more than 20 years of experience in the training and education space with companies like SumTotal and Executrain. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Quantitative Economics and Decision Sciences from the University of California, San Diego.
Coupa has been named to Inc. magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies. Its primary mission is to deliver a spend-management platform that unifies business processes across all the ways employees spend money. Its consumerized financial applications digitize spending across travel and expense management, procurement and invoicing. The organization was honored with the 2016 Learning! 100 Award. linkedin.com/in/jonathan-fear-901a11/
Mohammed Amir Habib, Consultant, Sidra Medical and Research Center
Mohammed Amir Habib created the first scenario-based e-learning course at Sidra (and possibly Qatar) as part of a core values awareness drive. All the other 110 or so sessions (clinical and corporate) used tell-and-test approaches with an occasional one-page contextualized question.
Because the learning industry in Qatar is still maturing, it generally purchases materials from companies in Dubai. But Habib became one of the first — if not the first — e-learning professional Because the learning industry in Qatar is still maturing, it generally purchases materials from companies in Dubai. But Habib became one of the first — if not the first — e-learning professional working in the Persian Gulf to bring cutting-edge instructional design coupled with superb development and graphics skills, to create a world-class module. The session he created — Sidra Core Values Awareness — takes the learner through a typical day in the life of a Sidra employee. The learner makes decisions with appropriate support in the form of a values champion to give guidance on behavior in line with Sidra’s values.
Habib helped everyone across the organization to not just learn about the values but actually see the values in action in their everyday decisions. The aim wasn’t just to teach the values but how they need to be lived by allowing learners to experience real, authentic experiences that occur everyday.
Habib has a background in I.T. and has been developing since the age of 10. The key to his success is his understanding of instructional design, human learning psychology coupled with his expert level technical skills.
David Hembroff, Head of Training and Development, USIC
David Hembroff has proven to be quite a visionary in the learning industry from his position with USIC, an industry leader for underground infrastructure protection with more than 7,500 employees nationwide. He has helped to chart the course of current and future training and development at USIC and is always looking at ways to improve the company’s overall education process. He’s also taken a fundamental role in USIC’s transition into a digital learning organization, helping to drive internal productivity rates up by more than 100 percent.
Hembroff’s passions are adult education, development and training, and writing. He has built great soft skills as a leader, and has honed his marketing and customer skills with some of the best in the business.
Under Hembroff’s watchful eye, USIC’s employee training has become a well-balanced blend of e-learning served through its proprietary LMS — USIC Institute — and instructor-led and on-the-job training led by its team of training leaders and coaches.
His Training and Development division has been responsible for: curriculum development, instructional design, tiered skill training courses, multimedia and interactive training presentations, micro-learning, continuous engagement and the aforementioned USIC Institute, which offers more than 100 training courses.
Moreover, USIC is a high-growth company, making learning and training crucial. Its 8,200 field technicians undergo more than 500,000 training hours per year. linkedin.com/in/dave-hembroff-37377a3a/
Brooks Williams, Director of Organizational Development, MidSouth Bank
As an extraordinary leader, Brooks Williams is acutely aware of the impact he has and is dedicated to helping people become their very best. He recognizes leadership as a responsibility, not just a job.
Williams is a learning executive who champions meaningful and impactful workplace learning. By being able to understand both the needs of the bank’s business at a high level and the value of employee development, he gains buy-in from across the organization that learning and development is a key to achieving real and sustainable results.
What makes Williams an extraordinary leader? He is future-directed, with a confidence and optimism about future successes that are contagious. He puts in the work: curriculum development, class (instructor-led/virtual/hands-on) presentations, site visits. Even the little things, like a phone call to an employee who made a big contribution or a handwritten note to welcome a new employee.
Success is key. He works with employees to eliminate barriers that might inhibit success, and he creates opportunities for employees to contribute more to the business and thus feel more empowered. He is invested in his people: a catalyst for their continued learning and development. One of his favorite sayings is, “When you are finished growing, you are finished.”
Williams is a senior leader with a notable career in financial services. His selfless approach to leadership has earned him an incredibly loyal following and is the primary reason his people stay with the organization for much longer than some of them had ever planned. People want to work for him. linkedin.com/in/brooks-m-williams-mbb-cmf-239200128/
Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, Vice President, General Manager, Cisco Services
In just the past year, Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn and her team’s many accomplishments include the launch of a $10 million global cybersecurity scholarship program aimed at helping address the cybersecurity skills gap; revamped and revised the certification program to address new and emerging technologies; and continued to bolster efforts to provide best-in-class I.T. training and certification.
In November 2015, her team launched a revised curriculum and framework for its expert-level certification program, the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), to meet the changing demands of the digital economy and ensure that I.T. professionals are imbued with the skills they need to participate in meaningful business discussions about the new technical areas that are shaping business strategy and operations. This includes revising the curriculum to incorporate a new assessment approach focused on ensuring that candidates demonstrate knowledge and skills with evolving technologies such as network programmability, Cloud, security and IoT.
This next generation of I.T. certification and training represents a continuation of Jeanne’s long-time work to address talent agility and reskilling. Helping organizations address the existing skills gap and empowering professionals in their own career development is a driving passion for Beliveau-Dunn, and have been the guiding forces of much of her work at Cisco.
In the past year, her book “I’m the Boss of Me: A Guide to Owning Your Career” was published. It provides an easy-to-follow guide on developing a self-empowered approach to work, career and life, interspersing personal stories and anecdotes with lessons learned from her more than two decades of experience in the technology industry. linkedin.com/in/jeannedunn/
Matt Kurtin, Lead Programmer and Learning Technology Consultant, Innovative Learning Group
Matt Kurtin has been a passionate, knowledgeable, and active thought leader in the learning and development space for the past 20 years. This fact is made abundantly clear by his prominent role at Innovative Learning Group (one of Inc. magazine’s 5,000 fastest- growing small businesses) and the fact that he is in constant demand to share his knowledge with those in the industry.
He is a true rarity: someone with immense technical skills, emotional intelligence, and a consultative ability to identify the true need of the client. All of these traits are held together with a visionary passion for learning as a whole. His infectious zeal for learning and development has had a significant impact on the industry. He has acted as both an active developmental presence and an engaging ambassador.
Kurtin leads the mobile learning strategy at Innovative Learning Group, where he has personally developed many mobile applications and courses. Additionally, he has extensive experience supporting translation of custom e-learning courses and has worked on courses delivered in more than 20 languages.
And he has not rested on this pioneering approach to mobile learning; he is actively involved in the discovery of possible applications for virtual reality and augmented reality within the learning and development market.
Jeanne C. Meister, Founder, Partner, Future Workplace
Jeanne C. Meister founded Future Workplace to work with forward-looking companies to think differently about the future of work and the changing composition of the workforce. It is now a human resources advisory and research firm dedicated to discussing, debating and sharing the “next practices” on navigating the future workplace and workforce. A consortium of nearly 50 organizations come together both virtually and in person to discuss debate and share “next” practices on preparing for the future of work.
Meister considers herself a workplace visionary and activist who drives her clients to think differently. She has a deep background and experience in corporate learning, and has been awarded a Distinguished Contribution in Workplace Learning Award by a leading organization in the learning industry. Her specialties are employee experience, corporate university design, talent management, leadership development and executive education.
She is also the author of four business books — the first two of which were written on the topic of corporate universities. Today, Meister is very obviously passionate about helping organizations re-think how to attract, develop and inspire employees in a workplace that is rapidly changing. Her latest book is “The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules for Mastering Disruption in Recruiting and Engaging Employees.”
Meister has also published articles in popular magazines like Financial Times; Fast Company; Forbes; Harvard Business Review; Harvard Management Update; Journal of Business Strategy; Outlook, a Publication of Accenture; People & Strategy Journal; and Elearning! magazine. linkedin.com/in/jeannemeister/
Mike Conner, Chief Evangelist, BlueBottleBiz
Mike Conner believes in revolutionizing the future of corporate learning. His vision is to support informal learning by giving it some structure, yet providing professionals with more freedom to learn than traditional learning systems provide. He sees the value in an all-encompassing learning solution that supports collaborative learning by combining expert (vetted) content, professional network and unique collaborative tools that allow colleagues and experts to work together.
Conner spent 2016 introducing collaborative learning to Fortune 500 and enterprise companies. He has contributed articles to top publications, and weighs in on topics that cover the future of learning, how learning technology is evolving, and ways to retain talent by building solid learning programs. His articles and quotes have been shared widely among the business community in both the U.S. and the U.K. He meets with the analyst community to discuss collaborative learning and the impacts it will have on organizations.
Conner truly believes that learning provides the foundation to success for professionals and for their organizations. For him, sharing the benefits and innovations of collaborative learning isn’t just a “job,” it’s a passion.
Previously, Conner was the Vice President of Global Sales for Safari (previously Safari Books Online). As a member of Safari’s executive team, most of his time was devoted to developing a second-generation platform and preparing his sales organization and enterprise customer base for enhancements to drive customized learning with curated content. linkedin.com/in/michaelconnercatalystsale/
Sue Brett, C.E.O., Learningonline.xyz
Sue Brett has proven to be an inspiring force who has shaped a young team of e-learning professionals and developers into achieving results that transform people’s lives and add value at every level of interaction with the company’s user base. She has spent over a decade, challenging and inspiring individuals to do more, be more.
She has been instrumental in the success and launch of e-learning portals such as Cudoo.com and apps such as Langu. ag, which offer more than 160 languages to users to learn and enhance their communication skills. She has worked hard to map the language courses to internationally recognized CEFR levels so that users can easily chart their progress from one level to another, as they progress in their language learning journey. Language lovers can now confidently learn any language and get certified based on their level.
Her company, from its absolutely unique video-based language nanolearning to peer exchange and live online learning, a combination of mLMS, apps and online-based products that connect learners, peers and instructors to a world of cultures.
Brett’s company was shortlisted for the Global Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) Education Awards 2017. GESS is a world-class education exhibition and conferences provider and with GESS Education Awards, it aims to acknowledge and reward the brightest contributors to the educational industry. linkedin.com/in/sue-brett-27911034/
Rory Cameron, Executive Vice President, Corporate Development, Learning and Marketing Platforms, Litmos, by CallidusCloud
Rory Cameron has led all areas of Litmos at CallidusCloud since its acquisition in 2011. Much of Litmos’ ongoing success and innovative product and marketing direction is driven by his substantial knowledge and thought leadership in the learning industry.
Cameron operates a high-energy and customer-centric organization. He was responsible for multiple acquisitions in 2016, including the key addition of ViewCentral, which has been re-branded as Litmos Training Ops.
He has been recognized with many different honors and awards, including the Irish Global Technology 50 by the Irish Technology Leadership Group and the Irish “40 under 40.” He continues to rapidly grow the Litmos learning business within CallidusCloud and has reinvigorated innovation into the learning industry.
Cameron has more than 15 years of experience in business development, sales, and sales operations across a range of technology sectors. At CallidusCloud, he runs the platforms group which consists of Litmos, Clicktools, Badgeville, and Datahug, highly disruptive platforms in their respective markets. He also led the effort to broaden CallidusCloud’s solutions suite including a volume SaaS operation and the development of the company’s renowned sales academy.
Bottom line: Cameron drives all areas of Litmos and heavily impacts the ongoing success and innovative product and marketing direction within the business. linkedin.com/in/rory-cameron-8947403/
Nicole Thompson, Human Resources Director, Fairfax Media
Nicole Thompson has been a driving force in creating one of the first new multi-disciplinary, contemporary learning teams within an innovative digital learning platform that enables collaboration and capability building.
Through Thompson’s efforts, Fairfax is now speaking to companies globally about its innovations, in order to help them drive transformation in their companies through their new learning teams. Fairfax also presents at conferences to educate the broader market on what it has done to assist them transform learning.
Thompson joined Fairfax as the Human Resources Director for Technology during a career that spans 20 years. Since joining Fairfax, she has obtained an invaluable insight into digital disruption and how technology can be used to build capability. Her current role focuses on enabling business transformation and spans building capability, digital learning, talent management, diversity, alignment and engagement, leadership development and performance management.
While most organizations recognize the need to transform learning, many haven’t yet taken the big step and acted. Fairfax — with Thompson in the forefront — is one of the brave few that have taken the first steps toward L&D transformation. Thompson and her team have created what they believe to be a first within big corporate Australia: a new, multi-disciplinary team with contemporary skills and an interactive digital learning hub that requires stakeholders to collaborate on content production. linkedin.com/in/nicole-thompson-70865712/
Ibrahim Jabary, CEO, Gamelearn
Ibrahim Jabary has turned technology and video games into the best allies of learning. In the process, he has not only revolutionized e-learning, but is also proving that video games are becoming the most powerful tool within corporate training.
It all is the result of betting on the field of learning, of innovation and the transformation of traditional training methods. Thanks to his serious games, Jabary has managed to solve the big problem of e-learning. That is, 70 percent of the people who start an online course never complete it. However, with Gamelearn and his online courses in video game format, Jabary has achieved a dropout ratio of only 7 out of every 100 students.
This is done thanks to a completely revolutionary methodology that combines quality content with a practical approach, simulators to practice with “real” situations, and gamification techniques in a single format: a video game. It’s a unique recipe that has allowed for the training of more than 200,000 professionals from more than 50 countries.
In addition, Jabary has managed to meet his other great challenge: to transform online training with video games into a simple, useful and accessible tool for any company in the world, thanks to the development and launch of the first game-based learning platform in the market.This Gamelearn CEO and founder has spearheaded innovation in the field of corporate training. He was a pioneer in game-based learning platforms in the market, along with developing the first simulator for the development of customer service skills. linkedin.com/in/ibrahim-jabary-2457661/
Sarika Khanna, Sr. Vice President of Product and Services, Litmos, by CallidusCloud
Sarika Khanna and her team supervise all product development and innovation at Litmos, by CallidusCloud, which prides itself on being at the leading edge of innovation in the learning industry. Khanna and her team have been responsible for pushing the limits of innovation forward in the learning industry. Khanna is passionate about building products to solve business problems and is an avid learner. She has been with CallidusCloud for more than six years and was instrumental in taking the core product offering — Commissions — to SaaS business. In addition to Litmos, she has led the products for the Selling Cloud, Hiring Cloud and Marketing Cloud.
She has proven to be a strategic problem solver with ability to quickly evaluate business issues and work across cross-functional teams to develop innovative strategic and tactical solutions. Her other strengths include:
>> Strong domain expertise in audience and segmentation, reporting and enterprise analytics, lead management, campaign management, vendor management, email and Web marketing and search marketing.
>> Strong interpersonal, persuasion and facilitation skills with people of different levels, backgrounds, and personality styles.
>> Excellent technical, analytical, and problem-solving capabilities.Prior to joining Litmos, Khanna worked at leading software companies including Oracle.
She held variety of positions ranging from engineering to product marketing and product management. She holds a master’s degree with distinction in Information Systems from George Mason University and a master’s in Industrial and Mechanical Engineering. linkedin.com/in/sarikakhanna/
Jack Makhlouf, Chief Learning Officer, eLearning Mind
The founder eLearning Mind (ELM), Jack Makhlouf was born to tackle corporate America’s stale and ineffective internal and external- facing training. When you meet him, you instantly know that he’s an extrovert with an undying passion to make learning fun, engaging and impactful — as it’s meant to be. He is a true believer in the idea that education is the key to lasting change and true success.
Makhlouf was previously a founding member of the industry-recognized AT&T Learning Services team. He has been pioneering the e-learning industry for more than 20 years, working with Fortune 500 clients, designing, developing, and implementing innovative learning solutions and enterprise system technologies. Makhlouf brought two widely known learning components together to create a revolutionary learning methodology backed by modern brain science. This was coined as “neurolearning.” This methodology leads the way eLearning Mind thinks and implements learning solutions to foster deeper and more impactful learning experiences.
He applies neurolearning principles to the e-learning industry through instructional design, and has proved neurolearning’s effectiveness over and over by helping more than 100 Fortune 500 clients implement innovative learning solutions and maximize performance through by applying neurolearning to e-learning solutions.
Makhlouf has a master’s degree in Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida. linkedin.com/in/jackmakhlouf/
Brent Pearson, Founder, Enboarder
Brent Pearson has developed a new mobile learning platform called Enboarder that is streamlining onboarding challenges for busy managers in an intuitive way that adds value for new hires, busy managers and organizations.
Enboarder has been developed by Pearson in response to research that indicated one of the biggest gaps in onboarding new employees takes place between the time the employee is made an offer, and begins his or her first day. This e-learning tool uses mobile delivery methods to serve up a scripted set of interactions that fill that gap. In the first year of implementation, he’s already won pilot projects with such notable brands as Coca-Cola and Turner Broadcasting.
Pearson is a serial entrepreneur with passions in research & development, recruitment strategy and recruitment technology. He has previous tenures with Booz.Allen Hamilton as Director of Knowledge Management, as well as many startups. linkedin.com/in/bpearson/
Alexander Salas, Supervisor, Learning Management Systems, Centene Corp.
According to co-workers, selecting just one category in which to honor Alexander Salas “is impossible.” Since joining Centene Corp., he has been a catalyst for progress — a figurative wrecking ball destroying bad habits and silos in the organization when it comes to the LMS. He has developed an entire online community to support learning and the LMS, streamlined administrative processes, and enhanced the abilities of corporate customers.
Not only is Salas an e-learning multimedia developer, he’s also a U.S. Navy veteran and a lifelong learner in learning and development (L&D).
After serving alongside U.S. Marines as a Navy Hospital corpsman, Salas has promoted and spearheaded the adoption of e-learning solutions for every employer he has worked for in the last 12 years. He’s the organizer of the Orlando Articulate Users Group, which promotes learning of Articulate authoring tools; he shares many of his custom templates at Articulate’s E-learning Heroes Community.
A former Web technology board member at ATD’s Central Florida Chapter, he is an active speaker on topics such as augmented reality, e-learning authoring and multimedia design. Aside from all this, Salas has a master’s degree in Training and Development and Leadership and is a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) and CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer. linkedin.com/in/stylelearn/
Mike Alcock, Managing Director, gomo learning Ltd.
Mike Alcock has now created two award-winning, game-changing e-learning authoring tools: Atlantic Link in 2003 and gomo learning in 2013. He’s won more than 30 awards on the back of these, including “Best of Elearning!” (four times), Brandon Hall Gold (three times) and many more. In each case, he’s been personally responsible for sales and marketing as well as product development, leading both companies to global recognition.
With gomo learning in 2013, Alcock took an existing HTML5-based framework and commercialized it to create the next generation of Cloud-based authoring tools. Gomo was one of the world’s first responsive HTML5 authoring tools and still maintains product and innovation leadership in the authoring tools space.
Alcock and his team continue to lead the way with collaborative, Cloud-based solutions. Gomo now offers integrated hosting, xAPI analytics and a native app capability, taking it from a pure authoring tool to a complete learning suite. The new product’s sales is now growing by more than 60 percent in the last 12 months. Gomo is now a key part of Learning Technologies Group (LTG) alongside LEO, Eukleia, Preloaded and Rustici.
Alcock’s success in inventing new and innovative software solutions, as well as building and running two global authoring tool companies and changing the landscape of the industry, earned him this 2017 Learning! Champion Award. linkedin.com/in/mikealcock/
Che Prince, Owner, Founder, Che Prince Learning Solutions
As a recent graduate from the Instructing Adults Certificate Program at George Brown, Che Prince was instrumental to the success of his students as a direct result of his excellent mentoring capabilities. He provides additional technical support and guidance in order to achieve excellent grades that will help students successfully launch new careers as training developers. In addition to his daily activities as a training developer and C.E.O. of his own learning solutions company, Prince also finds time in his busy schedule to provide the coaching and mentoring.
Prince is a subject-matter expert in learning consulting and needs analysis. He has demonstrated knowledge and experience within L&D and learning technologies, a comprehensive knowledge of practice of project management, and an understanding of adult learning. Other strengths are global and organizational awareness, change management leadership, excellent communication skills, highlighted by initiative, creativity and vision.
Bottom line: Prince is an excellent coach and mentor who rigorously applies the principles of adult learning not only to his own instructional design, but to his trainees as well. He is able to break down requirements into individual simple step-by-step tasks in order to easily obtain successful learning objectives.
Previously, Prince spent nine years as a troop commander and training officer in the Canadian Armed Forces; 16 years as an aerospace engineer at Pratt and Whitney Canada. He has a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Ryerson Polytechnic University and a Six Sigma Green Belt. linkedin.com/in/cheprince1/
Dan Halverstadt, Vice President of Quality and Training, USIC
Dan Halverstadt has been recognized as a thought leader in the learning industry and has been influential in training and quality at USIC. He currently manages a team of four direct reports for training and quality. Additionally, he’s accountable for more than 60 indirect reports. In recent months and years, he’s effectively moved all training internally, saving $1 million annually in consulting cost. He added the positions of Learning Management System Administrator and Instructional Designer, who created an online learning system under his directive, reducing training times by 66 percent.
Halverstadt developed an industry, ground-breaking and award-winning training method with 270 learning modules specific to the position, utilities, and geography of each role. He also created a system of on-the-job training that included upgrades and changes resulting in: doubling production and employee retention; reduction in safety issues by 50 percent; quality increase of 40 percent; reduction in cost by 85 percent for new technicians; and, developed user-friendly, water-proof pocket manuals affording each employee an easy-access field guide.
He has more than 20 years of experience driving improvement, visibility, and quality in organizational initiatives for the United States Air Force and USIC. As a USIC VP, he ensures that each time an employee goes out to a call, that employee is equipped with the tools to ensure safety and quality through in-depth training initiatives, protect infrastructures, and provide damage prevention. linkedin.com/in/danielhalverstadt/
Danielle Tomlinson, Vice President, Global Education, Plex Systems
Danielle Tomlinson is a long-time leader in the training and development industry, having led training and development within some of the largest and highest growth software companies. Currently, she is responsible for all education services around the world at Plex Systems, a leader in Cloud-based ERP for manufacturing.
Tomlinson has spent the majority of her 20-year career working for high-tech and high-growth software companies on the Services team, specifically the Education Services team. That’s typically the department that provides technical training to customers, partners and employees. Her responsibility has centered around making sure that people know how to use the products that are being sold. Performance is typically measured against a financial goal for the delivery of this training. During her career, Tomlinson has demonstrated an ability to grow revenue and improve margin through business development initiatives, cost management, recruiting key partners and employees, and innovative training product development.
At Plex, Tomlinson has expanded the corporate education globally to search many different markets around the world. The company currently supports more than 400 organizations and 1,300 production facilities in 20 countries around the world.
In 2012, Tomlinson was honored with a “Top 40 Under 40 Training Leadership Award” by a leading publication. This Learning! Champion Award adds to her impressive career. linkedin.com/in/danielle-tomlinson-458393/
Diana Bennett, Program Manager, IBM Corporate Headquarters (CHQ), Center for Advanced Learning (CAL) Technical Leadership Exchange (TLE)
Here’s the kind of person and employee that Diana Bennett is:
“D”ynamic harbinger of learning for technology leaders;
“I”nspirational role model;
“A”dvocate for innovation and enablement — bringing positive change to IBM;
“N”urturing manager who supports, encourages and empowers her team; and
“A”gile learning program manager who removes obstacles in order to deliver quality education.
According to her co-workers, she is the type of leader who transcends the negative and works towards the growth, improvement and overall betterment of employees. Her positive nature is infectious.
In terms of reach, Bennett’s training program has a primary target audience of IBM technical employees in leadership roles, but all of IBM’s 400,000 employees can participate. In past few years, the 25,000 to 50,000 technical participants have given the program an overall satisfaction rating of 92% positive.
Bennett leads a small but effective team of nine learning professionals who trust her to deliver their vision and increase the skills and knowledge of innovative and technical IBMers.
Obstacles arise that have the potential to derail a lesser talent, but not Bennett. She faces each challenge with an unflappable positive spirit and a capable tenacity. She inspires. Success is the only end state that she knows.
With a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Arizona State University, Bennett has an extensive background in producing engaging and exciting events in corporate education. Past work includes acting as program manager for fast-forward career development events as well as facilitation, event planning, presentations, communications and client focus. linkedin.com/in/diana-bennett-b122599/