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ATD Atlanta Chapter -- Volunteer of the Month


As you hear us say frequently, we could not provide the great programming we continue to offer up for our chapter members without our amazing team of volunteers. We appreciate the difference this army of willing servants makes and to bring greater awareness to all chapter members of the important role that volunteers play, in 2017 we initiated the Volunteer of the Month Program. Here are a few things you should know:
  1. For each name listed here, there are literally dozens more volunteers that also contribute to the chapter, some in public ways and others more behind the scenes.
  2. Each month our Executive Board meets and discusses volunteers that have recently been going above-and-beyond to climb some formidable mountain or rise to a significant challenge that has made a difference for our chapter, our members, or in service make our amazing leadership teams’ jobs just a little easier.
  3. Here is the brief list of criteria used by the Executive Board for selecting our Volunteer of the Month:
      • The Volunteer of the Month is a current chapter volunteer that has demonstrated a “can do” attitude, a team spirit, and the willingness to go above-and-beyond.
      • Volunteers currently serving as a board member of either the Executive Board or the Board of Directors are not eligible to be Volunteer of the Month. (Rationale: Our board members constantly go above-and-beyond, but also have a more public leadership role with visibility on the website and very public recognition at our December meeting each year. We set up this award to honor the many additional volunteers that help carry the load to make our chapter greater!)
      • A previous Volunteer of the Month winner is not eligible to win again for a period of one year, but in most cases will not be considered again for 2-3 years to share the recognition with as many other volunteers as possible.
      • We appreciate the difference each and every volunteer makes!

2017 Volunteers of the Month

Jan Gillies
January 2017
<p><b>What is your current company and job title?</b><br /> TiER1 Performance Solutions, Senior Consultant, Learning</p> <p><b>How long have you been an ATD member?</b><br /> Consistently since 2014; On and off since 1996</p> <p><b>What is/was your volunteer role with ATD?</b><br /> Director, CoPs</p> <p><b>What made you decide to volunteer?</b><br /> Sarah Gilbert invited me to the Leadership Academy in 2014 and it looked like fun!</p> <p><b>Did anything make you hesitant or concerned about volunteering?</b><br /> Being able to fit things in around all my other things</p> <p><b>What experiences prepared you for this role?</b><br /> Volunteering in the Learning Technologies CoP</p> <p><b>What benefits did you get out of this role?</b><br /> Learned how to facilitate webinars, plan events, and met some really interesting people, many of whom became great friends!</p> <p><b>What was your best memory or experience from volunteering with ATD?</b><br /> Facilitating a webinar on Emotional Intelligence with Zachary Harding who was presenting from Jamaica and kicked off the session with Bob Marley’s One Love!</p> <p><b>Any words of wisdom for other ATD members considering whether to volunteer?</b><br /> The more you put in, the more you get out of your membership! You can meet other peers in your discipline and learn from one another.</p>
Justin Hackney
February 2017
Insert Biography <b>here</b>
Ilse Ballay
March 2017
<p><b>What is your current company and job title?</b><br /> I'm in a mid-career transition, and I will be Greater ATL, VP Mktg of Comms 2018</p> <p><b>How long have you been an ATD member?</b><br /> I joined Dec. 2016</p> <p><b>What is/was your volunteer role with ATD?</b><br /> Co-Director, Membership health</p> <p><b>What made you decide to volunteer?</b><br /> I wanted to learn more about Training and development.</p> <p><b>Did anything make you hesitant or concerned about volunteering?</b><br /> No, quite the opposite! I was looking to expand my network as I create a mid-career pivot.</p> <p><b>What experiences prepared you for this role?</b><br /> My years in marketing where analyzing data and distilling insights were part of my daily routine.</p> <p><b>Any words of wisdom for other ATD members considering whether to volunteer?</b><br /> It's a terrific way to expand your knowledge, and try new skills in a safe, friendly, and supportive environment. I highly recommend volunteering, even for 1-2 hrs a week.</p>
Nora Cloonan
April 2017
<p><b>What is your current company and job title?</b><br /> I'm an independent contractor doing Instructional Design work. I've done work in the areas of Early Childhood Development, Information Security Systems, Medical Compliance Training, and the Arts.</p> <p><b>How long have you been an ATD member?</b><br /> I've been a member of the local Atlanta chapter for almost 2 years.</p> <p><b>What is/was your volunteer role with ATD?</b><br /> I currently serve as Co-Administrator for Process and Progress. I've also designed some presentations and pamphlets along the way.</p> <p><b>What made you decide to volunteer?</b><br /> I knew I wanted to do something. When Robb Bingham came to me with this new role, it seemed like a great way to get to know the people who are really involved in the chapter. When you know people, everything seems more comfortable and friendly to be around. That way I could be a better ambassador for others to get started in the chapter too.</p> <p><b>Did anything make you hesitant or concerned about volunteering?</b><br /> Sure, uncertainty about the time commitment is always a concern. I have a partner in my role so we can lean on each other if one of us is very busy.</p> <p><b>What experiences prepared you for this role?</b><br /> In general, just being an organized person, helps. I work from home, so having the discipline to be able to prioritize my most urgent and important tasks first and not let small fires rule my day has become a very important skill.</p> <p><b>What benefits did you get out of this role?</b><br /> There are so many! I now know who does what within the local chapter. I also know how many of these things get done. With this comes a comfort level that helps me, a natural introvert, to feel a sense of belonging and kinship with the organization and its membership. I feel a sense of ownership in the chapter. I don't just belong to it now - it belongs to me.</p> <p><b>What was your best memory or experience from volunteering with ATD?</b><br /> I spent some time helping the team that was coordinating the ICE volunteers. Deborah Covin Wilson, the Chair of that effort, made a point of introducing ME to the woman who is Chairing the San Diego committee for next year's ICE. I was very flattered that Deborah would take the time.</p> <p><b>Any words of wisdom for other ATD members considering whether to volunteer?</b><br /> Do it as often as you can! If you are coming to a CoP, offer to work the registration table - it's a great way to meet people. Partner up with someone and organize a Chapter meeting. You don't have to do it all by-yourself.</p>
Tom Kuhn
May 2017
<p><b>What is your current company and job title?</b><br /> Director of Sales at GamEffective</p> <p><b>How long have you been an ATD member?</b><br /> 3 years</p> <p><b>What is/was your volunteer role with ATD?</b><br /> VP of CoP Programming</p> <p><b>What made you decide to volunteer?</b><br /> To improve my knowledge of current L&D trends and concepts.</p> <p><b>Did anything make you hesitant or concerned about volunteering?</b><br /> Concerned about being able to carve out adequate time.</p> <p><b>What experiences prepared you for this role?</b><br /> Leadership of large teams.</p> <p><b>What benefits did you get out of this role?</b><br /> Great insight into the most current challenges facing Learning & Development professionals and how they are proactively addressing those.</p> <p><b>What was your best memory or experience from volunteering with ATD?</b><br /> Assisting with ACE in 2016</p> <p><b>Any words of wisdom for other ATD members considering whether to volunteer?</b><br /> You’ll truly begin to get far more than “your money’s worth” out of your membership when you volunteer. And start small – just help out with one upcoming event, for example, and see what happens!</p>
Deborah Covin Wilson
June 2017
<p><b>What is your current company and job title? </b><br /> Current job title is: Principal, Covin Wilson and Associates, recently retired Director, Organizational Development and Consulting Services at Georgia Stat University.</p> <p><b>How long have you been an ATD member? </b><br /> I have been a member of ATD since 1985.</p> <p><b>What is/was your volunteer role with ATD? </b><br /> I have served the chapter in many positions. I started as a member of a SIG and other committees, then became Vice President of SIGS, where I coined the phrase” The SIGS are the Heartbeat of the Chapter” then I became President -Elect, President, Senior Advisor and Chair of Senior Advisors. My National Leadership positions include being a member of the National Advisors for Chapters, and serving on the Program Advisory Committee for the ICE twice. I have also served as ICE Volunteer Chair in 1997 and 2017 when ICE was in Atlanta.</p> <p><b>What made you decide to volunteer? </b><br /> I believe that to whom much is given much is expected. I have found that it is very important to give back. I have also learned a lot and grown as a result of being a volunteer.</p> <p><b>Did anything make you hesitant or concerned about volunteering?</b><br /> My only hesitancy in volunteering was having enough time to do a good job.</p> <p><b>What experiences prepared you for this role?</b><br /> I have always been a life long learner and I have had great mentors.</p> <p><b>What benefits did you get out of this role?</b><br /> I have a great network of friends across this country from being a volunteer. I have colleagues that I can call on to brainstorm ideas and obtain resources. I have received a lot of “brand” recognition and exposure and increased my leadership skills. I have received the opportunity to write articles for TD Magazine and serve on important ATD Committees.</p> <p><b>What was your best memory or experience from volunteering with ATD?</b><br /> Among my memories, I think the momentum that was created while I was Vice President of SIGS. My heartbeat theme really took off. Many of my colleagues not in Atlanta also know the familiar heat beam bum bum (heart beat sound) that the SIGS are the HeartBeat of the Chapter.</p> <p><b>Any words of wisdom for other ATD members considering whether to volunteer?</b><br /> Don’t be hesitant to expand your leadership skills as a volunteer. An entire new world will open up to you, when you volunteer. You will receive much more than you give and it will be long lasting</p>
Polly Thombley
July 2017
<p><b>What is your current company and job title?</b><br /> Currently, I’m an Instructional Designer, and I’m looking for full-time, part-time or contract work in Instructional Design. I also still work part time at a local private school.</p> <p><b>How long have you been an ATD member?</b><br /> I joined ATD in 2014 seeking a career change into Instructional Design. That first year, I applied for and was awarded the chapter Scholarship. It was like wind in my sails to update my skills and I used the scholarship to take a Designing Learning certificate from ATD national.</p> <p><b>What is/was your volunteer role with ATD?</b><br /> Currently, I’m CFO for the chapter. It all started in 2015 when Community Relations asked for someone to redesign a course for Goodwill. I jumped at the chance to gain experience in Instructional Design. For 1 ½ years, I facilitated computer classes at Goodwill to gain experience with adult learners. I continued working with Community Relations on the Habitat for Humanity and Must Ministries projects. Then I started working registration at Chapter Meetings. At one of those chapter meetings, volunteers got to sign up to be hosts for the certificate programs at ICE and get credit for the certificate! So I took a second ATD certificate for free. You just never know what the chapter may give out when you show up! Then last summer, the chapter needed someone to be the CFO. They asked for someone who loved learning and development and also could do math. Well, my experience includes teaching math, working at a credit union, even a brief period at H&R Block, so I raised my hand.</p> <p><b>What made you decide to volunteer?</b><br /> ATD Atlanta has done so much for me. It’s time for me to give back to the folks who have encouraged me so much in my career change.</p> <p><b>Did anything make you hesitant or concerned about volunteering?</b><br /> CFO is a big job with lots of responsibility. Could I manage it all?</p> <p><b>What experiences prepared you for this role?</b><br /> (See above)</p> <p><b>What benefits did you get out of this role?</b><br /> Being able to work with and hang out with people who love learning and development, who love helping others become all they want to be. The content at ATD events is always relevant and engaging. Career development, networking, and resume building are a few more benefits.</p> <p><b>What was your best memory or experience from volunteering with ATD?</b><br /> It’s all been great, but being able to go to ALC with the board was truly fun and inspiring, a highlight of my year.</p> <p><b>Any words of wisdom for other ATD members considering whether to volunteer?</b><br /> Just jump in and do it! You get so much more out of the chapter when you do!</p>
Scott Szymanski
August 2017
<p><b>What is your current company and job title?</b><br /> I’m an Instructional Designer, and I work for myself.</p> <p><b>How long have you been an ATD member?</b><br /> About a year. I found the ID space through pursuing a career in corporate training.</p> <p><b>What is/was your volunteer role with ATD?</b><br /> One of the Administrators of Chapter Process and Progress. Nora Cloonen is my worthy counterpart in the role.</p> <p><b>What made you decide to volunteer?</b><br /> Two things: Develop a better understanding of how the organization worked and actualized its goals; and increased networking opportunities and rubbing shoulders with mover-shakers!</p> <p><b>Did anything make you hesitant or concerned about volunteering?</b><br /> Initial uncertainty of time commitment. I’ve been a board chair for a non-profit volunteer organization, and time is always the most valuable resource. Fortunately, ATD leadership is very respectful of time, keen to set expectations early, and interested in hearing feedback about what’s needed for the role. It’s been great so far!</p> <p><b>What experiences prepared you for this role?</b><br /> My writing and PR background, familiarity working with detail, personal quest to stay organized, and experience in a volunteer organization before.</p> <p><b>What benefits did you get out of this role?</b><br /> Meaningful conversations with ATD leadership, glimpse into what ATD Atlanta has planned for the future, opportunities to gain more responsibility in leading ATD, and plenty of networking. Don’t forget the resume booster!</p> <p><b>What was your best memory or experience from volunteering with ATD?</b><br /> Being able to hear the thought processes and discussions behind large-scale decisions within the organization, such as planning for ICE this year.</p> <p><b>Any words of wisdom for other ATD members considering whether to volunteer?</b><br /> Jump in where you can to build your leadership experience. ATD leadership is committed to ensuring you get what you’re looking for from volunteering. There’s many different kinds of volunteer roles, so explore all of them to find your favorites!</p>
Chris Rogers
September 2017
<p><b>What is your current company and job title?</b><br /> I am a Senior Instructional Designer with The Home Depot, and a freelance instructional designer in my free time, which I don’t tend to have much of.</p> <p><b>How long have you been an ATD member?</b><br /> I’ve lost count! I was in and out for years, but I came back in 2006 and have been around ever since.</p> <p><b>What is/was your volunteer role with ATD?</b><br /> Communications Director (the newsletter guy)</p> <p><b>What made you decide to volunteer?</b><br /> I had been looking for a role where I could make a strong contribution, and this fit. I was able to use my writing skills to help others find ways to connect, and this role also allowed me to serve on my own schedule.</p> <p><b>Did anything make you hesitant or concerned about volunteering?</b><br /> Writing is a strength, but visual layout isn’t. I was concerned about producing something that I could not make as visually appealing as I would like it to be. Along the way, I’ve partnered with others who helped with this—one of the benefits of being on a team! Another concern/gift/curse is–believe it or not–humor. An overt humorous take on an event can trivialize it or detract from its relevance. So I’ve worked hard to satirize the right things, and only a few things, in order to keep the message of promoting someone’s event strong and clear–to make sure their hard work isn’t derailed by a poorly-crafted humorous delivery.</p> <p><b>What experiences prepared you for this role?</b><br /> The disciplines of instructional design and project management. Also, knowing that so many people at ATD work so hard to bring about relevant and professional events—that motivates me to utilize the reach of the newsletter to highlight these great events. And Miss Daniel’s Senior Writing class. That lady really taught me to write.</p> <p><b>What benefits did you get out of this role?</b><br /> I was able to be in regular contact with chapter leaders—in particular, Doug Samuels and Robb Bingham. I always viewed the newsletter as the official voice of the chapter, which makes it the voice of the president in particular, so it was a great experience being in contact with them, as well as the officers, the CoP leaders, and several volunteers.</p> <p><b>What was your best memory or experience from volunteering with ATD?</b><br /> Two stand out. One was the hardest chapter of my life which occurred during my time in this role—the death my son Wilson last year. The ATD family touched me so deeply during that time with their support—a memorial gift, visits, reaching out, and in particular, giving me a break from the newsletter duties. That meant the world to me. The other experience was the hand-offs with this role—the unending continuity of passing the baton in an all-volunteer organization. Julie Thomas was my predecessor and she spent time getting me up to speed and showing me how she had approached the newsletter. We struck up a real friendship during that time. She did such a great job with the newsletter and it was my personal challenge to consider, “How on earth can I improve on this?” I added what I could, and now we’re in the beginning stages of the next hand-off, as I work with Morgan Evans who is taking on part of the newsletter duties, and I know she will improve upon what’s been entrusted to her. It has been another opportunity to hand off well something that is a great service to the chapter, and again I’ve made another friend.</p> <p><b>Any words of wisdom for other ATD members considering whether to volunteer?</b><br /> Connect with other officers and volunteers and tell them what you’re good at and what you want to do. Those conversations can unearth an existing volunteer need, or possibly help you create a new one. Stick with what you’re good at, and always aim to raise the standard on any volunteer role you take on.</p>
Selena
Adkins-Richardson
October 2017
<p><b>What is your current company and job title?</b><br /> Special Education Administrator</p> <p><b>How long have you been an ATD member?</b><br /> &nbsp;</p> <p><b>What is your volunteer role?</b><br /> Director of Chapter Programs</p> <p><b>What made you decide to volunteer?</b><br /> I decided to serve as a volunteer to learn more about the ATD organization. I wanted to get involved in the planning and execution of chapter programming and add value where needed. Also, I wanted to connect with other professionals with a passion for learning &amp; development. It's definitely an honor to serve and give back to the professional world.</p> <p><b>Did anything make you hesitate or concerned about volunteering?</b><br /> My only concerns were time constraints when the new school year started. (I work in the school system) I overcame those obstacles by leaning on other ATD volunteers for assistance. Their unwavering commitment and support helped me accomplish my ATD agenda.</p> <p><b>What benefits did you get out of this role?</b><br /> ATD provided me access to developmental training workshops and the opportunity to connect with other like-minded professionals who have a passion for learning.</p> <p><b>Any words of wisdom for other ATD members considering whether to volunteer?</b><br /> Volunteering with ATD is a great way to connect with others, build your professional and personal self-development. It's truly a great experience! </p>
William
Gurley
November 2017
<p><b>What is your current company and job title?</b><br /> I retired last year as a marketing manager for Georgia-Pacific.</p> <p><b>How long have you been an ATD member?</b><br /> 2 years</p> <p><b>What is/was your volunteer role with ATD?</b><br /> I am chairman of the Career Development CoP.</p> <p><b>What made you decide to volunteer?</b><br /> I saw it as an opportunity to give back.</p> <p><b>Did anything make you hesitant or concerned about volunteering?</b><br /> No. At some point you just have to jump in.</p> <p><b>What experiences prepared you for this role?</b><br /> I was Director of Sales Training at Kimberly-Clark and was a lead product trainer at G-P.</p> <p><b>What benefits did you get out of this role?</b><br /> My experience taught me how content is developed and how people can build skills that help them move up or gain more responsibility.</p> <p><b>What was your best memory or experience from volunteering with ATD?</b><br /> It’s really satisfying to put a program together and watch attendees and providers interacting during and after an event.</p> <p><b>Any words of wisdom for other ATD members considering whether to volunteer?</b><br /> Just do it! The rewards far outweigh the time commitment.</p>
Jon
Thompson
December 2017
<p><b>What is your current company and job title?</b><br /> I am the Digital Learning and Design Manager for the NeuroLeadership Institute.</p> <p><b>How long have you been an ATD member?</b><br /> I've been a member since about 2010.</p> <p><b>What is/was your volunteer role with ATD?</b><br /> I'm the Director of Online Engagement, which is a fancy way of saying I help manage the chapter website.</p> <p><b>What made you decide to volunteer?</b><br /> I was working at the time at a leadership development company called Leadercast that focused on the concept of servant leadership and giving back to the local ATD community with something I sort of know how to do seemed appealing. :)</p> <p><b>Did anything make you hesitant or concerned about volunteering?</b><br /> Not at all.</p> <p><b>What experiences prepared you for this role?</b><br /> I've been an e-learning developer for about 20 years and I have some basic understanding of website design and information architecture.</p> <p><b>What benefits did you get out of this role?</b><br /> I get to help share a major public face of the chapter to our community and have an impact on the utility of that resource.</p> <p><b>What was your best memory or experience from volunteering with ATD?</b><br /> I'd say just helping to map out the entire site and help with simplifying the backend administration where possible to help make it easier for other folks in the future.</p> <p><b>Any words of wisdom for other ATD members considering whether to volunteer?</b><br /> I think it's just incredibly rewarding to give back and volunteering is a great way to try things that can help stretch your skills and understanding so just go for it! :)</p>