The Association for Talent Development's 2017 International Conference & Exposition is just around the corner. The conference, to be held in Atlanta May 21-24, covers every aspect of talent development, from the science of learning, to culture and engagement, to innovation, and much more. It is the largest event for talent development professionals worldwide.

During the conference, keynote speakers share how they've come to their understanding of their chosen field, whether it's talent development, leadership, or learning and development. This year's keynote speakers on Monday, May 22, will be Captains Mark and Scott Kelly, who will share their personal strategies for adapting to change during "To Infinity and Beyond! Extraordinary Life Lessons From the Kelly Brothers."

The Government track sessions will highlight trends and topics important to government learning professionals from federal, state, and local agencies.

Among the Government programs are:

  • Proven Employee Engagement Strategies. Richard Moore, from the Tennessee Valley Authority, will outline five common mistakes organizations make when attempting to improve employee engagement. He suggests using Me First Leadership principles instead, which will provide participants a change management model to take back to their agencies.
  • How to Leverage Modern Mentoring With Your Organization's Developmental and Technical Programs. Lester Wright, with NASA/Goddard Space and Flight Center, will explain how his organization has connected its mentoring program with centerwide leadership, supervisory, and technical program components.
  • Secrets to Increasing Leader Effectiveness: Moving Beyond Behavioral Competencies. Dana Sims, training lead at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, will share insight into fine-tuning existing leader development programs and applying a specialized peer-coaching approach to increase leader effectiveness, especially for highly difficult leadership challenges.

Additional session topics include building soft skills into IT training budgets, creating a culture to win over younger workers, and how the new administration will impact governmental talent development. Outside the Government track, programs include "Creative Learning Strategies: 17 Ways to Get More Into and Out of Your Training," "One Minute Mentoring: How to Find and Work With a Mentor," and "How to Bridge a Culture Chasm," to name just a few.

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An important part of the ATD International Conference & Exposition is learning from each other. During last year's conference, attendees of "Business as Usual Isn't Enough: Transforming Talent Development in Government," discussed challenges they faced in their agencies and learned what a mature talent development function looks like—that is, one that focuses on management, fosters trust, and consists of a culture of learning and knowledge sharing.

The learning and sharing kicks off in Atlanta with preconference activities, including the Master Performance Consultant Program and Needs Assessment Certificate.

Attendees also can mingle with suppliers and see their offerings firsthand, including those from Blackboard, Meridian Knowledge Solutions, OPM HR Solutions, and the Project Management Institute.