In ATD’s Handbook for Training and Talent Development, 3rd ed., Lorrie Lykins ends Chapter 1, “The Evolution of Talent Development,” by calling out that employers recognize how important training is to their business growth and to strengthening company culture. She notes that talent development professionals are essential. She writes, “New history is created constantly by this profession, and the easiest prediction to be made for the future is that it will continue to change and evolve in areas we can’t imagine. You are more capable than most of not only imagining that future, but also bravely leading into it, inspiring others to accomplish what may have seemed unachievable not that long ago.”
As talent development professionals from around the world come together this week for ATD22, they are making history. They will learn about the latest trends in the industry and business, network, acquire new skills, and explore real solutions and techniques for their top organizational and team challenges. Together, they will generate new ideas.
Apryl Alexander-Savino, senior director of ATD Conferences, highlights, “This year’s conference focus is ‘people. perspective. potential.’ So much has changed and is continuing to change in the way we work and learn. In developing the programming for ATD22, we wanted to be a catalyst for the entire talent development community to connect with each other, grow and develop, so they can return to work with fresh ideas and practical insights to make an even greater impact in their organizations and with their clients.”
Those are reasons industry professionals have been gathering together at ATD’s International Conference and EXPO for decades. In 1945 when ATD was the American Society of Training Directors, 56 people attended the first annual conference in Chicago, Illinois. Now thousands of attendees are gathering in person and virtually for ATD22. In the ATD blog post “Welcome Back to the Future,” John Coné, catalyst for ATD’s CTDO Next group, writes, “This is an amazing time for our profession. From now on, the future will be much closer and approaching even faster than before. But this is great. This is home.”
Home, sweet home
Between 1945 and 2022, ATD has experienced many milestones with the International Conference and EXPO. For example, in 1980, 259 exhibitors joined the national conference in Anaheim, California. That was also the year ATD (as ASTD) relocated its headquarters to Washington, DC. In 1994, ATD renamed the conference as the International Conference and EXPO. In 2004, ATD welcomed attendees from 79 different countries.
More recently, more than 9,000 talent development professionals met in Denver, Colorado, in 2012—a new attendee record at the time. The 2019 conference achieved the highest attendance at 13,500. And while the past two years have brought disruption and uncertainty, ATD21 brought a hybrid model to enable talent development professionals to gather and learn and grow in spite of the ongoing pandemic.
Alexander-Savino noted, “It’s been amazing to look back and see and hear what we’ve done together in the talent industry. It’s even more amazing to look ahead—immediately to ATD22 and beyond to imagine the potential in how we continue to create a world that works better.” This week will be filled with ample opportunities for you to learn, engage, connect, and make history.