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Champion of Talent Development Award

This award is presented to an individual from outside the talent development profession. Nominees should demonstrate commitment, advocacy, and actions in support of talent development within or outside an organization. Those actions will have influenced audiences, organizations, or society.

This award has been presented to:

  • Brené Brown, author, researcher
  • Daniel H. Pink, author and thought leader
  • Dr. Jeff J. Clawson, "Father of Emergency Medical Dispatch"
  • Carol Dweck, professor of psychology and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
  • Liz Wiseman, author Multipliers
  • Chris Anderson, TED
  • Azim Premji, chairman, Wipro Limited
  • Salman Khan, founder, Khan Academy
  • Doug Conant, founder and CEO of Conant Leadership
  • Ram Charan, business consultant
  • Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III, founder and CEO of Safety Reliability Methods
  • John Seely Brown, independent co-chair of Deloitte's Center for the Edge
  • Robert Kaplan and David Norton, creators of the Balanced Scorecard
  • Jim Collins, researcher and author
  • Frances Hesselbein, chairman of the board of governors, Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute
  • Danny Wegman, CEO of Wegmans Food Markets
  • Steven Piersanti, president of Berrett-Koehler Publishers
  • Frederick W. Smith, CEO of Federal Express
  • John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems
  • William Taylor and Alan Webber, founding editors of Fast Company
  • Robert W. Galvin, chairman of the executive committee of Motorola
  • Thomas A. Stewart, board of editors of Fortune magazine
  • John F. Welch, chairman and CEO of the General Electric Company


Nominations will be evaluated on the scope and depth of documented advocacy, commitment, and actions that have promoted talent development.

  • Evidence of wide-reaching or global support of talent development, upskilling the workforce for the future, and/or learning at work through actions, ideas, writing, or speaking.
  • Proof of influencing audiences and/or organizations.
  • Proof of a sustained commitment to talent development, reskilling the workforce, or workplace learning as a key driver of organizational impact.
  • Evidence the nominee promotes the value of learning and the development of talent as a strategic differentiator for organizations or society.
  • Evidence the nominee’s own work demonstrates this commitment.

Eligible candidates are individuals from outside the talent development field. Past winners have included authors, CEOs/business leaders, researchers, and thought leaders. Elected officials are not eligible.

Submission Process:

  • The applicaiton for 2021 is now closed.
  • The submission window for 2022 recognition will open in October 2021.
  • Submit your entry through our online awards portal at:

Submit questions to:
Erin Strider
[email protected]

Selection Procedure:
Nominators will receive notification of the decisions regarding their entries by March 30, 2021.

The award winners will be honored at the awards ceremony held during the ATD International Conference & Exposition in August 29- September 1, 2021, in Los Angeles, CA. Announcements of the award will be in ATD publications and on the ATD website.