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"Holding the CPTD certification lends credibility, especially for senior leadership."

Published Mon Dec 11 2023


Who are the more than 5,000 talent development professionals who have earned the APTD or CPTD credential? Get to know the talented and diverse community:

Denise Hicken is a Sr. Learning Consultant in the US. She earned the Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD®) credential in 2017.


Why did you pursue the CPTD?

Running around with requests for performance solutions led to my choice to pursue the CPTD credential. I thought that I had gotten sloppy in the madness. I needed to step back and reset. The CPTD certification process did that for me. It improved my talent development practices and confidence in my role. Maintaining the certification keeps me from getting sloppy and keeps me continually learning and growing.

How have you benefited from the credential—professionally and/or personally?

Professionally, my company recently merged with a much larger organization. I’m not aware of anyone else on the learning and development team with the certification. I believe it places me in a very good position, as the team undergoes reorganization.

Personally, my confidence and knowledge continue to develop the longer I hold the credential. I feel stronger in talent development practices.


What advice would you share with others considering certification?.

Consider the time commitment needed to prepare. Are you in a position to devote time to studying?

Is talent development your passion? Answer that question before jumping in.

How do you think certification helps the talent development field?

Relatively speaking, there aren’t many CPTDs out there. The certification sets us apart in the field. It also improves the competence and prestige of the practitioner. (I use the term practitioner because we are professionals in the field.) Holding the CPTD certification lends credibility, especially for senior leadership.


I work in healthcare where many employees hold credentials. The CPTD credential telegraphs that I am a competent professional too!

How did your employer support your pursuit of the credential?

My employer paid the cost for my credential.

What does having your credential mean to you?

I’m proud to be in talent development, and I’m proud to be a CPTD. It means I made an effort to improve my craft and succeeded. It’s an accomplishment!

It also affords me opportunities to volunteer for ATD!

How did you get into the talent development field?

I fell into the talent development field. I was working as a television news producer and always enjoyed training and mentoring upcoming talent. My mom sent me a newspaper ad for a director of professional development position at a bank in my hometown. I applied with little expectation of being interviewed, but I got an interview!

The senior leader who hired me took a chance on me. I’ll forever be grateful to her. I had the opportunity to build a department and team. I was building the plane while flying it, but it was a successful and great experience.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Just make a decision.” One of my college instructors gave me that advice in the context of television news producing, where you must make quick decisions at times.

That advice has served me well throughout the decades. If I’m stuck, I weigh the pros and cons of the situation and just make a decision. Stewing about it doesn't take you anywhere. If you have the chance for a great opportunity—make a decision and go!

What is a great book you’ve read recently?

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

What is your favorite hobby or pastime?

Spending time with family and reading.

What is the most unusual job you've had?

Graphics operator for live sports events.

Have you earned the APTD or CPTD? Share your story with the community.

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