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ATD Blog

Podcast with Colonial Life


Fri Oct 11 2013


I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Davis for a podcast as part of ASTD’s National Career Week. Davis is the director of field management and territory development at Colonial Life, which was awarded an ASTD Excellence in Practice citation in 2011. We had a fascinating conversation about the award-winning program she put together for its field force partners. 

During the podcast, Davis describes the unique challenges associated with providing training to this population—a population that differs from many training audiences.  First, these individuals are independent entrepreneurs. In fact, they operate as 1099 contractors. In other words, they are not traditional employees.  


Second, these trainees operate under the pressure to become productive—very quickly.  Field partners must generate income early in their tenure to be successful. Colonial Life has taken many innovative steps to structure a program that meets the needs of this unusual population. 

We can learn a lot from Colonial Life—not just from the successful program it offers, but also from the very challenges that inspired it. In fact, these challenges might even be a blueprint for others who serve more traditional “internal” audiences. 

  • What if every training program we developed and delivered had to guarantee early success?

  • What if we thought in terms of every employee needing to quickly translate new learning into bottom-line contributions?

  • What if we treated each employee attending training as an entrepreneur who needed to see her investment in learning pay off? 

The pressures that Colonial Life has creatively confronted and overcome offer a vision for other organizations that want to raise the bar with their own traditional training populations. Hear more about this award-winning program the Jennifer Davis describes in our podcast interview.

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