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ASTD Distinguished Contribution Award: Jeanne Meister

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

 Jeanne Meister was recognized as the 2013 Distinguished Contribution Award at the ASTD 2014 International Conference & Exposition. This award is presented in recognition of an exceptional contribution of sustained impact to the field of workplace learning.

Jeanne Meister is an internationally renowned speaker, author, and consultant on the future of work. She is a founding partner of Future Workplace, LLC, a consulting firm that provides HR executives and high potential managers with the skills needed to lead their businesses into the future. Meister’s work involves creating customized programs for companies to improve in such areas as social media literacy, building generational IQ, fostering a global mindset, and building leadership capabilities. She has worked with BMS, Navis, Panasonic, Sherwin- Williams, Steelcase, Turner Broadcasting Systems, QVC, Walt Disney & Company, and W.W. Grainger, among others.

Meister established herself as an expert on corporate universities early in her career. Seeking more flexibility after the birth of her daughter, she began writing and consulting in this area. Her books Corporate Quality Universities and Corporate Universities: Lessons in Building a WordClass Work Force (published in 1994 and 1998, respectively) are the first two written on the subject. Meister helped launch more than 200 global corporate universities including MasterCard University, University of Toyota, Department of Interior University, and Bank of Montreal Institute for Learning, among others. In 2000, Meister was hailed as a thought leader in corporate university development by the Financial Times and went on to author more than 200 articles on the topic of corporate universities.

 In 2002, Meister assumed the role of vice president of market development at Accenture. While at Accenture, Meister led research on the future of learning that impacted the decision making of HR and learning executives in Fortune 1,000 firms. Over the years, Meister has been continually inspired by her research on how the workplace is changing.

In 2010, she co-authored The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today. The book offers innovative, evidence-based practices for attracting and retaining millennial talent using social technologies. In 2011 it received the Bellwether Award by the Community College Futures Assembly, which distinguishes work that presents future-forward practices for community colleges. The book also received an Axiom Business Book Award in the Bronze category for Best Business Book for Human Resource Professionals. Meister founded The 2020 Workplace Network, bringing concepts from the book to life through collaborative problem-solving sessions with network members.


Recently nominated by peers on TrainingIndustry.com as “one of the top 20 most influential training professionals,” Meister continues to give back to the profession. She has contributed to and been profiled in major business publications, including Financial Times, Fast Company, Forbes, and Harvard Business Review.

In May 2010 she wrote an article for Harvard Business Review, “Mentoring Millennials,” which presented forward-thinking strategies for attracting and engaging millennial employees. She has a column in Forbes, “2020 Workplace: Preparing for the Future,” where she explores innovative recruiting, learning, and talent management strategies.

A firm believer in the importance of creating individual development plans, Meister has taken on assignments to stretch her expertise in the learning and development field, including auditing several MOOCs offered by Coursera and iversity.org in Germany.

As a founding partner of the Future Workplace, Meister helps clients reimagine their approaches to talent management. This involves social media training, employer branding, and how to use big data to understand workplace issues. Meister has said that the projects that have been most meaningful to her in her career are those that began from scratch—researching and writing books, helping organizations launch corporate universities, or working with clients on new business initiatives that have never been done before.

Meister also currently serves on the board for the Kronos Workforce Institute, and was recently appointed to the Advisory Board of the Human Resource Planning Society. In 2010, she was recognized as one of five Distinguished Leaders of the ASTD New York Metro Chapter.

Meister also is active in the community where she lives, serving on the board of directors of the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. 

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