Reverse the clock to the early 2000s. Song like “Hips Don’t Lie” and “London Bridge” were playing on the radio. E-learning was in its infancy. Many people had cell phones but house phones were still prevalent, and self-driving cars seemed to be a fantasy. I was working full time as multichannel sales project manager in a large global organization—an organization that prides itself on developing people to achieve outstanding results. Because of this orientation, they have excellent education reimbursement programs and a commitment from team leaders to support their employees’ personal development.
I was researching PhD programs related to organizational development when I learned about the CPLP. As I looked more closely, I discovered that the CPLP was quite in-depth and, although new, already gaining recognition by organizations looking for top-tier learning professionals. The CPLP seemed like a way to challenge and expand my knowledge while enhancing my credibility in learning and development (L&D).
To really put this period of recent history into perspective, my ATD Learning System arrived in its own easy-to-carry cardboard briefcase—half a dozen printed books that moved through two houses with me because it ended up being such a great resource!
After months of preparation, test day arrived. I traveled to the testing center and sat alone in a big room taking my exam. As questions popped up on the computer screen, I dug into my brain and pulled out answer after answer . . . and realized that perhaps I was not pretending to be an L&D professional!
Working in a sales organization, I put a lot of emphasis on developing sales training, so I used our core program as the basis for my application of skills to the workplace. Documenting the project also enabled my team to investigate how we ran learning projects and begin our journey toward developing a process that ensured a focus on the business need, stakeholder alignment, and lessons learned. The CPLP was providing value to my organization even before I earned it!
After I obtained my CPLP, I found another benefit—one that initially seemed personal but has also had a tremendous impact on the organization. People who were obtaining their CPLP were looking to change the field of adult learning, challenging preconceived ideas about training in organizations, and forging new paths between business and learning teams. As I expanded my network in these areas, my organization saw added benefits beyond having a CPLP on staff. The new communities that I became a part of kept expanding and multiplying as I went through multiple recertification cycles, providing us with opportunities to challenge traditional learning norms.
This provided enough value that we joined the ATD Forum to take advantage of opportunities for further benchmarking and continue to push our teams. The ATD Forum has quite a few CPLP recipients and became a conduit to CTDO Next, which focuses on science, technology, and the future of work.
The journey continues but so far it has proved worthwhile and rewarding. I now act as a mentor for others getting their certifications, paying it forward so they can reap the benefits as well.