Ward is the principal for the iMPACT Institute, where she seeks to align communications skills with high performance, productivity, and effective leadership. Prior to this role, she served as director of training for CareerTrack Inc., where she coached and managed more than 200 of the best professional trainers around the world. Ward has been involved with ATD for 22 years as a chapter member, chapter president, and a three-year term on ATD's National Advisors for Chapters. She also was appointed to the ATD board of directors in 2011.
For starters, I asked Ward to share some insights she has learned along during her long career. Like many in our field, she started out as a teacher, in both K-12 and at the higher ed level. Making the transition to corporate training was not always easy, though. As you can expect, Ward encountered some big differences between educating youth learners in a public setting and training working adults. In other words, throughout her career she has learned a lot about all aspects of training—from design to delivery.
That’s why she’s a perfect fit to help with the ATD Master Trainer Program, which is an assessment-based offering that covers the entire process of delivering training, including assessment, preparation, creating a positive learning environment, facilitating learning, and evaluating learning. Ward explains that this assessment-based approach is really what separates it from other train-the-trainer programs.
“One of the most powerful that you and I can do as professionals in the workplace today is to step up and say, “I am willing to have my skills assessed and reassessed,’” says Ward.
No doubt, this assessment process can cause anxiety in some practitioners. But Ward reminds us that this is how we, as professionals, grow. Indeed, working in the L&D industry, we understand the importance of performance assessment and ongoing learning. But even L&D pros can get stale. So to step up and practice our skills and learn new skills is not only an effective way to boost our personal career development, says Ward, it is a powerful way to lead by example in our organizations.
And the learning isn’t limited to the four-day, face-to-face event. Ward explains that there is important prep work that learners do before the event, as well as vital learning and review taking place when participants are back at their jobs.