Spring 2021
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CTDO Magazine

A Fresh Start

Thursday, April 15, 2021

I am near-giddy with anticipation for what this spring brings: warmer weather for many of us, emergence from a period of intense hibernation, and hope for worldwide health and recovery. As I write this column, millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are being administered daily. It has been a long year, but this season of reawakening symbolizes a fresh start for all of us.

This issue’s Spotlight features a talent development executive who is helping to usher in such promise of new beginnings. Eileen MacDonald Cooke, vice president of enterprise learning, development, and performance for CVS Health, says her team has been in lockstep with company leadership as it brought on new hires to manage the uptick in COVID-19 testing and vaccine administration. Cooke explains that, at CVS Health, the LD&P team is not an order-taker but a true business partner. That alignment has ensured overall enterprise success during times of disruption and change.


“You can’t run an L&D organization that is relevant and responsive unless you’re connected with the business all the way through,” she says.

Part of being relevant and responsive is talent development leaders’ willingness to change how they have always done things. In View From the Top, Angela L.M. Stopper suggests a new learning model that prioritizes learning from the organization, oneself, and others. She explains that the You-Me-We Model she designed “focuses on the learner as the owner and conductor of their individualized learning journey. That leaves us to do what we’re best at: acting as a guide, champion, supporter, and proactive partner for growth and development.”

Learning new skills is one outcome of the post-pandemic period that will have its share of challenges. Talent development leaders can assist employees with this immense undertaking by prioritizing talent transformation through reskilling and upskilling initiatives. The Hot Topic article describes how organizations can use digital transformation and artificial intelligence to augment human skills through an approach that involves job analysis, job mapping, job redesign, and job creation.

Additionally, culture creation will be quite an undertaking in our new workplace normal. As employees continue to burn through social capital in this all-virtual environment, how do talent development leaders help their organizations uphold cultural norms and support people in pursuit of meaningful work relationships? In Angst Index, Maya Kadar Kovalsky writes about using values, communication, and rituals to gauge employee well-being and track the culture temperature.

For shorter articles and research summaries, check out CTDO’s State of TD section. In this issue, articles explore the realities of ageism, considerations for returning to the office, how high-performing organizations are using scenario-based learning, and ways to keep innovation alive.


Finally, have you attended a CTDO magazine webinar? This quarterly series takes a deeper look at one of the current issue’s topics through an interactive 60-minute session facilitated by a CTDO author. Visit webcasts.td.org and search by the CTDO/CLO role to register for the next free webcast.

Read more from CTDO magazine: Essential talent development content for C-suite leaders.

About the Author

Ann Parker is Associate Director, Talent Leader Consortiums at ATD. In this role she drives strategy, product development, and content acquisition for ATD’s senior leader and executive audience. She also oversees business development and program management for ATD's senior leader consortiums, CTDO Next and ATD Forum.

Ann began her tenure at ATD in an editorial capacity, primarily writing for TD magazine as Senior Writer/Editor. In this role she had the privilege to talk to many training and development practitioners, hear from a variety of prominent industry thought leaders, and develop a rich understanding of the profession's content. She then became a Senior Content Manager for Senior Leaders & Executives, focusing on content and product development for the talent executive audience, before moving into her current role.

Ann is a native Pennsylvanian where she currently resides, marathoner, avid writer, baker and eater of sweets, wife to an Ironman, and mother of two.

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