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August 2019
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TD Magazine

Driving Results Through Effective Training

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Jacob Belakonis

Title
Organizational Development Trainer – Employee Experience and Leadership

Organization
AAA Northeast

Location
Providence, Rhode Island

LinkedIn
www.linkedin.com/in/jacob-belakonis-6b1a3256

Education
Bachelor's degree, sociology (University of Rhode Island); MBA, operations management (Endicott College)

Favorite Quote
"The great aim of education is not knowledge but action." —Herbert Spencer

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How can learning contribute to the success of your company's various businesses?

Learning is an essential component. As our company continues to evolve, it is critical for our learning initiatives to equip employees with the tools necessary to help us reach and exceed our corporate goals. To ensure employees have the proper knowledge and expertise of our memberships and sales techniques, we have created an open enrollment course titled How to Sell AAA Memberships. For learning to be effective, it needs to be in direct support of reaching corporate goals.

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Another company goal is to increase revenue throughout all business lines. In response, we have created customized sales courses for specific business lines to ensure employees not only understand their goals but have the tools and knowledge to execute, which directly relates to our ability to execute our corporate goals.

Are there any skills you've picked up along the way that have helped you?

Flexibility is a great skill to have when it comes to working with diverse business lines. One day I am facilitating training in a fleet garage and the next I am back in an office. Understanding different products and services is important, but it's also important to adjust to the audience, which certainly varies from each business line. Being able to use my skills wherever needed is critical, so I have found flexibility to be a major component of my success.

What importance do you place on being active as a training professional?

It is critically important for all learning professionals to be active within the industry and with their own personal and professional development. As the saying goes, "If you are not growing, you're contracting."

I encourage everyone to participate in any of the numerous webinars, articles, events, and publications offered by industry-leading organizations. This helps with personal and professional growth, which directly impacts your performance as a learning professional. I also encourage everyone to focus on personal accountability and being proactive.

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About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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