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April 2014
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TD Magazine

One to Watch: Antoinette Alexander

onetowatch
Title: Instructional Design Consultant

Company: ConocoPhillips (Apex Systems)

Location: Houston, Texas

Education: Bachelor's and master's degrees in marketing, University of Houston System

Alexander's job with ConocoPhillips, the third largest energy integration company in the United States, takes her through the weeds of workplace learning every day. But that's where she knows she can do the most good: creating a fertile environment for employees to grow. She collaborates with specialists in organizational change, learning, and business analysis to create targeted training initiatives for her division, the Eagle Ford Asset.

What has been your biggest professional achievement?

It was being acknowledged for my work that provided assistance to our multiskilled operators in the Eagle Ford Asset. To hear from upper management that I played a role in fulfilling a need and producing a tool that increases the safety of employees gives me the encouragement to keep working and aiming for something better every time.

Qualities for success

Before I began working in this field, I had a focus in marketing. This gives me a different perspective on the field of learning; I'm looking through the lens of marketing and branding. Also, I'm constantly trying to learn something new, such as new software or a method of delivering training.

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Staying current in the field

I listen to webinars as a way of gaining insight from other professionals. I also read ASTD's newsletter, The Buzz, Articulate's community blogs, Cathy Moore's blog on instructional design, and elearningexamples.com, to name a few.

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On the evolution of L&D

I see my current role in learning evolving from design and development to more of an influencing and contributing role. Instead of reading about something new, I want to create something new and share knowledge and tools with others all over the world.

Advice for new trainers

To train others, you have to be open and willing to learn. Communication is essential in our role, so clearly communicating your needs to others and making sure you truly understand your customers' needs is critical to delivering results. Simply taking the time to talk to people and build positive relationships goes a long way.

There will be times when you must deal with difficult people, but stay focused on the objectives of the project and your goal for the conversation. Listening attentively is the best move in some difficult conversations. Having patience, the desire to learn, and the ability to clearly communicate and to listen will help you throughout your career in L&D.

Community involvement

Since 2006, I've been a mentor at the U.S. Dream Academy, an after-school program in an underprivileged area in Houston that serves students whose parents are incarcerated. I've also served my local community in various ways through the Community Outreach Committee in the Houston Area Urban League for Young Professionals.

Currently, I am the co-chair of the community relations committee for the National Black MBAs Association, and we provide at least six opportunities for serving the community throughout the year, from serving at the Houston Food Bank to speaking to middle school students about college and careers.

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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