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August 2013
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TD Magazine

One to Watch: Cassandra Bartley-Zemer

onetowatch
  Title: Corporate Trainer

Company: Claims Administrative Services, Tyler, Texas

Education: MS student, human resource development, University of Texas at Tyler; BBA, management, University of Texas at Tyler

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/cmbartley

Blog: Contributor to www.aboutleaders.com

As the sole corporate trainer, Bartley-Zemer wears many hats at her company. She designs and delivers technical training, safety training, soft skills training, and leadership development initiatives.

Bartley-Zemer is thoroughly self-taught and self-guided in her role, which has encouraged her to seek resources and support both in and outside her organization. She has built e-learning and blended learning programs that incorporate games, participant interaction, and other activities.

What qualities have contributed to your success?

I think my willingness to learn and ask questions has gotten me a long way, as well as not being afraid to get outside my comfort zone and get my hands dirty. I also think networking has played a big part. There's an art to networking—finding the cliques, the people to go to whenever you have a question. That's really important.

Time management is also a hugely important skill to have in the training and development field, especially if you wear many different hats. You have to make a schedule for yourself and actually hold yourself accountable to it.

Biggest Achievement

I might get in trouble for saying this, but I think it was getting my boss to agree to allow me to overhaul the certificate program here at the company. I say that because he used to be the corporate trainer and he is the one who developed it, so I felt like I was stepping on his toes a bit, but I was trying to look out for the well-being of our workforce.

Staying Current in the Field

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I do a lot of reading—books, blogs, emails that people send me. I'm the only trainer at my company, so I don't really have anybody to talk to here. I have to go outside to find everything.

I participate heavily in LinkedIn groups, mostly on leadership development, and I do a lot of work with Lectora [a software database development and administration graphical user interface], so I stay current with that. I also participate on Yammer.

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The Future

I'd like to write a book on leadership development, specifically on developing young leaders in higher education. I would like to move more into instructional design or maybe consulting.

My first position as a corporate trainer allowed me to experience training and development as a whole, to pick out what I like and what I don't want to focus on. I want to focus on either consulting or instructional design, and writing.

Words to Live By

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent," by Eleanor Roosevelt. I sometimes feel that maybe what I say is discounted because I'm female, I'm a Millennial, I'm young, and so forth, but I try not to let it bother me. I put my best foot forward and whatever happens, happens.

Advice for New Trainers

Try something new, get involved, and find somebody who can be a mentor to you. If you don't have someone in your organization, go outside the organization.

At first I was afraid to fail, but I was able to talk to my boss about my issues or perceived shortcomings. He told me, "Don't worry so much about it; just learn as much as you can and you'll figure it out"—and it's true.

What excites you about the L&D field?

Definitely leadership development, and just developing people as a whole. I also really, really enjoy instructional design. I’ve done a lot of it in my position here. I’ve developed classes and materials, and I’ve done asynchronous training, where I do a classroom session and then we’ll do online training as well. That’s really exciting to me. I think the shorter list is what I’m not excited about—and that’s pretty much nothing.

What groups or individuals do you follow on LinkedIn?

I participate in the Center for Creative Leadership Group, and then ASTD; obviously, the big one.

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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