Company: Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Education: Master's in leadership and policy studies (University of Memphis); bachelor's in journalism (University of Memphis)
In her role as an organizational effectiveness specialist, Watkins is responsible for not only designing and developing instructor-led e-learning training programs, but also for facilitating them and maintaining continuous quality improvement through curriculum evaluation. Recently, she has taken on the leadership responsibility of co-managing the curriculum revision process for all of her organization's leadership development courses. Her role also requires periodic coaching sessions with leaders throughout the organization.
What excites you about talent development?
My superpower is teaching. I get really excited when I notice growth happening in others. When I'm facilitating and I see the light bulb turn on for someone, or a leader will email me months down the line and thank me for coaching them through a difficult time, I feel fulfilled in knowing that I can help develop people. Then, these people go on to develop their teams to achieve organizational goals. It doesn't get much better than that.
3 qualities for success
- Being a lifelong learner.
- Remaining true to myself.
- Having compassion for others.
My biggest professional achievement in my current role would be having successfully designed and administered the organization's first comprehensive leadership training needs analysis in seven years. The mixed-methods design allowed me to capture multiple data points from leaders through a systemwide needs-analysis survey, focus groups, course observations, and interview data from senior leaders.
We're currently using the findings from this analysis to strategically redesign and align our leadership curriculum with organizational goals while meeting the needs of our learners.
Staying current in the field
Reading new information from both local and international sources is what I do to stay current and aware of what's on the horizon. Some of these include ATD's website for training trends; the Advisory Board for insights on healthcare trends; and a personal library of leadership, career development, and instructional design books.
Also, I find networking with others in the profession has been a tremendous help. There are so many brilliant people in this field with all sorts of experience and expertise.
I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit, so I envision myself owning and operating a training consulting firm in the next five to 10 years.
Advice for new TD pros
First, always remain a student of your craft. Learn as much as you can about the different aspects of the field. You can do this by going to conferences, getting actively involved in your local professional organizations, and finding a mentor who wants to help you succeed.
Second, challenge yourself. Request projects outside the scope of what you normally do, so when it is time for you to step up you can do it confidently and without hesitation.