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June 2014
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TD Magazine

One to Watch: Melissa Howe

onetowatch
Title: Manager, Training and Development

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Company: NASCAR

Education: Master's degree in human resources, Rollins College; bachelor's degree in organizational communication, University of Central Florida

Twitter: @melissanh3

Howe was recently promoted to a management position in NASCAR's training and development function. She oversees training and development for the NASCAR Corporate employees, and also handles some of its retention events.

Howe believes firmly in the importance of continuing one's professional education, and she regularly pursues growth opportunities in her industry. Her hard work has paid off in the recognition she receives from NASCAR's leadership, which places a premium on employee learning and development.

What has been your biggest professional achievement?

NASCAR already had a great training program in place when I started, called NASCAR University. Since joining the company I have expanded the program, increasing our training by 37 percent with new courses and other content.

In 2013 employees took double the amount of credits that they did in 2012, and in 2013 double the number of employees completed more than four credits through NASCAR University. I am proud of what our team has accomplished in the past year.

Other successes

I've played a significant role in enhancing our learning management system and launching big projects for our leadership team, like ADEPT leadership training and a new leader orientation, both of which were well received by our company leadership.

Also, in 2013 I helped to reinvent our new-hire orientation platform by shifting it to a web-based system. This allows new employees to complete their new-hire orientation remotely, making the entire onboarding process more efficient. The NASCAR HR team won the Ultipro Innovation Award in the Strategic Talent Management category for this project.

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Staying current in the field

I am a member of our local ASTD chapter as well as our local SHRM chapter; their websites are extremely helpful and informative. They help me stay current on training and development news. I also stay informed through LinkedIn groups, webinars, blogs, and other industry publications.

Advice for new trainers

Get involved with professional associations in the industry, such as ASTD and SHRM. Find someone to guide or mentor you, and know your organization's goals and vision. Understand how your role contributes to that vision.

Continue to develop yourself by looking into opportunities for further education within your field. Stay informed on the latest trends and news in our industry. Finally, always strive to go above and beyond.

Community involvement

Currently I am a Speedway Ambassador for NASCAR, as well as a volunteer for NASCAR Green, and I donate to NASCAR's Good Goes Round program. NASCAR's Speedway Ambassadors are employees who help their communities by assisting with charity events and initiatives. With NASCAR Green, I help with initiatives like our electronic fuel station, generating ideas for green events, and celebrating Earth Day by planting trees.

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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