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October 2013
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TD Magazine
One to Watch: Natalia Castro

onetowatch
Title: Coordinator, South America Corporate University

Company: Ernst & Young

Location: São Paulo, Brazil

Education: MBA, Instituto Nacional de Pós-Graduação; BS, psychology, Mackenzie University

Castro began her career at her parents' company, a training and development firm specializing in leadership and executive coaching, but now she's forging her own way.

As a senior analyst for the South American branch of Ernst & Young's corporate university, Castro helps to ensure the continued success of the well-regarded institution. In her spare time, she continues her commitment to developing people by volunteering with not-for-profit philanthropic organizations.

What has been your biggest professional achievement?

Managing different generations in the workplace is a great challenge nowadays. In line with this challenge arose the need to reformulate training initiatives, including competencies and developmental activities, for each career stage. My role was to design an integrated program that could address development needs at all career levels—not only training, but other activities like informal learning, group/coaching discussions, and forums. The implementation of this program was successful, and I'm proud of my contribution.

Working in training and development at Ernst & Young is very motivating. It's a service industry and our key differentiator is the quality of the knowledge and services we provide. I feel both proud of and responsible for this quality, and consequently for the company's success.

Staying Current in the Field

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There are several ways to keep up-to-date in the field. It's essential to be a member of a professional association in the industry. As an ASTD member, I attended ASTD's international conference. It's a good way to network with other learning professionals.

I also have become a member of the Brazilian training and development association, and I participate in its events and training offerings. I also subscribe to several HR and business magazines. It's important to read about our industry and learn about the market in general.

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Qualities for Success

I'm always looking to improve myself, which motivates me to continually search for new projects outside of my comfort zone. Taking initiative also is important. Instead of waiting for people to ask, my colleagues and I anticipate organizational needs by researching, designing, proposing, and innovating.

Advice for New Trainers

Be patient, persistent, and observant. These behavioral characteristics are very important.

Our pursuit of personal development sometimes outpaces the speed of the events happening within our organizations. Therefore, it's important not to give up and to observe our main supporters, our organizational strategies, and the way different departments or functions collaborate with each other.

Go-to Resources

I often update myself with online content, but the network that surprises me a lot is LinkedIn. I not only have access to colleagues; it also provides me with access to articles, blogs, and interactive communities.

Community Involvement

I've done some social work, but in 2010 I became a member of a nongovernmental organization whose cause I particularly identified with. This NGO has several projects to support underprivileged kids and teenagers, but its main mission is to transform young people into contributing members of society through a focus on values.

We often visit children's hospitals to promote these values through fun activities and entertainment for children with degenerative illnesses. We bring a little bit of life to them. It's a time to forget about illnesses and difficulties, and just be a kid.

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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