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April 2018
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TD Magazine

Success Credited to Learning

Nick Allen

Title: Education Instructor

Company: A credit union in the Northeastern United States

Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Education: Master of education, human performance improvement (Capella University; expected 2018); bachelor's in international management (Southern New Hampshire University)

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/nickaeiou

Favorite Quote: "Kill them with success and bury them with a smile."

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In 2012, Nick Allen went from being a contact representative to an education instructor at a midsize credit union. Since then, he has taken on a variety of new responsibilities, driving learning within both his organization and its community. Internally, he collaborates with subject matter experts to implement, deliver, maintain, and evaluate training content. And within his community, Allen coordinates and manages around 15 learning events per year for local middle school and high school students on financial wellness.

What got you started in talent development?

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Working in a call center can be stressful, so even though I had become very good at it—learning to perform tasks that only a few other colleagues could do—I tended to spend time browsing different job postings. So, when an education instructor position became available at my organization, I had to look. The posting seemed like a good fit for my skills and personality, letting me use my experience working in our credit union's branches to give back to my colleagues and my community. I applied, did well in the interviews, and made the switch.

What skills does your experience outside talent development help you bring to your role?

I can point to two things here. First, my experience working with credit union members makes it much easier to relate with others who are learning to do so. For example, when I teach our soft sales member loyalty program, I tell goofy stories about the job that help my participants stay engaged with the course's content.

Second, I've practiced tae kwon do for around six years, and a lot of the skills it teaches translate to my job. For example, leading stretches and warm-ups for tae kwon do classes has helped me become more comfortable speaking in front of an audience. Also, helping other students with their technique requires me to practice explaining the why, not just the what, of a task.

What are the biggest differences between working on learning in your organization versus in your community?

One major difference comes from the types of learners I'm dealing with. All people want to be entertained, but professionals are more forthcoming than students when they get bored. Students tend to make the most of any situation that seems like fun, whereas adults are more likely to use a training session as an opportunity to vent.

Another difference is the size of the events. We usually deliver internal learning to just a few people at a time, but community events can involve coordinating hundreds of kids and 20 to 30 volunteers.

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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