Cathy Reen has been a member of ATD since 2013.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I began my career in banking, and after two years, I moved from branch operations into training—developing a teller training and certification program, and facilitating many classes for managers, leaders, and individual contributors over the years.
After that first corporate job, I was an HR manager for a nationwide childcare organization supporting over 200 childcare centers in 10 states; training manager for a subsidiary of JCPenney, which sold insurance; and now am in organization development within a transit agency (with a few jobs in retail and nonprofits in between). Throughout my career, I’ve developed courses and trained on topics ranging from stress management to interviewing skills and everything in between, and obtained seven different certifications. I’ve been in human resources and training and development my entire career, and although I’ve been an HR generalist and manager, my love and passion is helping others learn and grow by coaching, facilitating, and training.
Personally, I’ve been married 31 years to a fabulous man who has always supported my career goals, including relocating for my career, and have an awesome 22-year-old son who is the joy of my life. I love to read, go to movies, play cards with my friends, and hang with my pets.
What are your personal and/or professional goals?
Professionally, my main goal is to help others learn and grow to be the best they can be. My personal goal is to be the best person that I can be.
If you had asked me this question 20 years ago, I would have said my goal was to be a chief learning officer. However, my journey ended up a bit differently than I would have imagined, primarily since we adopted our son at age 40; after 10 years of marriage, priorities change!
I want to always have an open mind and keep learning. For me, it’s about leaving the world a little bit better because I was here, in whatever way I can.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve gained or experienced during your membership with ATD?
Trainers are the most giving creatures on the planet—there’s no such thing as hoarding an icebreaker or keeping a great training tip to yourself. You want to make sure that other facilitators and trainers have them in their tool chests, too!
Also, I've attended some excellent meetings and workshops in which I've learned from other practitioners . . . and got to spend a day with Bob Pike—the master of all trainers! If I weren't an ATD member, I wouldn't have had those learning opportunities.
Do you have any advice for people looking to further their careers?
1. Find and use many mentors throughout your career, not just one. You need someone who will be straightforward and tell you like it is, someone who is different from you, someone within training and HR, as well as someone from outside of training but in the heart of your business. “It takes a village.” I found that no one mentor could meet all the needs I had to learn and grow my career. Throughout my career I’ve had four mentors—three professionally and one for personal growth and goals.
2. Your career development is not up to the organization, or your manager; it’s up to you.
3. Be a team player and effective collaborator. Collaboration is the key to building effective relationships, and as a facilitator or trainer, all you have are the relationships you build within the classroom—they become your clients within the organization.