Patrick Wraight has been a member of ATD since 2017. Here's his story in his own words.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I suppose that my first talent development position came while I was in the Army. Part of Army leadership training is learning how to develop a team in their roles and according to their talents. I learned the value of self-motivation while in the Army, and that has served me well over the years since. In every career change, I’ve had some form of talent development role. From working in service quality in a call center, to becoming director of an online insurance learning platform, I’ve continually been changing in this role.
My family is important to me. My bride and I have been married almost 25 years. She has helped and supported me in military life, raised our sons while I was in college and working, and encouraged me in every step of our life. These days, we get to spend time together, since I work from my home office and we travel together when I teach a class somewhere.
What challenges have you had to overcome in your career?
Making the transition from military life to civilian life was difficult. In many ways, it put me well behind my peers. I found myself having to build a reputation in my 30s when others had already had 10 years to establish themselves in their fields. Sometimes, among the noise of daily work, it is hard to take time to do what is necessary to build a brand, especially if you’re ready to move your career forward.
Could you share any professional tips, specific to talent development, that you have picked up along the way?
Take more time in the beginning. Having good conversations and building relationships before the time of need will help you to identify the real point of need. Otherwise, you’ll be helping the perceived need without knowing if there is a deeper need.
What’s a common misconception you see when it comes to talent development?
Talent development teams often seem to be engaged only when the customer deems it necessary; usually that means that there’s a change or emergency. We should build the relationships that make us into a valued partner in meeting the critical goals of the organization.
Do you have any advice for people looking to further their careers?
Persist. Ask for the learning that you need. If there’s no budget, find a way. When you meet resistance, find ways around it. Learn how to research what you need for yourself.
How do you find meaning in your work?
I get to help people do their jobs better every day. Working in the insurance industry, I know that the people I help are helping others.