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New Board Members Join ASTD

Thursday, April 18, 2013

ASTD has a new chair, chair-elect, and three new members on its 2013 board of directors. Walter McFarland is serving as the 2013 chair of the board having served as chair-elect in 2012, and Martha Soehren is the 2013 chair-elect. Jenny Dearborn and Rob Green have joined the board through 2015, and Lisa Downs, CPLP, has joined the board through 2014 and also serves as the chair of the National Advisors for Chapters (NAC). 

Walter McFarland’s work focuses on the design and implementation of strategic human resource systems, including new leadership models for the 21st century, more effective management of a multi-cultural workforce, and how to improve performance during organizational change. His clients cut across the public and private sectors and include the Federal Reserve, the United States Department of Defense, The World Bank, and several Fortune 500 companies. 

Before founding his own company, McFarland was the senior vice president for HR and Learning at Booz Allen Hamilton, a director at Hay Management Consultants, and also served as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. McFarland served on President Obama’s 2012 Rank Award Council. 

A lifelong learner, McFarland holds several advanced degrees from universities including Georgetown, George Washington, Southern Illinois, HEC Management School in Paris, and Oxford University.  

The 2013 chair-elect is Martha Soehren, Chief Learning Officer and Senior Vice President, Comcast. Seohren has 11 years of experience with the telecommunications industry, more than half that time spent in the role of Chief Learning Officer; 25 years with the defense industry; and 13 years of experience as an adjunct professor, research advisor, and academic advisor. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in business, and a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.   

Jenny Dearborn is currently the Chief Learning Officer and Vice President at SuccessFactors, an SAP Company. In her current role she runs both a cost center and P&L for the SAP Cloud Business Unit. She is accountable for learning and development for internal employees across all functions and training and certification for external partners and customers. 

Prior to joining SuccessFactors, Dearborn spent six years at Sun Microsystems where she held positions including Chief Learning Officer, Americas. She also spent eight years at Hewlett-Packard in positions including the Learning & Development executive for Global Technology Services, for Global Sales & Enterprise Marketing, and for Corporate Learning Strategy. Dearborn has a strong focus in international business and emerging markets and has traveled extensively in her career.  


Also joining the board for a three-year term is Rob Green, Vice President of Oracle University’s Global Sales & Delivery organization. Green leads a 1,500-strong team dedicated to training Oracle customers, partners, and employees. Delivering in over 120 countries worldwide, Oracle University leverages traditional and innovative training technologies to meet the challenges of serving a wide spectrum of training constituencies – from the complexity of multi-national corporations transforming systems and processes to individual students seeking their first IT job. With more than 20 years’ experience in technology development, implementation, and training, Green has played integral roles in leading training transformations and change management initiatives. 

Joining the board for a two-year term and as the chair of the National Advisors for Chapters is Lisa Downs, CPLP. Downs is a Strategic Business Partner in Learning, Training, and Development at The Boeing Company, supporting its Engineering group for the Boeing Commercial Airplanes division. Prior to her role at Boeing, she was a Training Consultant with PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company in Seattle, WA and a Leadership Development Manager with T-Mobile USA.  

Downs is an active ASTD chapter advocate. In addition to serving as the 2008 President and 2006-2007 VP of Membership for the ASTD Puget Sound Chapter, she served as the 2010 Chair of the ASTD Chapter Recognition Committee and as a member of the ASTD National Advisors for Chapters committee. She is the author of three books in the ASTD Trainer’s WorkShop series: Listening Skills Training, Time Management Training, and Negotiation Skills Training.


Current board members with terms continuing in 2013 are: 

  • Laurance Alvarado, President, Othon Group International
  • Julie Clow, ASTD Secretary and Vice President, Learning and Development, Two Sigma Investments
  • Charles Fred, Founder and CEO, The Breakaway Group
  • Michael Korcuska, Senior Director, International Product Management, LinkedIn
  • Marci Meaux, Vice President, ACT Services Transformation Office, Cisco Systems
  • Anne Schwartz, ASTD Treasurer and Vice President, Global Leadership Development, UPS
  • Mary Slaughter, Chief Learning Officer and Senior Vice President, Talent Management and Development, SunTrust Bank
  • Robert Todd, Technology Director, ?What If! Innovation Partners

Tony Bingham, ASTD President and CEO, is also a member of the board.  


© 2013 ASTD, Alexandria, VA. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Jennifer joined ATD in 1999 to lead the Public Relations function. Jennifer continues to lead communication efforts to members and customers, the media, and public policy makers. She also leads ATD’s awards programs and governance functions. In her volunteer work, Jennifer served a two-year term on the executive board of directors for the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and was president of the IABC Washington, D.C. chapter. She holds IABC’s Accredited Business Communicator credential. Jennifer was an adjunct professor at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland where she taught Public Relations Writing in 2009.  

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