Press Release

Award-Winning Learning Organizations Offer Critical Lessons to Learning Leaders


(Alexandria, VA) December 8, 2020—The Association for Talent Development announces the publication of Forward-Focused Learning: Inside Award-Winning Organizations (ATD Press, December 2020.) The book provides key lessons and insights from top learning executives at award-winning organizations. Talent development visionary Tamar Elkeles pulls together these stories creating a relevant must-read book for new or aspiring talent development leaders.

Companies that are proactive about their learning and development look for ways to grow, build, and evolve. They are highly deliberative in their process to implement new initiatives and leverage opportunities that enable learning. Their efforts drive results and win industry awards. These organizations teach others what excellence looks like, how to be strategic, innovative, and aligned to business needs.

“It’s not often that we have the opportunity to peek behind the curtain and see how other companies and their leaders use learning to develop their employees and their businesses,” states Elkeles. “That’s the purpose of this book: to provide you with specific insights, perspectives, and strategies from CLOs, CHROs, and CTDOs across different industries and with unique executive experiences in forward-focused, award-winning learning organizations. This book invites you to learn from some of the most admired global learning leaders in the world about what it takes to be the best in our profession and within our industry. It is an honor to share these proven strategies and approaches about what it takes to be the best from these executives and their award-winning organizations.”

Three broad themes are embodied in this book: vision, people, and process.

Vision: Learning leaders must take responsibility for integrating learning into the business. First steps include building staff capability with a performance consultant mindset—meeting with business leaders and speaking their language to assess needs and set priorities; designing successful learning plans; and eliminating talent gaps. Creating strategic learning programs that have a direct impact on business performance demonstrates value and showcases the link between employee development and business success.

People: Learning leaders need to win over stakeholders in the C-suite, build teams, and enlist other business leaders to ensure buy-in. To strengthen executive commitment, learning leaders should partner with other business leaders, expand their roles of domain expertise, and collaborate with management and employees alike to co-own initiatives. These partnerships demonstrate commitment to the business and overall company performance.


Process: Learning leaders have to be mindful of their operations and processes. Getting the most out of existing resources and demonstrating how these resources deliver impact to the organization is critical. These leaders should also prioritize collaboration and agility in how everyone in the company learns. Forward-focused learning organizations use a combination of in-house and outsourced learning solutions, content, and technologies to maximize value to their organization.

Thinking about the future, Elkeles projects, “Innovating, inventing, and adapting are essential for businesses to succeed and grow. That requires a commitment to continuous learning, embracing new ways of working, and quickly capitalizing on near-term opportunities. Opportunity motivates experimentation. Risk-taking, being uncomfortable with the status quo, questioning—these are the characteristics of tomorrow’s chief talent and learning officers and trailblazers.”

About the Editor
Tamar Elkeles is an experienced chief learning officer (CLO), human resources executive and thought leader in the talent, learning, and organization development field. Throughout her career she has had unique experiences with entrepreneurs and executives in startups as well as large enterprises. She has expertise managing global growth and leading international teams, as well as an extensive background implementing best-in-class people practices within technology companies. Tamar is currently the chief human resources officer (CHRO) for XCOM, a wireless technology company propelling the next mobile technology revolution. Previously, she was chief talent executive at Atlantic Bridge Capital, a global venture capital fund focused on technology investments. Prior to this role, Tamar was the chief people officer for Quixey, a Silicon Valley tech startup and before that, she was the chief learning officer at Qualcomm.


About ATD and ATD Press
The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations. ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD Press publications are written by industry thought leaders and offer anyone who works with adult learners the best practices, academic theory, and guidance necessary to move the profession forward. For more information, visit

Forward-Focused Learning: Inside Award-Winning Organizations
ISBN: 9781950496679 | 180 Pages | Paperback

To order books from ATD Press, call 800.628.2783.

To schedule an interview with Tamar Elkeles, please contact Kay Hechler, ATD Press senior marketing manager, at [email protected] or 703.683.8178.

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