Press Release

Michael Arena of Amazon Web Services Joins ATD’s Board of Directors


(Alexandria, VA), February 4, 2021—Michael Arena, vice president of talent and development at Amazon Web Services (AWS), has joined the Association for Talent Development’s board of directors. He will serve a three-year term, 2021-2023.

Dr. Arena is responsible for the global talent practices, leadership development and learning, organizational effectiveness, new employee success strategies, and the organizational research activities to enable growth and innovation for AWS. He was nominated to the Thinkers50 Radar class of 2020 for his work leveraging network roles in creating adaptive organizations: brokers, connectors, energizers, and challengers.

Prior to joining Amazon, Dr. Arena was the chief talent officer for General Motors Corporation where he was responsible for enterprise talent management, cultural transformation, leadership development, talent acquisition, and people analytics. While at GM, he launched GM2020, a grassroots initiative designed to enable employees to positively disrupt the way they work, which was highlighted in Fast Company and Fortune Magazine. This initiative and others are highlighted in Dr. Arena’s book, Adaptive Space: How GM and Other Companies are Positively Disrupting Themselves and Transforming into Agile Organizations.

Dr. Arena spent two years as a visiting scientist with MIT’s Media Lab researching human networks. He also served as senior vice president of leadership development at Bank of America, where he co-designed and launched the Center for Future Banking, to positively disrupt consumer banking.


Dr. Arena is a faculty member in Penn’s Masters in Organizational Dynamics program and acts as a design thinking coach within the Stanford School.


About ATD
The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees, improve performance, and help to achieve results for the organizations they serve. Established in 1943, the association was previously known as the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).

ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD supports talent development professionals who gather locally in volunteer-led US chapters and international member networks, and with international strategic partners.

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