CERTIFIED LEARNING CONSULTANT, IBM (VT-ATD MEMBER SINCE 2014)
The benefits of Power Membership for me
Everyone joins the ATD for a variety of reasons. I joined the ATD in 2010, at the suggestion of my manager at the time, who was also a member. Both of us felt that I would have more opportunity to develop skills relevant to my position, and I was not finding sufficient resources "in house". As a member of the ATD, I could use the enablement and resources to not only redesign how I approached specific projects, but also as a professional development activity as well. In effect, I was creating my own practical exercises. By leveraging membership resources from both the local and national chapters, I have been able to create, lead and participate in a wide variety of professional development activities that contributed to not only my recent promotion, but has also lead to my participation on award winning projects. Of course my personal ambitions were threaded through all of this, but the ATD resources have allowed me to set the pace.
In addition, to the ongoing education activities available at both the local and chapter levels of membership, there are three other benefits that I value a lot:
1. Professional Certification: I used the certification as an opportunity to broaden my knowledge across all ten areas of learning expertise (AOE's) and six foundational competencies recognized by the ATD. Certification indicates to my management that I take my role as a learning leader seriously, and to maintain the certification I am required to engage in on-going professional development. As a CPLP, I am required to complete 60 re-certification credits every three years. These credits need to come from a mix of learning, speaking, publishing, and on the job activities. As an ATD national member, I have access to a broad variety of webinars and learning events that I can participate in for re-certification credit (the same resources that I use to redesign projects that I work on).
2. Face to Face Interaction with other Learning Professionals and Thought Leaders. The annual ATD International Conference and Expo (ICE) is a great event with fantastic learning opportunities, that I always recommend it to my fellow learning professionals. I have been privileged to meet and learn from Donald Kirkpatrick, Jack Phillips and Allison Rossett, just to name a few at the ATD ICE. However, on a more practical level, it's much easier to attend my local chapter Special Interest Groups (SIG's), since they don't require travel approval from my manager. In fact, I enjoy the SIG's so much, that I have volunteered on a few occasions to participate in a leadership role for some of my favorite topics. The small size of the SIG's allow for both learning and active engagement, and I am usually able to leave with something that I can apply on the job.
3. Community Building: The social aspect of being part of a group of like minded people is a reward in itself. However, functioning in an international role, I don't actually meet my work colleagues in a face to face venue that often. Which is another reason why I enjoy socializing virtually at the national level, and face to face with my local chapter. There are fascinating people working in the field of learning, and it's always great to connect with them.
I strongly encourage other learning professionals, who wish to grow their careers or expand their skill set, to seriously consider dual membership. Think about it as an investment in your development, and an opportunity to constantly improve the value that you bring to your employer.