Each month, SEWI-ATD turns the spotlight on an active member who has been visible in the chapter by attending events and participating in other ATD functions. We are proud to acknowledge the important work of our members, provide additional career exposure within the Talent Development community, and help you to get to know a colleague just a little bit better! If you are interested in nominating another member for the spotlight, contact Lovina Akowuah at Lovina.Akowuah@gmail.com or Meica Hatters at email@example.com.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Milwaukee, and I have had the pleasure of working at some great Wisconsin companies, including Kohler, Charter Manufacturing, and Harley Davidson. Most people don’t know that I fell into my career in Human Resources, Organizational Development and Training by accident when I decided I didn’t want to pursue my intended major of psychology. I transferred into the Business School, liked my Human Resources classes, and haven’t looked back since.
What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?
My husband and I cook and travel a lot. We love to research new places and visit historic landmarks. I’ve been to Key West Florida, Toronto, Kentucky, Salt Lake City and Charleston South Carolina. My all-time favorite has been Paris, France. When I’m not travelling, you can find me playing around in the kitchen. My biggest failure in the kitchen was a fish stew. The recipe called for red wine. I thought it was weird, but I followed the recipe and I ended up with what my husband and I lovingly refer to as purple fish stew. It was horrible looking. My biggest success was pulling together a party for a friend’s 90th birthday and doing all the cooking and preparation for about 15 people.
How do you balance your career and family/personal life?I am very lucky and I have a lot of flexibility in my work schedule. But, between my day job and teaching the 13-week SHRM certification preparation class at UWM’s School of Continuing Education, part-time, it can be really hard. I am far enough along in my career that I am very comfortable leaving the office early to take care of myself – if I’ve had a busy week or intense meetings. I also try to stay as organized as possible so that I can break things down into the smallest tasks possible. I am a master list maker too, so that helps to keep me organized
What is your favorite Talent Development idea right now?
Agile Performance Management – Doing performance reviews every 60-90 days instead of once per year. This helps managers and employees remain very flexible on priorities and provides immediate feedback on large scale projects. I’ve been using it with my direct reports for about 2 years and it’s been working really well. I have yet, to successfully convince the company that this is the direction they need to go.
Why do you enjoy being a member of SEWI-ATD?
That’s easy. The opportunity to get to know and learn from other L&D professionals. Being part of SEWI-ATD broadens my horizons beyond my immediate work environment. I get to step outside of the world of cheese production and see how L&D is practiced in other settings, and build professional relationships outside of Sargento.
Which SEWI-ATD program has been your favorite or most valuable?Unfortunately, I have not been in a position to attend many events recently. I do have to say that I have really enjoyed being a part of the team that has coached United Way speakers. I think they have some amazing stories and have overcome some remarkable odds. It also helps me keep things in perspective
What did you want to be when growing up?
The president of a bank. I have no idea why. No one I knew did that or talked about it. I think I liked the old bank building that I used to go to with my parents – all marble and formal. Maybe I liked the building. But I did know that I wanted to be in charge!
What's a question I didn't ask that you wished I had?
Q: What is the one skill that you are working on developing?
A: I am working on my coaching skills. Too often I want to share all of my ideas with people and I have to work very hard to ask probing questions so that they can come to the realizations on their own. I have some reminders that I carry with me – my favorite is “ADT” – Ask. Don’t Tell.