Member Spotlight -
Consultant Referral Service
Every month the Metro DC ATD chapter turns the spotlight on members who are making an impact in their professional field and ATD. These members exemplify the mission of ATD. This month we are beginning our focus on the Consultant Referral Service. If you would like to suggest a topic for the spotlight, please contact the VP of Membership at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadra Welcome, CPLP, CPTM
CEO of Concerning Learning, LLC
Artisan E-Learning and E-Learning Uncovered
Chief Training Officer,
Training de Jour
Deadra was driven to start her own business by a need to do fulfilling and quality work. At the time, it was difficult for her to navigate through the bureaucracy of a 9-to-5 job and also use her talents and skills. This frustrating time in her career ultimately led to tremendous growth and empowerment. She channeled her frustration to start her own business and tap into her passion.She is a passionate learner and gets tremendous enjoyment from helping others learn. Her focus is mainly on helping organizations and workplace learning professionals design, develop and deliver extraordinary learning experiences. She has found that every opportunity to learn about business challenges is an opportunity to make learning fun, engaging, interactive, and help others reach higher levels of on-the-job performance. She specializes in leadership, team, organizational, and individual development.
Some of Deadra’s most satisfying career challenges have been not having sufficient resources to make learning extraordinary. She uses those challenges to tap into her passion, creativity, and skills.
Her advice to others who are new business owners is to follow your passion and do what you love. “Although you will work harder, the fulfillment that you gain will far exceed your effort and time. When your business is driven by passion, you can overcome the obstacles and challenges that every business owner faces.”
Based on her own career journey, she would advise someone starting their own business to “take every lesson that your career gives you, good and bad, and learn something from it and use it to make your business successful.”
Diane started her own business for the freedom and flexibility to shape the business the way she wanted it to be. Her company’s focus is to take an organization’s content and make it come alive online. They create custom e-learning courses using tools like Articulate Storyline. They also help organizations learn how to do it themselves, if that’s what they prefer.
One of her biggest career challenges was deciding whether or not to grow the business. She and her business partner worked with contractors almost from the beginning. Then for a few years they had one or two employees. About six years ago, they ramped up to 14 employees. As Diane reports, “14 employees may not sound like a lot, but it changes the dynamic completely. There were quite a few growing pains, but I’m so proud of our team and what they’ve accomplished.”
Her advice for clients? Be realistic about what’s involved in an e-learning project. She often hears clients embarking on their first e-learning project that they want to be done in 30 or 60 days. Diane shares that “it’s important to go in eyes-wide-open about what will be involved. E-learning projects can’t fit in the nooks and crannies of your day. At the beginning of a project, it’s easy to think you can turn around reviews on a storyboard in one day. But then that day rolls around and you’ve got three other fires to put out. It’s important to build “real life” into schedules…and budgets.”
To others starting their own business Diane recommends using alphabetical order to your advantage. “Having a business that’s at the top of alphabetical listings (Artisan) is more advantageous than being at the bottom!” Diane and her colleagues work with many clients in many different industries—and “learn so much about the world. One day I might be working on a course about the fire resistance properties of concrete, then the next day I’m looking at how to evaluate the effectiveness of international relief efforts, and then the next day it’s strategic pricing for peanut butter. Every day is different!”
Heather started Training de Jour when she realized she wanted the freedom to be able to help companies meet their unique training needs, whether big or small. They offer workshop facilitation in whatever topic the client needs. Heather explains, “we can, but do not focus on, the development of the content. We work best as a sort of “plug and play” element in a training plan. Our clients have developed their own content and then upskill our facilitators in the presenting of that content.” Specific areas of the business include: presentation development, sexual harassment, team building, personality assessments (DISC) and software applications.
As a facilitator, one of her most satisfying challenges has been when “I love the moment in a new workshop when it all comes together for me and I know I am presenting great material in a great way and truly changing lives.”
She advises her clients that “good training takes time and energy. Great training efforts do not exist without lots of both of these. They take an investment from the company but at the end of the day, the improvement of your staff is worth it because without a great staff – your company will not succeed.”
If someone asked her for advice on starting their own business she says that she would advise them to be very clear on what they do best and what they do not like to do. Also, be clear about what you need to charge not only to survive but also to thrive. And, of course: “Network. Network. Network.”
In her professional life Heather has found that “training departments are like baseball teams – they need to have a deep bench of experts who can be called upon at a moment’s notice to help make the team great.” She advises that training departments should “find their bench players now, form a relationship with them and then use them to expand their team and fill the training gaps they have, when they have them.”