Member Spotlight - Focus on CPLP

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. For the next few months we will be focusing on the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) members in our Chapter. If you would like to nominate a member for the spotlight, please contact the VP of Membership at

Mary Lynn Billitteri

Deadra Welcome

 March 2018


I had been in the field of talent development for twenty years before receiving my CPLP. Previously I managed sales training programs, worked in human resource management positions, and designed and directed leadership development programs and seminars.  Currently I manage the educational programming for the American Physical Therapy Association, the national membership association of physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and educators.


After pursuing courses toward a master’s degree in human resource management, I found that earning the CPLP certification was a better fit for my professional goals. Having specialized in a few areas of expertise over the years, I wanted to broaden my education and knowledge of other areas. I also wanted to build on and validate my years of experience in the field and be able to identify best practices that I could incorporate in my professional position. I would say that turned out to be one of the greatest benefits, being able to apply what I learned in my day-to-day role, and to be viewed as an expert in talent development.

 Career Plans

My organization has an excellent benefits program and really values lifelong learning. Being surrounded by licensed health care professionals I can see how they immediately apply what they’ve learned to benefit their clients, and continuously seek out evidence to support their practice. This rang true for me too. I wanted to know that I had the most current information, and evidence, for the various areas of expertise in our field. The ATD Learning System is a great resource to get you started.

 Experience of Process

This was a multi-year process for me. I took an ATD instructor-led online course that was very helpful. The following year I participated in the Chapter CPLP Study Group. Having to teach some portions, and being prepared to discuss others, really reinforced my knowledge. Also, I viewed several ATD webcasts pertaining to studying for and taking the exam. There are numerous ATD resources including: an interactive guide, study plan, practice test, handbook, and self-paced on demand courses. Time management and sticking to the plan is key! I took the study plan and at the end of it wrote down when I was going to take the knowledge exam and then back-tracked from that date to include blocking out study time for each area of expertise, vacations, and work-related commitments.

 Most Important Thing

Keep trying! I passed the knowledge exam on my first try but did not pass what was then the “work product submission.” You are offered another chance to pass the 2nd part, and I pursued that. At that time, ATD was just switching over to the Skills Application Exam, and I studied for and passed that.  Taking exams can be anxiety-producing. Give yourself time to study, review, and relax before the exams.

My Background

I am the Founder and CEO of Concerning Learning LLC, who is a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP), Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM), and a Kirkpatrick Bronze Level Certification credential holder. I use my over 20 years of experience and passion for learning and development to help others make learning extraordinary!

I have trained thousands of people in corporations, non-profit entities, and government agencies on business, human resources, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), and leadership development topics to achieve improved organizational and individual performance. I am also the author of "Don't Get Left Behind and founded the Extraordinary Learning Academy where I train other trainers to design, develop, and deliver inspiring, engaging, and actionable learning experiences.

In addition to being a training consultant, I am an active Metro DC Association for Talent Development (ATD) Chapter member, speaker, and leader as well as a content contributor and past member of the ATD Leaders Conference Program Advisory Committee (ALC PAC).

In my spare time, you can find me with my family and exploring different restaurants.

Benefits of CPLP

Earning the CPLP credential has been a rewarding experience. It differentiates me from other talent development (TD) professionals by proving that I have demonstrated the knowledge and skills in 10 areas of expertise (AOE) covered by the certification. The CPLP credential has given me an advantage with seeking CPLP-preferred jobs as well as allowed me to stand out and be chosen as a thought-leader and content contributor for ATD’s Learning and Development Community of Practice.

How Being a CPLP Fits into My Career Plans

I cannot describe the amount of learning that takes place as I prepared for the CPLP exam. Although I was in the TD field for 15 years before deciding that I wanted to earn my CPLP credential and already seen as an expert in the field, I felt like there were so many AOEs that I had not mastered. My work had not been proven or reviewed by other experts in the field. My primary reason for acquiring the credential was to be able to validate my existing knowledge and skills. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of new knowledge and skills I gained! For me obtaining my CPLP credential, has been a career game-changer because it has boosted my confidence and elevated my status amongst my peers.

Experience of the Process

I obtained my CPLP credential when there was a knowledge exam and submission of a work product. Not only did I have to demonstrate that I knew the 10 AOEs, I had to show that I could complete an actual instructional design work product. The hardest part of the process, for me, was the knowledge exam because I was already doing the work without knowing all of the foundational theories and principles.

I decided that I would seek my CPLP credential after determining that the demands of Master’s program were not conducive to my personal life. Unfortunately, the on-line prep-course in which I invested was not effective in preparing me for the exam. So to study for the knowledge exam, I tackled one AOE per week and then spent the last four days before the exam locked in my room to review, review, review. In addition to reading the content, I tested myself with study cards and took numerous practice exams.

The hardest part of preparing was the lack of a support system with my peers. To ensure that others within the Metro DC ATD Chapter felt supported while obtaining their credential, I started the first CPLP study group and scholarship. It was my way of giving back to the profession and preventing others from going through the process without support. I am proud to say that the first year of the study group, the Metro DC ATD Chapter was awarded the CPLP Chapter Excellence Award at the ATD International Conference and Exposition.

One Thing You Should Know about Preparing

The one thing that I would share with anyone seeking and preparing for the CPLP credential is to use the resources provided to assist you. Resources such as study groups, the learning system, and practice exams, are there to help you. There is nothing like going through a certification program with others at the same time as you. Take advantage of the Chapter’s virtual study group to obtain knowledge and share experiences. It’s an invaluable time in your career that’s too huge to just go through by yourself!

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