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  • Sunday, April 23, 2023 9:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ATD Buffalo Niagara Celebrates Arab American Heritage Month

    Christa McAuliffe was born in Boston Massachusetts, coming from Irish and Lebanese decent. She was the great niece of Lebanese American historian, Phillip Khuri Hitti.

    McAuliffe is well known for being a teacher and astronaut, who tragically lost her life on the Space Shuttle Challenger mission, on January 28, 1986. After her death, several schools have been named in her honor and she was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 2004.

    In 1985, McAuliffe was selected for the NASA Teacher in Space Project, TISP was a NASA program announced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and was designed to inspire students, honor teachers and spur interest in mathematics, science, and space exploration.

    Farouk El-Baz is an Egyptian American space scientist and geologist that worked with NASA in the scientific exploration of the Moon and the planning of the Apollo Program. El-Baz was born in Zagazig, in the Kingdom of Egypt.

    Currently, El-Baz is a Research Professor and Director of the Center for Remote Sending at Boston University in Boston, MA. In addition, El-Baz is an Adjunct Professor of Geology at the Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

    From 1967 – 1972, El-Baz was the Supervisor of Lunar Science Planning at Bellcomm Inc. for the NASA Apollo Program and had a key role in helping NASA determine the ideal Moon landing site for the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.

  • Monday, March 06, 2023 10:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Belva Ann Lockwood (née Bennett), was born October 24, 1830 in Royalton,  NY.  The second of five children, Belva was not born into wealth nor status, she was raised as the daughter of farmers. These humble beginnings however did not deter Belva's ambition. 

    By the age of 14, Belva began her career as a teacher at a local elementary school. Belva spent many years as an educator or administrator and began raising awareness about women being paid less than men. She is an early advocate for women's pay equity. 

    In 1870, Belva attempted to apply to the Columbian Law School but was refused admittance because of her gender, with the trustees fearing she would distract male students. Later, Belva was admitted to the new National University Law School (now George Washington Law School) and completed her studies in May 1873 only to be refused her diploma,  again because of gender. Not one to being deterred, Belva lobbied President Ulysses S. Grant, ex officio of the school. She was granted her bachelor's of law by the fall of 1873.

    Belva went on to practice law, and became the first woman admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States in May 1879. Not done yet, Belva became the first woman* to run for President in 1884, and 1888. Although she did not win, Belva remained an advocate for women's suffrage and women's legal equality to name a few. Belva died in May 1917, two years before the passing of the 19th amendment in 1920, she had a 43 year career as a lawyer.

    *Victoria Woodhull ran for President in 1872, however was not of the constitutionally mandated age of 35.  

  • Wednesday, March 30, 2022 10:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In honor of Women's History Month, ATD Buffalo Niagara celebrates the talented, brilliant, and unique women leaders that make up the Board of Directors. We asked the board to share some of their favorite accomplishments during their tenure...and more! As the month comes to a close, we encourage you to think about the women that inspire you in your own life, and what contributions can be made towards furthering women's equity.

    What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time as an ATD board member?

    I am proud and immensely grateful to serve alongside the talented board of ATD Buffalo Niagara. Their commitment to the Chapter inspires me daily. 

    How can women support other women in their organization?

    Women can support women by intentionally advocating for their upward mobility in society and organizations. The first part of this journey is awareness and discovery about women’s talent and career development journeys and staying in touch with resource like Equal Pay Day Today. 

    What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time as an ATD board member?
    Successfully helping to execute a virtual conference this past December. The entire conference team worked so hard on the conference for over a year and through a pandemic. As a chapter, we were able to provide quality programming to talent development professionals in the WNY region. I am proud to be part of a chapter with such dedicated and passionate talent development professionals.

    What advice do you have for young women just starting in your industry?
    When someone approaches me about joining the industry of talent development, I always tell them to do their research first. It's so important to learn what the industry is about by studying ALT, Bloom's Taxonomy, Kirkpatrick, etc. Start attending local chapter events to network and learn directly from people currently doing the work. If they decide they want to pursue a career in training, then join a chapter and get involved. Attend local Toastmaster events to get some experience in public speaking if you lack that skill. Attend conferences, invest in a power membership or ATD national certification. Get a job as a new trainer to further facilitate the growth of your skills. Lastly, never stop learning, continue to cultivate and expand your knowledge and expertise in the field.  

    What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time as an ATD board member?
    There are numerous achievements I am proud of as a chapter leader, yet most recently, I am most proud of being part of an amazing team that facilitated our first ever full day virtual conference. It was an amazing success!

    What advice do you have for young women just starting in your industry?
    My advice is to get involved! Although you will learn and grow as a member of the organization, you will absolutely accelerate your development by being actively engaged as a volunteer, board member, presenter, etc. The hands-on experiences helped me surpass any and all learning where I was a passive participant. Dig in! You won’t regret it!

    What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time as an ATD board member?
    I joined the Board of Directors for ATD Buffalo Niagara Chapter in 2020 right after the pandemic started. I am fortunate and grateful to have worked with a talented team to not only overcome the financial challenges we encountered, but brought our chapter to another new level of commitment to our members and the community by connecting and supporting each other with our strong vision and values.

    What advice do you have for young women just starting in your industry?
    The job market today is competitive, dynamic, and diverse. It’s important to recognize that some things may not go exactly to plan as you embark on your career. Stay positive, cultivate a robust professional network, and embrace life-long learning opportunities. 

    What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time as an ATD board member?
    I am most proud of getting to know many incredible professionals around WNY, expanding my network to include so many people I would never have met without ATD Buffalo Niagara!

    Who has inspired you most?
    The women who have inspired me most in life are my mom, my aunt, and my grandmothers. All these women are so resilient and strong, but never let life harden them against being kind souls. All these women are intelligent and wonderful conversationalists, full of charisma. Most importantly, they taught me never to take myself too seriously.

    What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time as an ATD board member?
    I am very proud that I have met and worked with the people that I share ATD responsibilities with. I love helping the group with ideas and organizing the ATD requirements that are necessary for making our chapter successful. I am proud to be working with our entire group, meeting and knowing each other, and working together for our love of learning and creativity.  

    How have you built confidence and/or resiliency over the course of your career?
    I have worked with many different people for a few different companies and each experience has given me the opportunity to understand and learn about different personalities and perspectives. Having passion for my work and my career has taught me that not everyone works the same way with the same passion. Tempering and understanding my talents and passion to work with the unique talents of others have given my confidence in my ability to work well with people. Collaboration is a great gift but it is at its best when you share your passion and understanding with others

    What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time as an ATD board member?
    I am most proud of having the opportunity to collaborate with such a creative and passionate group of talent development professionals. I have learned so much during my time on the board, and really enjoy seeing the successes of our teamwork. Serving on the ATD board is a uniquely valuable experience that I am grateful to have.

    How have you built confidence and/or resiliency over the course of your career?
    I have built confidence and resiliency through making mistakes and overcoming obstacles, as well as committing to a path of continuous reflection and self-improvement. Setbacks are always part of your journey, but they don't have to define it. Staying open-minded towards feedback and leveraging it from the perspective of a 'teachable moment' has helped immensely. Surrounding yourself with supportive peers and mentors that help navigate career complexities is invaluable.

  • Friday, July 03, 2020 2:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I attended the very engaging webinar: 3 Tips for Creative Massive Participant Engagement in Virtual Training featuring International Speaker and co-author of Speak for a Living, Sardek Love. I left with some amazing new ways to make sure the virtual experiences I create are unforgettable.

    Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

    That is what we are going for, right? Creating learning experiences that will have lasting impact and are memorable. The move from in-person learning to a virtual space does take some planning, yet will fall into place a bit more easily if we remember that at the core of every virtual experience is how much we can engage the participant throughout the experience.

    Would you like to sit through an hour-long lecture of a talking head on a screen? No? Then why do we think we can just talk at people during a webinar and believe that they will be thrilled by what we said and remember it always.

    The three tips that Sardek shared were very simple, don’t include too much content, don’t underestimate the amount of core knowledge your participants already have, and don’t forget to include the hands-on component. Your learners need to have time to practice what you’re teaching them, so they will be able to more effectively apply it in the real-world.

    Content: Find new ways to explore the content you are going to cover. Only include what is absolutely critical, i.e. what must the learner be able to know how to do immediately following the training. Everything else can be included in a job aid, procedure, a video, an article, etc. All of which can be reviewed outside of the live training event. Essentially, you want to include asynchronous content as resources along with your synchronous learning event.

    Foundational Knowledge: One of the core components of Malcom Knowles Adult Learning theory of Andragogy, is the importance of tapping into the knowledge or your adult learners. Adults love to share their knowledge! Checkout this article 3 Adult Learning Theories every E-Learning Designer Must Know by Karla Gutierrez for more background on this topic.

    Practice, Practice, Practice! This is important. Passively learning about something does not help the learner to actually complete the task. It will provide knowledge about what they need to know, yet the real impact comes from attempting the task on their own, in the safe environment, ideally several times. Plan time away from the webinar to have the students practice, and then bring them back for a debrief on the experience and/or to provide more training reinforcement.

    Ok, so know we what to how to structure our virtual learning, next we need to plan for to engage the learners throughout the experience. First, Mr. Love suggested scheduling your virtual learning events for 2 hours or less. If you must go longer, take breaks often. He suggested at least a ten-minute break within a 2-hour span. In my experience, providing a 5-minute break each hour, has been very successful.

    He also shared that we should engage our learners in some way every 4 to 5 minutes. I had heard that it was every 90 seconds, so this does help provide a bit of a breather. At most, every 8 minutes, the learners should be asked to do “something,” rather than just passively listening.

    How do we engage our learners? Through questions!  And ask questions often. This can be accomplished by asking full group questions via chat, polling questions, breakout session activities or discussions in duos, triads, or quads, or, depending on your group size, you can set up games through a variety of tools such as Mentimeter, Quizlet, or Kahoot, just to name a few.

    Lastly, Sardek stressed that the debrief is the most important part of a learning event. If you hold a discussion or do an activity and skip the debrief, you miss a very important component of the learning: The connection between the what, why, and how. Learners may miss out on the a-ha moment if the activity is not capped with debrief discussion. Check out this article for examples of debrief questions: The 15 Most Insightful Reflective Questions for Debriefing Learning.

    Be creative and have fun with your classes!  Your students will appreciate the effort you put in and you will be well on your way to designing memorable virtual learning experiences.

    Article by Kim Stahl, Senior Business Line Trainer, ATD Buffalo Niagara Past-President and Adult Education Masters Student. July 3, 2020.

  • Thursday, June 20, 2019 10:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    There is nothing like the kind of book that reels you in within the first few chapters. The best ones can do that instantly with just a word or sentence. You know the book. You just can’t put it down.

    I did not understood the pull of the Harry Potter series until I began reading them to my daughter. Boy was I hooked! The details and characterizations were enthralling. My husband would have to stop me each night, otherwise I would continue reading well past her bedtime.

    Can a leadership book do this? Can a “self-help” book really be so engaging that you just can’t put it down?  The answer is yes and it happened to me recently. Two books captured my attention and time melted away.

    First, a book with a very unique name: Fish Rot from the Head Down by Gretchen Fierle volumes I and II stole my attention in May. Each book contains bite sized morsels to help you reflect on different components of leadership. Each “chapter” has discussion questions to assist the reader to begin the journey toward possible changes and solutions. (I put chapter in quotes because each chapter is only page). They are not tomes with big words and highfalutin management speak – they are quick, impactful lessons about leadership from Gretchen’s experience and research.

    Moving on to June, I tore through an advance copy of Scott Miller’s new book, Management Mess to Leadership Success (released on June 18, 2019). Scott is an Executive Vice President with Franklin Covey and hosts their weekly OnLeadership Webcast. The book includes 30 daily challenges centered on a story from his life. Each story is very relatable and based on a tenant of Franklin Covey culture. His candor was very refreshing. Much like Gretchen, he was open about his failures as much as his successes. The book was engaging because he didn’t try to sound like he had all the answers or was perfect at his craft, just that he tried something, reflected on it and learned from the experience. 

    You can tackle each challenge in order or jump around, your choice. If you prefer to focus on a specific set of topics, the challenges are grouped into three parts: Lead Yourself, Lead Others, and Get Results. I enjoyed the relaxed nature of the book and appreciated the additional resources he shared throughout to promote further exploration and learning.

    I plan to use both Scott and Gretchen's books as quick “reading assignments” and discussion starters with my colleagues, professionals’ group, and Lean-in Circle. They are both leadership treasures.

    So, what’s on your book list this summer?  I’m looking for my next “can’t put it down” book.


    Photo by Alice Hampson on Unsplash

  • Tuesday, April 30, 2019 11:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    When "Lara"* was hired, she was sent to a full day onboarding event. She filled out paperwork, got her ID badge, and enjoyed ice-breaker activities. She learned about the company's health plan and 401K options, and a little bit about where she fit within the organization. She wished she had left knowing more about what her priorities were, but at least the one day she had was better than the alternative she experienced at a previous employer, where there was no formal onboarding program.

    Like many organizations, a few years later her new company decided to decentralize the onboarding process within the business units, hence, no formal day one program. Even though there was an “Onboarding Checklist,” employees in one department were onboarded differently than another. Some managers fully engaged in the checklist; others did the bare minimum. The culture was gravely affected by a lack of cohesion felt by employees.

    "As I reflected on my initial experience, I am happy that, at the very least, I received the same experience as everyone else on their first day."

    Fortunately, the company began to focus on our organizational culture and the importance of the onboarding experience. The onboarding process was once again centralized and a robust program was developed that expanded the experience from the moment the employee was hired to well after their start date. The onboarding process became a priority and a way to build and nurture the culture, shining a light into the abyss.

    Does this sound like your organization? You welcome an employee and then dump them into the void hoping that they will understand what is expected of them? Do you believe that they will inherently know what their priorities should be? Or do you plan and execute your onboarding program with a strategy that will build culture, enhance business results, and create an amazing experience for the employee?

    According to Michelle Baker of PhaseTwo Learning, “Successful organizations leverage the new employee experience as a competitive advantage and a driver of business results. The secret to getting there….to truly unlocking the results you’re seeking…is to find a link between onboarding and business goals and priorities.” (retrieved from

    Perhaps it’s knowing where to start. On May 7, 2019 onboarding expert Michelle Baker will share a strategy for success during ATD Buffalo Niagara’s Webinar Series Event: Driving Business results Through Strategic Onboarding

    Webinar participants will analyze the impact (good or bad!) of their existing onboarding programs on business results and explore the results of a case study with simple strategies that can be applied to a new or existing program. Participants, including those who do not currently utilize strategic onboarding in their organizations, will walk away with an arsenal of must-capture metrics to consider when getting started with onboarding program development or modifying an existing program.

    More Resources!

    Onboarding Tools for HR Managers – by Michelle Baker

    *name changed to protect privacy

  • Tuesday, April 09, 2019 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As talent development professionals, we must be equipped to assist our teams with the development of their people. Companies with large budgets may be able to create in-house development programs or send their employees to classes and conferences, or even bring companies in house to conduct development courses. What if you don’t have endless budget dollars to spend?

    There is low cost training that can be found on platforms such as LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, and via, however, if paying for or sending people to such training is not possible, one way to help your employees develop their skill-sets organically is through volunteering.

    Getting involved in extracurricular activities at work or through non-profit and/or professional organizations, such as the ATD, is an excellent way to develop current skill-sets or curate new skills. Through my involvement with ATD Buffalo Niagara I have learned how to develop my own graphics and videos; skills I did not have previously and now able to directly apply to my job as a senior trainer. Boom! I was developed without realizing it.

    Think of the implications for anyone that is on the fence about spending time volunteering: Volunteering can help you feel good AND you can learn something new. In her book, Employee Development on a Shoestring, author and development expert Halelly Azulay outlines numerous ways low-cost ways to develop employees, one of which is through volunteering. She shares “that employees can develop a variety of skills outside their work environment for no cost to the organization when they take on volunteer jobs in industry and community organizations” (p. xx).

    Halelly further reveals that “[a]nyone who wants to ensure that employees are developing new skills and knowledge and who realizes that sending them to a training class cannot be, and should not be, the only path to achieve that outcome, [will] benefit from the ideas presented in [Employee Development on a Shoestring]” (p. xviii).

    While not everyone can volunteer outside of their workplace, Halelly Azulay, our April Webinar speaker will explore other low-cost opportunities to develop employees. Please join us on April 16, 2019 at noon when Halelly Azulay will help you to Develop your Employees on a Shoestring.

    This webinar is FREE for ATD Buffalo Niagara Members. Not a Member?  Join now and save on member-only content.


  • Tuesday, March 19, 2019 10:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    When a stimulus happens to you in the form of change, what do you do? Do you resist, embrace, or lead the charge?

    Change happens all the time. Some changes are small and can be easily accepted. For instance, you may usually buy wintergreen flavored gum. The store is out of wintergreen flavored gum, so you try Peppermint flavored gum today. A fairly easy exchange, however, when it comes to change that affects how we interact with the world on a larger scale such as moving from paper to electronic processes, the ability to accept and adapt to the change can become more difficult.

    You may never be completely comfortable with change; however, you can develop your ability to adapt to change by building your resilience.

    According to, Nozomi Morgan, MBA and certified Executive Coach, “[q]uickly adapting to change will improve your effectiveness and productivity. And, being resilient will help you avoid being overwhelmed by changes.”

    How do we build resilience

    As shared by Vincent Arecchi and Ernest Baker in their paper, Effective strategies to move from change to resilience, presented at the 2012 PMI® Global Congress, “[b]uilding resilience starts with understanding the personal choices we make when faced with change...[and] [h]ow well…you cope with adversities associated with the change.”

    As a leader of a team, it is important to know how to help your team members adapt to change and, more importantly, become more resilient. During the ATD Buffalo Niagara Signature Speaker Series event, we will explore How to Be Better: Change Management and Effective Coaching Methods

    This event features author, speaker, and retired C-Level executive, Gretchen Fierle.  You won’t want to miss the Free breakfast event where Ms. Fierle will share years of corporate leadership experience and invaluable insights. Learn the skills necessary to go from good to better to great by attending this interactive leadership event at The Buffalo Club on Tuesday May 14th at 8:30a.m.

    Photo Credit: Simon Migaj on Unsplash

    Arecchi, V. & Baker, E. (2012). Effective strategies to move from change to resilience. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2012—North America, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute. Retrieved from

    Morgan, M. (2017) How to Build Resilience in Times of Change; Huffington Post. Retrieved From:

  • Wednesday, November 14, 2018 11:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Debbie Richards recently conducted a webinar for the Buffalo Niagara chapter on the topic of Augmented Reality (AR).  During the webinar she shared examples of how AR is used in advertising and games.  She also explored how we can add the interactive and slick (my word) technology to the classroom environment. Not only can use use technology to layer in virtual elements in a live environment, you can also create checkpoints that people can scan to explore additional content, such as a video or 3D picture.  Think about how you can make the first day building tour more exciting if you added AR checkpoints through out the building?!?

    What do you think of Augmented Reality and similar emerging technologies? If you use SnapChat - you engage with AR. How can we use this tool in our classrooms? In recruiting?

    Check out this article that I found on TD.ORG:

  • Wednesday, November 01, 2017 12:59 PM | Deleted user

    Thank you Homewood Suites for sponsoring our event, The Six Most Important Things You Can Do to Improve Training Effectiveness!       


    At Homewood Suites by Hilton Buffalo/Amherst we know you need your downtime. That’s why we offer spacious suites with full kitchens and flat screen TVs, a complimentary evening social Monday  Thursday, and a free hot breakfast every morning. You’ll also enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and our 24-hour fitness center, indoor heated pool and sport court. So, whether you’re on the road for two nights or two weeks we have everything you need to Be at Home.

    Homewood Suites by Hilton® Buffalo/Amherst

    1138 Millersport Highway | Amherst, NY 14226

    For more information on becoming an event sponsor, please see Become a Sponsor.

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