Former New Member Spotlights

Questions with Michelle Garner

What are the 3 most important things a colleague should know about you?

I’d rather be overwhelmed than underwhelmed at work. I’m better under pressure and when I have a full workload. It keeps my mind sharp, my thoughts focused and my work organized. Otherwise, I tend to succumb to look-a-squirrel syndrome. Meaning my ADD kicks in, I’m easily distracted and I procrastinate, if possible. Luckily, my workload rarely leaves me bored and subject to noticing passing squirrels.

I’m passionate about my work and in love with my company. To be so young and to have found work and a company I’m totally, completely enamored with is beyond a blessing. I become fully invested in my work, wanting to see more than my clients’ positive feedback – I want to see how it’s changing people’s (aka the participants) lives! That’s where I find the true payoff.

I’m obsessed with music and curse like a sailor in real life. So when we’re having a beer after work, don’t be surprised if all I do is talk music while dropping an expletive or two.

Where do you work, and what is your role?

I work for SVI, a talent development organization that’s mission is to create irresistible companies and extraordinary people. There, I’m a word-slinger, idea-generator, learning experience-shaper and overall writing fanatic. Or, if you want my title, I’m an instructional designer.

How did you get in to the profession?

Funny story ... Here’s the short version: met my CEO when one of his friends told me I was pretty before they left a local watering hole we were both at. Quite by accident, we all ended up at the same bar some 30 minutes later. We got into one of those random philosophical convos that occur from time to time with strangers in a bar. Revealed my dream job would be a writer – an author. He asked if I’d be interested in coming to work for him (the CEO, not the flirty friend). A month later I was contracting for SVI and two months after that I was a SVIer. Two and a half years later, I look back on that night as the best accidental, unwanted flirting experience of my life.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing our profession?

Being paralyzed by tradition. There are educational tenets to live by when teaching, developing or learning about a topic, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring or repetitive. I mean, is not using Bloom’s taxonomy really going to make a course fail? No. In fact, we’ve found that using more relatable, common language helps the audience connect better to the content thereby increasing the course’s success. I hope that we see training and education become more progressive, exciting and interesting and less tied-down by the mindset of “this is how we’ve always done it …”

What do you want to experience as part of the NWA-ATD Community?

The people, of course! If I were a cat, curiosity would’ve killed me a long time ago because I’m always curious about what people are thinking, doing and feeling. By being involved in the NWA-ATD chapter, I’m able to feed my curiosity. We get to share ideas, news, thoughts, jokes, etc. What’s more fun than that?!

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