President's Letters

  • Fri, February 01, 2013 10:42 AM | Grace Judson

    Greetings! and happy 2013 to you from all of us on the ASTD San Diego Board of Directors.

    We have so much planned for this year!  And I'm excited because our plans are focused on upgrading who we are as an ASTD Chapter so that we offer greater relevance and more value to all of you in the San Diego Training & Development community.

    We heard from many of you that you enjoy learning from panel discussions and case studies, so we'll be offering more of both in our Chapter programs this year.  We have our calendar of events already outlined, and we'll start putting it up on the website within the next few weeks.

    We're focusing on technology and e-learning this year (of course not exclusively; there will be plenty of other interesting material).  As you may have already seen, we have a one- or two-day (your choice) workshop on Articulate in April.  People are actually travelling from the East Coast to attend this workshop.  (Yes, that's a hint to book your spot early, because it's expected to fill up quickly.)

    We're upgrading our website to be more attractive, interesting, and useful, and we have a host of new communication and member engagement plans that will (we hope!) intrigue and inspire you to actively participate in your Chapter events.

    Speaking of actively participating, we have key volunteer opportunities available for our members.  If you’d like to help with our annual Your Turn to Learn conference, the award-winning Mentor-Protégé program, on the Programs Committee, or with our PEAK awards, just drop me an email at, and I'll make sure you get the information you need to know if our volunteer opportunities match up with your personal goals.  Volunteering within the Chapter is a fantastic way to gain professional experience that looks great on your resume, as well as broadening your network of personal friends and professional colleagues.

    We're finalizing sponsorship and advertising opportunities even as I type these words, making it much easier for corporations and individual practitioners to find a way to promote their businesses at a level that makes sense for who they are and what they offer while providing real value to our members.

    And from an internal Board perspective, we're defining repeatable processes so that future Board members will be able to jump right in at the deep end without needing to spend a lot of time figuring out what's happening.  This will include increased transparency with the Chapter as a whole about just what it is that your Board does to keep the Chapter running.

    Please know that all of us on the Board are open to your questions, comments, and suggestions at any time, so feel free to email or call us.  We are here to help you grow and develop within your careers and businesses, professionally and personally.  The only way for us to be effective is with your feedback – and yes, with your volunteer help as well.  This is a volunteer-run organization; we need you to participate!

    Best wishes for 2013, and I hope to see you soon at a Chapter meeting, Human Permance Alliance get-together, or other Chapter event!

    Grace Judson
    ASTD-SD 2013 Chapter President

  • Fri, October 26, 2012 7:35 PM | Anonymous

    An Unforgettable Open Space Technology ExperienceImagine 75 people collectively organizing 10 workshops, self managing the discussions, and leaving with dozens of strategies to successfully implement in their organizations, all within the span of an hour. Well, that’s exactly what happened this past week when the San Diego chapters of the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) and the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) joined forces to provide what turned out to be an unforgettable experience.

    The event, entitled “Why Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast: an experiential approach to driving leadership change”, took place at the Sheraton Resort & Spa in Carlsbad and featured a candid and heartfelt keynote speech by Reid Carr, president and CEO of Red Door Interactive, about how creating a value driven culture has helped Red Door become a fast-growing and award-winning company. But this was only the beginning of the day’s events.     

    Following the keynote speech, ASTD board member and Sagatica COO Gregg Fasbinder instructed the audience to make their way to the back of the conference room, where two large circles of chairs, one within the other, had been arranged for an experiential learning activity. Once the participants settled in, Mr. Fasbinder stepped into the middle of the circle and explained how the group would be utilizing open space technology- a facilitation method that as has been developed for over 30 years and used around the world with groups of 5 to 500 members- to develop strategies for creating a culture of engagement. To explain the process, Fasbinder introduced facilitator Eric Kaufmann, an experienced executive coach and president of Sagatica.An Unforgettable Open Space Technology Experience

    Mr. Kaufmann explained the governing rule of open space technology, “the law of 2 feet. ” The rule urges participants to join group discussions for as long, or as little, as they’d like. “If you lose passion and excitement about the topic, move on,” explained Kaufmann. “As managers, how often do you get the chance to walk out in the middle of a meeting? Here it is not only allowed, it is encouraged.” There are also 4 principles of open space technology:

    • 1.        Whoever comes is the right people. This means that neither the number of participants nor the actual participants is as important as the quality of the interaction and conversation. For good conversation you only need one other person who shares your passion.
    • 2.       Whatever happens is the only thing that could have. Real learning and progress take place when we move beyond our original agendas and convention-bound expectations. If everything happened just the way we wanted it, life would be dull, and learning would be limited. It is in moments of surprise that we grow.
    • 3.       Whenever it starts is the right time. Creativity and spirit are critical for open space meetings and neither pays much attention to the clock. They appear in their own time, which by definition means the right time can be at any moment.
    • 4.       Whenever it's over, it's over. And conversely, when it's not over, it's not over. The time and space allocated is only as effective as the conversation and meaningful interaction that’s happening. Passion and content are the drivers for today's meeting, not the artificial boundaries of the calendar.

    After explaining the “rules” of the open space meeting, Kaufmann encouraged participants to write down the issue(s) they wanted to discuss, announce it to the group, and tape it to the wall. Participants proudly stepped into the center circle and stated their issues, which were then categorized by similarity in order to create discussion groups. Within minutes of establishing the discussion themes every participant had gathered around a table; it’s pretty amazing how quickly people can get organized when they are passionate about an issue!  

    Discussions were organized by sessions of 20 minutes with 5 issues being discussed per session. Even in the constraints of the morning, 10 meaningful conversations took place. As expected, the dynamics differed from one group to the next. Some groups started generating ideas immediately whereas others sat in silence for a few moments, avoiding eye contact while mustering up the courage to be the first to speak. Group roles were quickly established; some groups had dominant leaders who controlled the conversation while others elected to let everyone speak in turn. Some group members focused the discussion by asking clarifying question while others took notes and drew diagrams on large flipchart pages. At times there were even two or three conversations going on at the same time within one group. A few groups had as many as ten members while others had far less. In fact, there was even a group in the second session that had only two members and it generated as many meaningful ideas as the larger groups. What was that first principle of open space technology again? Most impressive however, was the excitement that filled the room. It’s hard to imagine that many engaged people in one place at the same time, each as passionate about a particular issue as the next.

    So what was the result of all these efforts? Well, one of the issues for creating a culture of engagement that emerged from the meeting was acknowledging employee contributions and encouraging an ownership mentality across all staff in all aspects of HR. Group members came up with multiple strategies to achieve this goal, such as establishing transparent conflict resolution processes, and developing an employee scorecard that uses a rubric in which not only facts but also interpersonal relationships are taken into consideration. Other groups discussed ideas such as the importance of promoting a culture that values and respects everyone’s perspectives, limiting company size to facilitate engagement, breaking down silos, and blocking off time on a regular basis for employees to consider new ways to create a culture of engagement. When asked what she took away from the experience, a participant explained that “it all boils down to focusing on the values of the company. If everything is aligned it sets the stage for engagement”.        

    As the sessions concluded, Sagatica interns collected the issues and ideas written on the flipchart pages and posted them on the wall. Participants regrouped within the original two circles and a representative from each group gave a brief overview of the main points discussed during their session. This debriefing session allowed every participant to hear the ideas generated by others and consider a wide range of strategies that they could implement within their own organization. As one participant put it, the overviews were “a good way to tap into the ideas of other experts.”

    Asked to reflect on the overall experience of open space technology, another participant expressed that she found it very rewarding to participate in a new group environment and that “this process allowed me to identify with topics I am passionate about.” She is now planning to implement open space technology in her own organization.

    Victor Levin

    Sagatica Consultant

  • Tue, October 16, 2012 8:58 PM | Anonymous
    ASTD San Diego invites you to join us at our Annual Chapter Event and Fundraiser on Saturday morning, Dec. 1, 2012, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at LEGOLAND's Sea Life Aquarium! Spend the morning with friends and family, enjoy breakfast, get a jump start on your holiday shopping by participating in our silent auction, and enjoy the Sea Life Aquarium! Proceeds from the silent auction will benefit the ASTD San Diego Chapter's Camp Pendleton Wounded Warriors Career Development Fund. Show your support  by registering  
  • Wed, September 19, 2012 6:15 PM | Grace Judson

    It's election season.

    No, no, not THOSE elections.  I mean your ASTD San Diego Board of Directors.

    If you're anything like me, you may be wondering why we have elections at all given that there's only one candidate put forward per position.  When I first saw that I thought, Huh???

    Here's the process in a nutshell.  (It may be a coconut shell rather than a walnut shell, but I'll do my best to be concise.)

    Board positions are all two-year terms, with the exception of President which is, in effect, three years (President-Elect, President, and Past President).  Ideally, about half the Board ends their term every year.

    At some point in June, the current President-Elect begins recruiting for his or her Board, with help from other Board members, especially the President and Past President.  This means identifying top candidates for each Board position that needs to be filled, as well as picking the Nominating Committee.

    The Nominating Committee is responsible for helping the President-Elect interview each of the candidates, and determining whether or not the candidate is qualified for the position in question.  The Nominating Committee (affectionately known as the NomCom) typically includes the current President and Past President, as well as WillaMae Heitman as our Executive Committee Chair and the first woman president to our chapter.  In addition, each President-Elect chooses two or three additional NomCom members to help in the process.

    So my nominating committee consisted of Catherine Mattice (2012 Past President), Alan Landers (2012 President), WillaMae Heitman, Jeff Toister (a long-term ASTD San Diego supporter and 2008 President), and Melanie Proschenko (another long-term supporter of our Chapter).

    The Nominating Committee's goal is to present a slate of candidates - one for each position - whom we feel are the most qualified of those who have applied. 

    Our Chapter Bylaws require that at least 10% of our membership must cast their ballot in order to do business - in this case, in order to elect our Board members. 

    Your vote is essential to confirm the Nominating Committee's choices.  You are free to vote "no" if you know of any reasons why a particular candidate should not be elected; this is not intended to be a "rubber stamp" vote.

    I hope this helps clarify the process we go through as a Chapter in order to have the strongest possible Board of Directors working to improve our offerings to our membership and to the San Diego community as a whole.

    And you'll see more "A Peek Behind the Scenes" posts throughout the upcoming year that I hope will help you understand a bit more about what's involved in running the Chapter - and I also hope will pique your interest in becoming more involved as a volunteer or even as a future Board member.

    Interested in reading the Chapter ByLaws?  You can find them - along with a rolling twelve months of Board meeting minutes - here: Bylaws & Minutes  (You do need to be a member to access that page.)

    Questions?  Comments?  Post them here and I'll be sure to reply. 

  • Wed, July 18, 2012 3:00 PM | Grace Judson

    After my post a few weeks ago promoting the Independent Consultants' SIG, I'm now writing - regretfully - to say that I'm closing the ICSIG down.

    In observing what's happened over the last year, and in talking with several past attendees, it's clear that for many reasons we're just not getting the traction we need - primarily consistent attendance at the meetings - to make the kind of difference and offer the sorts of support that I had hoped.

    Everyone is very busy (yay!), and San Diego is a very large county, both factors that make travelling to meetings challenging.

    So the SIG as such will not be meeting any more.

    HOWEVER, I do plan to work with different resources to present a varied selection of webinars and teleclasses - such as the September "Inspired Time Management" teleclass - that I hope will be of benefit to ASTD-San Diego's Consultant membership as well as to the membership as a whole.

    Please let me know (just post in the comments here) what sorts of topics you'd like to learn more about, and we'll get them on the calendar if at all possible. 

    And of course show your support by signing up for the teleclasses/webinars as we offer them ... and then (ahem!) coming to them as well!

  • Tue, July 03, 2012 4:19 PM | Grace Judson

    The other day, I heard a small business owner who's also an ASTD-SD member say, "But I already do enough ASTD stuff.  I don't need to attend another ASTD meeting!"

    She was referring to my question about why she doesn't come to the ASTD Independent Consultants' Special Interest Group (ICSIG) meetings.

    I can only conclude that I haven't done a very good job explaining what the ICSIG is about, because it's not "just" another ASTD event.

    It's about growing your business.  It's about talking with other experienced business owners about the challenges we all face in being in business - especially those of us who are sole practitioners, handling all aspects of our businesses from marketing to bookkeeping to actually delivering our product or service.

    It's about collaborating with colleagues who understand the challenges we all face, helping each other find resources and answers to questions, and in some cases just saying, Yes - we understand - we get it - we've been there, dealt with that.

    And of course it's about celebrating each others' victories and successes as well!

    Up till now, the meetings have been informal, structured so that each person attending has an opportunity to describe a current question or challenge they're working on and receive the group's help.

    At the request of the members, things are changing a little bit, and as the founder and facilitator of the group, I'm excited about the new direction.

    Here's an outline of our approach, principles, and guidelines.

    1.  We are a group of ASTD-SD members who are experienced business owners, and we enjoy helping each other with the challenges that arise after we've been in business for a few years (not just a few weeks or months). We enjoy going deep into the questions of how to take our businesses to the next level. 

    2.  We agree to maintain confidentiality about each others' business goals, challenges, and practices.

    3.  We welcome new business owners and people exploring whether they want to go into business to attend our meetings and listen to what we're working on, but we respectfully request that they seek other avenues for answering their start-up questions.  Options include the Small Business Development Center ( and SCORE (

    4.  We meet monthly, on the third Tuesday of the month, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at a member company, CRM Learning, 2218 Faraday Avenue, Suite 110, Carlsbad.  (With many thanks for their sponsorship!)

    5.  Our meetings are not networking or referral meetings; they're working mastermind/problemsolving meetings.

    5.  At one meeting each quarter, we have a speaker on a topic relevant to small business (not training & development; we get that information through other Chapter events).  Topics may include business formats (sole proprietorship, LLC, etc.); taxes; organization and follow-up techniques; social media; etc. 

    6.  At the quarterly meeting-with-speaker, we also open the floor to new business owners and those exploring whether being in business is right for them, for Q&A sessions.

    Please check the ASTD-SD Calendar for information about meetings with speakers (which meeting, what speaker).  Because of the challenges inherent in scheduling an outside speaker, these meetings may not be consistently the same month of each quarter.

    I welcome your questions, comments, and feedback, especially if you have suggestions about speakers, speaker topics, and other ideas for us.

    And if you're a business owner - please come join us!

  • Tue, June 12, 2012 4:32 AM | Deleted user

    A large national company will conduct a conference in 2013 in San Diego.  This conference is both a  recognition and leadership development process for top leaders within the organization.  

    During a 4-hour segment of the two-day program, participants will engage in a large group (400 people) leadership development/team building activity.  The company is looking for individuals or companies who are capable of creating an activity for the conference that is:

    • Tied directly to very familiar aspects of the San Diego community and culture
    • High-value and high-energy
    • Focused on one of these topics: leadership, service excellence, team building
    • Easily accessible from downtown San Diego

    For more information, contact Alan Landers at

  • Mon, June 11, 2012 5:14 AM | Deleted user
    The ASTD-San Diego PEAK Awards committee is busy this month generating interest in the prestigious PEAK Award. The deadline for applications is July 31.  

    Learn more about the PEAK -Performance Excellence in Applied Knowledge - award here

    PEAK Performance Awards promote innovation and excellence within the San Diego Training and Development community by highlighting outstanding learning and performance initiatives. Many of us join ASTD-San Diego to share best practices and learn from others, and the PEAK Performance Awards program is a terrific opportunity to do just that.

    There are so types of learning initiatives that can demonstrate the essence of PEAK.  We've been impressed by the types of initiatives members have used to apply for the award in recent past years. We can’t wait to see what is in store for the 2012 process. Ready to apply?  Follow these links to the award application and scoring rubric and a short assessment tool to help you determine if your training and development initiatives are PEAK-worthy.

    This is the fourth time I've worked on the PEAK awards committee and it is really rewarding. Learning about notable training and development initiatives in San Diegois a privilege and helps me grow as learning professional.  I also love the people aspect of this committee - we have a great line up of volunteers working on Peak this year!

    Want to learn more?  Contact Karin Riggs at 

    Karin Riggs is the Training & Development Manager and an HR Business Partner at Cohu, Inc.  Her company was a recipient of the 2009 PEAK award and she decided to give back by volunteering on the committee in 2010, 2011 as well as this year.  Currently, she is a Co-Chairperson for this year’s PEAK committee.

  • Tue, May 22, 2012 6:50 PM | Anonymous
    As an ASTD-San Diego member, you probably value networking and building professional profile.  Posting to the ASTD-San Diego Blog is a great way to become known in the training and development community and to learn from and share your share your own experiences and perspective with your peers.  

    And it's fun and easy!  Here's how: 
    • Keep it short.  Optimal length is 300 – 800 words. If you have more to say, consider breaking it up into a few posts that we can post on a weekly basis.  For instance, if you find your post on about “3 pieces of advice for new grads” running long, consider splitting it into three posts, with one piece of advice in each.
    • set a timer for 20 minutes. and imagine your chatting with a colleague at a networking event.  Keep the tone casual. 
    • The best posts are passionate and include a point of view. 
    • Share some news - we'd love to hear about happenings in the San Diego T&D community, your experiences with the PEAK and Mentor programs, volunteering experiences, how you got a job through your ASTD-San Diego member connections. 
    • Want to write but note sure what to write about?  Some ideas:
      • Share your perspective on an article – or a book, chapter meeting presentation, conference session, piece of advice  you’ve been given – and share why you agree or disagree with (include a link to the article/post, if you can).   Share your personal experiences, how it applies or doesn’t apply to your work life.
      • Choose an audience or anchor your post in a specific time of year:  “advice for new grads” in May, New Year’s career planning in December, work life balance in the summer, how you've handled a specific milestone in your career (e.g., going internal to external).  
    • Speakers: *I'd like to be able to post Speaker blog posts about 2 weeks before the event*
      • Use the blog to build interest in your session, build rapport with your audience. 
      • Take a few minutes and go beyond your session description to preview what you're going to be sharing during your session, throw out a provocative question, or tell us something relevant about yourself and your experiences. You may even get some comments that will help you learn more about your audience. 
        • What sparked your interest in this topic? 
        • What is something surprising or practical about the topic?  
        • Why are you passionate about sharing it with the audience?  
    Look at other blog posts for the standard format – e.g., how to post your short bio.  

     Send your post to  Make sure you include (1) a title, (2) the text of the blog post, and (3) a 2-3 sentence bio. I'll send you a confirmation that I received it. 
    Here's a sample:  Rebecca Gibson is a proud member of ASTD-San Diego, a former Board Member, and the current ASTD-San Diego Blog volunteer. During the day, she's a Contact Center Solutions Consultant with Interactive Intelligence. Reach her at or 443.254.3750.  
  • Mon, May 21, 2012 5:39 PM | Anonymous
    "Don't do for the team what they need to do for themselves, for example, transcribing the flipcharts from a session, etc.  Sometimes facilitators are too helpful and build a dependency on them. If it's the team's work they need to ‘own’ it and take care of it.”  Sharon Lieder

    I recently facilitated a series of experiential activities with a group of leaders. It was designed as a mini-orienteering, and at the beginning of the exercise, we divided them into two teams and asked them to select a team lead.  We then gave each team lead a map and asked him or her to assign roles (timekeeper, navigator etc.) The two teams then took off, meeting challenges along the way to their final goal.  

    Over time, we gave the teams more and more responsibility.  So, beyond a solid design, a lot of upfront planning and preparation, and getting things started, the facilitators stayed in the background.  In addition, we noticed that the more the participants did for themselves, the higher they rated the value of the experience.

    So adding to the statement by my colleague Sharon Lieder, "Don't do for the team what they ‘can’ and need to do for themselves…”

    Cathy Bolger is a San Diego-based coach and trainer specializing in Presentation Skills and Conflict Management Skills.  More information at: and she can be reached at

    Thanks so much to contributor and ASTD-San Diego Member Cathy Bolger.  Want to make a contribution to the ASTD-SD Blog?  Send me ( your 300-800 word post (Cathy's post above is 200 words), a two sentence bio and I'd love to post it for your fellow ASTD-SD Members to see and comment on. 


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software