We recently wrapped our Fall CLO Symposium, essentially turning the Hyatt in Bonita Springs, Fla., into a three-day think tank. Hurricanes and all, the CLO Symposium gathered more than 400 learning executives for ongoing discussions, networking and the exchange of ideas.
The knowledge transfer didn’t just happen in general sessions and workshops. Over meals, over cocktails and over the din in the hallways, colleagues and peers engaged in high-level discussions that days later found their way back to offices all over the world. New initiatives were launched, new solutions explored, new partnerships formed and new challenges overcome. It’s nice to be a part of all that.
For those of you who could not attend, let me give you a taste of the Fall 2004 CLO Symposium:
- Nancy DeViney, general manager of IBM Learning Solutions, gave the opening keynote, addressing the future of learning and focusing on the spirit of innovation, the Symposium’s overriding theme. Nancy cut to the heart of the matter in a message that was well received: “The competition is going to be fierce,” she said. “You cannot grow if you do not innovate.”
- Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick, famous for creating the four levels of learning measurement, was another keynoter. Being a lifelong Chicago Bears fan, I won’t mention the heresy of his shameless support and promotion of the Green Bay Packers. Don is a captivating speaker whose concepts are as on-point today as they were when he launched them 45 years ago this month.
- Not surprisingly, Dr. Jack Groppel of LGE Performance Systems and the author of our “Engagement” column engaged the whole room with his keynote. Jack mixed humor and wisdom, rolling out his innovative ideas to help CLOs create balance in the lives of their learners and themselves.
- Futurist Jim Taylor closed the Symposium on a high note, in a laugh-filled keynote address. Among other things, he taught us a futurist is someone who makes predictions so far ahead he can’t possibly be held accountable for them.
- We presented the first annual Chief Learning Officer magazine Learning In Practice awards at a luncheon ceremony. Twelve CLOs walked away with the 16 trophies we awarded. Our CLO of the Year, Gen. Frank Anderson of Defense Acquisition University, and IBM CLO Ted Hoff won multiple awards, demonstrating the real impact of their programs. (You can find a list of winners at www.clomedia.com/learningawards, and we’ll profile all the winners in a special supplement with the December issue.)
- Case studies have become a staple in the CLO magazine diet, and they’re an important Symposium ingredient, as well. Many of the workshops featured global CLOs presenting open accounts of their learning programs, including Toronto Dominion Bank Financial Group, Johnson & Johnson, John Deere and British Airways.
- Panel discussions, facilitated by our host Doug Upchurch, brought some amazing presenters together to exchange ideas with one another and the audience. CLOs like Kevin Wilde of General Mills, Verla Neslund of the Centers for Disease Control and Mike Barger of JetBlue openly shared challenges and solutions.
I could go on, but maybe it really was one of those “you had to be there” moments. We’re planning the Spring 2005 CLO Symposium now, around the theme of “The Global Economy: New Demands, New Roles, New Skills.” That’ll be held April 6 to 8 at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Ariz., and registration is now open at www.cloevents.com. I hope you’ll be able to join us: There’s so much more to talk about.
Editor in Chief