Norm Kamikow, president and editor-in-chief at MediaTec Publishing, Inc, passed away unexpectedly on July 14. He was our friend and colleague, and he was instrumental in our profession’s growth and in building our community.
If you don’t recognize the name, Norm is the person who started Chief Learning Officer magazine in 2002 and started the semi-annual CLO Symposia in 2004. He oversaw the Human Capital Media Group, the company’s portfolio of media properties focused on human capital management, including Chief Learning Officer, Diversity Executive, Talent Management, and Workforce magazines along with live and virtual industry events. Chief Learning Officer magazine was named Best New Publication in 2002, and Diversity Executive was named as one of the best new magazine in 2008. In 2005, Norm was honored as Top Publisher of the Year.
Perhaps some of you, the younger ones especially, assume a publication like Chief Learning Officer magazine and an event like the CLO Symposium have always been around. But, of course, they have not. Someone had to have the idea and the courage to create them and then nurture and grow them to become the successes they are today. Someone had to make all of this happen. That someone was Norm.
The term CLO was popularized by GE and Motorola in the 1980/90’s, but by 2000 we still did not have an industry focus on the role of a chief learning officer. The concept was still new, still being tested. Was this more than simply a renaming/rebranding of the traditional VP of training? What was different about it? A growing number believed that it could be something more, a real advancement in the field. They believed that a chief learning officer would lead the transformation of the corporation into a continual learning organization. They would have enterprise-wide responsibility, operating in a centralized or hybrid organizational model, to deliver scales of economy and greater consistency. They would bring a more businesslike approach to learning and development with a focus on strategically aligning learning to an organization’s goals, creating a business plan for the function with SMART goals, and then executing that plan with discipline. Basically, be a much better and impactful partner to the business, not a mere order taker focused on number of courses and participants.
It was in this environment that Norm saw the need and the potential for a magazine and a symposium dedicated to this role. It was not a sure thing. Both could have failed. But Norm, and his team, made sure they did not. Thanks to them we now enjoy the magazine every month and a wonderful conference twice a year. Both are top notch in quality, and both readership and attendance have continued to increase. And because of these, we are now much more of community, and we have places to share ideas and interact with colleagues. So, when you pick up the magazine or attend the symposium, stop for a minute and thank Norm for his contribution to our profession.
Norm, we will miss you, personally and professionally. Thank you for bringing us together and supporting our growth.
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