Cheif Learning Officer Solutions for Enterprise Productivity

The 2008 Learning In Practice Awards

Their cohesiveness is even more exceptional when one considers that the organization is comprised of 37 companies that were combined via acquisitions during a 10-year period. Moreover, HD Supply did not have a history of formal learning processes, and personnel in the field and at corporate were reluctant to participate in and support new development programs.

However, that didn’t deter Senior Learning Specialists Kathee Kelly and Joe Malta and Learning Manager Vicki Ryan. Beginning in 2006, the three began extensive needs analyses of all regions, levels and roles in the organization. They also began to establish themselves throughout the enterprise.

“For me, the challenge was to fit in with my clients and become part of their team,” Malta said. “I had to establish credibility, demonstrate value to a diverse and sometimes skeptical sales organization. Early on, I spent as much time in the field as I could with the sales and operations teams, and in the branch locations asking questions, observing customer calls, learning the business and the challenges. While I still have much to learn, this did help me to get a working knowledge and gain respect and credibility with my clients.”

After determining the greatest development needs, the ULTimates then developed a blended-learning suite with various programs that aimed to fill those needs. They’ve been developing new offerings ever since, and demand for training continues to grow.

“We truly were a start-up, and that energy enabled us to be extremely creative with our approach to providing solutions to the business,” Kelly said. “Our team has chartered its own path, found its own way, created great partnerships and many inroads along the journey.”

For Ryan, who attended the Learning In Practice awards ceremony at the Fall 2008 CLO Symposium, being recognized with a Gold award in the Learning Team category was a special honor.

“Leading up to our category being announced, I found myself literally sitting on the edge of my seat with my heart not just racing, but pounding,” she said. “Forcing myself to sit back and calm down, I kept saying, ‘It’s OK if we get the Silver.’ But in my heart, I knew that our core team of Kathee, Joe and I wanted Gold and that our extended team (internal partners and customers) did, too.


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