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The 2008 Learning In Practice Awards


Linda Landry
Senior Director of Global Learning and Development
Nuance Communications

Senior Director of Global Learning and Development, Nuance Communications
Call her Wonder Woman: In just one short year, she helped her company launch a state-of-the-art corporate learning organization from scratch — for less than $250,000.

For this reason, this year’s Division 1 Gold Award winner in the Vanguard category is Linda Landry, senior director of global learning and development at Nuance Communications, a technology company that creates speech recognition software and imaging products.

“Learning and development was brand new when I first came to Nuance almost two years ago,” Landry said. “The company had been in existence for about 10 years, but the focus had always been on moving forward. The executive team recognized that it was time to make a serious investment in employee development in order for the company to keep meeting its business goals.”

Landry had her work cut out for her. When she was hired, the technology company had not yet created a budget for learning, and the employee base was globally disparate and growing rapidly. And Landry was the only learning professional on staff. But her excitement and determination were not to be underestimated.

“I think I didn’t get a wink of sleep the first year — partly because I was so excited about the opportunity to create something from scratch and partly because of the effort it took to build a full-service employee development operation within 18 months,” she said.

Knowing she’d need resources for learning initiatives down the road, Landry first set out to develop relationships with Nuance’s executive team, soliciting their feedback and gaining their buy-in. She then personally surveyed one-third of Nuance’s managerial staff to determine where the biggest gaps in learning were and developed a learning and development plan to respond to those needs.


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