The ASTD Experience

By Jean Mavrelis - 05.20.2010

We launched our e-learning at ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) in Chicago this week.  I was surprised that almost all the representatives in the booths were still the usual suspects– white men and women with, but a sprinkling of people of color.

Our booth was the only one clearly staffed by a diverse group (U.S. white men and white women and an African American, East Asian (Chinese American), and First Nation (Menominee/Oneida) man), and many stopped to see what we, as that diverse group, had to offer.

We explained that we were the next phase of diversity. If phase one was awareness, which encouraged people to respect differences, in phase two, we, as social scientists, identified what the differences were that you should respect.  And we do it with e-learning training modules.

I was surprised by the number of people from outside the U.S.  We met folks from Jerusalem, Antwerp, Seoul, and Johannesburg, to name a few.

There were visitors from corporations, health care, community organizations, and universities. They were looking for partnerships to drive important social change in their industries and communities.

I must admit, it was heartening to talk with so many folks from all over the world who are anxious to be agents of change around diversity and inclusion, who were excited to bring ideas and solutions back to share with others in their offices.

In these tough economic times, it was nice to have a more affordable way to help them do that with new technology.

Any of you who attended, I’d love to hear your take on the expo.