2017 Emerging Training Leader Winners

Training magazine announces the 25 Winners of Its 2017 Emerging Training Leaders Awards.


Lorri Freifeld


Minneapolis (May 9, 2017)Training magazine named the winners of its 2017 Emerging Training Leaders awards, recognizing 25 training professionals who inspired and engaged their organizations with stellar leadership skills, business acumen, and innovation. The winners have been in the industry for two to 10 years and have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills, business savvy, and training instincts. These professionals are profiled in the May/June 2017 issue of Training magazine and online at www.trainingmag.com, and they will be honored at an awards ceremony in February 2018 at the Georgia World Congress Center during the Training 2018 Conference & Expo in Atlanta, GA.

All Emerging Training Leader candidates had to be nominated by co-workers or industry peers. Training Editorial Advisory Board members and the editor-in-chief judged the 50 nominations and chose the 25 winners based on the following factors:

  • Has been in the training industry for a minimum of two years but no more than 10 years
  • Took on at least one new responsibility in the last year
  • Successfully led a large-scale training/learning and development initiative within the last year that required management/leadership of a group of people and resulted in the achievement of a corporate strategic goal (with results provided for Kirkpatrick Levels 1-4)
  • Demonstrates specific leadership qualities
  • Has the potential to lead the Training or Learning & Development function at an organization in the next one to 10 years

The judges included:

  • Tina Ayres, Learning Strategist, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Kenneth Barber, Manager, Learning and Development, Jiffy Lube International, Inc.
  • Brent Bloom, VP, Service Operations & Training, Applied Materials
  • Cyndi Bruce, Executive Director, KPMG Business School – U.S.
  • Debra Dalmand, Director, Americas Learning, EY
  • Art Dobrucki, Director, Performance & Logistics, University of Farmers, Farmers Insurance
  • Debra Fine, Vice President, Talent Management and Organizational Development, and Jodi Lynne Blanch, Senior Director, Talent Management, Capital BlueCross
  • Daniel J. Goepp, Managing Director, Learning & Development, PwC
  • Vicente Gonzalez, Senior Director, Global Training, MAXIMUS
  • Glenn Hughes, Senior Director, Learning & Development, KLA-Tencor
  • Graham Johnston, Talent Development – Best Practices & Innovation, Deloitte Services LP
  • Bruce I. Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute
  • Nancy J. Lewis, former CLO and VP, ITT Corporation, and former VP, Learning, IBM
  • Myra Pettis, Director, Educational Service, SCC Soft Computer
  • Marc Ramos, Learning & Development, Google Fiber
  • Robin Renschen, Director, Learning and Development, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
  • Ann Schulte, Director/Global Practice Leader, Procter & Gamble
  • Zach Sumsion, Manager, Learning & Development, CHG Healthcare
  • Ross Tartell, Ph.D., former Manager, Learning & Development – North America, GE Capital Real Estate
  • Lou Tedrick, Vice President, Global Learning & Development, Verizon
  • Matthew Valencius, Manager, Instructional Design & Development, IBM Center for Advanced Learning
  • Lorri Freifeld, Editor-in-Chief, Training magazine

“‘People are an organization’s most valuable asset,’ the saying goes. And that is certainly true of the 2017 Emerging Training Leaders, who possess finely honed soft skills, business acumen, and a collaborative mindset that produce bottom-line results for their organizations,” says Lorri Freifeld, editor-in-chief of Training magazine.

Adds Emerging Training Leader Judge Art Dobrucki, “The learning industry has a bright future with this caliber of Emerging Training Leaders. They demonstrate an impressive array of talents—from innovative uses of technology, networking savvy with leadership inside their organization and externally in the industry, and willingness to challenge status-quo approaches to learning.”

Training magazine 2017 Emerging Training Leaders


Tina Claure
Senior Learning Strategist and Curriculum Manager
Booz Allen Hamilton

Robin Ridenour
Training Manager
Music & Arts

Jennifer Schoborg
Senior Manager, Client Service Quality & Learning Operations

Aaron Searcy
Senior Consultant, Curriculum Design
CVS Health

Samantha Wilson
Senior Manager, Training and Development
Dollar General Corporation

2017 20 WINNERS

Bonnie Bivens
Business Performance Specialist

Mike Blahnik
Project Manager and Performance Consultant
Innovative Learning Group, Inc.

Rachel Daubert
Training Development Specialist
Concord Management

Ludovic Fourrage
Director, Digital Learning

Heather Geiger
Learning & Talent Development Senior Manager, Accenture Strategy

Heather Grant
Director, Corporate Training

Shannon M. Harris
Corporate Training Manager
NRL Mortgage

Jacqueline Houtekier
Experience Development Manager 
Vibrant Credit Union 

Lairah Lent
Delivery Supervisor, OptumRx Learning Services
OptumRx, a UnitedHealthcare Group Company

John C. Marinaro
Divisional Training Manager

Leslie A. Mason
Enterprise Learning Operations Lead

Tess Moeller
Leadership and Organizational Development Consultant
Avera Health

Jen Mullin
Organizational Change Director
Sonic Automotive

Alex Nevels
Learning Lead
Think Up Consulting

Sarah Shytlla
Learning & Organization Development Advisor
Mayo Clinic

Megan Taylor
Research Associate
University of Oklahoma/U.S. National Weather Service Training Center

Amber Thompson
Performance and Learning Consultant
Eaton Corporation, Plc

Charlotte Tran
Training & Development Coordinator
Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB)

Erin E. Villagra
AVP/Senior Corporate Trainer
Peapack-Gladstone Bank

Kaylen Wood
Former Training and Development Manager
PennWell Corporation
Currently Consultant
Hogan Assessments

About Training magazine

Training is a 53-year-old professional development magazine written for training, human resources and business management professionals in all industries that advocate training and workforce development as a business tool. Training also produces world-class conferences, expositions, and digital products that focus on job-related, employer-sponsored training and education in the working world. Training is published by Lakewood Media Group.

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.