2020 Emerging Training Leader Winners

Training magazine Announces the 25 Winners of Its 2020 Emerging Training Leaders Awards.


Lorri Freifeld


Minneapolis (September 8, 2020) –Training magazine named the winners of its 2020 Emerging Training Leaders awards, recognizing 25 training professionals who inspired and engaged their organizations with exceptional leadership skills, business acumen, and innovation. The winners have been in the industry for two to 10 years and have demonstrated stellar leadership skills, business savvy, and training instincts. These professionals will be profiled in the March 2021 issue of Training magazine and online at www.trainingmag.com, and they will be honored at an awards ceremony on February 23, 2021, at Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort during the Training 2021 Conference & Expo in Orlando, FL.

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 nearly 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 3 and 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

In addition, Training created an “Emerging Training Leaders to Watch” list, which features five up-and-coming professionals who didn’t receive an award this year, but who are well on their way to becoming future Emerging Training Leaders.

The judges included:

  • Cyndi Bruce, Executive Director, KPMG Business School – U.S.
  • Cecelia Chott, Executive Director, Content Services, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World
  • Tina Claure, Senior Learning Strategist and Curriculum Manager, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Daniel J. Goepp, Managing Director, Learning & Development, PwC
  • Vicente Gonzalez, Vice President, Global Learning & Employee Development, MAXIMUS
  • Quin Harward, Manager, Learning & Development, CHG Healthcare
  • Jim Harwood, former VP, University of Farmers, Farmers Insurance
  • Graham Johnston, Leader, Talent Development Strategy & Innovation, Deloitte LP
  • Bruce I. Jones, Senior Cast Development and QA Director, Disney Institute
  • Mary Kay LaBrie, Professional Development Specialist, SCC Soft Computer
  • Meredith Maples, Senior Manager, Training, Keller Williams University, Keller Williams Realty, Inc.
  • Robin Renschen, Director, Learning and Development, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
  • Ross Tartell, Ph.D., former Manager, Learning & Development – North America, GE Capital Real Estate
  • Lou Tedrick, Vice President, Global Learning & Development, Verizon
  • Helen Walsh, Learning Experience, Incubation and Design, Americas Learning, EY
  • Lauren Westerdale, Training Coordinator, Human Performance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
  • Lorri Freifeld, Editor-in-Chief, Training magazine

“The 2020 Emerging Training Leaders are a guiding light as they continue to help their organizations face and conquer the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty,” says Lorri Freifeld, editor-in-chief of Training magazine. “They created innovative solutions for remote learning; communicated with teams and employees suddenly working from home; and managed and trained with trust, empathy, and transparency. They are true leaders in every sense of the word.”

Training magazine 2020 Emerging Training Leaders


  • Rita Bragadesto, Principal Learning Specialist, PPD
  • Andrew Heifetz, Senior Manager, Global Technical Enablement and Education, Akamai Technologies, Inc.
  • Keith Lillico, eLearning Manager, Karmak
  • Jaime Snelgrove, Consultant, Notion Navigator, Think Up Consulting
  • Alicia Williamson, Senior Organizational Development Trainer/eLearning Designer, AAA Northeast

2020 20 WINNERS

  • Jonathan Arteza-Acosta, Manager, Enterprise Learning & Personal Development, Clinical Systems and Services, SCL Health
  • Julia Bayona, Associate Director, Learning & Development, Neo Media World
  • Christine Bednarz, Senior Associate, Instructional Designer, KPMG LLP
  • JoEllen Click, Client Education Manager, FIS
  • Daniel Geske, Learning & Development Consultant, DGC Training
  • Amanda Harper, Training Instructor, Sierra Army Depot – Department of Defense
  • Kristina Johnson, Divisional Training Manager, Dollar General Corporation
  • Kevin Levine, Training Manager, State of Arizona/Department of Economic Security/Office of Professional Development
  • Ana Manso, Trainer/Coach, Kiwi.com
  • Dominic Mentor, Former Director of Employee Training & Client Learning, Mezocliq LLC
  • Wendy Moore, Team Leader, Underwriting Training, United Shore Financial Services
  • Michaela Murajdova, Team Manager, Learning Programs, Kiwi.com
  • Laura Sayers, Senior Learning and Development Specialist, Spectrum Health
  • Ezzy Schesvold, Senior Instructional Designer, Karmak
  • Corey Self, Director of Operational Excellence, Hayes Locums
  • Carla Smith, Quality Monitoring Specialist, Arlington Community Federal Credit Union
  • Whitney Smith, Training and Development Manager, G Squared Wireless
  • Trey Stanfill, Lead Corporate Trainer, ArcBest
  • Robert Tedeschi, Staff VP, Learning, CareMore Health
  • Scott Tremaine, Team Lead, IT Training, United Shore Financial Services


  • Adam Collins, Talent and Development Lead, EPB
  • Dorothy Deming, Director, Education, Content and Operations, American Management Association
  • Anita Hurst, Tech Training Consultant, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO)
  • Tom Rochefort, Manager, Learning Solutions, HRdownloads
  • Ben Schneider, Director, Sales Training & Development, Badger Liquor

About Training magazine

Training is a 56-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. Trainingalso 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
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.