Sparks of Inspiration

A salute to 25 extraordinary training professionals who have been in the training industry for two to 10 years and have demonstrated stellar growth in leadership skills, business acumen, and innovation.

My husband and I are fireworks junkies (watching the displays, not setting them off, that is). Throughout the summer, we plot our course, from the Long Beach boardwalk to Point Lookout, from Massapequa Park to the Long Island Ducks ballgame in Islip—and on our vacation to Myrtle Beach, we hit the Second Avenue Pier, Broadway at the Beach, and Barefoot Landing. There’s just something awe-inspiring about the glittering cascades of color and thunderous noise. And each year, the displays just get bigger and better. The same can be said about the winners of our Emerging Training Leaders (ETL) awards program—hence the image I chose for this issue’s cover and the opener to the profiles of the 25 winners. We salute these extraordinary training professionals, who have been in the training industry for two to 10 years and have demonstrated stellar growth in leadership skills, business acumen, and innovation.

“Reading the nominations was a burst of energy!” exclaims ETL Judge Matthew Valencius, manager of Instructional Design & Development at Training Top 10 Hall of Famer IBM Center for Advanced Learning. “It is inspirational—and terrific for the future of our profession—to read the stories of so many interesting leaders designing so much wonderful learning for their colleagues and organizations.”

The path to becoming an effective Training leader is not always an easy one. In “Developing Learning Leaders,” Training Top 125 winners such as Iron Mountain, MGM Resorts, Health Decisions CRO+, and Miami Children’s Hospital offer their tips on providing budding Training leaders with the tools they need to grow and succeed.

Organizations today can’t afford to underestimate the power of making smart decisions about who to place in leadership positions and how to develop those individuals, according to Development Dimensions International (DDI) and The Conference Board’s leadership study, The Global Leadership Forecast 2014 | 2015. Check out “Seeing Leadership Differently” for exclusive results and insights from the research—including ingredients of leadership agility, development methods for different levels of leadership, and the impact of competency modeling approaches on leadership engagement.

I hope to hear about your approaches to leadership development in training in the 2016 Training Top 125 application, which is available for download now at:

In addition, I hope you will submit a two-minute video clip of your most effective and engaging training video for our 2nd Annual Top Training Video (Ttv) awards program. The Top 3 training videos in two categories (produced in-house or by outside vendor) selected by our panel of expert judges will be shown at a special dinner/dance (with a Back to the Future vibe) during our Online Learning Conference (OLC) October 6-8 in Denver, where participants will choose the top winner in each category. Visit to apply.

Even if you don’t submit a Ttv entry, I urge you to consider attending OLC as it is our first “flipped” conference. Participants get full access to customized online content a month before the event. On-site, master-class facilitators will provide in-the-moment coaching and problem solving, plus lead immersive sessions such as the eLearning Maker Faire and hands-on clinics. Come on and join me on the flipped side!

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.