On Stage

Training 2020 Show-Wrap Up: In the Groove

Attendees stepped up their knowledge and skills at the Training 2020 Conference & Expo, Learning Leaders Summit, and Innovations in Training events held in February in Orlando, FL.

To see the full articles with photo coverage, visit: https://pubs.royle.com/publication/?m=20617&i=658424&p=42

A familiar but heartfelt chant resonated throughout the Training 2020 Conference & Expo and its co-located events, Learning Leaders Summit and Innovations in Training, held in February at Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando—one that was dramatically reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic that soon followed. “Training,” shouted one side of the Learning and Development professionals in the packed keynote ballroom. “Matters!” roared the other.

That theme was particularly hammered home by keynoter Jeff Skiles, who detailed the harrowing moments as he and U.S. Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger drew on all their skills and experience to safely land Flight 1549 in New York’s Hudson River.

The theme also was proclaimed on wristbands and pins given out at the keynotes and celebrated as attendees danced on stage and in the aisles during two of the sessions, highlighting the joy of learning, collaborating, and supporting each other.

Attended by 2,000-plus Learning and Development (L&D) professionals, the conference helped participants share best practices and sharpen their skills—many of which were put into immediate use less than a month later as employees began working and training remotely in the face of COVID-19— in 15 certificate programs, 17 hands-on clinics, 135-plus breakout sessions, Verizon’s 5G Experience Bus, the Training Technology Test Kitchen, VR/AR Pantry, the Brave New Workshop stage, and The Great Escape Room Experience by Geoteaming. Attendees also discovered the latest and greatest products and services from nearly 90 exhibitors in the Expo Hall.

Training matters! We are truly all in this together—every day, in every way!

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall… …Who has the best training programs of them all? The 2020 Training Top 125, of course!

Training magazine recognized the 2020 Training Top 125 winners with crystal awards and revealed their rankings during the Training Top 125 Reflections Gala held February 24 during the Training 2020 Conference & Expo at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, FL. Attended by more than 500 Training Top 125 representatives and Training Top 10 Hall of Famers, the black-tie gala was sponsored by Adobe, Brainier, Brella, Seiko, and the Training Top 10 Hall of Fame.

Retailer Dollar General Corporation, LLC, racked up its second consecutive #1 win, followed by MasTec Utility Services (#2), Best Buy (#3), BNSF Railway Company (#4), and United Shore (#5).

Some 31 new companies broke into the Top 125 this year. In addition, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World was inducted into the Training Top 10 Hall of Fame—which will add five new members in 2021 as Best Buy, BNSF Railway, Dollar General, Nationwide, and Sonic Automotive all attained their fourth consecutive year in the Top 10.

Earlier in the day, Training Top 125 Best Practice and Outstanding Training Initiative winners received crystal trophies during a ceremony on the Expo Stage (see below).


Training recognized innovative and successful learning and development programs and practices utilized by the 2020 Training Top 125 winners. Best Practice and Outstanding Training Initiative winners received crystal awards during a ceremony on the Expo Stage and were congratulated by Training Top 10 Hall of Famers Robin Renschen from McCarthy Building Companies and Mary Kay LaBrie from SCC Soft Computer. The winners are:


Avanade Inc.

BNSF Railway Company



Spectrum Health


AstraZeneca China

Dollar General Corporation, LLC

Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

Sonic Automotive Walden Security

Leaders Learning Together

Reflections on the Learning Leaders Summit from across the COVID-19 divide.

By Anna Tavis, Academic Director, Human Capital Management Program, NYU, and Rita Bailey, Founder, Up to Something

It feels like years since we gathered in late February at Training magazine’s Learning Leaders Summit in Orlando, FL. We came to celebrate learning, exchange ideas, and share the latest tools with a close-knit group of 75 Learning and Development (L&D) leaders. We reflected on the decade leading up to 2020, aligned priorities, and learned from and with each other.

Who knew that only a couple of weeks later, most of us would be in lockdown, social distancing, and turning to those same technologies that we projected to adopt further into the future? Today, we are experiencing an unprecedented acceleration of our vision by a generation.

For us at the summit, our human proximity was affirmed by the centering presence of Anne F. O’Reilly, a poet from Ireland, whose mission was to help us (re)discover our collective wisdom and vision. Anne read, in her soft voice, poems she chose to fit the moment and remind us of our shared humanity. In the words of poet Mary Oliver, Anne asked:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?”

Visa Chief Learning Officer Karie Willyerd kicked off the summit by revisiting the list of predictions she created a decade ago as co-author of “The 2020 Workplace.” Antoinette Klatzky revealed the Eileen Fisher Foundation’s unique approach to developing purposeful, future leaders.

On the second day, we met at the Center for Health & Wellbeing, where we engaged with thought-provoking stories from Mastercard, Microsoft, EY, UPS, Visa, AdventHealth Innovation Lab, PwC, and IBM. We reflected individually and in small groups, integrated future-focused strategies from our peers, and explored these major themes:

  • Innovation Meets Learning in Culture and Strategy
  • Engaging 2020 Learners
  • Creating Space for Wellness
  • Making Learning Coherent
  • Learning Skills for 2030

Looking back from across the COVID-19 divide, the coming together of L&D leaders in February now appears to have great prescience about the importance of our profession. As we learn to operate in a new kind of uncertain reality, training matters more than ever. Once the pandemic passes, there is going to be nothing more important than learning. We will need to reimagine, relearn, and rebuild how we can come together again and create a much better and more unified planet.

We have the skills, tools, and most importantly, the community. In the words of poet Anne F. O’Reilly:

“My gift to you is memory / lest you forget this naming / and the hope that in remembering / you may shape a new imagining / for this Earthball world of ours.”

To see the full articles with photo coverage, visit: https://pubs.royle.com/publication/?m=20617&i=658424&p=42


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