Welcome to Connect 5!
Connect 5 is the exclusive podcast from ATD Central Iowa bringing you the stories, insights and need-to-know information – right from the people who have it – to help you thrive in talent development.
Wherever you live and whatever you do, if you’re in the world of talent development, Connect 5 is here for you. In each episode, we’ll introduce you to someone new who’s got important stories and experiences to share. From training, to entrepreneurship, to leadership, instructional design and just about anything TD-related in-between, Connect 5 is a can’t-miss addition to your development library.
New episodes are released bi-weekly, starting Monday, May 15th!
Access and subscribe to Connect 5 through on your mobile device through Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. Or, just click the links below!
Meet the Host!
Adam Rich is currently serving as the 2023 President Elect for ATD Central Iowa, but by day, he's an Organizational Development Manager at Athene, USA, where he helps build and execute strategies to bring high-impact development opportunities to employees across the enterprise. With extensive experience in a variety of talent development roles, including training delivery, instructional design, eLearning development and leadership, Adam invites you to come along with him on a journey to both be entertained by and learn from the incredible stories and insights of our guests.
Interested in building your skills in editing, communication, marketing or sponsorship outreach? We're looking for volunteers to join our production team! Connect with Adam at email@example.com to learn more about how you can get involved.
Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc. is who you call when you're ready to do the hard work of leading yourself and leading others.
Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc. is on a mission to help leaders build and rebuild teams. Our goal is to empower leaders to understand and honor the beautiful complexity of the humans they serve. We create a safe, honest environment, preparing people to deal with real-world conflict, have more meaningful conversations, and create purposeful relationships. Working with CEOs, HR leaders, and organizations that care deeply about their employees and understand the connection between employee development, employee satisfaction, and organizational success, Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc. specializes in transforming relationships from good to great.
Through her work as an Executive Coach, an in-demand Keynote Speaker, Researcher, Contributor to Harvard Business Review, and Bestselling Author of "Don't Feed the Elephants", Sarah Noll Wilson helps leaders close the gap between what they intend to do and the actual impact they make. She hosts the podcast "Conversations on Conversations", is certified in Co-Active Coaching, Conversational Intelligence, and is a frequent guest lecturer at universities. In addition to her work with organizations, Sarah is a passionate advocate for mental health.
With 15+ years in leadership development, Sarah earned a Master's Degree from Drake University in Leadership Development and a BA from the University of Northern Iowa in Theatre Performance and Theatre Education - no wonder clients love the energy she brings to their teams! When she isn't helping people build and rebuild relationships, she enjoys playing games with her husband Nick and cuddling with their fur baby, Sally.
Todd McDonald founded ATW in 1999 after spending 15 years in various Human Resource and Training roles in industries such as finance, insurance, banking and manufacturing. He also served as Executive Vice President of American Media, Inc., the largest producer of training videos at the time with products in 72 countries and 27 languages.
With over 29 years of experience in HR - 20 of which in the talent development space, Kristin has worked for some amazing companies including Farm Bureau Financial Services, JP Morgan Chase, Principal, American Equity and now Pella Corporation. Her experience started with Executive Development, broadening to a leadership role focusing on a variety of aspects of employee development. With extensive experience building capabilities, from mentorship programs, change management, coaching and designing talent practices, Kristin is passionate about helping us know our people better and ensuring they have the right skills ready for the future.Apple Podcasts
Sara has been working in the performance improvement field in one way or another for over 20 years. Before working at Nationwide, she was a retail store manager and recruited, onboarded, trained, and developed talent. At Nationwide, she’s held multiple learning and performance focused roles, from training coordinator to material design and project management, now leading a team of training and quality professionals focused on performance improvement through results measurement, education, and coaching. Sara holds Masters degrees in Teaching and Learning with Technology as well as Media Design and she's currently working on a Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership.
Like many, Joey kind of tripped and fell into the world of talent development. He started his career in an entry-level operational role at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and was looking to take the next step “up the ladder” as soon as possible. A position opened up on the operations training team that supported his department and several others, and the rest was history.
At Wellmark, Joey was exclusively focused on operational or role-specific training, primarily for Wellmark’s claims staff, where he had the chance to lead a system implementation training project, help establish the onboarding and skill development plan for a brand new role, and take charge of Wellmark’s first attempt at operations-focused e-learning.
In 2018, he was offered the opportunity to join SHAZAM and truly help build an organizational development function from the ground up. It was an opportunity he simply couldn’t pass up. It was a blank slate, with a supportive leadership team, and an employee population that was ready for a more strategic approach to learning. Over his five years at SHAZAM, he crossed almost everything off the talent development bucket list: LMS implementation, content provider partnerships, employee experience programming, emerging leader cohorts, tenured leadership development strategies, succession planning, DEI strategy, mentoring, employee engagement surveys, performance management. Now, he’s looking forward to his next big opportunity.
Season 1, Episode 6 - Kai Gillespie
Kai has been in Learning & Development at IMT Insurance for over 6 years and in the Talent Development field for over 10 years. She stumbled into Talent Development after graduating from college in 2009. Having no job prospects due to being an Anthropology major in rural Iowa during a recession, she stumbled upon the Talent Development field.
Kai initially fell in love with instructional design while working at Brownells, Inc. and Farm Bureau. After being laid off (and receiving that spot on her TD career bingo card) she earned her Master’s of Science in Leadership Development from Drake University. During her time at Drake, she became focused on organizational development, culture, and making organizations people-focused, and has been able to practice her work (and musings) at IMT Insurance for the last 7 years.Apple Podcasts
Season 1, Episode 7 - Deidre Williams
Ms. Deidre N. Williams possesses 20 years in corporate learning and talent development. Throughout her diverse career, she has served in key leadership positions overseeing both domestic and international learning and development training strategies and solutions, project management and business/talent development endeavors with industry innovators Merck & Co., Intrepid Learning Solutions, Total System Services, Inc., and AFLAC. As a result, and achievement–oriented professional, Ms. Williams has attained extensive trainings and certifications from The Association of Talent Development (formerly the American Society of Training & Development), Harvard University, Development Dimensions International, PROSCI, the SCRUM Alliance, the London Image Institute and the American School of Protocol. She is both a Master Trainer and Master Facilitator and possesses certifications in Human Performance Improvement (HPI), Change Management (CCMP), Agile SCRUM (CSM), and Agile SCRUM Product Ownership (CSPO). In January of 2023, Deidre obtained her CDE (Certified Diversity Executive) credentialing from the Society for Diversity
In December of 2018, Deidre relocated to Des Moines, IA and brought her passion and vision for learning to EMC as the new Vice President – Learning and Development. In this role, Deidre oversaw all enterprise learning solutions to include: industry designations, professional development training, coaching, leadership development, virtual learning, change management and EMC University. With a fervent desire to align learning solutions with organizational priorities, Deidre and her team have been hyper-focused on ensuring transformative learning experiences for all EMC team members. In her words, “Learning and Development is laser focused on serving as trusted advisors and active consultative collaborators, engaging in design thinking and customer centricity in all learning solutions. in 2020, Deidre’s role expanded as she became Vice President - Organizational Effectiveness, overseeing enterprise learning solutions via Learning & Development, Leadership Development, EMC University, Talent Development, and Diversity Equity & Inclusion. Under Deidre’s leadership, in 2021, EMC Insurance Companies was recognized by Chief Learning Officer Magazine as a 2021 Learning Elite Organization.Apple Podcasts
Season 1, Episode 8 - Amy Pfeifer
Amy has been working in the world of talent development for about 15 years, starting her journey as a technical trainer onboarding new employees. Since then, she's held a broad range of learning and development roles and responsibilities: facilitation (technical and soft-skills), instructional design, curriculum development, consulting & training project management, development of new trainers, and formal leadership. Amy currently sits within Human Resources and runs programs and consults around the topics of skills and career development.
She has a Master's degree in Leadership Development from Drake University and is currently finishing a Ph.D in Education from Drake University, focused on adult learners. Amy is also an adjunct professor at Drake University and has taught courses on understanding self and others, global leadership, ethics & culture, and instructional design.Spotify
Season 1, Episode 9 - Gianna Pugliese
Originally from Chicago, Gianna moved to Des Moines in 2016 to pursue her MSEd in Literacy at Drake University. She started working with Adult ELLs in 2017 at Lutheran Services in Iowa, where she taught Beginning English to our newest neighbors who were illiterate in their native languages. In her 4 years at LSI, Gianna was also the adult Refugee Education Coordinator, overseeing the Education Department.
In 2021, she transitioned to the West Des Moines Community School District to advocate for foreign-born students and their families. Gianna is passionate about shifting the narrative from one that is deficit-focused towards a strengths-based lens where educators promote self-efficacy and humanity.Spotify