Meet the Team

Meet the Team: Amanda & Alex

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Meet our Client Solutions Partner, North America, Amanda and Alex, our Chief Delivery Officer as they talk about their career path and our topic of the month: ROI in L&D.

Published alongside is our article available now on our Blog: The Evolving World Of ROI For Learning And Development


Hey Alex! Hey Amanda! I think it’s our turn this month. If I recall, I think this is maybe 10 years since our paths first crossed paths. There are not many people that I could say I’ve worked with for 10 years! How did you end up in L&D? 

This actually goes back to my first “job” job after a meandering career through the arts. I was actually looking for a business development job and found Dale Carnegie, and hunted them down until I got a job. I’ve been in leadership

development ever since actually, that led the way over to the Apollo Leadership Experience and all of our other leadership experiences. How did you get to work in L&D? 

I had spent about 12 years working in the video production and film space when at the time, the conference board was looking for support here in Houston for the Apollo Leadership Experience. That created this really fantastic space to sort of learn L&D in real-time. I got a chance to sit in on, I think, probably now up to 150 different programs. It’s been just over four years and I’ve really begun to get a deeper and better understanding of leadership development, what our offerings are, and what our solutions are for clients. 

When you think about what we do and how we serve our clients, where do you see the biggest impact? I want to read you a piece of feedback. You know, we’ve done a number of different deliveries, a lot of it virtual, but we did one just in the last couple of weeks for a client where we dropped them into songwriting. This is a heavy equipment manufacturer – songwriting is not what they do in their day job. What people said was that the activity was unique and fun, so that was a plus, but the content was different than what we normally see, so I actually learned something new. I didn’t just have something reinforced and I like to think that we offer a space that gets people uncomfortable. We see that change, and people believe very much in that change because they’re telling us “I’m going to change the way I do business when I go back”.  

So, Amanda, from your perspective, where do you believe lies the biggest impact or return on investment (ROI) for our clients? It depends on the client, knowing what type of ROI they’re looking for. If you’re starting with “I know the things that we’re trying to achieve” at the end, not only are you more likely to achieve the end results, but you’re also setting yourself up knowing what you need to measure. They don’t necessarily need to know what fills in the blank because we can help with that. 

So for instance, if you’re thinking about resilience, resilience is one of those things that you can measure in different stages, but you almost always need some form of adversity. It comes in the outcomes later, it doesn’t come the day you leave the program – there needs to be a shift in this mentality, in thinking about this question, “What is ROI for L&D in our organization?”. It’s about really tying those development programs and initiatives to their own meaning, and for me, that’s the most exciting thing about this conversation. 

The conversation around return on investment is encouraging leaders to take a new approach and a new perspective on what that return looks like for them – for something that is so complex as to involve the change in the human condition. You know what else is interesting, many times we don’t even know what is at the end, it’s almost like we’re giving them the map-making tools. The outcome will be that they just know they need to explore, and we take them on that journey and then they draw their map.

Top 3 Points Made

Based on the video transcript, the top three points made are:

  1. Diverse Backgrounds Leading to L&D Careers: Both speakers, Alex and Amanda, discuss their unique paths leading to careers in Leadership and Development (L&D). Alex transitioned from a career in the arts and business development to L&D through Dale Carnegie, while Alex’s journey involved 12 years in video production and film before moving into L&D. These diverse backgrounds contributed to their comprehensive understanding and approach to L&D.
  1. Impact of L&D on Clients and Change Management: They highlight the significant impact of L&D on clients, particularly through innovative approaches like incorporating songwriting for a heavy equipment manufacturer. This method was not only unique and fun but also effective in teaching new concepts rather than just reinforcing old ones. Alex emphasizes the importance of getting people out of their comfort zones to facilitate real change, with clients expressing intentions to change their business practices as a result.
  1. ROI and Customization in L&D Programs: Amanda discusses the importance of understanding the specific Return on Investment (ROI) that clients are looking for in L&D. She stresses the need for starting with clear goals and outcomes in mind, allowing for more effective measurement and achieving desired results. The conversation also touches on the concept of resilience as a measurable outcome in L&D, highlighting the need for a shift in thinking about ROI in terms of long-term development and change, rather than immediate results. The idea that L&D is a journey where the final outcome may not be initially clear, but the process itself is valuable, is also discussed.

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