ATD November Volunteer Event Recap
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Volunteers are the life blood of ATD. That's the message that rang out at the ATD NYC Volunteer Recognition event on November 10.
The New York City chapter of the Association for Talent Development (ATD NYC) has always relied on volunteers. But this was the first time the chapter had held a special event honoring them.
Sarah Tennyson, chapter VP of Talent Management, arranged the celebration. "With events like this," she said, "we give people who are so generous with their time and talent a full sense of how much we appreciate them."
Theresa Dinh, outgoing chapter President, opened the proceedings and spoke first. She said in addition to providing recognition, the evening was designed to give volunteers the opportunity to meet one other and learn about each other's work.
Theresa went on to explain how the chapter in 2016 had reversed its approach to volunteering. Previously, chapter leaders would identify the needs of the chapter, then try to find people to meet those needs. Now everything starts with the volunteers themselves. Chapter leaders ask volunteers what they would like to do. They then try to find ways for those individuals to perform those tasks in service to the chapter.
After Theresa's remarks, each volunteer received a handsome certificate in a ceremony.
Finally, there was a speed-networking activity, led by Margaret Clarkson, incoming chapter President. Here's how it worked. Attendees randomly broke themselves into pairs. Each pair was given a topic, which they discussed for five minutes.
After five minutes, everyone moved to a new partner and received a new topic. Some topics were work-related, some were not. Examples: Tell each other about a film you love. Tell each other about a vacation you are planning. Tell each other how you got into Learning & Development.
Your humble author was an enthusiastic speed-networking participant. We all know that chit-chatting with strangers is usually quite awkward and slow-going. With the structure of this exercise, attendees didn't have to search for things to talk about and were able to move around the room much more quickly than would normally be the case. I loved it. I made several new friends in the chapter that I'm sure I will see again both professionally and personally. I hope to see speed-networking at chapter events in the future.
Final note: My volunteer work for the chapter includes writing articles such as this. And I truly appreciate the gratitude shown to me through this celebration.
If you would like to volunteer, please visit the Volunteer section of the chapter website and reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.