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Instructional Design | DEI& Belonging | Employee Engagement | Leading Learning | Look Forward Together

Bookmark this page for the latest and greatest updates including keynote & breakout speakers, venue, agenda and more

as we look forward to the big day on Tuesday, September 27th!


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2022 Keynote Speakers

Julie Dirksen 

  Keynote Session Topic: The Science of Attention & Engagement 

A number of myths persist about people’s allegedly ever-shortening attention spans—but what does the science say? Neuroscience, behavioral economics, and consumer psychology all offer insights into how we manage and allocate attention. Additionally, our ability to manage attention and focus seems to be related to our abilities to allocate willpower and influence how we make decisions.  In this session, you will learn what the current science says about how attention, willpower, and decision-making interact, and how that influences the design of digital and learning environments.


In this session Julie will discuss:

  • how cognitive load memory functions influence attention 
  • how we allocate and manage attention 
  • how to engage learners’ attention and manage distraction 

    About Julie Dirksen

    Julie is an independent consultant and instructional designer with more than 15 years of experience creating highly interactive e-learning experiences for clients from Fortune 500 companies and technology startups to grant-funded research initiatives.

    She has a degree in Instructional Systems Technology, and a whole lot of background in things like UX design, game-based learning, and behavior change.

    She's also been an adjunct faculty member in the Visualization Department at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where she has created and taught courses in project management, instructional design, and cognitive psychology.

    Megan Torrance & Jessica Jackson of Torrance Learning

    Keynote Session Topic: L&D's Role in Cultivating Racial Equity in the Workplace

    In this session Megan & Jessica will unpack:

    • how we work with each other in more compassionate ways
    • how we design learning to be compassionate to learners
    • how we consider our identities in our work and how that supports equity being both compassionate to ourselves in our journey as well as to others around us

    About Megan Torrance, Chief Energy Officer, Torrance Learning

    Megan brings over 2 decades of consulting, instructional design, and project management experience to the team. Not only does Megan facilitate our LLAMA® and instructional design workshops, but she also supports our clients with project kickoffs to make sure each project has clear direction. She is devoted to delivering outstanding work to our clients and creating a top-notch work environment based on trust, flexibility, compassion and fun.

    About Jessica Jackson, M.Ed, MBA, Torrance Learning

    Jess is an instructional designer, writer, speaker and has over 15 years’ experience as a Diversity Peer Educator. She is the author of TorranceLearning’s curriculum Cultivating Racial Equity in the Workplace (CREW) a holistic microlearning training program that addresses barriers to equity in the workplace using evidence-informed best practices from social psychology research. She has worked within a myriad of educational contexts addressing access, retention, and success of diverse learners, and her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has been recognized at the international level. Her expertise in strategic planning, data and assessment,  and program development coupled with her dynamic facilitation and training skills have enabled her to create sustainable impact within large education-focused organizations, and her work has been featured on platforms such as Mic, TedX, Michigan Advance, Learning Solutions Magazine, ACPA, among others. Jess is a graduate of the University of Michigan concentrating in Sociology with a sub concentration in Economy, Business and Society.

     Breakout Sessions

    Bonus Breakout Session Coming Soon!

    Julie Dirksen

    Description Coming Soon

    Content Knowledge or Deduction Skills: Creating Measurable Assessments

    Cara North

    Description Coming Soon

    Making Technical Training Pop!

    Gayliene Omary

    Every company has some sort of technical training i.e., computer software, new hire training, machinery training, and even compliance training. Many believe that it must be boring because it is so technical. A learner can say "it is a waste of time". They generally tune out until there is something that is relevant or useful. Like, they know someone is making popcorn, but aren't really interested until they smell it cooking. Untrained or under-trained employees can cost you time and money.

    You will leave this session inspired to make your own technical training pop, through tested principals, content creation, shaking up current theories and applying it to your trainings, just like making a bowl of popcorn*.

    Using five tested delivery components for technical training, you will discover how they can be used throughout all the delivery options: Virtual, In-Person, eLearning or using them in combination. Explore design principals that help generate active learning avenues, by applying less design and more activity. Allow the active learning design to seed the knowledge and drive the skills. Evaluate the application of these principals to your technical training and observe the pop.

    *Not made with peanut oil, for those with allergies.

    Gayliene Omary has been gleefully employed as a "Trainer" for 8 years. She is currently a Lead Application Instructor with the business writing team at Ice Mortgage Technology, where she facilitates and designs mortgage software training for administrators and end users, writes software workflow guides, as well as policies and procedures for the eStore. Training is truly her passion, making sure the learners "get it" is her joy. She has been awarded a lifetime President's Volunteer Service pin and numerous other awards through Toast Masters International. Gayliene is not afraid to shake things up in the technical training world. She shares that bold innovative spirit and inspires others to shake it up, too.

    Accessible Design

    Description Coming Soon

    Who Moved My Classroom? Going Virtual & Hybrid for Trainers

    Dr. Bill Brantley

    Are you one of the thousands of trainers who had to shift their training online in just a few weeks?  Are you continuing to face the challenge of helping your staff create and deliver virtual training? Are you learners suffering from "Zoom/Teams/hybrid fatigue?" Participants in this session will leave with a project plan template for managing online conferences, checklists, and tips for making online training interactive and enhancing the usual webinar experience with virtual experiential activities using tools like Google Docs.  Dr. Bill Brantley, longtime government learning and development professional, will help you navigate the new reality of online and hybrid training. He will share his experiences from assisting a department of 13 learning and development professionals shift rapidly to moving all training online for all 13,000+ employees at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as well as demonstrate how he managed a four-day leadership forum for nearly 1,300 supervisors/managers, four nationally known keynote speakers, and 49 breakout sessions. He will discuss proven methods for developing and delivering hybrid training. 

    Dr. Bill Brantley is the President and Chief Learning Officer of Brantley Advanced Social Science Applications (BAS2A). Dr. Brantley was awarded the 2019 Emerging Training Leader by Training Magazine and is an IPMA-HR SCP, a Certified Professional in Talent Development, an ROI certified professional, a certified data scientist, and a Certified Professional in Training Management. He is a certified Project Management Professional, a certified agile project manager, an accredited professional in business analysis, and is certified in Disciplined Agile. He has completed over 200 hours of coaching training from the Neuroleadership Institute, the American Confidence Institute, emotional intelligence coaching, and the Global Team Coaching Institute. Dr. Brantley is an adjunct faculty member for the University of Louisville (20+ years) and the University of Maryland (8+ years). He is the author of the Persuasive Project Manager (2019) and Four Scenarios for the Future of the Federal Government (2019).


    Bonus Breakout Session: Compassionate Learning & DEI

    Jess Jackson & Megan Torrance

    Description Coming Soon

    Profile photo of Katie Ensinger Giles

    Talent Mobility

    Katie Ensinger Giles

    Description Coming Soon

    Leadership for a New World: Lessons from a Reiki Master

    Ashley Barnes

    What if we’ve actually been doing leadership all wrong?  In this session, Ashley Barnes will share her unique insights as both a corporate L&D professional AND a “Reiki Master” that can help us A) break free of old models, and B) bring forth holistic approaches to integrate healthier, more impactful and inclusive, and human-centered strategies for growth. For everyone. 

    It’s becoming clearer than ever that modern leadership demands more than the tired, old top-down, productivity-based, corporate paradigm where leaders are “in charge.”  It demands more than a focus on force-fitting outward behavior into a prescribed set of skills or competencies that attempt to define success for people. We can do better. And we must do better, which is why we’re here.

    Ashley Castle Barnes has a passion for helping leaders and organizations develop healthier, more impactful, inclusive, and human-centered strategies for growth. Integrating her unique insights as a corporate learning and development leader, holistic coach, and Reiki Master/Teacher, she believes that leadership is an “inside job”, and as such, she draws on her rich and varied experiences to teach practices that help leaders spark valuable transformations and have a greater impact without depleting themselves in the process. To learn more about Ashley, buy one of her books, join a program, or book her to speak, visit her website at ashleycastlebarnes.com.

    Scale Your Influence

    Vivian Blade

    Do you lack the confidence in your ability to influence? Influence across all levels of the organization has never been more important for success. SCALE Your Influence provides a roadmap of five powerful principles to sharpen your influence at 360┬║ scale – ‘from’ and ‘to’ any level.  Especially when not in an official position of power, you may not view yourself as a strong influencer, and, therefore, lack the confidence that you can be the conduit to change. However, the influence that can be generated without positional power has the greatest potential for impact.

    Influence is often thought of as being highly visible and large scale. Yet, you’re called upon in sometimes subtle ways every day to influence the people and the environment around you. The compound effect of small instances of influence can make the greatest impact in your workplace, in your community, and in your home. Based on her upcoming book, Influence, published by the Association for Talent Development, this interactive program inspires professionals in growing personal influence and developing influence within your organizations, as Vivian pulls back the curtain on the details of each of the five principles with specific actions for you to SCALE your INFLUENCE for impact.

    Vivian is a prolific writer whose articles, featured in a number of professional, industry, and business publications, and published books have helped thousands of professionals succeed. Her #1 best-selling book Resilience Ready: The Leader’s Guide to Thriving Through Unrelenting Crises reveals the key to living and leading with resilience. FuelForward: Discover Proven Practices to Fuel Your Career Forward reveals the inside secrets of career success. And her upcoming book, Influence, unpacks how to SCALE this essential skill for greater impact. She also is a contributor to two additional books published by the Association for Talent Development “Find Your Fit: A Practical Guide to Landing a Job You’ll Love“, and “Work the Problem: How Experts Tackle Workplace Challenges”.


    Jacque Saltsman

    Description Coming Soon