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Kimberly Isley-Pesto, MATD - 2015 Recipient

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Kimberly Isley-Pesto is a Director of Safety Training and Development at National Express LLC. She has extensive experience working with all organizational levels creating, promoting, and delivering training solutions designed to support the organization’s business plan. Kimberly is passionate about creating an interactive and enjoyable business environment that supports learning. 

Why did you apply for the award?
Over the course of two years, in Roosevelt University’s Master of Training and Development program I had the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of interacting with others who personally knew and had learned from Dr. Deborah Colky. She was passionate, tenacious and committed to the success of others in their learning of the principles, concepts and application of adult learning and development. I applied for this award to further promote and bring greater awareness to Dr. Colky’s legacy and why we as workplace learning professionals should continue to seek and participant in programs that will build and enhance our competencies.

How did winning the award impact your career?
I am extremely grateful to be a recipient of the Dr. Deb Colky award.  The immediate impact has been the confirmation and recognition of being a leader within the field of adult learning and performance. This award has bolstered my confidence and furthered my credibility as a learning and development professional. It has expanded my professional network within ATDChi which has afforded me invaluable access to the expertise and experience of other learning professionals in the greater Chicago area.

What advice can give for anyone considering applying for the award?

    Start by knowing your audience - Become a member of ATDChi, attend networking events and serve as a volunteer. Seek out previous winners of the award to gain their insights on how the award has benefited them. 

    Dedicate several days to reflect, write and revise – Begin on your application early, begin a month ahead of when you think you should get started. This will allow you plenty of time to craft the main points you want to get across and not have to rush.

    Write from the heart – Make it personal and passionate - The purpose of the application is to convince the award committee that you’re the one they have been looking for. When you answer the questions in the application, don’t forget to include specific examples that illustrate your main ideas and beliefs about learning and performance.  

How do you communicate and inspire others about our profession and this award?
I plan to collaborate with Roosevelt University, ATDChi and Mike Colky to create a film that will tell the story of Dr. Deb Colky and how her contributions have served a catalyst for students to continue strive for improvement when it comes to learning and development in the workplace and within an academic setting. 

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Eric Hahn - 2014 Recipient


Eric Hahn is a journalist and graphic designer with more than a decade of professional experience. He earned his master's degree in training and development from Roosevelt University in 2015.

Hahn is a designer-editor at the Chicago Tribune, and he has experience in just about every aspect of the news industry. Aside from his background in writing, editing, photography, and design, Hahn has several years' experience as a manager, team leader, and college publication advisor.


Why did you apply for the award?
This field has few scholarships—that I know of­—so I was excited to learn about it. The monetary award was the first thing that got my attention, but through the application process, I learned about Deb and her legacy in the training and development industry, as well as at Roosevelt University.

How did winning the award impact your career?
Well, it was pretty recent, but I have made many new connections through my membership at ATDChi. Networking is priceless. Also, it's a great opportunity to work with Mike Colky on furthering the scholarship's mission.

What advice can give for anyone considering applying for the award?
Go for it. Learn about Deb and her talent and enthusiasm. Most of all, think about how you can transfer her story to your own career.

How do you communicate and inspire others about our profession and this award?
Mike Colky and I are going implement ways to further promote this award and inform people about who Deb was. While I was applying for the award, there wasn't much on the web about Deb. I learned a lot about her by talking with my professors at Roosevelt, but I'd like to get those stories and her history to a wider audience.

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Adrianne Claybrooks - 2013 Recipient  

    Adrianne  has 10 years of experience in project and event management. As a manager in a midsize professional services firm, Adrianne supports the design and delivery of training programs focused on leadership and business development. Adrianne is pursuing her degree in organizational development at DePaul University and expects to graduate in 2016.

    Why did you apply for the award?
    A colleague, who is also a member of ATDChi, forwarded me the information. I had recently joined ATDChi and returned to school.

    How did winning the Award impact your career?
    I have increased my network within the learning and training industry. After meeting several members of ATDChi, I joined the mentoring committee and have helped create website content and contributed to revamping the mentoring program.

    What advice can you give for anyone considering applying for the award?
    I suggest the individual does a bit of research on both Deb Colky and ATDChi, if they’re not already familiar. Deb’s commitment to learning continues to have an impact on several aspects of the learning and training profession. 

    How do you communicate and inspire others about our profession and this award?
    I encourage many colleagues and classmates to join professional networks, primarily ATDChi, to assist them in broadening their knowledge of learning methods. I also invite them to webinars and share articles or discussions posted through LinkedIn.

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    Reggie Jackson, Ed.D. - 2012 Recipient 

    Reginald (Reggie) Jackson has worked in the L&D for many years, first training new hires and then facilitating classes during his early years in banking at Harris Bank. Reggie joined LaSalle Bank as training consultant while finishing his master’s degree in instructional design at Roosevelt University. He transitioned to Bank of America as an instructional designer after the merger with LaSalle Bank. He then worked at CCIM while completing his doctorate degree in adult education. He now works at University of Chicago as an academic technology analyst.

    Reggie has been a member of ATDChi since he was in graduate school. It was after he received the Deb Colky Award in 2012 that he took a more active role in the organization. He joined the board in 2013 as director of university relations.

    Why did you apply for the award?
    I remember seeing the email that the submission deadline was approaching, and I was in the final year of my doctoral studies, and I thought that I could at least apply for the award.
    I was familiar with the award from being a member of ATDChi (formerly CCASTD) and Deb Colky was my advisor and professor when I was in the master’s program in training and development at Roosevelt. Her name and the role she played during my studies at Roosevelt made applying an honor.

    How did winning the award impact your career?
    My interaction with ATDChi changed dramatically from a member to me becoming more involved in the organization. This honor of being selected for this award named after Deb Colky made me want to get more involved in the organization.
    I became an ATDChi member while in graduate school because Dr. Colky talked to us about the importance of professional organizations. After winning the award, I volunteered to assist the Mentoring Committee, then joined the board as director of university relations.

    What advice can give for anyone considering applying for the award?
    It doesn’t hurt anything to apply, and the process of speaking about yourself gives you an opportunity to evaluate how you currently contribute to the field. It’s an eye-opening experience to answer these questions about yourself related to what you do in the field.

    How do you communicate and inspire others about our profession and this award?
    I communicate to my network of students and colleagues about the award. In my role as director of university relations, I also make sure the schools know about the submission period. I talk about my experience knowing Deb Colky and how winning this award was an honor and changed how I contribute to the field.

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    Maureen Caspers - 2011 Recipient


    Maureen Caspers began her career in learning & development at Computer Training Source Inc. in Chicago. Over the next seven years, Maureen became involved in the Chicagoland L&D community, which ultimately led her to DePaul University where she completed her master of arts in educating adults. Shortly after graduating in June 2013, Maureen applied for and accepted a position in the Learning, Education, and Development Department at Valero Energy in San Antonio as a training and development advisor. Her experience in Chicagoland, her DePaul master’s degree, her involvement with ATDChi (then CCASTD), and being a recipient of the Deb Colky Award were instrumental in her career.

    Why did you apply for the Deb Colky award?
    I was completing the first quarter of my master of arts in educating adults at DePaul University when my program mentor suggested that I apply for the Deb Colky Award. After learning more about Deb Colky, the award, and ATDChi, I decided to apply.

    How did winning the Deb Colky Award impact your career?
    Winning the Deb Colky Award helped me grow my network as an early career learning and development professional. Coincidentally, at the monthly ATDChi dinner meeting where I received the award, I also met my future mentor for my master’s program final project. Additionally, I was able to discuss winning this award and the impact it had on my career during the interview process for my current employer.

    What advice can give for anyone considering applying for the award?
    You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by applying for this award. Apply today!

    How do you communicate and inspire others about our profession and this award?
    Although I am no longer a resident of Chicago, I am thankful to have been a part of a great group of professionals with ATDChi and that I had the opportunity to apply for and be awarded the Deb Colky Award.

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    Mark Dugree - 2010 Recipient


    After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and ethics/public policy from Clark University, Mark Durgee took advantage of one opportunity in his career after another. 

    He worked as a disability employment advocate on several Department of Labor programs in Washington, D.C., before moving to Chicagoland to work as a trainer for one of the most recognized restaurant chains in the country. He then leveraged his sales skills with an educational sales company, where he rose to the title of sales director, with over 70 direct reports. 

    All along the way, he recognized that the key to his success was connecting to people where they are and helping them develop the competencies they needed to succeed. This led him to Roosevelt University’s master’s program in training and development. While studying for his MA in human performance improvement, Mark spent two years as a graduate assistant, where he coordinated the program’s social media, professional development, and CCASTD (now ATDChi) university partnership initiatives. 

    Mark co-founded the CCASTD Student Interest Group, working to engage Chicagoland students with professional development opportunities. He published articles in Training Today and had the opportunity to present at ASTD ICE 2010 in Chicago. He was awarded the Deb Colky Student Award in 2010. 

    Mark has since moved to Mexico where he works as a virtual classroom consultant. With thousands of hours of experience in learning platforms like WebEx, Adobe Connect, and Moodle, he helps clients develop, maintain, and evaluate web-based competency development programs. Even though he now calls Mexico City home, he values the professional development network he developed in Chicagoland.    

    Why did you apply for the award?
    I was encouraged by the coordinator and department chair at Roosevelt University to apply.  They both knew Deb personally and had many wonderful things to say about her legacy. That combination gave me the confidence to give it a try. I am so very glad I did.     

    How did winning the award impact your career?
    I was honored and humbled to win the award, to say the least. The thing is, winning was not my only reward. I had the opportunity to work with and learn from so many amazing people at ATDChi. I made deep connections with seasoned professionals who worked in the field for years as well as other Chicagoland students. As a student member, I gained access to a wide variety of professional development opportunities led by local members as well as other university programs. It was during this time that I cemented my connection to the ATD Competency Model as my professional development roadmap. These experiences have proven invaluable.     

    What advice can you give for anyone considering applying for the award? 
    Take the plunge! Make a connection to the best ATD chapter in the country. No matter the outcome of the award application process, you will win if you make connections to your local peers in the learning and performance industry through ATDChi. As a student, you have so much to offer—don’t forget that. There are many programs where your knowledge and experience can help others succeed. Membership also provides access to rewarding volunteer and paid employment opportunities you won’t find anywhere else.

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    Katie Devoe, MAHPI - 2009 Recipient


    Katie Devoe (Kacich) has been in the hotel industry for the past 11 years. She is a regional director of sales and marketing for InterContinental Hotels Group, supporting hotels in multiple regions. In this role, she uses her master’s in human performance improvement from Roosevelt University. It is a consultative role that encompasses organizational development, change management, project management, teambuilding, and many more of the areas taught in this program. 

    What made you apply for the award? 
    I was in my second year of working towards my degree (out of the four long years it took) and was anxious to know everyone and learn everything. I suppose I was a bit of a sponge. CCASTD had told us about the award, and I was intrigued to learn more and to add this to my résumé

    How did winning the award impact your career?
    It definitely helped my résumé at the time and is still something I am very proud of. I had never won a scholarship before, and it helped give me a newfound confidence in this very new field.

    What advice can give for anyone who contemplates applying for the award?
    I say go for it! My motto has always been, “Try it and see… you might surprise yourself!” In the meantime, you just might have some fun and meet some terrific people! 

    How do you communicate and inspire others about our profession and this award?
    Our field is absolutely the best! I find the HPI side rare in my industry, but it does exist. I talk about it to property-level sales teams all the time, if they are interested in this type of role. I don’t think I would have been as prepared for it without going through this program. I encourage anyone going through this program to try to win the award. It was such a powerful and exciting moment for me. I remember that winning was so exciting!!

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    Joelyne Marshall - 2008 Recipient


    Joelyne “Joie” Marshall has worked in L&D for over 20 years in a variety of industries, including franchise, food and beverage, manufacturing, and more. Joie's role as a learning solutions manager at Caveo Learning fulfills two passions: instructional design and supporting instructional designers. Joie designs e-learning for clients to help solve challenges at their organization. More importantly, Joie enjoys collaborating with subject matter experts and team members to problem solve those challenges.

    Joie couples her MBA with an emphasis in Training & Development with her fine arts degree in electronic media to provide strategic learning solutions to clients. Joie has completed several certificates and workshops on topics across the L&D landscape (Designing Learning, Coaching, Measurement & Evaluation, and more). 

    Joie has found many benefits while being engaged with ATD Chicagoland, all of which stemmed from her receipt of the Dr. Deb Colky Student Award in 2008. In 2009, Joie also was the intern for ATDChi’s Workplace Learning & Performance Institute (WLPI). After completing the institute, she joined the ATDChi board of directors the co-director of WLPI. After holding this position for two terms, Joie then moved into the role of Vice President of Marketing, which she held for two years. Currently, she is the editor of ATDChi’s digital publication, Training Today.

    What made you apply for the award?
    At that time, I was newer to the training industry. I had been an accidental trainer in my positions but did not have any formal training. I was looking to immerse myself with other prominent players within learning & development.
    I was attended Roosevelt University at the time. I heard about the award through Roosevelt and through CCASTD (now ATDChi). I saw applying for the award as another way to extend my reach within the industry.

    How did winning the award impact your career?
    Besides being included in the company of Deb Colky, and her husband, Mike, I was welcomed and included into the deep network of professionals within ATDChi. I quickly made significant connections and began to build a strong network that I leverage every day in my professional and personal life.

    What advice can give for anyone considering applying for the award?
    Why not apply? What would be the reason to not apply? In identifying those reasons and then assessing the reasons for applying, I am confident anyone who is qualified to apply will see the multiple benefits of applying for the award.
    Even if the applicant is not accepted as the recipient, that applicant has been included with other professionals in the industry.

    How do you communicate and inspire others about our profession and this award?
    I am fortunate to be part of the committee that helps to select the recipient of the award each year. It is a small offering of the many benefits I have received from being selected an awardee. My time on the ATDChi board of directors allows me to interact with many individuals, paving the way to communicate about the award. 

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