ASTD Meets the Development Needs of Small Island States

May 25, 2010 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) gathered over 8000 HR professionals at its 2010 International Conference and Exposition (ICE).

For another year in a row the conference emphasized the growing importance of social media technologies to business success. Twitter, Facebook and their kin are even more critical to isolated small island states. These technologies allow such states easier access to advances in worldwide learning and to global markets. Social media may also be incorporated into an organization's overall agility strategy to capitalize on change. Verieux Mourillon who is from the small island state of Dominica in the Caribbean, confirms the relevance and applicability of much of the learning provided through this ASTD event.

Verieux maintains that the salient feature of ASTD's ICE is the opportunity for networking across countries, disciplines and industries. At the Expo he caught up with long time associate Markku Kaupinnen, Vice President of Extended DISC North America Inc, for whom no order is too small. On meeting SHRM Global Relationships Manager, Rosaura Barrera, Verieux immediately started to explain his country's location seeking to distinguish it from the Dominican Republic. Rosaura was quick to assure him that she knew just where Dominica was and that she had a delegation of six from Dominica registered to attend the upcoming SHRM conference in San Diego. This powerful opportunity to network and share information on implementation of new systems and using new HR products proves invaluable to professionals in small island states who may feel isolated and in greater need of rejuvenation. Such states are being required to reach the front-line rapidly in a context of seriously limited traditional resources.

Of course the event's central platform comprises the varied menu of over 200 learning sessions by a wide range of presenters including some who intend to build their international profile or to launch writing careers. ASTD ICE staples like Bob Pike and Sivasailum Thiagaragun provided their usual stimulating sessions, while author Daniel Pink, leading executive educator Marshall Goldsmith and the Second City theatre company of Chicago livened up the general sessions.

On the lighter side host city Chicago offered many culinary and artistic delights, the museums being a major highlight.

ASTD's ICE may see a continued dip in overall numbers of on-site attendees as it charges forward with innovations in online/mobile methods for learner interface. Nevertheless the event will continue to be an invaluable and dynamic resource for small island states that are bent on pursuing a serious human development agenda.

Verieux Mourillon is Executive Manager Human Resource & Organizational Development at the National Bank of Dominica Ltd ( He has been attending ASTD's International Conference since 1995.