Learning & Development Virtual Summit 2021

April 15, 2021

44 days left

Welcome to Opal Group’s Learning & Development Virtual Summit

Continuous Learning: Adapting the L&D Culture to Embrace Change and Disruption

The Learning & Development Virtual Summit is a gathering of L&D, Leadership, Talent and Organizational Development practitioners that will connect, benchmark, network and focus on key learning initiatives. During these uncertain times, it’s important to create and maintain relationships with like-minded L&D professionals, and the L&D Virtual Summit fosters these relationships with a highly-interactive virtual platform.

Our Summit provides a specialized, strategically-built experience that features unparalleled keynote speaking sessions with thought-leading case studies, conversational and strategic panel discussions, highly-interactive Lunch & Learn breakout sessions, and a virtual experience that includes customized networking opportunities that allow for audience participation and real-time attendee insights.

We believe in creating a memorable, collaborative and effective experience focused on continuous improvement for Chief Learning Officers, Chief Talent Officers and other top executives in Learning & Development, Leadership Development, Talent Management, and Corporate Training.

Join us! Interested in attending, speaking or sponsoring? Contact Bobby Swartout at (212) 532-9898 ext 248 or send your inquiries via email to: info@opalgroup.net.

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Opal Group is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®.

Current as of February 25, 2021

Previous Speakers

Molly Nagler, Chief Learning Officer, PepsiCo

Tivonnia (T.J.) Harvey, Chief Learning Officer, Merck & Co,. Inc.

Shawna Erdmann, Senior Vice President, Learning, Comcast

Tracy Dodd, Head of Global Talent, Tiffany & Co.

Lisa Lang, Head of Learning & Education Americas, Siemens

Jennifer Buchanan, Senior Director II, Leadership, Learning and Talent Development, Sam’s Club

Molly Hill, Vice President of Global Talent, Starbucks

Shawn Lewis, Head of Instructional Design Services, Wells Fargo

Nichelle Singleton Williams, Global Director of PACS Capabilities, The Coca-Cola Company

Julie Horner Donahue, Head of Corporate Learning & Training, Nestle USA

All Times in EST


Virtual Welcome and Opening Remarks


Opening Keynote Presentation


Implementing Continuous Learning Programs to Ensure that the Workforce Can Readily Adapt to Disruption and Sudden Change


Many organizations have learning programs that are simply oriented around a finite number of key objectives. When the workforce masters these objectives by finishing a series of courses or demonstrating their newly learned skills, their work is – in essence – complete. However, the constant changes that are still occurring in 2021 highlight how important regular reinforcement is to maintain the desired long-term learning outcomes. Continuous learning programs are critical to ensure that as circumstances change, employees can call upon all of their newly acquired skills to adapt.


Join us to discuss best practices for implementing adaptable and continuous learning programs, such as:


  • Defining learning goals and objectives, and modifying them on an as-needed basis to stay on track with desired outcomes
  • Providing a platform for uninterrupted, informative and constructive feedback to keep the workforce engaged and focused on the goals
  • Switching from a content-centric “push” approach to a learner-centric “pull” approach so the workforce embraces the shift in learning methodologies
  • Implementing mobile, social and web-based L&D technology platforms to drive employee-focused learning initiatives
  • Dedicating resources, setting expectations, and aligning corporate culture by adopting a learning architecture that supports continuous learning

Keynote Presentation


Measuring and Practicing Coaching and DEI Conversations


Over the last several months, most companies have been re-examining their coaching and diversity and inclusion reality, and with good reason. Conversations are the most important things that happen in our organizations. Coaching conversations are the media for growth, change, and the execution of the DEI strategies most organizations have been working on over the last couple of years. Combined with a remote workforce, honing the skills of a coaching conversation has never been more critical.


Join us in this informative session as we explore data from 20,000 coaching conversations, and examine how practicing coaching skills can help integrate DEI conversations into your culture. We’ll watch a DEI focused coaching practice session that addresses fit bias, microaggressions, curiosity and empathy.

Presented by

Randy Sabourin, Co-President, Practica Learning


Keynote Presentation


Leveraging Diversity in the Workforce to Become an Inclusive & Equitable Learning Organization


Inclusive and equitable learning is an important part of a modern learning culture in the workplace, and transforms the benefits of multiple perspectives – emerging from its diverse workforce – into improved performance outcomes. Without new learning, the same practices would get repeated in a cultural status quo, leading to the same results. Even with new learning implementations, organizational culture needs to be constantly monitored and modified to reap the benefits of learning and workforce development.


In this enlightening session we’ll discuss the ways to develop a truly diverse and inclusive learning organization, such as:


  • Facilitating learning based on the unique proficiencies and abilities of its diverse people and their needs across different jobs
  • Adapting workforce planning and development strategies that help create diverse and distinctive insights to ensure alignment with future skill requirements
  • Implementing modern learning technologies to facilitate adaptive learning that is tailored to each member’s unique needs and learning style
  • Developing learning content that is distributed in flexible quantities in a “just-in-time” fashion so that employees can consume to their capacities – be it small or large

Lunch & Learn


Select a topic and join us for an informal and interactive group session where we’ll discuss challenges and strategy implementations that are top of mind for today’s learning and development practitioners


Building Microlearning into the L&D Strategy to Increase Engagement


The average employee can devote only a small percentage of their work week to professional development. In addition, attention spans are shortening and most learners are disengaging much quicker than in years past. As such, Microlearning has become an effective tool that addresses this bandwidth shortage with small learning units or short-term learning activities.


Join us in this interactive session as we discuss best practices for implementing microlearning platforms, such as:


  • Using an action-mapping approach to focus on the activities that will help build competence, confidence, and skills
  • Creating a learning “scale” to increase engagement by developing a single string of challenges that gets incrementally harder
  • Sending out frequent challenge-based microbites to personalize the learning curve and create adaptive learning
  • Building in incentives and creating milestones so the workforce feels a sense of completion and achievement

Keynote Presentation


Developing Personalized Learning Initiatives to Improve Productivity and Performance


In the ever-changing workforce landscape, it’s important for leadership to focus on improving the L&D initiatives to keep the employees engaged and focused on the future. Personalized learning for employees and leadership enables a customized approach that delivers exactly what is needed – what, when and where – in a way that is meaningful to everybody. To achieve and maintain success with L&D initiatives, it’s also critical to have the ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.


In this informative session we’ll discuss strategies for implementing and maintaining personalized learning initiatives, such as:


  • Taking a holistic view of learning needs across the company by looking at employee’s current roles, and studying potential learning opportunities through career progressions as they grow with the organization
  • Developing learning experiences that address the uncertainty and ambitions of employees to maintain a sense of progress, belief and production
  • Focusing on individual competencies and anywhere-anytime learning so that the focus is on “learning” rather than “mandated training”
  • Incentivizing personalized learning with non-monetary benefits that showcase and highlight employee achievements and progression
  • Creating a personalized learning model that’s transparent and allows learners to see what training his/her peers are receiving – in order to openly assess their own personal skills and competencies against their fellow teammates

Panel Discussion


Optimizing the Value of L&D in the Face of Disruptive Change


For the past year, most organizations have focused on cost optimization to counter the global economic downturn. Often when economic uncertainty hits, learning and development is one of the first things organizations cut. In reality, L&D efforts should be prioritized when crises and changes in the business environment take root, as it enables organizations to maximize the contributions of their employees. In a post-pandemic world, learning and development will be even more important as business continuity and growth will become more dependent on a responsive workforce that is able to learn and adapt to meet fast-changing needs.


In this interactive panel we’ll discuss best practices for optimizing the value of L&D in the face of disruptive change, such as:


  • Creating modules to train leaders on how to keep everyone up to date, set expectations and performance goals, and establish communication rules and channels
  • Incorporating real-world applications into learning experiences, to provide opportunities for learners to apply their learnings to actual work submissions
  • Embracing innovative virtual learning and collaboration platforms to foster interpersonal communication, collaboration, teamwork, and flexibility
  • Utilizing social learning initiatives so that the workforce can learn from each other through formal and informal feedback
  • Accelerating the adoption of design thinking and agile ways of working
  • Creating a focused skills building organization in order to: address gaps in critical roles and workflows, become more strategic about mobility opportunities, and develop flexibility with assignments and staffing as skill needs change

Keynote Presentation


Changing Skill Sets: L&D Leaders as Strategic Business Partners


The skills L&D leaders need to do their job are changing, as it’s no longer enough to oversee training agendas and run the learning management system. In addition to being involved in crafting the strategies needed to ready the workforce of the future, today’s L&D executive is expected to be a strategic business partner – with a strong vision and focus to execute a commitment to continuous learning. It’s critical for L&D leaders to understand how their learning agenda is helping the company meet strategic business objectives, and they also need to be prepared to use L&D to ready the company for future shifts and disruptions in the industry.


Join this enlightening session as we discuss how forward-thinking L&D leaders can establish and provide critical influence throughout the organization, such as:


  • Developing consulting experience to help establish and implement strategies for achieving the organization’s strategic vision and mission
  • Acting as an integrator across the C-suite, to develop a shared vision of how human capability will impact the future of the company
  • Understanding the landscape and keeping pace with what’s happening within the organization, in the greater industry, and in the economy at large – to effectively anticipate what kinds of talent the organization will need
  • Creating a culture of continuous learning throughout the company to provide in-depth knowledge of current issues affecting overall business
  • Improving stakeholder engagement skills that allow the L&D executive to be on the front line when it comes to business objectives and strategy

Keynote Presentation


Disrupting and Elevating L&D through Learning Technology & Digital Transformation


In learning and development, the urgency for digital transformation is being driven by increased demand for performance-based training and a shift in learner expectations. Today’s employees expect on-demand training experiences that help them achieve their goals within their day-to-day roles and their professional development. As part of this on-demand training, most employees prefer digital methods for learning and working, and most senior executives believe that emerging digital technologies will change the nature of work moving forward. It’s therefore critical to make the needed modifications to digital strategy to stay relevant.


Join this informative session as we review some of the factors to consider for a digital transformation, such as:


  • Analyzing organizational goals and objectives that are needed in order to figure out how the organization should champion the digital upgrades for the L&D programs
  • Developing a flexible infrastructure that enables employees to securely work where they want, whenever they want, and on any company-approved device
  • Reviewing the training and skills that will be needed to fully implement and manage the digital L&D technology
  • Collecting data about the business and priorities to inform how L&D positively impacts business performance, the capability of its people and their confidence to deliver
  • Mapping out the organization’s top priorities to ensure that every technology the company deploys has a measurable, positive impact on employees and business outcomes
  • Instituting monitoring and management protocols to ensure security, connectivity & fast issue resolution

Keynote Presentation


Enabling and Improving L&D through Soft Skills Development


When it comes to training in the workplace, soft skills are often overlooked because they’re not as tangible as something like project management or working with software. While technical skills obviously have importance, many organizations have been giving them disproportionate weight in job descriptions and training, but that’s rapidly changing. In these times of change and uncertainty, providing training content that helps your employees develop their soft skills proves you’re committed to seeing a bright future for your organization, and for them as individuals.


In this session we’ll review some key enablers that L&D needs to implement to make soft skills acquisition happen, such as:


  • Defining upfront why the organization is targeting soft skills development and the goals they want to achieve
  • Setting up a development team that involves leaders from each business unit, in order to validate the L&D strategy, determine strategic learning priorities, and prioritize soft skills training
  • Conducting a performance needs analysis to identify capability demands at organizational and individual levels – including soft skills gaps
  • Determining the soft skills that will be the most impactful for achieving the desired business needs, and planning your curriculum and delivery methods around these determinations
  • Developing a catalog to track progress, results and feedback from program participants

Panel Discussion


Utilizing Online Learning so the Workforce can Access Information When and How They Want It


If organizations want to reduce attrition rates and improve ROI from training initiatives, it’s important to get creative in capturing employee attention and keeping them engaged. Instead of simply coming up with courses and telling employees to complete them, L&D leaders need to find ways to inject a learning “spirit” into the company. As such, it’s critical to concentrate L&D efforts on providing tools for learners to access content on their own, and create eLearning courses that are personalized, and centered on them and their goals.


In this engaging and interactive session, we’ll discuss strategies to administer effective online learning initiatives, such as:


  • Creating real world learning experiences with immersive VR tech
  • Enabling “On-The-Go” learning by making use of wearables and mobile tech
  • Utilizing gamification as a tool to motivate and improve learning
  • Introducing collaborative, team-based learning, in which workers with similar jobs learn and grow together by working in sync and giving each other feedback

Panel Discussion


Instilling a Values-Based Culture into the Workforce that Aligns with Corporate Goals


Candidates are seeking workplaces where they can intertwine their values and beliefs with those of the company, and work together on a common vision of purpose and success. As leaders grapple with how to recruit top candidates and retain employees, they must rethink how they’re shaping and building a culture that unites people around a common cause. In the current landscape, it’s critical to provide continuous alignment to the vision, purpose, and goals of the organization – and place more emphasis on beliefs, character, diversity and sustainability.


In this interactive panel we’ll review some of the key areas L&D must focus on to effectively develop a values-based culture, such as:


  • Developing a transparent employer value proposition to elevate brand strength and enhance the company’s reputation
  • Building and reinforcing leadership commitment to establish the company culture, and create a governance structure that aligns the organization with those cultural values
  • Translating the desired organizational values into behaviors that every employee needs to model in their daily performance, in order to ensure that the values are represented in everything the company does
  • Creating an accountability and rewards model that delivers key performance metrics to the employees, so they can see what they need to achieve along with the impact they’re making

Joyce Petrella, Managing Partner, Calculus of Talent


End of Summit

10100 Dream Tree Blvd, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32836

Please contact your business development associate to reserve your hotel room.

1 user/pass
Learning & Development, Talent Management, Human Resources Practitioners Complimentary*

*Subject to Opal Group’s verification and approval. Practitioners representing consumer brand organizations within the following areas may qualify for a complimentary pass: Learning & Development, Talent Management, Human Resources, and Leadership and Organizational Development. To request your complimentary invitation to attend, please email info@opalgroup.net.

*Executives representing solution provider organizations can attend through sponsorship. For sponsorship opportunities, contact info@opalgroup.net

Sponsorship Opportunities

More networking, greater interactions, bigger ROI:

One of the biggest challenges that companies face is standing out from the crowd and getting exposure with executives from leading organizations. Your company has the perfect solution to some of the biggest challenges that L&D and talent executives are facing, but how do you grab their attention and present your success stories?

The L&D Virtual Summitis the perfect platform to gain valuable exposure for your brand with exclusive access to key decision makers and like-minded executives. The attendees at the Summit areall facing the same challenges, and this is an outstanding forum to benchmark and share ideas with practitioners from several different industry verticals. The virtual event provides a specialized, strategically-built experience for cutting-edge thought-leaders and solution providers to engage, interact, and build long lasting relationships.

Solution providers at the Summit have the opportunity to showcase their brand as a thought-leader in the Learning & Development industry while developing new business relationships through unparalleled speaking sessions and virtual face-to-facenetworking.For sponsorship opportunities, contact info@opalgroup.net

  • Beyond Functional Management: The L&D Executive as a True Strategic Business Partner
  • Developing Workforce Skills and Engaging L&D Capabilities in the Wake of Disruption
  • L&D’s New Role: Creating a Learning Culture that Improves Mental Health and Well-Being
  • Utilizing Team Building as a Key Component of Leadership Development
  • Increasing the Focus on Upskilling to Close the Proficiency Gaps
  • Transforming the L&D Organization from Traditional Training to Digital and Intelligent Learning
  • Adapting Learning Initiatives to Improve Engagement of the Remote Workforce Learning Experience
  • L&D of the Future: Where Do We Go from Here
  • Prescheduled One-to-One Meetings:
    Each participating solution provider and attendees will have pre-summit access to our matching software that allows you to completely customize your meeting agenda. The password-protected website provides the information needed to make your selections on who you want to meet with.

  • Exceptional Networking Opportunities:
    We strive to maximize your face-to-face time by providing a multitude of avenues to engage the senior executives in attendance. The agenda incorporates an off-site networking activity, networking luncheons and cocktail reception. Leverage the meeting’s intimate atmosphere to build strong personal relationships with current and future clients.

The Learning & Development Virtual Summit is an exclusive event for L&D, Talent and Leadership Development practitioners from Fortune 1000 and leading organizations across the world.


Chief Learning Officer
SVP/VP/Head of Learning & Development
Directors and Managers of Learning & Development
Chief Talent Officer
SVP/VP/Head of Talent Management
Directors and Managers of Talent Management
SVP/VP/Head of Leadership/Organizational Development
Directors and Managers of Leadership/Organizational Development
SVP/VP/Head of Training/Corporate Training
Directors and Managers of Training/Corporate Training


To request your invitation today, please contact Bobby Swartout at 212-532-9898 ext 248 or email info@opalgroup.net.

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