Learning in Practice 2014: Trailblazer Award Division 2

From left: Britt Andreatta, Meredith Oakes, Diego Crespo


Britt Andreatta

Director of Learning and Development, Lynda.com

One of the first issues Britt Andreatta encountered in her role as director of learning and development at online learning service Lynda.com was an inability to track progress and assign courses to employees from its own repertoire. A lack of management and leadership offerings compounded challenges associated with rapid revenue growth and hiring; 80 percent of the workforce has been with the company less than two years, and a third of employees are millennials.

Company growth and international offices presented employees and managers with a challenge to create a strong, unified company culture. Andreatta developed several learning software to tackle the problem. For instance, she authored six online courses for employees covering management and leadership fundamentals, how to lead with emotional intelligence and having difficult conversations. A management skills training program covered applicable proficiencies in leading people and projects and was available for employees to view remotely. On-site workers also could take advantage of the lunch-and-learn series.

Another important initiative was the mandatory online harassment prevention training. Lynda.com’s primary goal was to get every worker to participate in at least one new learning initiative, and Andreatta updated the orientation session and resource library.

The framework helped put Lynda.com employees on the same track. For instance, all participants in the lunch-and-learn series rated them valuable to some extent. It was similar with the other initiatives, such as the management skills training program and the new orientation session, resulting in more than 85 percent of respondents rating them valuable or satisfying. 


Meredith Oakes

Director of Development and Training, MVP Health Care

The health care industry is undergoing sweeping changes because of the Affordable Care Act and implementation of public and private health insurance exchanges. MVP Health Care, a nonprofit health plan serving New York and Vermont, needed to reassess itsinternal learning and development processes to keep up engagement, development and talent retention.

So MVP hired Meredith Oakes to fill a new position: director of development and training. She was tasked with implementing several initiatives to tackle these responsibilities. Some tools targeted work culture, such as a microsite, video publications and Play-Doh-shaping contests to promote teamwork.

MVP used the Denison Organizational Culture Model toestablish a baseline measurement against about 1,400 other companies. Leadership was the first focus — especially management training — and organizational culture was second.

The scope of development expanded greatly beyond the traditional classroom. Efforts rekindled workforce enthusiasm, and the company plans to start employee volunteerism and internal job-shadow programs in 2015. Nearly 90 employees expressed interest in pursuing graduate certificate studies. 


Diego Crespo

Regional Head of Learning and Development, Zurich Latin America

A Swiss insurer expanding into Latin America is a challenge, yetZurich Insurance Group developed anexclusive program for the region.

Upon reviewing and updating Zurich’s current leadershipdevelopment programs, Diego Crespo devised a 12-month learning program with three levels, each with three-day modules covering aspects of personal, team and strategic leadership. Simultaneously, it laid out foundations for regional training.

More than 100 talent leaders across Latin America have participated since late 2010, and 59 percent of participants have been promoted once or twice since their start in the program. A little over half were high performers in the 2013 cycle, and 71 percent have been retained in the talent pool. The program resulted in a regional community of leaders across countries that share best practices.