Viewing post categorized under: Corporate and non-profit worlds collide

Training and Human Memory

Why do people forget things they’ve just learned? Why do college students who cram for a test forget it all a few days or months later?

I learned about human memory and how it relates to training in May when I attended the Society for Technical Communication Summit 2019 in beautiful Denver, CO. This year the Summit offered 4 different learning tracks, and I chose the training design and development track because I produce content for JOA’s global customer training programs.

One of the most memorable (pun definitely intended) takeaways was something I learned in the half-day Designing with Memory in Mind class led by Patti Shank Ph.D. Not everything is known about how human memory works, but one thing we do know is if people don’t have the ability to process what they’ve learned, it will be lost. Not only do they need to process it, they need to DEEPLY process it. Deep processing means we learn to apply our knowledge.

Patti Shank Ph.D compares shallow and deep processing like this: “Superficial learning is when you learn something for the purpose of being able to parrot it back on a test. Or when you can recite facts and define things. And it’s not bad. It’s required for us to learn facts and concepts and all these things, somewhat out of context at times, so that we can go to deeper learning, which is learning for application.”

I love these techniques taken from Patti Shank’s Design with Memory in Mind Job Aid for helping people remember what they’ve learned. We need to analyze what actually needs to be remembered and what can be looked up later in references like a manual or quick reference card. What actually needs to be remembered should be deeply processed. Techniques to help your learners engage in deep processing include asking deep questions and asking the learners to restate what they’ve learned in their own words. Deep questions include:

  • How are they different? Similar?
  • How would you use this?
  • What does this mean?
  • What is the best approach?
  • Why wouldn’t this work?

I’m considering how I can work deep processing techniques into my customer training PowerPoints and eLearning materials.

Judging the 2nd Annual Sheboygan County Athena Leadership Awards

This year I had the privilege of serving as a judge for the 2nd Annual Sheboygan County Athena Leadership Awards. I am still humbled and honored to have been voted one of the top 5 finalists out of 25 incredible nominees last year. Many of these women are the kind of women I aspire to be, so to be honored alongside them was incredible. I am still thankful for the recognition and opportunity to meet so many amazing women in my community.


Here is some info about the award from the Athena Award website if you are not familiar with it:

“The ATHENA Leadership Award is presented to a woman —or man— who is honored for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.

Since the program’s inception in 1982, more than 7,000 exemplary leaders in over 500 communities have received the prestigious ATHENA Award in the United States, Bermuda, Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia, Unite Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. By honoring exceptional leaders, the ATHENA Leadership Award Program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives.

ATHENA Leadership Award recipients are individuals who:

  • Have achieved the highest level of professional excellence.
  • Contribute time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.
  • Actively assist others, particularly women, in realizing their full leadership potential.


While reading the nominee forms and recommendation letters as part of my judging duties, I was thankful to get a window into the lives of the nominees. Getting to know more of the movers and shakers around here made Sheboygan feel even more like a close-knit, vibrant, caring, community to me. I can’t go anywhere in Sheboygan without seeing someone I know, and often when I’m meeting a new person, we will have mutual friends. It makes it feel like a small world in a good way in this county of 116,000. There are truly some amazing project and people here. See you at the awards on November 15!

Coastal Young Professionals Week Experience 2018

Coastal Young Professionals Week in Sheboygan is always a great time of connecting with other young professionals and learning. The annual week of events includes an awards ceremony, education sessions on various topics interesting to young professionals, tours of local companies, and exercise classes. I would highly recommend young professionals in Sheboygan County attend some of the events offered as they have been really beneficial to me in past years.

The first event I attended was the Next Wave Young Professional Awards held at Acuity. I was nominated for community volunteer of the year, and while I didn’t win that title, I won a Next Wave Award, meaning I was selected as one of their Top 10 Young Professionals from the group of 31 nominees. It was really awesome of JOA to sponsor 10 people to come with me to this event as it really helped me feel supported.

The second event I attended was actually one I was invited to participate in as a speaker. Coastal Young Professionals Network chose to hold a trolley tour event with a focus on trafficking and drugs, how they are related, and how they are affecting our relatively safe community. I was chosen to speak on the topic of what we can do about it, so I spoke on Freedom Cry’s mission and how people can get involved in our projects. It was a great afternoon filled with creating awareness, making new connections, exploring the county and listening to three other speakers on the topic, one of which is our local human trafficking detective, Tamara Remington.

The third event I attended was a class made specifically for women on how to negotiate salary and other aspects of employment in the hiring process or when you wish to change your job or get a promotion within the organization. We had some fabulous wine and appetizers at Lakeview Wine Bar that has beautiful views of Lake Michigan and is one of my favorite spots in the whole county. We did some negotiating activities and heard from an HR executive at Sargento. The biggest takeaway from that class for me was just that we need to evaluate our wants and needs before going into a negotiation of any kind, be open and honest about our circumstances in life up front and what those needs are, and if we don’t know something, simply ask questions. The hiring process can be a scary thing if you feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells and don’t feel empowered to be open, honest, and ask questions early on in the hiring process, so it was great to get that affirmation from a woman who has done hundreds if not thousands of negotiations over the course of her career.

Corporate Giving and Non-Profit Fundraising: Two Perspectives

Recently I’ve had the opportunity to view charitable giving from two different perspectives, the side of the giver and the side of the receiver. I am serving on the Charitable Giving Committee at work this year and lately, the board of Freedom Cry has been discussing fundraising, so I have gained insight into the act of charitable giving from both sides of the transaction. It has been interesting to understand the motivations of both sides.


Non-profits need funding now or yesterday so they can get on with their singular mission. They simply want to be able to provide the services they promise. They need to effectively communicate their mission and success stories and data so that people will be struck with compassion for the suffering of others and motivated to give. They need to prove why their work is valuable.

Corporations want to give back because it’s the right thing to do, yes, but also because it makes them look good and helps them engage and thus retain talented employees which helps their bottom line. After all, for-profit companies are, well, for-profit. Employees want to work for a company that makes them feel good, that provides them with opportunities to be involved in the community or give back. People want to purchase goods and services from companies that they feel are good for society.


We see examples all the time in the news of companies losing stock because they are perceived as bad for society. The very recent Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal is an example of that. After it came out that information about Facebook’s users got into the hands of Cambridge Analytica and was used to manipulate their political leanings in the recent presidential election, Facebook’s stock plummeted and some users (including some of my friends) declared they were getting rid of Facebook forever. Facebook doesn’t want to be perceived as contributing to the weakening of American democracy. Companies give back to non-profits and charities in order to be held in high esteem in the public eye and considered trustworthy.


What does this mean for companies providing funding and non-profits looking to get funding? It means to be successful we need to understand each other’s motives and goals before we start writing grant applications or looking for worthy non-profits. It’s been very helpful to me to see things from both sides of the equation, because it furthers the goals both of my workplace and my non-profit.

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