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SDF Festival of Learning 2022 – Discover our featured keynote speakers

SDF’s Festival of Learning and Development 2022

Date: 14th to 16th November 2022

Venue: SDF Zoom and AdvanceHE connect


Welcome to our Keynote Speakers page for the SDF’s Festival of Learning and Development 2022.

Mark Story

Keynote title: Drills and holes – rethinking the future of learning and the learning practitioner

Synopsis: In 1960, Harvard Business School marketing professor Theodore Levitt introduced the concept of ‘Marketing Myopia’ as a reason businesses fail. He argued that companies were too focused on producing their goods or services and don’t spend enough time understanding what customers want or need. His most often cited saying was “People don’t want a quarter-inch drill. They want quarter-inch holes!”  As learning professionals, we have for too long fallen into the same mindset – our focus has been on our courses and our content – our products. If we reword this Levitt’s saying and apply it to our world: “people don’t want to learn a thing, they want to do a thing!” – Where does that lead our imaginations regarding our approach to future learning provision?

In this talk, I will start from this perspective and describe how, at Newcross, we have developed a range of immersive, story-led online training programmes that demonstrate the start of our journey into equipping learners with holes rather than drills.

I will then present: our view of the future and how this is challenging our understanding of the tools and skills required by the learning practitioner; how innovation and failing fast are key processes to augment the learning practitioners’ victories and; how the future will integrate us into all parts of the organisation and how our resulting career paths will be more exciting than ever before.

In conclusion, I will invite you to envision a ‘metaversal’ future in which learning happens as a consequence of doing rather than the other, more traditional way round… Holes being created without the need for drills.

Olivia Kiwummulo-MwesigwaGary Millns

 Keynote title: From Jersey to Uganda, offshore perspectives on opportunities and  challenges for Learning and Development Professionals

Synopsis: In this inventive keynote Olivia Kiwummulo-Mwesigwa, Human Resources Manager at Save the Children International Uganda Country office, the world’s leading organisation for children and Gary Millns, Associate Director at Aztec Group, a market leader in Fund and Corporate Services, will share their insights to provoke thinking about the commonalities, differences, opportunities and challenges that lie for organisational development/learning and development professionals supporting their organisations and people in the coming years – specifically as a result of Covid, changes in working arrangements and other big agendas on the horizon. Specifically, Olivia and Gary will address questions around commonalities and differences of working in specific geographical locations, the role of leadership in promoting learning, navigating the challenges with hybrid working, inclusivity and wellbeing – all hot topics for organisational development professionals just now.

Sharon Claffey Kaliouby

Keynote title: Women in Learning – Empowering Women Leaders

Synopsis: We need everyone’s voice to discuss the topic of Women in Learning and here’s why: Research states women are 2 – 3 times less likely as men to have leadership positions in Learning & Development. Studies report firms with greater gender diversity among senior positions perform better.

Thus, supporting women in senior learning leadership roles is not the “nice thing” to do but the PROFITABLE thing to do.  Lack of C-suite women in L&D affect the bottom line of every business. COVID-19 disrupted the workplace in ways we’ve never seen before and intensified the challenges of Women in Learning. Many are struggling to switch-off, boundaries are blurred, and recent studies indicate working mothers are 3 times more likely than men to discontinue work due to childcare demands. We are at risk of losing women at all levels of the organizational hierarchy.

During this open dialogue, we will discuss strategies to support women in leadership roles, including:

  • Supporting women from ethnic minorities in L&D (we need to stop simply listing the statistics and ‘walk the talk’)
  • Identifying and promoting the female “Trailblazers” in Learning
  • Supporting women in leadership roles in L&D
  • Leveraging remote work as an opportunity to expand our female senior talent pool
  • Creating an allyship with men

Hannah Fromageau

Keynote title: Thinking Differently: creating space to develop inclusive leadership

Synopsis: During this talk I will investigate the kind of facilitated spaces that need to be carefully created and crafted to enable learning about, and development of, inclusive leadership. I will be drawing on relevant work to consider ways for individuals to think about their attitudes towards difference in the quest to lead more inclusively. I will refer to specific reports and models to explore the need to couple psychological safety with frequent opportunities for thinking and discussion in this area. Using examples, I will reflect on how the content and the processes by which this content is offered must combine to fully activate individual and organisational learning for inclusive leadership.

Mark Britz & James Tyer

Keynote title: Social By Design: Creating a Continuous Learning Culture

Synopsis: The greatest part of learning in organizations happens socially and informally and yet, the majority of time, attention and budget is invested in formal training efforts. Even when an organization recognizes the opportunity, they wrongly turn to technology, leadership behavior change and gimmicks in an effort to inspire greater sharing, connection and collaboration.

In this keynote conversation, Mark Britz and James Tyer take you further upstream, beyond creating training, to organization design and its role in impacting social behaviours at work. Not only will this session challenge your beliefs but it will charge you into altering your practice from one focused on creating content to creating conversations, from adding assets to removing barriers, and ultimately open your mind to the reality that creating a culture of continuous learning only happens through systems change.

Jenny Garrett

Keynote title: Equality vs Equity, being an ADEPT anti-racist ally

Synopsis: Exploring how people professionals can take a more proactive stance on race, moving from the creation of equal opportunities to a wider agenda of ending racism in the workplace – ensuring inclusion and diversity are central to organisational culture, leadership and management behaviours – developing a truly intersectional approach which considers all aspects of inclusion, diversity and belonging