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My First Event: How MAC Changed It All

Thursday, February 21, 2019 9:05 AM | Kevin Smith (Administrator)

My First Event: How MAC Changed It All
By Erin Lavery

I was thrilled to see that ATD-MAC won the National Chapter of the Month for February 2019. I can’t think of a chapter or group of people more deserving of recognition. 

As I reflect on all the things that make ATD-MAC amazing, I am remembering what drew me to ATD-MAC in the first place. 

We truly have something special with ATD-MAC. The people in this group – all of you that are driving what learning looks like in Madison – are amazing. Each of you is incredible and doing incredible things.

I first heard about ATD-MAC years ago when I was trying to transition from a technical Training Supervisor to an organizational training role. The director of the department I was applying to suggested that I join ATD-MAC as a way to learn more about training, facilitation, design, etc. Tracy Nelson, if you’re reading this, I will forever be in your debt for many things; telling me about ATD-MAC is high on that list.

The first program I attended was a Holiday Party. It was a free event that included networking, a year-in-review, and a Trainer Throwdown. I was so nervous. I sat in my car for a good five minutes getting up the courage to walk into a room full of people I didn’t know.

The moment I stepped into the room, I knew I was home. 

It took less than two minutes for a group to take me under their wing, show me around, and put me at ease. Sarah Gibson and Pat Hein, if you’re reading this, Thank You. I don’t know if you’ve ever known how important you were to me that night.

For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by a group of people passionate about learning the way I always had been. I was able to geek-out and have people who got it and geeked-out with me. 

The Trainer Throwdown was incredible. People were sharing and improvising off each other to create experiential learning activitiesIt was like jazz – improvising and building off the notes as we riffed our way to totally new approaches to learning without self-consciousness or ownership.

It. Was. Glorious.


And it is STILL glorious. I’ve come a long way from the girl psyching herself up in her car, and I know MAC has a lot to do with that confidence. Having the connection and support of this group has catapulted my career and has been a catalyst for me finding my passion for organizations and people. 

Each year, I see the MAC getting better and better! The more of you I get to know, the more blessed I feel to know you. 

For those of you I haven’t met, I can’t wait to meet you at a program. Throughout this week, we’ll be highlighting chapter board members on social media. Hopefully, by having some faces you know before you come, you won’t have to psych yourself up in the car like I did.

What Madison has in the MAC is special. What we create and share when we are together is revolutionary. We are the future of learning. We build it every time we are together.   

That’s why I am so excited to see that ATD-MAC is being recognized for how special it truly is.

It’s also why I’m so excited for 2019. Andrea Meade and Ryan Panzer have taken a totally new approach to programming. MAC is doing stuff no chapter has ever done before.

It’s why I feel so blessed to know you all, see you all, and be connected with you all. You make #myATDMAC amazing. If you aren’t a member, please join today. You won’t regret it!


Erin is an Organizational Development Manager focused on developing organization-wide strategies to foster a culture of growth and connection at Exact Sciences. She is also the VP of Marketing for ATD-MAC. She loves getting coffee and chatting about learning! Feel free to reach out through LinkedIn or at vp.marketing@atdmac.org

ATD-MAC is proud to have a blog that features local ATD-MAC members as authors and contributors. We’d like you to know that the views and opinions expressed in this article or by any author/contributor in publications outside of this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ATD or ATD-MAC.  

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