Amanda Holm

Amanda Holm is a creative, organized, self-motivated individual who is able to understand and manage multiple details while concentrating on the whole picture. She is a natural communicator with results-driven skills and the ability to build, produce, and succeed. She is energetic and team-oriented, with proven expertise to think strategically, overcome obstacles, and initiate action to meet deadlines. She has more than 20 of experience in creating and executing marketing strategies and initiatives.
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Recent Posts

Improving Time to Impact: Onboarding New Leaders

Posted by Amanda Holm on Oct 7, 2015 4:09:10 PM

PDG has published a new case study focused on building the next generation of corporate leaders. Failure rate for new managers can be over 50% in the first year. Clearly, getting managers off to a good start is critical to their future effectiveness. Ineffective onboarding can do more harm than good, and do little more than drive up training costs. So what is  the best way to prepare new managers for their jobs?

Here's a preview of the case study:

Improving Time to Impact: Onboarding New Leaders

Hiring top talent is only half the battle. Getting those people prepared for the challenges ahead is perhaps the larger challenge. In the highly competitive world of finance, “good enough” is never good enough. How do you get new leaders ready to make an impact?

This was the challenge facing a major Financial Services Institution, struggling to prepare new Retail Banking managers for success. Despite having a comprehensive curriculum, the organization was not getting where it needed to be. New managers attended extensive training with a blended approach of self-paced web training and instructor-led classes. Yet, at completion, new managers were not prepared to do their jobs; they had difficulty completing basic procedures. The learning team admitted that individuals might “complete” training but not retain the information. Corporate training was treated as a “check-the-box” exercise, and “real” training happened at branch.

Clearly, something needed to be done. The branches were struggling with client satisfaction issues, talent retention, and lagging sales. The cost of training was escalating, the time to efficiency was increasing, and consistency across the branches was in jeopardy. As a result, the business was losing respect for training and was more reluctant to participate in the corporate program. What could be done to bring this new manager program back on track?

Read more about how this financial services institution was able to prepare their new managers for success in the case study, Improving Time to Impact: Onboarding New Leaders.

Improving Time to Impact: Onboarding New Leaders


Topics: Performance Improvement, Onboarding

Creating the Learning Organization Structure

Posted by Amanda Holm on May 28, 2015 2:10:00 PM

How do you know if the design of your learning organization is accomplishing your business goals? In PDG's new white paper, “Creating the Learning Organization Structure,”  we explore:

  • How to structure a learning organizationlearning_organization_structure_cta
  • Benefits and risks of centralized and decentralized learning
  • What a hybrid learning organization looks like
  • The pros and cons of internal versus external capabilities

Here’s a preview of the white paper:


What is the right way to structure a learning organization? Should it be highly centralized, to allow for resource sharing and economies of scale? Highly decentralized, so the output is specific to the unique needs of different functions? Should it be a hybrid, incorporating the best of both worlds? Is there even a “right” way?

PDG has been fortunate to work with hundreds of learning organizations across multiple verticals, of varying size and complexity. This experience has allowed us to develop a series of considerations, trade-offs, and synergies that lead to best practices in learning organization design. In this white paper, we will provide a variety of situational examples, along with what we believe are factors that affect your decisions and what we believe to be best practice. Ultimately, the “best” design depends on your organization, your business, and your goals.

Perspectives on Learning Organization Design

Is there a “right” way to design a learning organization?

There is no absolute “right” way, no silver bullet. Each design has inherent strengths and drawbacks.

If there is not a “best” way, is there a “better” way?

Yes. Based on your organizations strategies and capabilities, there are design structures that are likely to work better than others. Structured analysis will help determine which alternatives are most likely to drive your goals. Issues you will need to evaluate include:

  • Making necessary compromises: You usually can’t have the “best” of everything. Given strengths and weaknesses, compromises are often needed and the final design is likely to be a hybrid of the best options.
  • Managing Tradeoffs: Decisions which way to go will need to be managed via the “levers” of leadership, decision-making, people, and processes.

To read more about creating the learning organization structure, download the free white paper!

Topics: Organizational Learning, Learning Resourcing,, High Performing Learning Organization, Flexible Resource Management

Driving Global Marketing Excellence at the ATD Conference

Posted by Amanda Holm on May 11, 2015 11:08:00 AM


 Join PDG and Pfizer at the ATD International Conference

When you work in the life sciences industry, change is a constant. And when you're one of the largest companies in that industry, change must be part of your strategy. That's exactly what was keeping the marketing excellence team at Pfizer up at night. In a world that shifts constantly, how do you keep the skills of your marketing team fresh and relevant? And how do you craft your message so it is practical and implementable for your marketing teams in nearly 100 countries worldwide?

 In this Association for Talent Development (ATD) Conference session, you will learn how Pfizer created a global performance initiative to address these challenges, using key strategies such as bringing together top subject matter experts and finding ways to get them to create a cohesive and focused curriculum, using global learning archetypes to design for multiple global audiences, aligning the effort to Pfizer's business goals, and tying the curriculum to Pfizer's performance management strategy.

Application on the Job:

  • Determine the types of global market changes that require constant re-evaluation of employee skills and knowledge.
  • Identify how those changes can be translated into a flexible curriculum that addresses not only today's needs but needs for years to come.

  • Discuss strategies for bringing together a diverse team of stakeholders, subject matter experts, and learning professionals to create a consistent curriculum that can be deployed globally.

Find out more at the ATD International Conference & Exposition at, Driving Marketing Excellence Through a Global Learning Curriculum on May 19 from 1 - 2 PM.

Our Presenters

Robert BakerRobert Baker
Senior Director, Enterprise Training Strategy | Pfizer      

Bob Baker is Senior Director, Enterprise Training Strategy at Pfizer. In that role he is responsible for improving the overall colleague learning experience. His 20+ years at Pfizer includes sales, marketing research, country and global brand management as well as new product development. In his last role, Bob developed Pfizer’s way of marketing that includes the standards of excellence, frameworks, tools and training that colleagues need to be successful. His team has also created a learning ecosystem with its 4,000 members of Pfizer’s Commercial Community to accelerate their professional development and collaboration abilities. Bob has a BA in Economics from the College of William and Mary, and an MBA in Marketing from Rutgers. Bob is currently the President of ATD NY.

Kim_Robbins_73Kim Robbins
Director, Change Management and Communications | Pfizer

Kim Robbins is Director, Change Management & Communications for the Pfizer Marketing Excellence Team. In this role she works with leaders to design change strategies and learning and development resources to develop and retain talent and support Pfizer marketing in meeting the needs of customers. Kim is a member of the Communication Leadership Exchange and the Association for Talent Development. She holds a Master’s degree in English from Rosemont College and is currently taking graduate courses in Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jamie_Headshot_75aJamie Rondeau
Principal Consultant | Performance Development Group

Jamie Rondeau is Principal Consultant at Performance Development Group. She is a visionary learning strategist with demonstrated ability to impact business performance through the development of human capability. With more than 20 years of experience in learning, sales, marketing, leadership development, customer satisfaction, organizational development, selection and assessment, Jamie draws on her combined expertise to build results-based solutions that are practical and measurably impact performance. A graduate of Arizona State University, Jamie has a Bachelor of Science in organizational communication with an emphasis in marketing.


Find more information on marketing and sales training at PDG Resources.

Topics: Global Learning, Conferences, Sales Training, Life Sciences

Tomorrow’s Sales Training at the LTEN Conference in June

Posted by Amanda Holm on May 4, 2015 3:32:27 PM

Graphic_Novel_ExampleIs it difficult to get new behaviors from an experienced sales team? The tenured sales force responsible for Genzyme’s Multiple Sclerosis product (AUBAGIO®) had seen it all. The Genzyme learning team knew they needed to find an engaging, time-effective way of spreading best practices across the sales team to drive continued performance. Learn how Genzyme used both cutting-edge and well established methods to create a blended approach that feels fresh and new.

Using best practices from high performers with the greatest market share, Genzyme and their partner PDG created three methods for delivery of best practice: podcasts, graphic novels, and articles, all of which shared a similar look and feel.

Learning Objectives:

  • Determine how to motivate and grow a mature and high-performing sales force
  • Define the steps necessary to evaluate and benchmark best practices to drive up performance of all team members
  • Identify how to create a vibrant blended approach to gain and hold sales force attention.

Find out more at the LTEN Annual Conference at, Tomorrow’s Sales Training: Using a Multi-Modal Approach for a Tenured Sales Force, on June 2. Visit PDG staff in the LTEN exhibit hall at booth 139.

Our Presenters

David-BarkerDavid Barker       

Dave Barker works as a Training Manager with Genzyme in Cambridge, MA. His over 15 years of Sales and Training experience includes work on three continents, in over a half-a-dozen countries, and in a variety of industries, working at all levels of organizations. He has a strong background in developing training strategy, curriculum/e-learning design and delivery.



Marcus_HsweMarcus Hswe

Marcus Hswe is the Associate Vice President, Business Development, Sales as well as a Consultant with Performance Development Group (PDG) of Malvern, PA. He has over 10 years of experience in design, development, and management of enterprise training initiatives. With a concentration in the life sciences arena, Marcus works directly with senior executives to determine effective and efficient solutions to their business issues.


Find more information on sales training at PDG Resources.

Topics: Conferences, Sales Training, Life Sciences

Life Sciences Learning Trends in Focus

Posted by Amanda Holm on Mar 3, 2015 11:15:00 AM

There’s no denying that changes in the world economy are having an effect on every industry. And the Life Sciences industry is feeling the effect like everybody else. As budgets for learning and development get battered from all sides, the savviest Life Sciences learning organizations have realized a simple truth: it isn’t about doing more with less, it’s about fundamentally rethinking the way learning and development gets done.

Stott & Mesch, 2015

PDG’s Ann Stott and Rich Mesch recently published an article in Focus Magazine, the journal of the Life Sciences Training & Educators Network. Titled Learning in Changing Times: 5 Trends in Life Sciences Learning, the article focuses on how changes in the Life Sciences industry are changing the requirements of an effective learning function. The learning trends covered include:

  1. Rethinking Product LaunchesFocus_Magazine_Cover_small

  2. A Return to Shared Services

  3. Demand Planning and Flexible Learning Resources

  4. Building Long-Term Sales Team Success

  5. Increased Focus on Informal Learning

Click here to read the article for free online. For more insight into the changing world of Life Sciences learning, read Ann Stott’s series on The Changing Face of Life Science Product Launch:

The Changing Face of Life Science Product Launch

The Changing Face of Life Science Product Launch, Part 2: The Launch Toolkit

The Changing Face of Life Science Product Launch, Part 3: The Role of the Learning Team




Ann Stott is the Vice President, Global Accounts at Performance Development Group. She leads the life sciences practices, focusing on pharmaceuticals, health care, biotechnology, and medical devices. Her extensive consulting experience is used to grow the PDG advisory services capabilities. Ann is an accomplished, respected, and energetic leader with more than twenty years of experience in the corporate training environment.



Rich Mesch


Rich Mesch is Vice President, Customer Engagement at Performance Development Group. A frequent contributor to industry events and publications, his most recent article was Taming the Learning Demand Curve: Using Supply Chain Methods to Manage Your Learning Function for Training Industry's online magazine.




Taming the Learning Demand Curve, 4 Smart Steps to Lower Cost and Higher Quality in Corporate Learning

Topics: Business Issues in Learning, Organizational Change, Informal Learning, Sales Training, Workforce Development, Flexible Resource Management, Product Launch, Life Sciences

Driving Real Business Impact: Leah Minthorn of Iron Mountain

Posted by Amanda Holm on Jan 14, 2015 10:35:00 AM

LeahMinthornThis is the first of a series of stories about PDG partners who have demonstrated strong and unique leadership in driving business results through learning. Leah Minthorn is the Director of North American (NA) Operations Learning at Iron Mountain, where she has been instrumental in driving organizational change. She and her small team of 11 learning and development staff are consistently reaching strategic business goals through innovative programs. Leah shares how she and her team continue to support the business goals and drive change at Iron Mountain.

After working at Iron Mountain for over 10 years, Leah Minthorn has developed a knack for listening. “I feel it is important to get out in the field and listen to what employees are saying," says Leah. "Companies want a solution to a problem, and rather than listening to employees, they often come up with solutions before really understanding the problem,”  Her tip is to go to the source directly to find out the why behind the problem. Often the problem is not the employees but a process that needs to change. “Staying connected to the employees who are on the front line can make a big difference in driving organizational change.”

Being connected to her learning and development staff has been vital to driving organizational change at Iron Mountain. “My staff is like a family. I have never worked with people before who are so much like brothers and sisters.” The people in her department understand the business at Iron Mountain because they immerse themselves in the field to hear their internal clients’ needs. Her department plans to increase the use of technology used for learning to give employees more control over their learning and to increase self-directed learning. They will continue to use e-learning and on the job training, while increasing the use of videos, online webinars, “six second learning,” crowd sourcing, and social media.

Leah’s team uses on-the-job reinforcements and peer coaching to help meet strategic business goals. Their program currently uses a mapped curriculum of e-learning, coach-led hands-on training, regular feedback sessions, job aids, and knowledge and performance assessments. This model works well for Iron Mountain; the coaches reinforce organizational changes and what is required for employees to transform and grow.

Iron Mountain has received a great deal of industry recognition for Sentinel, their innovative peer coaching program for front-line employees. They have made the Training Top 125 list for the past two years, won a Gold CLO Learning in Practice Award, and a Corporate University Best-in-Class (CUBIC) Award. Recently it was announced that the NA Operations Learning team won a Best Practice award for the Sentinel program from Training Magazine. Leah’s team is currently working on designing a new Sentinel management training program to continue the professional development of front-line operations managers and supervisors.

Iron Mountain has integrated the learning organization into all strategic planning activities, providing them with a ‘seat at the table’ to take part in the organization’s decisions. With an in-depth understanding of the organization’s direction, the learning group has the perspective needed to provide the tools and support that Iron Mountain needs to reach their goals. For example, when CEO William Meaney decided to address cultural and leadership change, the learning group developed a strategy to support his three-year plan. “We recognize that at least 50% of our employees have Spanish as their first language. This creates a greater learning curve and employees are not able onboard as quickly if the training is not in their native tongue,” observes Leah. To support their North American employees from diverse backgrounds, the learning organization is engaged in a project to translate their learning programs into Spanish and French Canadian.  Her team is also supporting their growing business by developing methods to onboard new employees more quickly, leveraging their overall strategy to use technology to deliver more self-directed learning.

Because they have a small staff of 11, NA Operations Learning tries to leverage internal and external business partners to reach their goals. They rely on subject matter experts in the field to help with messaging. Recently they adopted Iron Mountain UK’s tools for transportation, using telematics in company vehicles to measure their employees driving.  Leah’s team also relies on key relationships with preferred vendors. “PDG is a long-term preferred vendor of ours who I enjoy working with because they understand our business. PDG understands our design aesthetic and can translate what is in our heads into a properly articulated design.” These are just a few of the ways Leah and her team is able to support Iron Mountain’s business goals and to continue to drive real business impact through organizational change.

Iron Mountain is a storage and information management company, assisting more than 156,000 organizations in 36 countries on five continents with storing, protecting, and managing their information. Iron Mountain employs almost 17,000 professionals and an infrastructure that includes more than 1,000 facilities and 3,600 vehicles.

For more information about Iron Mountain or for additional interviews with Leah Minthorn click on the links below:

Chief Learning Officer: Special Report: Metrics and Measurement

Chief Learning Officer: Special Report: Learning Technology

Training Magazine: Paths to Success: Responsibility Vs. Promotion 

HRO Today: Out of Recession, Companies Turn to Training


 Driving Workplace Safety

Topics: Client Focus, Business Issues in Learning, Organizational Change

Grab Attention with Graphic Novels

Posted by Amanda Holm on Aug 13, 2014 2:35:23 PM

I have a sister in-law and brother in-law who create the Baby Mouse and Squish graphic novels. They not only hooked me on graphic novels, but their graphic novels were the start of my daughter’s love of reading. So, when I started to see a number of graphic novels being developed for our corporate clients, I took a look, and I was amazed!

I first viewed a graphic novel about ‘Code of Conduct’ (yes, Code of Conduct!) that grabbed my attention with the bright colors and interesting graphics as well as the story they told. I wanted to learn more so I asked the PDG team of Instructional Designers why graphic novels work well in the corporate setting. 

Jeff Dunn, an Instructional Designer at PDG observes, “Graphic novels offer a very non-threatening way to learn. They are short, easy-to-read, but more importantly do a great job showing character interaction naturally without having to slog through what can sometimes be a cumbersome experience. It also adds a built-in hook, in that each book tends to end with a teaser/cliffhanger for the following books, which help capture interest. Just like with good TV programs, characters drive interest and with graphic novels, they are so character-centered, they are just fun to follow. There’s a reason the comic book business boomed in the Silver Age (starting in the 60’s and 70’s) when you could see images and situations that you could easily relate to.”

Stacie Comolli, Director of Solution Architecture, agrees that graphic novels are a fun way to learn. "Graphic novels have been around for a very long time.  Their eye-catching visuals and short, succinct, focused writing draws readers in quickly and keeps them engaged from end-to-end.  While traditionally considered entertainment, we’ve paired this media with solid instructional design and storytelling techniques.   Using authentic characters we show learners what to do… and more importantly what NOT to do.  This media offers an innovative way  to connect with our audience on a different level, getting their attention and therefore impacting performance."

Studies have found that graphic novel readers retain more information than traditional textbook users. Jeremy Short a professor from the University of Oklahoma notes, “Maybe just a simple graphic explanation ... is the way to go, and maybe where people should be putting their resources, if they want their employees to recall things better, their students to recall things better.” 

David Alexander Robertson, who writes educational graphic novels said that, “Graphic novels, because of their visual nature, help readers engage with the subject more effectively. They provide breadth and depth to the words, and context to the important historical items. In using the graphic novel, readers become more immersed in the world. It becomes more real to them. They can smell, touch, taste, hear, and, of course, see it. Readers take those still images and animate them, bring them to life, get them excited.”

So, What Are Graphic Novels?

Graphic novels are books that are written and illustrated in the style of a comic book. Your audience learns a story told through the combination of sequential visual art and text. Graphic novels work well as on ongoing series, building a repeat audience. With graphic novels, studies indicate that the use of storytelling aids in increased retention. Graphic novels are widely regarded as mainstream literature and can be a valuable resource for supporting learning.

A Unique Learning Method

Graphic novels present typical situations that employees experience in their daily professional life. Using creative storytelling and compelling art, graphic novels create an engaging learning method that people actually look forward to. Graphic novels are a great way to convey dry content, or gain attention to frequently updated material. And the bold graphics translate exceptionally well to iPads and other mobile devices. This alternative learning method gives your audience an exciting new way to absorb important information.

I encourage you to go out to your library, bookstore, or favorite online store to find some graphic novels. Read them for fun or even refresh your calculus or life science skills. I certainly enjoy reading graphic novels and I know the designers at PDG have fun creating them too.

Here’s some additional information about graphic novels:



Amanda Cushman Holm is the 
Sales and Marketing Specialist at 
Performance Development Group


Topics: Graphic Novels

Implementing CIA Learning

Posted by Amanda Holm on Jun 17, 2014 2:10:58 PM

A Real-World Roadmap to Successful CIA Learning Rollout


The PDG white paper, Implementing CIA Learning, provides an overview of planning and implementing the learning programs that are required as part of a Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA). Here’s a selection from the white paper:

The learning components of a Corporate Integrity Agreement are unique and different from any other type of corporate learning your organization will do. Traditional learning models aren’t enough for CIA learning; a CIA has very specific legal and regulatory requirements, and failure to meet them comes at a significant cost. An organization managing a CIA needs a very specific learning strategy for success, a pragmatic plan which is outlined in this white paper.

What is a CIA?

The United States Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Health and Human Services defines a CIA as follows:

A Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) is a document that outlines the obligations an entity agrees to as part of a civil settlement. An entity agrees to the CIA obligations in exchange for the OIG’s agreement that it won’t seek to exclude entity from participation in Medicare, Medicaid or other Federal health care programs. The CIAs have common elements, but each one is tailored to address the specific facts of the case and CIAs are often drafted to recognize the elements of a pre-existing compliance program.

The manufacturers and distributors of pharmaceuticals, biologics, and medical devices are the most frequent recipients of CIAs, and CIAs are typically issued as part of the settlement relating to actions an entity has taken in violation of government regulations. Therefore, virtually all CIAs include provisions that the entity takes steps to change practices and behaviors that led to previous violations.

What is your CIA Learning Readiness?

How will you…

  •          Identify and locate Covered Persons?
  •          Determine your LMS and certification ability?
  •          Reach your vendors and contractors?
  •          Identify what content you have and what you need to develop?
  •          Communicate with OIG and your internal stakeholders?
  •          Deal with constant changes and updates?
  •          Resource your CIA team?
  •          Rollout and track effectively?

…all within 120 days?


Want to learn more? You can download the white paper here for free! You can also find out more about implementing CIA learning with these resources:


Topics: Corporate Integrity Agreement

The Mobile Learning rEvolution

Posted by Amanda Holm on Jun 9, 2014 9:47:00 AM

The PDG white paper, The Mobile Learning rEvolution, gives an overview of how the use of mobile devices is slowly changing how we learn. Here’s a selection from the white paper.

Mobile devices have become so common that they are part of our learning lexicon whether we like it or not. “Mobile Learning” is a misnomer, as learning style is not unique to a device. However, people have demonstrated clear ways they prefer to use their mobile devices and we would do well to note that and focus our learning design. Mobile devices have unique attributes, or “affordances,” which allow us to do things on mobile devices that would be difficult to do through other methods.

The Mainstreaming of MobileMobile_Whitepaper_Cover

A lot of organizations are talking about creating Mobile Learning Strategies. And while innovation is to be applauded, these organizations are really making it more difficult on themselves than they need to. The advent of the iPad and the smartphone haven’t changed the way people learn; they’ve provided new ways to distribute and consume learning.

That’s not to say that people’s expectations for how they learn and how they access information haven’t changed, however. As the smartphone and tablet become parts of everyday life, our expectations have changed.

We tend to consume information:

  • Close to the time of need
  • In small, easily digestible chunks
  • And expect to access it immediately

Mobile devices make it easier to incorporate learning directly into business process, rather than separate from it. When we start to think about Mobile Learning Strategies, it helps if we look at the way people already use their mobile devices. Rather than trying to convince them to use a new method of learning on mobile devices, we need to design learning that leverages the way our learners already prefer to use their devices.

Want to learn more? You can download the white paper here for free! You can also find out more about mobile learning with these resources:

Join us at SPBT: Creating an Advanced Sales Training Curriculum

Posted by Amanda Holm on Jun 5, 2014 12:33:46 PM

Discover how PDG partnered with Biogen Idec to create an advanced sales training solution. Mark Lockett, Director of Commercial Training on the Biogen Idec Commercial Training Team and Marcus Hswe, a Consultant at Performance Development Group (PDG), are presenting the topic The Next Generation: Creating an Advanced Training Curriculum at the Society for  Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers (SPBT) Annual Conference in Grapevine Texas on June 10. 

Participants will learn to:Patient-Centric Selling

  • Promote the effectiveness and impact of an advanced training curriculum design and development model

  • Identify the drivers for enabling a successful advanced  training curriculum

  • Identify how a patient-centric selling model can build more effective relationships with health care providers

Biogen Idec has successfully helped Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients manage their disease for years. To capitalize on that success, the organization benchmarked its best sales reps to evaluate how optimal behaviors can be adopted by those who work directly with health care providers.

The result was the Advanced Training Curriculum to meet the following challenges for rep training:

  •          Make it a WOW factor

  •          Get away from “me too” and make it unique

  •          Must be motivational and engaging

  •          Centers on retaining top talent

  •          Supplements current rewards system

This curriculum leveraged the Patient-Centric Model, a relationship-based sales approach that focuses the conversation on a health care provider’s patients and their individual cases. With this Patient-Centric approach, Biogen Idec trains the sales team on specific actions to build and maintain those relationships to drive revenue and market share. More information on the presentation The Next Generation: Creating an Advanced Training Curriculum and how to register can be found on the SPBT Annual Conference website.  

Mark Lockett

Mark Lockett currently serves as a Director of Commercial Training on the Biogen Idec US Commercial Training Team, focused on leading the development and implementation of an Advanced Training curriculum. Mark has 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical, device and biotech space, and has held leadership roles in Sales Management, Marketing and Training.

Marcus Hswe

Marcus Hswe is a Consultant with Performance Development Group of Malvern, PA. He has over 10 years of experience in enterprise learning, especially in the design, development, and management of training initiatives.

Topics: Sales Training