Chapter Blog

Welcome to the ATD Long Island Chapter blog. We hope you find these articles interesting and helpful. If you are interested in submitting an article to the blog, please send an email to All articles are copyrighted by the authors and may not be reproduced.

  • 07 May 2019 2:50 PM | Stephanie Burke (Administrator)

    Great article by my favorite leadership expert Dan Rockwell on core competencies for success and interview with Jim Harter, Ph.D. Gallup researcher and author of It's the Manager and 12:Elements of Great Managing. It's all about relationships. 

    7 Universal Competencies for Success in Any Role

  • 01 May 2019 9:25 AM | Stephanie Burke (Administrator)

    Great article to celebrate International Coaching Week on the critical elements you need if you are looking to grow a coaching culture.


    4 Ways to Foster a Coaching Culture

  • 25 Apr 2019 5:30 PM | James Wolfe (Administrator)

    Hello ATD: Long Island! With just a few weeks until the Career Journey Open Mic Night & Disrupt HR 4.0 Long Island, I am happy to give you some insights from Sy Islam. Try to catch him at one of these events and find out more about his experiences, along with how he plans on turning the NY Knicks into a dynasty!

    First, a little background on ATD: LI's VP of Programming:

    Sy Islam, Ph.D.

    Sy has over 10 years of experience in a variety of corporate, academic, and applied settings. He completed his Bachelors in Economics from Rutgers University, his MBA in Human Resource Management and a Master’s of Arts in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He completed his PhD in Applied Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University. 

    Sy has served in management, consultant and research roles in a variety of organizations. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Industrial Organizational Psychology at Farmingdale State College. In addition to his role as a professor, he is a co-founder and a Principal Consultant with Talent Metrics. In his role at Talent Metrics, he collaborates with organizations through consulting engagements in his areas of expertise (training and development, selection, survey design, performance management, and team building). He is a passionate advocate for the fields of I-O Psychology and training. He currently serves as the Vice-President of Programming for the Long Island Chapter of the Association for Talent Development.

    Follow him on Twitter: @IOSyIslam and LinkedIn:

    ATD: How did you come to be a part of ATD LI?

    SI: I joined ATD Long Island after I graduated from Hofstra University. I had been a member of ATD in NJ prior to beginning my PhD and after I graduated and started my consulting practice Talent Metrics, I rejoined the local chapter. Linda Berke, the ATD LI president at the time was so welcoming that I knew I had to be a part of this local chapter. Soon after I took a board position with my friend Hector Martinez.

    ATD: Where do you work currently and what does a work day look like for you?

    SI: Currently, I wear many hats and split my time between a few different roles. My first role is as an Assistant Professor of Industrial Organizational Psychology at Farmingdale State College. My second role is as a Principal Consultant and founder of Talent Metrics, a boutique people/learning analytics consulting firm that specializes in using data to deliver human capital interventions. My third role is as an adjunct professor at Hofstra University where I teach training and development. My typical workday starts with a review of tasks to be completed that day and then a generous dose of social media (mostly Twitter) and then teaching and conference calls. My wife makes fun of me and says that my consulting work is mostly conference calls or sitting in front of the computer reviewing datasets. She’s not wrong.

    ATD: How did you begin your career in talent development?

    SI: I began my career in talent development by happenstance. At Rutgers University, I became a trainer for the peer counseling group that I volunteered with. That was my first training position and I enjoyed it. After I graduated with a degree in economics, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life and economics degree, so I ended up teaching SAT test prep courses for Kaplan Test Prep. I eventually became a manager with Kaplan and most of my work was recruitment and training. After a couple of years as a manager I decided that I wanted to pursue my MBA in Human Resources Management. My first MBA course at Fairleigh Dickinson University was Organizational Behavior taught by an Industrial Organizational Psychologist named Dr. Dean Robb. He suggested that I pursue the dual MBA-HR Management/MA-I-O Psychology program that FDU offered. Eventually I decided to pursue my PhD and ended up studying at Hofstra University.

    ATD: What do you value most about ATD LI?

    SI: What I value most about ATD LI is the sense of community. ATD Long Island has some of the best professionals in the field as members and everyone feels like a true community member. New members can make the most of this group by engaging with the community by attending events, reaching out to board members and letting the board know what they want out of the organization. If you’re new to the field, be open to the community, be ready to learn and don’t make connections hoping for a transactional relationship. You’re going to get what you put into this organization. That’s what makes ATD LI such an enjoyable group.

    ATD: What was the best experience you have ever had in talent development, and why?

    SI: There are a couple of experiences that would qualify for the best experiences I have had in talent development. The first would be in some executive coaching work that I did. I was working with a VP in an organization and after reviewing some of the pre-coaching assessments and discussing her goals for coaching I discussed with her the possibility that she could be a CEO for an organization. She was floored and it was great to explain to someone who had never seen that potential in themselves before that she had that potential. This is the catnip of training and development.

    The second example would be when we were working on a harassment training for a municipality. We received some feedback from the organizational members that the training was well received and that employees were experiencing healthier interactions within the workplace.

    The third example of a wonderful experience was when we worked with a Fortune company for whom we did a training evaluation. We were able to identify the effect of their training program on organizational outcomes (NDA’s of course prevent me from going into further detail on these projects).

    ATD: If you could have complete control for talent development of any existing private or government organization, which one would it be and what would you do with it?

    SI: This is not really a traditional answer but if I could control the talent development for any organization it would be the NY Knicks. God knows they need the help and need the support to become more data driven. Analytics could help the team make better decisions about draft picks about how best to train and how to manage line-ups for the team. James Dolan call me!!

  • 11 Apr 2019 9:25 AM | Lawrence Kravitz (Administrator)

    I’ve been very lucky in my career to have many great bosses who knew how to figure out how to motivate their teams and individuals that report to them.   Often, when I bring up motivation in classes, managers roll their eyes.  They do this, because immediately they think about money.  However, when I dive deeper, they often have not asked their employees how they are motivated.  And they typically don’t ask because they are worried about the money.  So how do I solve this?  I ask managers to think about what motivates them and their teams.  I then ask them to look at the list they have made and see what costs them money.  Most of the time about 70% of things that motivate employees is not about money.  And now I know what you are thinking…no way!  How’s this possible?  What are the magic items on their lists?  Here are some of them; stretch assignments, mentorships, internal training, time with their managers, more flexible work arrangements, more feedback.  These are just some of them.  But you can make your own list.  Managers often ask me how they can get this list.  My response is simple, “Just ask”.  When I managed people at the bank, I would ask them to fill out a favorite things sheet.  When they did something good, I would look to that list to try to find something small to reward that behavior.  It often costed me very little or nothing at all.

    In my mind, it’s about recognizing your employees are human beings with needs.  If you, as a manager, can figure out when your employee is looking for and attend to those needs, then your employees will be more motivated and engaged.

  • 05 Apr 2019 11:58 AM | Stephanie Burke (Administrator)


    Why Your Organization Needs Skills Gap Analysis

    Brought to you by Lambda Logo - Blue & Grey.jpg

    What Is a Skills Gap . . . And How Do I Analyze It?

    The simplest way to think about a skills gap is to consider the difference between performance and potential within your organization. A gap analysis brings this inequity to the foreground. It’s an effective way of asking questions about productivity within your team—what does your workforce currently offer, how well do they meet targets, and what would they need to perform optimally?

    A skills gap can appear in many forms, depending on the type of organization. It might be a question of training—employees requiring more technical expertise or a better understanding of company philosophy. At a larger level, a skills gap may signify the need to acquire more specialized employees. On the other hand, a skills gap might stem from infrastructural inadequacies or a need to develop better communication practices.

    A skills gap analysis measures an organization's ability to meet its objectives, so a quantitative measure of performance is required. For the majority of businesses, a financial measure, such as a profit margin, is the best descriptor of performance. But there may be other, more relevant measures depending on the type of organization. Turnaround time, for example, might be a good indicator of service-based performance. Discrepancies between expected and actual performance can then be used to pinpoint areas where training or innovation would help.

    Because of their comprehensive nature, skills gap analyses are useful for considering the relationship between a team and their objectives. Conducting regular analysis reveals patterns in attainment and underperformance within an organization, and gives an effective indication of the health and versatility of company processes. In turn, this provides direction for training programs and hiring practices.

    What’s the Best Way of Identifying Skills Gaps?

    Once a skills gap is identified, it becomes more straightforward to create actionable steps to bring performance in line with potential.

    The key to accurately measuring performance and identifying skill gaps is asking specific, astute questions of your organization. Think about the fundamental what and why questions, which help identify the reasons behind your data. Has your organization focused on hiring a specific type of skill, thereby unknowingly neglecting other important skill sets?

    Take the difference between hard and soft skills, for example. Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured. This is regardless of skill complexity, so covers anything from typing to hedge fund management. Soft skills, on the other hand, are those which aid general performance within an organization. Examples include managing your time, creative thinking, and the ability to lead. Fast-growing companies often fall into the trap of acquiring many employees with excellent hard skills in response to specific problems and requirements. This can cause an overall soft-skill gap within their business.

    How Do Skills Gap Analyses Benefit My Employees?

    An important detail of skills gap analyses is that they can be performed on two concurrent levels: individual and company-wide. This means that, while aiding the general performance of an organization, gap analysis is also a useful tool for the personal development of individual employees.

    You can even initiate two gap analyses for an individual—one self-evaluated by the employee, the other by the employee’s line manager or team leader. The results are then used as the basis for discussion within a performance review. Knowing how employees and managers evaluate differences between performance and future expectations can provide insight into workplace relationships, leading to better communication strategy.

  • 14 Mar 2019 8:02 PM | James Wolfe (Administrator)

    Hello ATD Long Island! Spring is upon us and we are heading into it with great events, in-person and virtual. Hopefully you can catch our March profile member at one of them!

    For March, we are lucky to introduce you to Linda Berke, President of Taylor Performance Solutions. Ms. Berke is also a former President of our chapter, helping to keep ATD LI a strong resource for the talent development community.

    ATD: How did you come to be a part of ATD LI?

    LB: When I started my business in 2003, I was looking for groups with the same interest as me and I was introduced to SHRM and they asked me to present at one of their meetings. After I presented at the SHRM meeting, one of the women in the audience suggested I join ATD.



    ATD: Where do you work currently and what does a work day look like for you?

    LB: I run a training and consulting firm called Taylor Performance Solutions. We have such a variety of projects and clients that a work day might mean working on new training designs, running focus groups/interviewing managers and employees to complete a needs analysis, listening to recorded phone calls to analyze the skills of a call center,  going undercover and shopping/eating/being a tourist as part of regular mystery visits/mystery shops at our client locations, delivering training or consulting with management teams on their customer service and sales processes. Pretty much anything that is related to developing custom training and improving service, sales and leadership at a company.

    ATD: How did you begin your career in talent development?

    LB: I was in a management/sales position and was asked to deliver customer service training one day a week after work to other branches. I absolutely loved it and knew I had found my calling. This was in 1990!

    ATD: What do you suggest to new members for them to gain the most benefit from ATD LI?

    LB: ATD LI is an amazing, warm, talented and supportive group of talent management professionals. I suggest new members get to know the group and join a committee or join the board. This was suggested to me and I ended up being the President for a few years and was able to work and learn with many talented people.

    ATD: What was the most challenging experience you ever had in talent development, and why?

    LB: Since we custom design all of our learning experiences and sometimes need to learn about a new industry or business in a short amount of time, all of our projects bring positive challenging experiences! The most important challenges we face on every project are identifying how to align the training to our client’s culture, how to motivate our learners to change and how to design the program in a way that is fun and helps them build new skills quickly. 

    ATD: What are some of the biggest challenges facing the learning and development field?

    LB: From our perspective, the biggest challenges facing the learning and development field is making sure the learning is reinforced after training. We only spend between a few hours and a few days with our learners helping them be better at what they do. Since our focus is on skills such as service, sales or leadership, if the learning is not reinforced and supported after training, it is too easy to fall back into old habits.

  • 15 Feb 2019 3:55 PM | Sayeedul Islam (Administrator)

    The Long Island Chapter of the Association for Talent Development has been awarded a Champion of Learning Award for our joint program with the ICF-Long Island 

    The chapter is very proud to have won this award. We'd like to thank the ICF Long Island team for teaming up with us on this event. 

    Check out the pictures from thejoint ATD LI ICF event below. 


  • 11 Feb 2019 5:52 PM | James Wolfe (Administrator)

    Hello ATD Long Island! With so many great events and benefits being offered by ATD: LI, it is nice to get to know the people responsible for the hard work, as well as the professionals in the field that we are here for.

    February's Member Profile checks both boxes. This month we introduce ATD: LI's Director of Membership and BNB Bank's Director of Talent Acquisition, Lisa Garraputa.

    ATD: How did you come to be a part of ATD LI?

    LG: I had attended the SHRM-LI Conference and met some really great people at the ATD booth.  After speaking with some folks, it peaked my interest to learn more about the ATD-LI organization and chapter.

    ATD: Where do you work currently and what does a work day look like for you?

    LG: I am currently the Director of Talent Acquisition for BNB Bank.  A work day for me is leading the recruitment function by continuously building and strengthening relationships internally and externally.  I act as a strategic partner to our business lines to ensure we are connecting, mentoring, and empowering, internal and external talented professionals. 

    ATD: Describe a major career achievement that led to your current position.

    LG: I believe a major career achievement that lead me to my current role was revamping our Internship Program.  Revamping our Internship Program involved creating a new business case, providing guidelines to management and creating a quality internship program that provides students with a valuable experience in the professional fields they are considering for career paths.  This program also was created to enrich the growth of BNB emerging leaders.  The revamp of this program has resulted in several growth opportunities for our organization in addition to internal growth and mobility for our previous Interns (4 of which have been brought on-board full-time.)   I believe my passion to empower young professionals to take the first step in their career combined with my expertise in mentoring and developing talent has allowed me to become a leader within the Talent profession.

    ATD: What do you suggest to new members for them to gain the most benefit from ATD LI?

    LG: My suggestion for a new member to gain the most benefit from the ATD- Long Island Chapter is to go to meetings, network, get out of your comfort zone and meet new people.  I’ve learned so much about common trends, talked about hot topics and even met great people who I could bounce ideas off.    It is incredible to be surrounded by talented professionals who share the same passion, which is helping develop talent no matter their level.

    ATD: What was the most challenging experience you ever had in talent development, and why?

    LG: The most challenging experience I had in Talent Development was when I had clients resistant to change. I believe that clients can be very set in their ways because “things have always been done this way…”  I overcame this challenge by asking “why do we do it this way...have we thought about trying this…”

    ATD: What are some of the biggest challenges facing the learning and development field?

    LG: I think one of the biggest challenges we are facing in the learning and development field is the virtual learning space.  There are many great benefits to virtual learning – however, we lack face-to-face interaction and may miss important pieces to the training.


  • 10 Jan 2019 4:40 PM | Lawrence Kravitz (Administrator)

    For the past 10 + years, holding a management title in Learning & Development, I have received countless vendors asking me to join a webinar.  You know the invite; come to a webinar and learn all about LMS technology, leadership training, employee engagement, etc.  I will ask you to be honest and ask how many of you hit delete prior to even reading the topic? C’mon now.  Be honest.  We all have a lot of work to do and no have time for those sales focused webinars.

    In 2019, I want to challenge you.  I challenge you to read some of those invites.  Is the topic something that interests you?   Maybe a topic that might be useful for you to have some insight in for the future. 

    Let me start by saying almost every one of these vendor webinars has some sort of sales component.  After all, no one gives away anything for free.  But there are some great vendors that you can learn from, are respectful of your time, and are good to keep in the virtual Rolodex should you need them.  One of my favorites is The Ken Blanchard Companies.  Ken Blanchard offers some great webinars ( for FREE, some even with Ken himself.  These webinars are truly chock full of information and are by no means pushy to make you buy.  Yes, they want you to buy something, but they truly strive to be a learning partner.  Training Mag Network,, is another place where I go to learn.  Tons of topics, many different vendors, and even a technical series.  NetSpeed Leadership also has some nice offerings.  You can find them at  I would be remiss to not mention the Franklin Covey Web Series.  They have a number of webinars on their courses and are located at

    In 2019, make a commitment to devote an hour a month to a webinar.  I can almost guarantee you will learn something new!

  • 09 Jan 2019 4:45 PM | James Wolfe (Administrator)

    Hello ATD Long Island! Every month from now on we will be highlighting one of our esteemed members, providing an overview of their professional lives as well as some valuable insight into current topics. 

    For January, we are excited to introduce ATD: LI's current President, Larry Kravitz. If you would like to find out more about Mr. Kravitz or maybe discuss some of his answers with him, make sure to join us at our Winter Social Event on Thursday, January 17th! 

    ATD: Where do you work currently and what does a work day look like for you?

    LK: I work as the Organizational Development Manager at Henry Schein.  I do everything from training design and delivery, manage the mentor and reverse mentor programs, help leader with Talent Planning and work on special projects.

    ATD: How did you come to be a part of ATD LI?

    LK: I got involved with ATD LI by presenting on Learning Management Systems for the group.  Sy Islam happened to be the President and knew my wife.  I had just gone through the selection and implementation of a new enterprise LMS.  About six months later, I hosted ATD at my training site and was asked to become involved.  I’ve been addicted ever since!

    ATD: How did you begin your career in talent development?

    LK: I began my career in talent development in college.  I worked for IKEA where I started training.  I was a cashier for a few weeks and then I was asked to train cashiers.  I continued to train all team members on detecting fraudulent payments.  I then designed my first “workbook”.  My intent was to teach High School English but decided I liked training adults better.

    ATD: What do you suggest to new members for them to gain the most benefit from ATD LI?

    LK: When a new member gets involved, I suggest they get “all-in”.  Join a committee and volunteer as much as you can.  This will help you to learn about the organization, learn about talent development, and build a strong network.  I think our members worry about how much they are going to be asked to do.  We won’t push you to put more time then you wish to, however everything we do is because of our volunteers.

    ATD: What was the best experience you have ever had in talent development, and why?

    LK: In my past organization, I pushed for a Leadership Development program for many years.  Although I did not fall under HR there, I saw many managers who became managers because they were successful individual contributors.  Finally, after many years, the CEO saw a need for this program.  Although we brought an outside vendor to do this, I was able to lead the project and it was an absolute win for the managers.

    ATD: What are some of the biggest challenges facing the learning and development field?

    LK: The fact that learning is so readily and easily available is a great benefit, however it is also a huge challenge for the L&D field.  The benefit is that anyone with some basic technology can learn anything they want, often for free.  The challenge is helping people to focus in on the learning they need.  In addition, as learning becomes less formal, tracking is harder for organizations.  As organizations focus on a culture of learning, leaders will need to sit down and figure out formal learning plans.

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