About the Podcast

Welcome to the Skillsoft podcast, a platform designed to help leaders and learners alike unleash their edge! In this series, we'll feature a variety of guests, including some familiar faces from our Perspectives Ask a Speaker series, to engage in thought provoking conversations and open dialogue on the topic of learning and growth in the workplace.

About This Episode

The Upskilling, Reskilling, and Futureproofing of a Global Workforce

At a time when organizations around the world faced disruption, jobs and projects were temporarily halted, and the shift to remote work occurred overnight, the Learning and Development team at CGI launched a companywide online learning program to reskill, upskill, and futureproof the skill set of its global workforce. In today’s episode of The Edge, host Michelle Boockoff-Badjek welcomes Helen Sussex, the Director of Global Learning Design and Creation at CGI, to discuss the success of CGI Academia and the growing demand for skills training.

About Our Guest

Helen Sussex

Helen has spent more than 30 years in IT services organizations and 25 years involved in learning in some way. She has done just about every learning role possible, both with IT training suppliers and internal learning organizations at national and global levels. For the last 7 years she has led the CGI Global Learning Design and Creation team, a specialist CoE, where she is responsible for delivering memorable global learning, managing global learning technologies and vendor partnerships and guiding the CGI global learning governance process. In 2017 Skillsoft recognized her as a Talent Development Champion.

About Our Host

Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek

As Chief Marketing Officer, Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek (BB) leads a global marketing organization focused on helping companies unlock the hidden value inside their greatest asset – their people.

In her role, Michelle is responsible for the company’s marketing strategy to drive growth, generate awareness, and drive demand for Skillsoft solutions among learners, customers, and partners. She oversees all key functions, including customer marketing, corporate communications, demand generation, marketing operations and business development. Most importantly, she serves as the company’s brand evangelist, helping to build a vibrant community of passionate learners.

Prior to Skillsoft, Michelle held several executive roles in the high tech sector, most notably as the CMO of IBM Watson, where she was responsible for marketing the company's artificial intelligence (AI) products and solutions. Michelle also served as the global head of marketing for The Weather Company, an IBM Business, where she helped companies understand how to anticipate, plan for and ultimately make better decisions - with greater confidence - in the face of weather.

Previous Episodes

American Airlines Success in Safety Standards

When your company’s mission is to lift people thousands of feet in the air and transport them hundreds of miles, there is no room for human error. The cabin crew says prepare for takeoff and customers snap into their seat belts. But have you ever thought about the safety measures and in-depth training behind every pilot’s instruction or mechanic’s check list to get airplanes safely in the air?

In this episode of The Edge, we will hear from Kari McClure, Director of Learning Experience, about American Airlines’ compliance regulation training – from pilot certification to dangerous goods handling training for check in agents and sanitation requirements for crew. At American Airlines every nuanced training, regulation and compliance read and sign is implicitly kept up to date, filed and available in real time as meticulous as pilots check lists.

About Our Guest

Kari McClure

Kari McClure is the Director of Learning Experience for American Airlines. She has a wealth of operational, leadership and training expertise that has been developed over an extensive career at American. Her current role includes responsibility for multiple teams who liaise with business units to identify, design, and develop training and learning programs for the enterprise. They also partner closely with the leadership development team to facilitate design and delivery of instructor-led programs. Her teams lead work to bring governance and a consistent learner lens to all the functional training teams. In addition, she has oversight and administration of American’s LMS and the operations at the AA Training Center.

Kari earned her Bachelor’s degree from Baylor University along with a Secondary Education degree. She has been active in community work and developed curriculum and training plans for non-profit organizations.

Creating Authentic Connections in a Virtual Landscape

In today’s world where video communication has become quintessential, businesses and people struggle to connect authentically. In this episode of The Edge, David Meerman Scott, author of Fanocracy, joins host Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek to discuss how brands and people are addressing the challenge of maintaining authentic, creative connections virtually during a time of uncertainty.

About Our Guest

David Meerman Scott

David Meerman Scott spotted the real-time marketing revolution in its infancy and has authored five books about it including The New Rules of Marketing and PR, available in 29 languages from Albanian to Vietnamese with more than 400,000 copies sold in English. Now David says the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of superficial online communications. Tech-weary and bot-wary people are hungry for true human connection. Organizations have learned to win by developing what David calls a Fanocracy — (the subject of his Wall Street Journal best seller) — tapping into the mindset that relationships with customers are more important than the products they sell to them

The Future of the Workplace

As many of us find ourselves adjusted to our remote work reality, the question of what will work look next is at the forefront of our minds. In this episode of Unleash Your Edge, host Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek welcomes Ester Martinez, the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of People Matters, to discuss how this transformation has created irrevocable changes, and how we might approach work and our workplace, as we anticipate re-emerging.

About Our Guest

Ester Martinez

As CEO & Editor-in-Chief at People Matters, Ester leads an incredible team of content writers, researchers, product thinkers, and marketers building fantastic media products to enable more impactful HR and talent decisions.

Ester holds a postgraduate degree in Human Resources Management from EADA (Spain) and a Master’s Degree in Management from Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad. With more than 14 years of experience in human resources, Ester has a wealth of knowledge in all areas of Talent and Human Resources management. Until 2008, she worked as a professional manager with a host of blue chip companies, which included Hewlett Packard in different countries within Europe, and Tata Consultancy Services, both in India and in the UK.

In 2009, Ester decided to come to India and work on developing India centric data on talent management, leadership and HR, seeing the absence of any such research content could be referred by CEOs & HR heads. This spurred her idea to start People Matters, a magazine that aims to provide practical aspects of managing, developing and coaching talent in India.

She has been featured on the LinkedIn Top Voices list in 2016 and 2018, which ranks the top writers on LinkedIn for the year

Leading Inclusively: Diversity and Inclusion

In wake of reignited national conversation and actions, organizations have re-examined diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. In the debut episode of Unleash Your Edge, host Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek sits down with La’Wana Harris, a Certified Diversity Executive and ICF Credentialed Coach, to explore diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and how organizations of all sizes can start on the journey towards inclusive leadership.

About Our Guest

La’Wana Harris

La’Wana Harris, CDE, ACC, is a Certified Diversity Executive, an ICF Credentialed Coach, and a global leadership development professional who has dedicated her career to aligning performance with business strategy.

La’Wana has received numerous industry and community awards — most recently, as one of 2018’s 100 Most Inspiring People in the life-sciences industry by PharmaVOICE magazine. She also received the Women in Leadership award from the National Black MBA Association and was invited to join the Forbes Coaches Council. She currently serves on the global board of directors for the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association.

A servant leader, foreign and domestic missionary, and a passionate activist, La’Wana believes in meeting people where they are to combat racism, poverty and injustice. Her most recent book, Diversity Beyond Lip Service: A Coaching Guide for Challenging Bias, introduces an "inside out" approach for DEI work. Visit lawanaharris.com to learn more.