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Top Trainer Throwdown

Top Trainer Throwdown 2016 - Words from the VP of Programs and Events


How do you choose a winner among four great trainers?  

That was the question our members and guests had to answer at our June Chapter meeting, when we held our 4th annual Top Trainer Throwdown. This exciting event was brought to our chapter four years ago by our previous VP of Programs and Events, Patty Howard, when she heard of another ATD chapter doing the event. Patty’s keen eye for engaging programming has given ATD Detroit our flagship event, as we have held it at every June meeting since.

The premise and name of the Top Trainer throw down was based on those hokey, staged wrestling events where they start with eight men in a ring and all but one will be “thrown-down” or eliminated.

At the ATD Detroit Throwdown, select members of our chapter competed against each other to see who could “throw-down” their best training technique, tool, or method.

Four competitors had 12 – 15 minutes to prove their stuff and take away the title of 2016 Top Trainer. Our competitors did not disappoint this year as they showed strong training acumen and a variety of skills that kept us entertained all night.

Julianne Phillips, Manager of Training and Strategy of Customer Service and Marketing at DTE, presented “The Secret Sauce of Customer Service”. Julianne started the evening strong by giving us a detailed recipe for the secret sauce of customer service. Julianne tied the presentation together in excellent fashion by sporting her chef gear and giving some intriguing personal customer service examples as she shared with us five key ingredients of her special recipe: courtesy, attitude, responsiveness, energy and last but not least, smiling.

Wade Sutton, Manager of Learning and Development at Delphi Automotive, presented “The Gigging Economy”. Wade had us on the edge of our seats as he described what a gigging economy was. The sharing economy model he described, which is an economic model based on sharing underutilized resources, made us all want to book our next vacation using Airbnb. He made sure we understood that trust, validation and access were key components to the success of the gigging business model. Most importantly, with a detailed account of the making of the book “B is for Brains: ABC’s for the Zombie Apocalypse” we heard a personal example of just how easy it is to gig!

Michael Jacobson, Past President of the ATD Detroit Chapter and Training Manager at FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles,) was up next as he shared with us the “Five Key Drivers to Message Delivery.” Michael thoroughly entertained with his star-studded, prop-filled presentation as he showed us the do’s and don’ts for posture, facial expression, eye contact, gestures and movement. He sang to us that words really don’t matter to trainers. Some audience participation really helped drive the points home and a sing-a- long to an original song ended the memorable presentation.

Our last brave contestant, Jamie Irvin, Talent Development Specialist at GreenPath Financial Wellness, presented “Identity Theft”. Jamie caught our attention from the start by having a coworker start her presentation and pretend to be her. Making light of something as serious as identity theft helped deliver the message of what identity theft was and how it occurred. Jamie continued the engagement in her presentation by dividing the room in two teams as they competed to rebuild their “Potato Heads” by playing a game of identity theft myth or truth.

With all these great examples to choose from, how do you select a winner among four great trainers?  Meeting attendees voted using the following criteria:

  • Was I entertained?
  • Did I learn something of value?
  • Was I engaged?
  • Did I find the presentation original or innovative?

ATD Detroit is pleased to announce our 2016 Top Trainer Throwdown winner, Michael Jacobson!  Michael entertained and engaged us while still providing valuable information for any trainer to use. You can see pictures of the event at our blog.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2016 Top Trainer Throwdown and we hope to see you all again next year!

Diane Fox

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