Your Eastern PA Chapter of ASTD is celebrating its 49th Anniversary this month. Founded in 1962 with 8 members and nationally chartered in 1969, the Eastern Pennsylvania (Eastern PA) chapter is comprised of over 150 workplace learning and performance professionals representing over 100 local Eastern Pennsylvania companies, small businesses, and independent consultants. Talk about growth over the last several decades!
During the last 49 years, the chapter has been led by a Who’s Who of business in the Greater Lehigh Valley, including people representing Pennsylvania Power & Light (PPL), Bethlehem Steel, Air Products & Chemicals, Just Born, Martin Guitar, Crayola, Lafayette Ambassador Bank, Merchants Bank, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Lafayette College, Penn State University, and our two local community colleges (Northampton and Lehigh Carbon counties). As the workforce changed and grew, the Eastern PA chapter did too.
The chapter has had an impact on the Lehigh Valley through the annual CEO Forum. CEOs who have attended these programs found it invaluable as they do not have many opportunities to discuss the challenges they face, and our chapter received national recognition from ASTD. The chapter also holds an annual Learning and Performance Conference, geared to the trends and issues facing our industry.
The Eastern PA Chapter has also been recognized on a national level (through the “Sharing Our Success” program) for its innovative and strategic programs, including: “Be Strategic: Hold a CEO Forum” (detailed above), as well as “Build and Maintain Your Board on Solid Foundations.” This submission looked at how the chapter uses a team building format for an annual leadership orientation and five-year strategic planning meeting. Additionally, it targeted the chapter’s model of how to develop a pipeline for new leaders and ways to enhance the leadership skills of existing leaders.
The Eastern PA chapter has been honored to present at several recent ASTD Leadership Conferences (ALCs), giving us the opportunity to share the details on our SOS-winning ideas and the CEO Forum. We are always energized by the creativity and enthusiasm of our peers from around the country!
Our chapter’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) have been a valuable resource that many members take advantage of. We are specialized into several areas including our Best Practices for Internals SIG (for trainers working in a corporate or business setting), and our Consultant’s Forum (for independent consultants).
Communicating with our members is vital, and we also believe in people communicating with each other. In 2007, we re-launched an online message board system (via Yahoo groups) where chapter members can reach out to each other for help in work issues, job leads, and as a sounding board. We have also made strides to make it easier for people to attend our meetings through the use of a safe on-line payment system for programs and events.
The Eastern PA Chapter would like to thank each of you for your support of the chapter. We may not be the largest chapter out there, but our numbers are growing! We are ‘small but mighty’ and like the think we are building on our strengths. Just wait until we hit our 50th Anniversary in 2012!
Take care!ANDY COOK
ASTD Eastern PA