Get to know the eLN Director: Asli Derya

What do you like most about the L&D field?  The creativity and the impact it can have. Learning is all around us, we as humans learn all the time, we may not do it as intended, but it happens. That’s how human progress has been happening for centuries. So I like how relatable the field is to human experience. Oh, also the fact that people in L&D are good company does help.

What made you decide to stand for the eLN board?
I became a member of the eLN after attending one of the Connect conferences. Everyone was so wonderful, I’d met so many great minds in one day I decided to become a member straight away. As time passed, I wanted to be more involved in the community and grow my network which was the reason why I decided to stand for the Board. And I must say anyone who is out there thinking about it, just do it. It is a great experience and you learn a lot about how to navigate in a non-profit landscape and grow your personal brand as well as network and it’s a great way to give back to the community too.

What would your dream job be?
Well, I like to think I am doing a job I quite like actually. But of course, if money or skills weren’t an issue I probably would want to be a screenwriter. Imagine typing away on a remote island with the summer breeze, Pina Colada in one hand…

If you could change 1 thing about the world of L&D, what would it be?
Business perception of seeing it as a cost centre. Yes, we have a lot of responsibility in showing the value of L&D but I think businesses need to understand without ‘learning’ they are not going to get far. A business world where L&D is discussed in the C-suite as part of financial decisions, or any other decisions would make a whole world of difference.

What does a typical workday look like to you?
Well, it looks very different now than it did a year ago! But roughly (and boringly): wake up, coffee while playing with my son, have breakfast, logon, read emails, meetings, have another coffee….etc., have lunch (sometimes at my desk, bad habits!), work more, meetings, or actually designing stuff, run downstairs for a sweet top-up, finish work, go for a walk then family time. But being in front of a PC the whole day, sometimes I started to make a conscious effort to do analogue work. So for example, if I am working on a concept, I’ll just sit on the floor, writing on flipcharts. It’s quite therapeutic too actually.

What book are you reading right now? Or what podcast are you listening to?
A bit late to the party probably as both of these books have been out a while but I’m concurrently reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Joint Winner of the Booker Prize 2019) and Invisible Woman by Caroline Criado-Perez. Both of which make a riveting read. Podcasts… I really want to but I am not good at sticking with podcasts, so I listen to one here and there. But from our world I think a few are worth a mention: Andrew Jacob’s Women Talking About Learning, Mike Bedford’s Well&D podcast, and John Helmer’s The Learning Hack.

What is your favourite type of training to either build or deliver?
I love making videos. It might be because in my last role I worked on numerous videos, but I like the diversity and creativity it offers. Seeing the raw footage and making something meaningful out of it is quite beautiful. Plus, it’s a very handy skill to have and transferrable, made a few family and friends videos that were very well received.

If you could give yourself advice when you were first starting out, what would it be?
Don’t think just because you thought of it, others must’ve done as well. People think differently so if you notice something or have an idea, say it. Your contribution counts.

If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?
I don’t think I’d want to travel back in time, to be honest. I’d much rather go to a distant future like 2150 and see what we made of the world. Probably would depress me more mind you!

If you were a superhero, what powers would you have?
Teleportation would save so much time than sitting on planes, and probably be super COVID safe!
Also wouldn’t mind invisibility, keeps you safe and you could observe a lot!
And I think there’s a market for a superhero who can function with no sleep, I wonder why no one came up with that…

If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
“Joey doesn’t share food!” 😊 But beyond the Friends reference there, I’d love to have a meal with Frida Kahlo, Gloria Steinem, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Oprah. Because they are all amazing women, and can you imagine the stories they’d have!

What three items would you take with you on a deserted island?
* Bug repellent -because I’m terrified of bugs unless it’s a ladybug, then I’m just mildly scared.
* A knife – handy thing to have to hunt, cut, shape…etc.
* Change of clothes -because I hate being wet or cold!

Would you rather win the lottery or work at the perfect job? And why?
Win the lottery 100%. Because then I can create my perfect job. I think as humans once we are able to remove the financial obligations we are more able to think about our purpose, what is meaningful to us.

Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
Depends, do we count the internet as a necessity yet? How about coffee first thing in the morning?

Finally, what would be your top 5 tips for someone new to L&D?
* Learn from your team
* Do a fair bit of horizon scanning
* Practice what you preach
* Be known for something (have an expertise)
* Network, network, network