Get to know the LN Director: Erin Donovan


Erin Donovan is a learning and organizational leader with experience in retail, logistics, tech, manufacturing, non-profits, education, agriculture and financial services. She focuses her corporate success on building measured growth strategies grounded in her practical and academic experience. She is the Founder and Chief Partner of Fuel Training Consultants, where she and her team focus on building the individual, the classroom, the school and the corporate organization. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, two content area masters degrees, and is a National Board-Certified educator.

What do you like most about the L&D field?

I like the idea that what we create actively impacts the success of our colleagues. In this field, we get to consult, create, facilitate, tell stories and interpret the world for our learners.

What made you decide to stand for the LN board?

I am at the stage in my career where I want to start giving back to the community. It is time that I enter the conversation and impact L&D in a larger sense, rather than just at the company level. I felt that the Learning Network board would be an ideal fit for my next steps.

What would your dream job be?

My ideal job would be writer/farmer. That would combine my love of mud and little faces and the opportunity of creating stories about those muddy faces.

If you could change 1 thing about the world of L&D, what would it be?

I would get rid of our jargon and help people have real conversations about what works… without the buzzwords.

What does a typical workday look like to you?

I wake up at 5:00 American time, feed all the animals, try to run, and then sit down at the computers. Currently, I am supporting a learning infrastructure build at a mortgage company and a major tech company as it rolls out its Virtual Training programs. I am also in the process of building my own company, so I have three computers, all with competing priorities that help me hop between coaching, consulting, planning, and facilitating calls.

What is your favourite type of training to either build or deliver?

I love building sales training. I think the psychology behind it is fascinating. As well, those I train are usually A-types and are driven to succeed, so when my training works, it really works! They give me great feedback and have been some my biggest champions, so I might be a bit biased in my response.

What are you currently obsessed with?

I have been and continue to be obsessed with Miro. I am a visual thinker and it is my key tool as I share my process flows and brainstorming with my virtual team. It has also allowed me to make business-friendly graphics for my corporate partners.

If you could give yourself advice when you were first starting out, what would it be?

Slow down and read more! So many of my first wins were based on the books I was reading at the time. I wish I would have (and continue that wish now) had more time to hear what the experts have to say.

What has been your proudest moment?

I wrote my research-heavy dissertation in six months. I was very motivated to a work for my professorship, and I knew it was key. When I successfully defended with a committee of my most supportive professors, that was huge!

Who inspires you?

Currently, I am inspired by Daniel Pink. His writing is so well-researched and astute. I am not only inspired by his message but how he delivers it.

If you were a superhero, what would your name be and what powers would you have?

I would be able to travel in the blink of an eye and my name would be Super Trooper.

What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

Attempting to run a farm

What three items would you take with you on a deserted island? 
  • A pen and ream of paper
  • A radio
  • The Thursday Next series from Jasper Fforde
Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?

Coffee… although I count that as a necessity.

Finally, what would be your top 5 tips for someone new to L&D?
  1. Document your wins, processes, and measures of success.
  2. Learn the business.
  3. Listen to what the field is saying and choose to follow those voices that best match your goals.
  4. Live for technology.
  5. Learn how to do everything in the L&D process.