Skip to main content
Monthly Archives

July 2023

Introducing Our New Vice President of Solutions: Melissa Noonan

By Announcements No Comments


It is with great pleasure we announce the promotion of Melissa Noonan to Vice President of Solutions. With her exceptional skills, experience, and dedication, Melissa has established and grown our Project Solutions line of business, enhancing CARA’s ability to make an impact on our clients through the creation and delivery of turnkey project solutions.

A Client-Centric Approach to Success

As the Vice President of Solutions, Melissa will ensure the Project Solutions Team continues to deliver the client-centric approach that CARA is known for through customized change management and learning solutions that are specifically architected to achieve client results.

A Background of Excellence

Melissa brings a wealth of experience to her new role. Prior to CARA, Melissa held several strategic leadership roles in broader Talent Management, Learning, and Change Management roles.

Throughout her career, Melissa has shown exceptional leadership skills, fostering collaborative environments that encourage teamwork, creativity, and open communication. Her commitment to excellence is not only reflected in her professional achievements but also in her dedication to continued learning and development. She is a strong advocate for staying informed in order to ensure that CARA’s solutions remain relevant in an ever-evolving business landscape.

Building a Stronger Future

Melissa’s contributions have led to a significant milestone in The CARA Group’s growth and development, and we look forward to continued expansion of our award-winning Project Solutions under her leadership.

“We are excited to have Melissa as an integral part of our leadership team, and we look forward to the positive impact she will make on our clients’ success stories. Her promotion not only represents a significant milestone for our company as we expand our Project Solutions offerings, but also serves as a testament to our commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and equal opportunities for all.” said Allyson Carter, SVP, Talent Management.

How to Build and Instill a Learning Culture

By Learning One Comment

Every day I am learning from, and inspired by, my colleagues at The CARA Group through daily interactions, listening to their presentations, and/or reading their articles/blogs. (I referenced the articles/blogs that most influenced me at the end of this article, and I encourage you to read them.)

Given this learning culture of which I am a part, I have always been interested in the alignment between business strategy and learning strategy and if a learning culture at the foundation of a learning strategy can strengthen and enable the overall business strategy. I will share my thoughts in this blog.

A learning strategy that fosters a learning culture which is aligned to the business strategy will support the organization’s success through stable times as well as changing times.”


Learning Culture Defined

The Center for Creative Leadership defines a learning culture this way[1]: “A learning culture is an environment that demonstrates and encourages individual and organizational learning, and where both gaining and sharing knowledge is prioritized, valued, and rewarded. It becomes part of the ecosystem of the organization.”

Organizations need to upskill and reskill their workforce for ongoing digital transformation as well as the constantly changing demands of the economic landscape. A learning culture is not just about training – that’s part of it but it’s much more than that – it’s about getting an entire organization behind learning and instilling that drive in every employee so that growth happens organically and continuously. This environment of continuous learning, along with a learning culture, must permeate throughout the business at every level so it is self-sustaining and self-perpetuating from the ground up, and agile enough to flex when needed.

How Do You Instill A Learning Culture?

Here are a few themes that come to mind when I think about how to instill a learning culture.

  • Curiosity – Encourage employees to ask “why” to get to the WIIFM. Adults need context and relevancy to have learning be meaningful and sticky and have an impact on their behaviors.
  • Business Acumen – Encourage employees to be curious about the industry or marketplace, your customers, your competition. Managers can devote time at regular team meetings for “teachable moments”.
  • Learning Agility – Encourage employees to learn from experience and provide opportunities for them to apply what they’ve learned in new situations.

A company’s learning and development department plays a key role in creating the right environment for employees to be continuous learners and for designing engaging programs, but everyone has a role in building and maintaining a learning culture that supports the business strategy.

A Few Key Players

  • The Employee – owns their growth and development – no one else is going to “do it for them!”
  • The Manager – creates an open and supportive environment so employees feel that they can ask questions and challenge the status quo/push the team to grow.
  • The Company – provides access to good resources such as training programs, stretch assignments, mentoring/coaching partnerships, experiential opportunities, etc.

Since change is everywhere and happening all the time, we need everyone in an organization to embrace agility and learning not only so they as individuals can continue to grow, but so the organization can continue to evolve at the speed of business. A learning strategy that fosters a learning culture which is aligned to the business strategy will support the organization’s success through stable times as well as changing times.

So, where did I get my inspiration?

A few years ago, Sue Deisinger shared her thoughts on the key elements for an effective organizational learning strategy and they are still 100% relevant today. Here’s a link to Sue’s original article. More recently, my colleague Allyson Carter wrote how to create an agile organizational learning strategy – well worth another read; here is the link.

A crucial component that both Sue and Allyson highlight is the importance of having your learning strategy aligned to the business strategy. ~~~~~~Once everything is nicely aligned, it will stay aligned, your employees will stay engaged, performance will remain high, and sales will always be through the roof! Of course, it’s not that easy. Alignment is critical but business strategies change and evolve with market conditions, customer demands or a global pandemic. Learning strategies (and business strategies) need to be adaptable and flexible enough to operate effectively at the speed of business.

Let us know how you’ve instilled a learning culture at your organization!

[1] [