Speaker’s Corner: Featuring Jennifer Recla, Director, Organizational & Learning Development at Colorado Access.

Speaker’s Corner: Featuring Jennifer Recla, Director, Organizational & Learning Development, Colorado Access.

Tell us about Colorado Access… 

We are the largest and most experienced public sector health plan in Colorado. As a non-profit organization dedicated to more than just providing access to care, we are dedicated to advancing meaningful, measurable improvements in the way health care is delivered to create healthier lives.

In what way is the healthcare industry changing? What are the many skills critical to the success of the professionals working in this space? 

The healthcare industry is constantly changing. They need to be adaptable and quickly pivot to meet those changes is a difficult skill for many. I believe building skills related to agility, resilience, and innovation are critical to the success of those working in healthcare.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected non-profit healthcare organizations? What are the current trends within the sector? 

We have been able to adapt quickly because our focus is not on direct patient care. While many in the industry continued to connect in person, we were able to move to 100% remote work. We have remained in that position since March 2020. Three of the biggest focus areas for our organization, and in our industry, relate to health equity, innovation, and cost containment.

What is your biggest objective as a speaker?

To connect with other learning professionals and share challenges and best practices. I am happy to share what’s worked for me and I hope others are willing to do the same.

Could you share with us the points of discussion (the input that you provided) during the panel(s) at the ATD Conference?  

Learning is just a means to an end. The ultimate goal in learning is higher performance and better results. But how do you make learning stick so new skills gained are applied back on the job?

For the past year, we have implemented learning reinforcement plans to workshops which have led to a 15% higher skill retention rate compared to those that did not include a plan. These plans include coaching guides, weekly tips, and additional learning resources to promote the application of skills gained and continued growth in the learning topic. 

As a leader, what are the factors both professional and personal that drive you? What keeps you going? 

Connection with others is what drives me daily. I value relationships and believe that helping others grow and develop is my ultimate purpose in life.

What’s your take on in-person events? Do you prefer in-person events as compared to hybrid or virtual? How soon do you think in-person events would return?  

I find value in both virtual and in-person events but in-person events will always hold a special place in my heart. Since I value connections, I believe there is a different energy that comes from live events face to face. I believe you can connect to others and the learning on a deeper level than in a digital environment. However, the flexibility that digital offers is hard to beat. I don’t believe in-person learning will happen for our organization until 2022.

In your opinion, what are the top 3 challenges to returning to ‘In-Person’ events? How could we mitigate risks? 

Over half of our organization wants to remain remote which makes it a challenge to offer in-person activities. Our teams have gotten used to the flexibility that working from home offers and want to avoid long commutes. On top of that, we have proven for the last 18 months that we can successfully meet our goals virtually. Our team is focused on strategically offering in-person events for learning activities that require at least a half-day or more in the office to make it worthwhile for the learner. 

Finally, do you have a favourite mocktail or drink? We’d be delighted to know. 

I love a glass of wine or a cup of hot tea (depends on my mood).

To review the ATD Conference 21, click here.


About Jennifer Recla: The Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment revealed Jen’s top strengths as communication, learner, input, including, and WOO (Winning Others Over). Honing in on these strengths she thrives to create learning experiences that push individuals beyond what they think is possible. Learning is a life-long journey and Jen wants to support others through these endeavors. With over a decade of experience in leadership and seven years in organizational development in the healthcare and public sector realms, Jen is an expert in bringing creative learning and development solutions to resource-strapped and constantly evolving organizations.

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