Written by Shaundra Williams-Hamilton
Effective changes and ideas set successful organizations apart from the rest. The AXIS Award recognizes teams that have raised the bar of innovation within the Talent Development industry. Innovation is not judged by how much money was spent, or saved, or the size of the team, or the brand recognition. It is when the idea or concept makes a positive impact on the organization, moves the needle forward, and changes the way we do our job every day—that’s innovation at its finest.
During a conversation with Laurie Lumston, VP and Manager of Training, PrimeLending, a two-time AXIS award winner, the idea of innovation was the foundation of everything we discussed. It was clear why the PrimeLending team was a two-time winner and why the team is so passionate about encouraging others to put their best ideas out there to be celebrated! Here is just a small portion of our conversation.
What do you believe was the key to you winning this prestigious award in 2016 and 2017?
Laurie: Innovation. Innovative concepts and ideas were at the foundation of both projects. In 2016, we won in the Design and Delivery category and in 2017 for Performance Improvement. Both years, it was important for us to understand that submitting the application was not about the size and scope of my organization compared to others, but how effective was my project and did it produce results for my organization.
What should applicants consider before applying?
Laurie: If their program has shifted the way their company thinks about learning and/or developing others, they should apply. Focus on what moved the needle for their organization. It’s okay to brag on yourself. Don’t be afraid to put your successes out there for others to see.
In considering what projects to submit, where should applicants begin?
Laurie: If you are considering submitting an application for a project that was innovative in the approach and the team was able to implement and evaluate results, go for it. There are a lot of people out there that have developed great new concepts that yielded results within their organization. When you share these concepts with others, it gives hope and delivers the message that there is always room for good work. Good work and effort should be celebrated and this is what the AXIS award is all about.
As a gala attendee, what was the highlight of the AXIS Awards event?
Laurie: The mix of companies that are in the room. There are large and small employers and everyone is mixing and mingling with each other. The room is full of positive, supportive, and celebratory energy. creating a wonderful experience for everyone in attendance. The gala is where old colleagues reconnect, and new relationships are cultivated. Even as an introvert, I felt that it was easy to connect with other people in the room because we were all there to celebrate. We were all winners!
How can the AXIS Award be used as leverage in future endeavors?
Laurie: You can say with confidence that you were a part of an award-winning team! There is so much goodwill attached to this award. It is recognized within the industry and places a spotlight on what we do. Training is not always thought of as a game changer; however, the Training Departments set the tone for the organization by teaching others how to do things the right way and that should be recognized and celebrated. It is a good feeling to know you are doing things the right way—it is an extreme confidence booster!
If there was one piece of advice you would leave for future applicants, what would that be?
Laurie: Don’t be afraid to apply. The application process is simple and easy. There are 5 questions and it’s free to apply. Don’t compare yourself to other companies. If your project was a big deal to you and it made a positive impact in your organization, tell that story! It is awesome to be able to say you applied for one of the most prestigious awards in this industry!