Board of Directors


Michele Comette, President (2016-2018)  |

 "Real" Job/Position:  Senior Talent Management Specialist for Keurig, Inc.

 # years working in the learning/development realm - 3.5 yrs.  was previously a  behavioral scientist!

 What is the must have book or resource that is sitting on your desk right  now? Execution:  the discipline of getting things done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

What are you passionate about personally? What can’t you stop talking about?  I'm totally passionate about development -my own and others!!  I believe we all have a capacity to learn and grow from every experience.  We just have to open our eyes and hearts to it. 

Where can we find you when you’re not working?  When not working you can find me learning, exploring, or trying something new!  Currently, I'm learning to crochet.  Next up is learning to play the guitar and teaching myself to read sheet music.

Aaron Kinnart, Past President (2016-2017) (President 2013 - 2015)  |

“Real” job position: Organizational Development Specialist, University of Vermont Medical Center

# of years working in the learning/development realm: Over 10 years

How did you first get into the learning and development world?  In my mid-twenties, I worked as a wilderness therapy instructor with adolescents.  The students would spend a minimum of 45 days with us, backpacking up to 8 miles each day, sleeping under a tarp shelter, and making fire with bow drill fire kits.  My, and my team’s role, was to help students become more self-aware and take ownership of their behavior.  At the end of their time with us, we would reunite them with their parents for graduation and the parents were often astounded to see this new person in front of them; completely transformed.  This work turned me on to the power of personal transformation through learning.

Share your favorite Vermont ATD moment.  The Mindfulness in Leadership SIG.  We had a great group of people, many of which I hadn’t met before, but it seemed as though we’d known each other for years.  Some of the attendees even drove hours to attend.  What was memorable was the quality of conversation, the quality of people in attendance, and to have helped create the opportunity for this incredible group to connect and share knowledge together.

What’s a favorite quote that helps to give you inspiration and keep you going in this crazy line of work of ours?  We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that created them.  Einstein

Matt Dalton, Treasurer (2017-present)  | 

  “Real” job position: Senior Managed Health Programs Analyst

  How did you first become interested in Learning & Development? From a personal perspective,  learning and development has been a key focus for me in my career and have been actively engaging  in both formal and informal L&D activities from the start.  I am a true believer that we should foster  the growth and improvement of ourselves and others around us in all things we do!  From an organizational perspective, my interest in L&D and organizational behavior was sparked by a variety of management classes I took.  I am particularly interested in how it can help create resilient and competitive organizations.  In my mind, learning and development is a crucial part to successful, vibrant organizations.  

What is the must-have book or resource that is sitting on your desk right now? The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter Senge

How did you get involved with VT Chapter ATD? I started out attending the seminars that I felt were relevant to me and the work I do.  From the beginning, I found the discussions and exchange of ideas very exciting and energizing, preparing me with ideas to bring back to my work and to help support my own personal development.  A moment that really stood out to me was the Resonant Leadership workshop series that really allowed me to reflect on the way I wanted to lead.   

 What motivated me to join the Board was to get further involved with an organization that supports professional development and serves an important role in the L&D community here in Vermont.  It is such a talented and diverse group of individuals that I might not have otherwise had the chance to learn from (or work with)!

Where can we find you when you're not working? I love to fly fish and do so all-year round!  I also really enjoy hiking, sailing, traveling (to fly fish), and cooking!

Tanya Cushing, Secretary (2016-present)  |

 “Real” job position: Director of Human Resources and Development, NorthCountry Federal Credit Union

 # of years working in the learning/development realm: 20

 How did you first get into the learning & development world? Soon after deciding to become a full  time, stay at home, mom, I realized, being home full time was not an option for me.   Because it was important to me to be closely involved in my children's education I began working at the private school they attended. I began as a preschool teachers aide, worked as a substitute teacher in grades K-8 and worked in the afterschool program. 

When my children moved to the public school system I worked as an Instructional Assistant.  The most amazing experience I had was working with a 5 year old who struggled with communication, among other things. The summer before he started attending school I worked with his advocate and his family.  We built a relationship and began learning sign language together.  I was fortunate to be able to contribute to the success of this child during his first two years of elementary school. Now, I have the pleasure of working with adults to help them to achieve their career goals.   

What is your favorite quote? "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

Where do you spend time when you're not working? I love being outdoors!  Hiking, paddle boarding and riding my motorcycle, are just a few of the things I do to relax.  I live in the woods, on a 28 acre pond and dread the end of the day when it's time to go inside and "call it a day."

Appointed Positions

Melinda Friedlander, Director of Programs (2016 - present)  |

 “Real” job position: Director of Training & Development, Lane Press

  # of years working in the learning/development realm: 10 years

  How did you get into the learning & development world? The majority of my 28 years in the  printing industry had been focused on managing customer service. A decade ago I was given the  opportunity to work on expanding the training in our organization and I haven't been able to get enough of it. At the time I also focused on stress management and became a coach so that I could help empower others to be happy, healthy and more resilient. The great thing about L&D is that you learn something new every day. I feel very fortunate to be able to work on it full time now and be truly immersed in it.

What is the must-have book or resource sitting on your desk right now? Becoming a Resonant Leader by A. McKee, R. Boyatzis and F. Johnston

What is your favorite quote? "Trust thyself." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Where can you be found when you're not working? Outside. Whether it be just hanging out with family, working in my gardens, running, skiing or even playing field hockey, I try to get out every day.

Kate McInnis, Director of Membership (2016-present)  |

 “Real” job position: Learning & Development Specialist, Marathon Health

 # of years working the learning & development realm: 8

 Share your favorite Vermont ATD moment: A few years ago I was asked to facilitate a SIG (Special Interest Group) on employee engagement. Having the opportunity to discuss the topic with so many great professionals was incredible. Everyone’s unique perspective and insights created a rich dialogue that I still remember today.

 What's one piece of advice you'd give to someone just entering this line of work?  You can never read or network too much. The field is constantly evolving thanks to technology and our improved understanding of human behavior at work. Be curious and adventurous - you never know where your learning and development career path might take you.   

Where can we find you when you're not working? Depends on the season! I like to spend as much time outside as possible with my husband and our two greyhounds. Vermont provides the perfect landscape for endless adventures. I also volunteer with Dress for Success Burlington, Chase Away 5K, United Way of Chittenden County, and at our local dog park.

Rachel DiGiammarino, Director of Marketing & Communications (2015 - present)  |

“Real” job position: Client Services Manager, Sheridan Journal Services

# of years working in the learning/development realm: 9 years

How did you first get into the learning and development world? I've had an interesting progression professionally from public school teacher to working with college students and ultimately recognizing my ability to resonate with adult learners. While many of my official roles have been in marketing and operations, I've worked in quite a few small organizations that were growing and allowed me to wear multiple hats. In addition to implementing systems and procedures for greater efficiency and effectiveness, I felt strongly about the importance of how employees were taught to do their jobs, whether as part of initial on-boarding or as part of a major change initiative. I also realized the value of not only teaching people to do the functional and technical aspects of their job, but also focusing on the competencies that would enhance their soft skills in areas of critical thinking, decision making, problem solving, interpersonal savvy and engagement.

Share your favorite Vermont ATD moment.  The Special Interest Group (SIG) on Peer Coaching. It was the second event I attended with a real variety of participants in terms of roles and organizations represented. It was a very interactive conversation with quality facilitation that truly invited questions, advice-seeking and sharing of one's experiences. Although the topic could easily be explored in depth for much longer than our time permitted, I found value in the dialogue that has expanded my definition and thinking about peer coaching.

What’s a favorite quote that helps to give you inspiration and keep you going in this crazy line of work of ours? “The secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.” Daniel Pink

Erin Thompson, Director of IT Solutions (2016-present)  |

 “Real” Job/Position: IT Support Specialist, NorthCountry Federal Credit Union

 # of years working in the learning/development realm: 3+ years

 How did you first get into the learning and development world? Before working at NorthCountry FCU, I  worked for the Vermont Teddy Bear Company where I wore many hats – all involving training peers. I’ve  been able to use those experiences in my current position to informally train and assist staff on a daily basis.  I’m fascinated with each person’s unique qualities and want to help them cultivate their potential. I love evaluating and helping different people work together productively.

Where can we find you when you’re not working? I sing with a local chorus, participate in a scrapbooking club, read in quiet corners, go paddle boarding in the summer, wander around museums, and love long walks in the woods.

 What is your favorite quote? “Be Kind. Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.” – Ian MacLaren

Talia Glesner, Program Coordinator (2016-present)  |

 Real Job Position: Workforce Educator at UVM Medical Center

 # of years in the learning/development: About 10 years!`

 How did you get into the learning and development world? I started out in Human Development and Family Studies more in the counseling realm, but found my way to teaching Human Development through my graduate work. I became a professor for development when my mentor went on sabbatical. I see common threads through each role I've held whether it be swimming instructor, professor, counselor, or facilitator. I came to my current position after having been a temp recruiter in HR after finishing my doctorate. I jumped when the opportunity to move into L&D work presented itself. Since being hired I’ve been exposed to many aspects of learning and development and most enjoy getting to support the workforce as they shift in their learning and development.

What is the must have book or resource sitting on your desk right now?  Becoming a Resonant Leader or Quiet Leadership, Daring Greatly (it just energizes me to put my best self forward)

What is your favorite quote? It’s so hard to choose. Worlds can be so powerful. 

"Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow” - Mary Anne Readmacher 

Or, "Compassion is a verb" - thich nhat nahn

Where can you be found when you are not working? Depending on my day I might be gardening, trying to get outside and snowboard, hike, or wander around. I love to teach swimming to little kids, and try out some new community events.

P.O. Box 877
Barre, VT 05641

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