Message from: 

Diane Edwards
National President

Diversity and inclusion is a very popular buzzword at the moment.  But behind the hype there is a serious message, and implications that every Learning and Development professional needs to understand.

Diversity has come to mean many different things to different people. For some it’s about inherent factors, like gender, ethnicity and age, disability,  to name but a few.  For others it’s about conditional factors such as experience, education and exposure to new and varying ideas. I have lost count of the number of conferences and seminars about this topic on offer: women in leadership; the gender pay gap; working with millennials; cultural awareness; the list goes on and on. 

On top of this L&D has also its own history of acknowledging diversity,  We all know that different people have different preferred ways of  learning and how they learn at different speeds depending on intelligences (of varying kinds) and transferable skills.  We have preferences for how we orientate to, and interact with, those around us, how we process information, make decisions, structure our world and so on. Over the years theories and methodologies have risen to accommodate these differences, reflected ways such as designing for different learning styles, blended learning media and self paced learning.   

NZATD’s own L&D Competency Framework also shows a growing awareness of diversity. There are some basic competencies that we feel define our profession.  We have labelled them as “Core” because we believe every L&D professional should possess the basic skills and knowledge they describe.   Yet there is also a wide range of specialist competencies that show that our own profession has become extremely diverse.  

When I first started in the L&D profession for more than 25 years ago, there was a clear expectation that I should develop my skill base across the range of learning disciplines.  I learned performance needs analysis, training needs analysis, learning assessment, instructional design, facilitation, evaluation, adult learning theories and learning psychology and even what was in those days known as CBT (computer based training to those younger than me!).   

Today it would be unreasonable to expect any L&D professional to be an expert in the full range of disciplines.  Instructional design for example is quite different for a workshop situation than for an e-learning course which is again quite different from flexible learning. Similarly, advances in neuro-science mean that we regularly have to rethink our approaches to learning. 

The specialist competencies are an acknowledgement that it is not only OK to specialise (and by implication have a lower level of skill or knowledge in other areas) but in many cases it can be an indication of a level of expertise others may find difficult to reach.  As such, the recognition of this specialist skill could be your differentiating factor in a crowded marketplace.  Diversity of skills and experience between practitioners can actually enhance opportunities for all.

With diversity also comes inclusion. There is no point ticking boxes about the degree of diversity that is achieved. It is also about leveraging diversity for competitive advantage and/or mutual benefit. Supporting women into leadership positions is not about making them change their behaviour to “fit in”.  Bringing more Maori into business should not be about teaching them how to behave like Pakeha. Inclusion is about valuing the difference in perspective, not about forcing them into an established mould. 

In the same way, the growing diversity of the L&D profession should not be seen as an industry splitting apart, but as one which can derive strength from the ever-increasing breadth of knowledge and the growing range of skills.  New Zealand businesses are themselves diverse and the broader perspective makes it all the more likely that business will look to L&D to support business performance and innovation.

Diversity has never been greater. What a great time to be a member of NZATD!

Diane Edwards

Branch Information

Auckland Branch –

Click on picture to read the latest news from  the Auckland Branch

Bay of Plenty/Waikato Branch

Click on picture to read the latest news from  the Bay of Plenty/Waikato Branch

Wellington Branch

Click on picture to read the latest news from  the Wellington Branch, and Manawatu region

Canterbury Branch –

Click on picture to read the latest news from  the Canterbury Branch, and Southland region

Welcome to New Members


Anna de Valk,  NZI Coaching;  Donna Berry,  NZ Blood;  Garth Cook, NZ Blood;  Helen Mitchell, Flight Centre;  Jacqui Scott, The Great Scott Company; Jade Beaumont, Ministry of Justice; Jade Osborne, Zenergene Ltd;   Kirsten Jones,  Competenz; Lynne Laracy, Laracy Communications;  Mel Baanders, The Warehouse Group;  Michael Chai, Aviation Security Service;  Nischal Pai, Douglas Pharmaceuticals; Noami Flasher, NZ Blood;   Paul Brantsma,  Aviation Security Services,  Paula McGonigal, Aviation Security Services;  Rachel Rust, Aviation Security Services;  Robyn Roberts, NZ Blood Service;  Ruth Vae, Housing NZ;  Sarah McDonald;  FAB Group;  Sean West, Briscoes;  Steve DLima, Aviation Security Services;  Sue Pickering, Wendy Wigg, NZ Blood

Bay of Plenty/Waikato:

Jackie Messam,  RippleEd;  Jillian Emery, Bay of Plenty Regional Council; Sarah Balfour, Upskills NZ;


Andrew Biddington, ACC;  Geoff Ngataieru, The Warehouse Group; Jerome Churchman, Oranga Tamariki; Marina Barnett, MBIE;


Carol Gill,  Transpower;  Cheryl Tyler, Careerforce;   Chris Ortiz,  Intergen; Damian Brixton,  Site Safe NZ;  Darren Scott,  CAA;  Fiona Holden,  Ministry of Education; Kellie Lavery,  Primary ITO;  Lubna Shaikh,  ServiceIG;  Mark Leath, Site Safe NZ; Murray Brown, NZDF; Naomi Finau, Housing NZ;  Raymond Miles, IHC;  Sherin Sunny, Site Safe NZ;  Steve Fisher, Careerforce Stephen Bruce, NZ Police;  Sue Pickering, Develop Ltd;

Impact Training Tip : 

Right Words, Right Reaction

Follow Dr Rich Allen on Twitter:

Words have power. The right words can trigger our participants to embark on a spiral of success. The wrong ones may push them into a tail spin of failure. Carefully consider which words point your participants in the best direction for learning.

For example, change:

“This is going to be difficult …” to “Mastering this concept is going to show you how far you’ve come in this course.”

“This might not make sense to you …” to “This absolutely WILL make sense to you – and I’ll help you every step of the way to get there.”

“If you get this step wrong, everything else will be wrong …” to “If you get this step right, everything else will flow easily into place.”

“If you don’t do this course work, the rest of the year is going to be very hard …” to “If you do this course work, it’ll help you for the rest of the year.”

In the training room, a single sentence, a phrase, or even a word can make an enormous difference – choose your words carefully.