Pro Bono Spotlight: Jeff Caldwell and Dan Costello
1. Tell us a little more about your background and how you got involved in the HR Pro Bono Corps.
Dan Costello is the owner of Sage Learning Solutions, LLC who has provided technical and strategic solutions to organizations (corporate and non-profit ) since 1996. He has 18 years of IT experience, has been a Manager/Director of several Learning Systems teams and has a Master’s degree in Education, Human Performance Improvement his specialty. He has been an independent contractor since 2006 and over the years has worked with many well-known companies including GlaxoSmithKline, MetLife, Realogy Tivo, Medtronic, Merck, Cablevision, Tata Chemicals North America, Goodwill of San Francisco and On Lok Lifeways.
Jeff Caldwell is the Manager of Learning Technology for MetLife Global Sales Capability Center, leading a team that provides learning technology consultation to MetLife business partners, as well as managing the day-to-day administration of the Cornerstone OnDemand platform. With over 10 years of experience in the banking, insurance and real estate industries, Jeff has a passion for leveraging various learning technologies to support strategic organizational initiatives. He has a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology and expertise in Learning/Talent Management Systems, eLearning authoring, learning portals, virtual classrooms, performance support and blended learning strategies.
How we got involved with the Pro Bono Corps:
Soon after completing their implementation in June 2009, MetLife made a commitment to Cornerstone OnDemand’s Pro Bono Corps, building upon a tradition of corporate contributions and volunteerism. By partnering with the Foundation, MetLife has been able to contribute financially, with company resources and through personal investments.
Jeff and Dan have worked on MetLife’s learning and talent management site (internally branded as “Max”) since 2009, as well. Their focus has been to provide services that meet their business partners’ needs in the most cost effective manner. Jeff’s experience as manager of the Learning Technology team has meant he has been challenged with many learning and development scenarios. Similarly, Dan’s experience on a number of implementation projects and in support of his other Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD) clients has enabled him to bring multiple perspectives to each Pro Bono clients’ efforts. Both Jeff and Dan have technical backgrounds; Jeff as a content developer and, Dan, as a systems engineer. Furthermore, they also have a business and education background (management experience, higher level education) to draw on to explore solutions based on research and industry best practices.
2. Since joining the HR Pro Bono Corps, what volunteer projects have you worked on?
We have been involved with several Pro Bono Corps clients since 2009.
Initially, Dan worked with Feeding America, which had a very organized and well supported training group. After a short period of time, the Feeding America team became self-sufficient so Dan maintained a quarterly check-in schedule until he was no longer needed.
Goodwill of San Francisco was the first client who we engaged on a regular basis. Mostly, the organization needed support to stabilize her environment, correct some configuration settings, enable some new functionality, and general administration support. Keeping in mind Goodwill of SF has a very small team dedicated to support of their system, Goodwill not only stabilized the system, but introduced some important enhancements that have greatly improved the usability of the system. Currently, the organization is planning its 2014 – 12015 training goals; focusing on continuing to improve the user experience, increasing adoption of the system and driving performance in key training areas. Our client, On Lok Lifeways, had initially presented both tactical and strategic goals which required a more holistic, systemic, methodical approach. In On Lok’s case, we focused on identifying our key corporate goals and designed our development goals to align with these goals. With goals defined, interventions were developed to meet those goals and specific action plans developed for each intervention. On Lok’s Team has been very successful at executing on these plans and is now realizing the development and corporate goals they’d hoped to meet.
3. What has been the most rewarding part of this experience?
In a way, the experience itself has been the reward. We have enjoyed partnering with these organizations to help them provide better services to their clients. Both, Goodwill of SF and On Lok Lifeways, have dedicated, talented and really good-natured people working in their Learning and Development groups. Our work has been very productive and fun over the years. We have built friendships while building their systems and services. It is truly gratifying to hear that the plans we’ve made have been put into action and that the results have been positive. We get energy from the success of our clients because we understand how important the work is that their respective organizations do for our communities.
4. What advice would you give to someone interested in volunteering for the HR Pro Bono Corps?
There really is no downside to joining the HR Pro Bono Corps. Depending on your circumstances, the time commitment may be a challenge, however, our clients have been more than understanding when competing priorities mean that we need to cancel or reschedule a meeting. However, a volunteer should come in understanding that to affect change via these partnerships is going to take time and, depending on an organization’s needs, this time commitment can be months. A Corp volunteer should make sure that they can commit enough time to their clients so as to reach their goals.
In addition, no person knows everything so reach out to other colleagues and peers to help you if you aren’t strong in a particular area. If you need additional support, contact the HR Pro Bono Corps team and see if they have anyone who can assist. The benefit of such a Foundation is that there is a diverse pool of resources that may be brought to bare on almost any given situation.