Citi's Creative Learning Solution for Technology Conversions

A Q&A with Stephanie MacNeil, VP Learning Design & Development at Citi Canada




Stephanie MacNeil is an L&D professional in the financial services business with over 20 years of experience across the domains of facilitation, coaching, technical writing, design, development and project management. 

Most recently, she's been creating bold learning solutions for U.S. Mortgage and Retail-banking businesses at Citibank.

Her brand is that she brings passion and transparency to her work and offers creative solutions. Stephanie has a passion for life-long learning and leverages that drive to continually improve herself and her work. She is currently in the process of completing her M.Ed. in Leadership in Learning through Yorkville University.

In this exclusive Q&A, Stephanie gets real about the challenges she's faced, how she overcame them and what others can do to adapt and thrive in a constantly shifting, digitally-driven workforce.

Embracing Digital Disruption in L&D

Q: At the 18th CLO Exchange, you spoke about "Creative Learning Solutions for Technology Conversions." What major takeaways do you think attendees learned from your session?

A: Technology conversions are about embracing disruption and innovation. The key takeaway for attendees were tips for succeeding in a constantly changing environment.

This session used a case study focused on the learning team at Citi that is integrating the best of agile principles into a large technology conversion project that is reducing the number of systems used from 50 to 2.

Topics included project scope, timeline and an overview of learning modalities used in Citi's ever-evolving learning plan to help exisiting employees succeed. The results are empowered learners that are flexible and nimble when embracing change.

Q: What challenges have you faced designing an L&D strategy that meets current employee's needs, while still remaining sustainable in this era of rapid digital disruption?

A: A challenge in designing a strategy that meets employee's needs while continuing to be sustainable is creating one that allows for continual evolution. In this case study, it requires Citi to transform learning epxeriences into simulated practice immediately. 

Another challenge is creating engaging and relevant learning solutions that reduce the time to master the issue. That can be a tough feat! Embracing digital disruption helps Citi design strategies that are learner-focused, mobile accessible and data-powered.

The L&D strategies Citi creates are solutions of performance and productivity improvements with a corporate culture supporting continuous learning at all levels.

Q: What are your priorities in leading L&D initiatives at Citi?

A: Our priority is to be trusted advisors creating impactful solutions to empower our employees and transform our business for the future.

Looking to the Future

Q: What advice would you give to organizations who are struggling with balancing agility in L&D with the "concrete" plans often demanded by investors?

A: Work to understand the business' priorities and actively address them. It's important to understand the enterprises' vision and discuss performance goals, not learning objectives; It's why you need to start with 'why.'

Ground learning in the business case, connecting learning back to the business in every conversation, learning plan and all development and delivery.

Shifting from being course deliverers to strategic business partners is critical. It starts with a deep understanding of what really matters to the organization. It builds trust for L&D.

Q: Where do you see L&D heading in the next five years? What are you seeing now that leads you to that conclusion?

A: Elements such as mobile learning solutions, Artificial Intelligence (AI)  and the integration of user-generated content to meld training and knowledge management.

We're seeing that learners want to have adaptable learning that can 'grow' with them, learning solutions that help them focus on more complex roles or tasks, and they want to be involved in creating and shaping the learning solution–learning from each other.

Moving beyond the traditional blend of learning by exploiting a wider range of learning opportunities in the daily flow of work such as embracing the three E's of learning–Experience, Exposure and Education–and integrate them to deliver the most impactful solutions.

Q: What current technology trends do you consider most promising? And what role does technology play in your strategy? Are there other alternatives that work just as effectively?

A: AI, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), automation in learning and adaptive learning technologies are things we should be investigating as an industry.

There are a lot of emerging companies and applications out there. Don't we live in an exciting age?! It's quite exciting to learn about them.

Technology is something we need to invest in if organizations want to remain competitive. Citi has embraced a learning platform that allows learnins to access learning content and certify their expertise as they move throughout the system conversion journey.

This technology allows content to be available in a proactive and interactive way, and enhances the learning experience.

Bonus Round: Fun Facts

Q: Favorite quote you live by?

A: "Do what you can with all you have, wherever you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

A: Omilingualism because I adore languages and culture. To me, having the ability to communicate verbally and nonverbally in every language would be the most amazing and satisfying feeling. Imagine a world without communication barriers?!

Q: What does success mean to you?

A: Making or contributing to positive change. It's not necessarily only about the outcome though, as someone may be successful with an approach, but the outcome may be different from their initial intent.

Success to me is when I get a tingle of excitement about what I'm doing and how I'm living. 


This Q&A by Paris Armstrong originally appeared on the HR Network's CLO Exchange page here.

For more great L&D content and insights from industry leaders, join us at the 19th CLO Exchange taking place December 9-11 in San Diego! Explore the full program here.

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