By Dick Handshaw

Whenever I accept a new position on a board of directors for any organization, I sometimes wonder if I should have made that commitment. Since joining the ISPI board, I have had no regrets. So far this board is all I hoped it would be and more. We spent a great deal of time getting input from all sectors of our membership before, during, and after our recent conference. Under Klaus Wittkuhn and Rhonda Buckley’s leadership, we have reviewed all of that information and started with a clean sheet of paper. We met for three days following the conference; we meet on a conference call every month; and we meet in-person for two full days at the end of October. It is going to take a while before you see all the changes that are in the works, but I am experiencing a board that is willing to make some changes and take some risks. I am very optimistic about ISPI’s future, and I am delighted to be a part of this board.

My primary responsibility on this board is for chapters. I served on ASTD (currently ATD) boards as chapter program chair six times and have been a founding president of three ISPI chapters. In the past four years, I have visited and spoken to 35 ISPI and ATD (formerly ASTD) chapters. All this experience has convinced me that chapters are the lifeblood of most professional organizations. Chapters are the place where our prospective members and current members meet face to face to network, learn about performance improvement, and form a community of practice. I have to give credit to longtime ISPI mentor and Honorary Life Member Award recipient Guy Wallace for much of what I have learned about chapters. Among other things, Guy taught me that our chapters are the grassroots of our Society. Most people who know about us learn about us first through a local chapter.

The board’s plan is to streamline and strengthen our chapter system. Guy also taught me that the lifeblood of any chapter is its programs. To that end, Jennifer Eichenberg, Chapter Partnership Committee chair, and her committee recently released a remarkable website called the ISPI Speakers Bureau. When we started the Charlotte chapter in 2009, we had Guy who could call on all his ISPI friends and entice them to visit Charlotte and do educational sessions for us. For the meeting fee of $15, our members were able learn from speakers that they would otherwise have had to pay thousands to see in person. These sessions have been an incredible value in professional development. Now all chapters can have access to our best, brightest, and always generous speakers through this user-friendly website.

If you are not already a member of one of our fine chapters, join–or start one–today!

About the Author

DickhandshawDick Handshaw, chairman at Handshaw, Inc., is a consultant, speaker, author, and champion for innovation and quality in performance improvement and instructional design. He is a pioneer in the field, with 35 years of experience as a learning and performance improvement professional. Dick has served as a consultant for many organizations to help them establish a results-oriented training practice. He founded his own training consulting firm in 1985. He and his staff developed the Handshaw instructional model over nearly 30 years of practice. In addition to presenting at ISPI’s conferences, Dick has also presented spoken at other international conferences such as Training Magazine and American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).

He is author of Training That Delivers Results: Instructional Design That Aligns with Business Goals, and is co-author, with Dana Robinson, James Robinson, Patti Phillips, and Jack Phillips, of Performance Consulting: A Strategic Process to Improve, Measure and Sustain Organizational Results, Third Edition. For more information, please visit his website at