A Day in the Life of ...
Derek Tibbit

Derek Tibbit

Manager, Learning & Development North America
Montreal, QC Canada

What is the first thing you do when you get started with work for the day? 

The first thing I do when I start my day is take ten minutes to plan it out. My role is such that my time is split between both site-level (local) and international projects. I need to make sure I am advancing all in proportion to need/deadline. This means comparing apples to oranges in many cases so I currently use Monday.com to organize my activities. This allows me to do a single update, and stakeholders may check in on their activity when they so choose.

What are your main areas of focus in your work as a North America Training Coordinator?

Both my role and my mandate are new to the Montreal site as well as our other North American sites, so a large part of my time is making sure that I leave a clear path to follow. For Montreal, I spend a large portion of my week documenting our best practices and skill sets that have historically been passed on verbally, our version of “tribal knowledge”. Finally, I schedule time each week to discover new ways of presenting this information. I strive to make sure that our other North American sites have a clear roadmap to follow with useful information to reference rather than just a list of bullet points.   

How do you organize/structure your work day with tasks/projects?  

To organize my day I defer to my Outlook/Teams calendar simply because it has my meetings in them. I currently maintain three Training-related boards in Monday.com. These act as my to-do lists for three different areas: Montreal-specific items, North American items and larger projects (which include many sub-items within each). I organize my calendar with blocks of time allotted to items which I pull from my Monday boards.

So far, this combination has allowed me the least amount of duplication of effort, the most amount of visibility and least amount of maintenance…but I am always looking for other ways!

As North America Training Coordinator, do you collaborate with a team or mainly work autonomously? Which do you prefer? 

The bulk of my time is spent working independently, but that is likely a temporary situation given that my Montreal mandate is still quite new.  
Within the North American group and the Global Excelitas teams, we are already gravitating into working groups to assure that we are not duplicating efforts. Here in Montreal, I  set up a smaller-scale temporary working group for a project, which will disband when that action is completed.

I believe that I am at my professional best when collaborating with a team of like-minded colleagues. The days where I am challenged with new ideas are the days that I appreciate how lucky I am to be surrounded by curious, interesting and interested peers.

Which part of your work do you enjoy the most, and why?

My current role requires that I spend time learning about many things that I have never been exposed to before. My previous role (Manufacturing Supervisor) was much less demanding on the adoption of new skills, but more focused on meeting deadlines and maintaining stability. I have come to crave the adoption of new tools and skill sets. The curiosity center of my brain is fully awake these days!

If you had more hours in the day to focus on new skills related to your job or projects for your work, what would you focus on? 

I have recently stumbled onto a field of study that was previously unknown to me: Instructional Design. The confluence of learning, interpersonal interactions, technologies, gamification and effective designing is something that resonates with me at this point in my career. I have seen many people who have struggled in grasping a skill set simply because of how it was presented. 

Instructional Design is my current favorite pet project, followed closely by the idea of implementing training with a HoloLens.

What is your special skill/ magic power/ hobby you’re proud of? 

I have no superpowers to claim unfortunately. The three characteristics that have served me best in all aspects in my life are patience, persistence and empathy. There are countless examples of instances when these three alone have not been sufficient, but for the vast majority of my interactions, these qualities have given me the perspective and insight that I needed to accomplish what was required.