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Elliott Masie’s 30 Under Thirty: Interview with Gina Fanelli

Fourth in our series of 30 Under Thirty interviews is Gina Fanelli, Instructional Designer for a major financial institution.

Maestro: Tell me a little bit about your role.

Gina: I am an instructional designer by title but I consider myself a leader, mentor, collaborator, educator, and experimenter.  My role as an instructional designer is to collaborate with internal clients to provide clear learning and development solutions to over 15,000 employees to drive business results. 

Maestro: Tell me about some of the things you are doing to stay current in the world of learning.

Gina: I am a self-proclaimed learner. I am always looking for ways to educate and be educated. This past May, I received my masters of science in Instructional Technology from Bloomsburg University. I am fortunate enough to work for a company that recognizes education as a highly valued cornerstone of ongoing professional development.  Therefore, I often participate in training at our corporate university as well as participate in MOOCs (massive open online courses), external webinars, conferences, and of course…social media!

Maestro: What challenges do you see for the next generation of learning leaders - people like you?

Gina: Our whole lives we have been encouraged to be specialists; whether it was identifying oneself by a major in college or being really good at one sport or instrument.  Now, learning leaders are faced with a challenge of helping people evolve beyond their “specialties” and embracing flexibility, ambiguity, and change. 

Maestro: What excites you about the future of learning?

Gina: There is no end to the field of learning. It is a huge challenge to know that the job is never done; there is always room for improvement. I recently read the book Mindset, by Carole Dweck, and she talks about how people in a growth mindset don’t just seek challenge, they thrive on it.  The bigger the challenge, the more they stretch.  I think that is what the field of learning and development is all about.  Knowing that there are always opportunity areas and knowing that you can always challenge yourself, your peers, your work.  There is always an opportunity to “play up”, meaning challenging yourself to the best in the field. I think it is empowering to be a part something much greater than oneself.  You can continuously influence and be influenced.  I feel that the goal of improving learning is on the forefront of our minds now more than ever.  As technology rapidly develops it is imperative to be play up, be innovative, and be flexible.  The way we serve and define learning is changing and I have the potential to influence its future.  What could be more exciting than that?

Maestro: What advice do you have for companies struggling to keep up with the changing landscape of learning?

Gina: It is okay to fail and take risks. Innovation and problem solving are more about failure than they are about success. The idea of failing forward is critical for organizations to keep in mind as the landscape of learning evolves.   

Interested in learning more about Gina?
 Connect with her on LinkedIn

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