Log in

Log in


We want to spotlight you! Nominate a fellow member HERE today! Contact VP Communications at for more details about how you can share your story or nominate someone else!

Member Spotlight - Artrell Williams

About Artrell Williams

Artrell is the manager of Learning & Development at Sumitomo Rubber, USA. He is currently preparing to take ATD's CPTD exam and, along with Dr. Josh Yavelberg, has co-written an article for ATD magazine’s May issue. Read the article here ( He has also registered for this year's Buffalo's Funniest Person Competition, in which he may come in last place! He invites you all to go out and witness that in person!

Reason For Nomination

As a champion for Talent Development for several years, Artrell has proven to be a "Lifelong Learner". He readily seeks opportunities to develop himself, as well as ways that he can help the community. From speaking to college students at SUNY Buffalo about career development, to working with the non-profit Matt Urban Center to assist them in developing the workforce of our region, Artrell has demonstrated that he enjoys helping others.

What members can learn from Artrell

Artrell is always taking on new challenges so that he can expand his comfort zones. He loves to gain new experiences and learn new things, not just for the sake of knowing them, but so that he can use those experiences in his teaching. He often shares the TS Eliot quote, "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go".

Artrell has been featured on podcasts such as the Sententia Gamification podcast with Monica Cornetti, and the LOVE.PEOPLE.TECHNOLOGY.LEARNING podcast with Tamara Kocharova. He has facilitated a "Make 'em Laugh, Make 'em Learn” session at several conferences to encourage other facilitators and speakers to "tap into their inner comic" and create more engaging learning sessions. Artrell is a student of gamification, and has won an award for "Taiyazukuri", a tire manufacturing playing card activity that he and his team developed. He recently facilitated an "Artificial Intelligence Primer" for ATD Buffalo Niagara, and plans to deliver that to other ATD chapters this year.

Member Spotlight - August 2023

About Dr. Kristy Tyson, MBA. DM.

The Director of Diversity Education at the National Federation for Just Communities of WNY, INC.(NFJC of WNY), Instructor for the Business and Liberal Arts Department at Bryant and Stratton College, a Harvard Business School Publishing Educator, an affiliate of Harvard Business School. Dr. Tyson has a Life Purpose Coaching firm Lifement LLC. and is the President of the Rhetorical Roar Toastmasters club and is on the Alumni Board for the SUNY Canton Alumni Association.

Reason for Nomination

Doctor Kristy Tyson has served on the ATD Buffalo Niagara Executive Board for two years filling in any vacant role such as the Director of DEI, VP of Chapter Services, and now President-elect. Dr. Tyson has attended and represented ATD Buffalo/Niagara at many national meetings and events. She has brought back and contributed innovative ideas and promoted all of the fantastic initiatives ATD Buffalo/Niagara is doing. Dr. Tyson has spearheaded our relationship and collaboration with ATD Rochester, New York City, and others through collaborative meetings. Dr. Tyson has tirelessly volunteered for several ATD Buffalo/Niagara events and acted as our advocate between ATD Buffalo/Niagara and the National Association. Dr. Kristy Tyson has also contributed to talent development by dedicating her doctoral dissertation to leadership development programs for remote workers using the ATD association members as her population and expert panel.

What Members Can Learn from Kristy

Dr. Tyson's dedication to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) education and facilitation demonstrates the importance of ongoing learning. Other members can be inspired to continually educate themselves and stay updated on JEDI topics. Empathy and Sensitivity: By facilitating healing circles and courageous conversations, Dr. Kristy Tyson showcases the significance of empathy and sensitivity when discussing complex issues. Other members can learn the power of creating safe spaces where individuals feel understood and heard.


Dr. Tyson has published a new book: "Your Call: Critical Thinking for Decision Makers" Available now on Amazon, Kindle, and Barnes & Noble online, "Your Call" is your essential guide to mastering critical thinking. Whether you're a student taking a Critical Thinking course or simply looking to sharpen your decision-making prowess, this book has you covered. As a dedicated educator, Dr. Tyson has tailored this book to meet the needs of students, ensuring it's informative but also engaging and practical.

Want to Know More about Kristy?

Member Spotlight - September 2021

Ashley Dietrick, CPTD, DTM

Learning & Development Team Lead // Lawley Insurance | 4.5 Years in current role

How did you come into this role/career? I landed in Learning & Development by walking through a series of open doors from seemingly very different roles. My bachelors is in Music Education, right out of school I took on leading an early childhood school readiness program for refugee children with a staff of 13. That really was my first L&D role, though!

If you gave yourself a creative description/job title, what would it be? Professional Questioner & Problem Solver” It’s really what I do all day!

What is your favorite part of your current role? The challenge of building a new and Lawley’s first Learning Management System! (LMS) It brings together all corners of the company to share their expertise, engage associates and tie together performance, engagement & learning.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your career area? Learn and network, and learn from your network. It’s difficult to set the time aside, but it is the only way! So many of us are the only L&D person at our company so you have to get out of your space to learn more!

What has ATD meant to you? ATD has been a lifeline in some of my more challenging projects at work. Coffee connections has been a great way for me to bring ideas, check my thinking, and hear what others are doing. Most times, besides having coffee with awesome people, I leave with a whole new set of ideas.

What is one of your favorite memories with ATD?  Last week I passed my CPTD certification exam and it was the BEST moment that really brought to a head all of my experience, studying, and learning from ATD. Huge sigh of relief and a huge swell of pride for how far I have come in this career path!

What is something you are currently reading, listening to, and/or learning (career related or not!) Reading up a LOT on restoring old houses, watching HGTV and YouTube shows on restoring old houses. We love to buy properties for rentals, but my family and I are on the hunt for a long-term family home now and the old houses in Buffalo are so exciting!

What is a fun fact about yourself? My family and I love to travel in scrappy, affordable ways. The more of the world we get to see, the better! Favorite trip so far was backpacking our way across Guatemala with my husband, son (then 9 years old), and daughter (then 7 years old).

Member Spotlight - June/July 2021

Katherine Marchiano

Global Talent Development Manager // Ingram Micro

7 Years in Career, 1 Year in current role

How did you come into this role/career? I have always been passionate about training and developing others, whether formally or informally. When I started at Ingram Micro in 2013, I sat in the new hire training room and was CERTAIN that I belonged there…just on the other side of the desk! After a year in a sales role, a position on the Learning & Development team became available. I fought for the opportunity, I was given a chance, and I have loved my career ever since!

If you gave yourself a creative description/job title, what would it be? Learning Advocate & Community Curator 

What is your favorite part of your current role? I love the global aspect of my role. I have the privilege of building relationships and collaborating with Talent Development team members around the world, and I learn so much from my global colleagues every day. I also love that I get to bring our global TD associates together and create a real community of practice.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your career area? In the talent development space today, you really need to be a jack of all trades. Take time to learn various aspects of our industry from facilitation to instructional design to learning managements systems and beyond!

What has ATD meant to you?  ATD has allowed me to stay connected to others in the industry, to share best practices, and stay current with constantly changing trends. 

What is one of your favorite memories with ATD? I always love attending Coffee Connections! I meet so many awesome professionals. One of my favorite events was one I attended at the Science Museum. It was AWESOME!

What is something you are currently reading, listening to, and/or learning (career related or not!) I am constantly listening to true crime podcasts…definitely my guilty pleasure! I also just started rewatching One Tree Hill. I may be pushing 40, but sometimes I am still a teenager at heart.

What is a fun fact about yourself? I am involved in local theatre as a singer/actress. I absolutely love being on the stage!

Member Spotlight - May 2021

Keith Wharton

CAM Training Manager // M&T Bank

How did you come into this role/career? Teacher at heart since high school, and was aiming to be a Math teacher. During summer vacations in college I worked as an instructor for theatre programs. After college, I was hired as a Teaching Artist for the Arts in Education Institute of WNY. As I pursued my dreams of owning a theatre company, I also had my feet firmly on the ground to understand bills needed to be paid. I began my career at HSBC and found my way to a training position on my team, and then with Learning & Development. I trained everything from Sales to Service to Operations to compliance. I then found a position as the Training Manager at Roswell Park. I helped automate the Learning Management System, as well as streamlined their annual compliance training to a first time ever, 99.9% compliance. After Roswell, I went back to operations with PHH as a Lien Release Manager, which provided me the opportunity to understand the business roles, process flow, and a lot of data. After PHH closed in WNY, my friend/PHH manager began working on app until we both were hired at our current roles. I had missed the training world and was looking for an opportunity. I was missing the training field, and found a home with M&T and have not looked back.

If you gave yourself a creative description/job title, what would it be? A TLDD, a Training and Learning Designer and Developer. In short, I consult and build all forms of learning for our teams, and then identify opportunities for those teams to continue to improve.

What is your favorite part of your current role? My team and co-workers. Members of my team are some of the most hard-working and talented individuals that I have ever met. They challenge me and inspire me to work harder, and to make my best better.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your career area? NSL – Never Stop Learning. Learn all the parts of the process. Learn all of the motions of the system. Learn about the people you are working with. Build relationships. Listen more than you speak. When you have downtime, that’s training in the system time, that’s building your knowledge time, and that’s the grind time. Stretch yourself and challenge yourself. If you never push yourself, you will never know quite how far you can go. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. And always, always lead with kindness.

What has ATD meant to you?  ATD has been a constant. Even when I was changing jobs, ATD was always a part of my training scope. The people that I have met and continue to meet are some of the most talented individuals. ATD has shown me that sharing your ideas and skills should not be feared. This is a hub for creativity and knowledge that anyone would dream of being a part of when testing something new, learning a new skill, or simply giving a new presentation. ATD helps make my best better.

What is one of your favorite memories with ATD? My reinvigorated participation was strongly encouraged by Kim Stahl. I am so grateful for her reintroducing ATD to me 3 years ago. In addition, my fondest memory is being nominated and then winning the ATD, at the time ASTD, award for Trainer of the Year in 2009. That moment helped solidify my love for training, for ATD, and kept me focused on what I enjoyed which is helping people. To be awarded for something you love to do was a great moment of my career.

What is something you're currently reading? My wife has got me hooked on Stephen King, so when I am not reading at work I will read his novels. I am currently researching the last years of Lincoln, as I am working on a play that asks the question, “What if Lincoln knew he was going to be killed?” In addition, I am working on a novel influenced by my mother’s memories of New Jersey, crossed with Stephen King, and crossed with historical events and dabbling in time theories. Work related, I want to challenge the theory that non-creative people will always remain non-creative people.

What is a fun fact about yourself? I owned a theatre company in Buffalo for almost 15 years from 2002-2017 called Kaleidoscope Theatre Productions. I am also a lucky husband and a proud father of two talented, intelligent, and strong daughters.

Is there anything else you would like to share? A few mottos or creeds that I live by:

  • “If you can’t change it, celebrate it. If you can’t celebrate it, change it.”
  • “When was the last time you did something for the first time.”
  • “Lead with kindness.”

Member Spotlight - April 2021


Senior Quality Assurance Analyst // Talent Acquisition Ambassador // President of Pride WNY employee resource group with M&T Bank

If you gave yourself a creative description/job title, what would it be? Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advocate 

What is your favorite part of your current role? My current role supports my interest in continued learning, I have been able to attend a variety of courses and incorporate my learning into my work. I have authored a few procedures, co-developed a training plan and much more. 

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your career area? It is more than just experience and knowledge, you need to network, build your circle of influence and sincerely participate in the community as you never know where you will meet someone. 

When did you join ATD? Why? I joined ATD at the recommendation of fellow member Jo Pappas. I have always been involved in informal training within the departments I have worked in. By being involved in a group such as ATD I have been able to meet new professionals and attend workshops that enhance my skills and experience. 

What has ATD meant to you? ATD has provided me with the opportunity to connect with talent development professionals across WNY that are not naturally in my circle. Through ATD I have been able to learn and grow through the presentations, workshops and connections that I have made.

What is one of your favorite memories with ATD?  I am a bit of an Anglophile and have connected with Deb over my love of Tudor Dynasty history. We have had a few conversations about books, shows and movies that cover that era of the English monarchy.

What is something you're currently reading?  I just started The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix. This book is about a group of women, living around Charleston South Carolina that after starting a true crime book club in secret is faced with a vampiric threat. 

What is a fun fact about yourself? I am active in the Yelp Buffalo Community and have won three Yelpies, one for Reviewer of the Year and twice for Photographer of the Year. Yelp is a website and mobile app that crowd sources business reviews and photos

Is there anything else you would like to share? In addition to my primary role I participate in the Talent Acquisition Ambassador program where we support our Talent Acquisition team to reach out and discuss career opportunities with diverse populations. Additionally, I was recently elected President of the Pride WNY employee resource group.

Member Spotlight - March 2021


Principal Consultant // The Lindsay Group Co

How did you come to this role and/or career? I have been very fortunate to have worked in higher education, non-profits, and even worked on projects with partners in Tanzania, and I found the part I most enjoyed was creating innovative solutions to solve systemic and organizational challenges.

What is your favorite part of your current role? In both my current roles, I have an incredible opportunity to help organizations address issues by helping them challenge their current way of thinking and introduce new solutions and concepts that can provide for more equitable and positive work environments.

When did you join ATD? Why? I joined ATD in the spring of 2020. The organization I had worked for closed just before the pandemic hit and like most people, the pandemic gave me the opportunity to reflect on my experiences and expertise. I wanted to connect with more like-minded colleagues and not only build my network, but also be able to make new friendships.

What has ATD meant to you? ATD has been a wonderful group to be a part of. Each and every person I have met have all been so kind, intelligent, and welcoming and instantly made me feel welcomed. Since the summer, I have helped our incoming President, Deborah Pratt develop the Mentor Now Peer Mentoring program and it has given me the opportunity to be creative and help design a program that will support every ATD member and it feels so great to have been a part of that.

What is one of your favorite memories with ATD? One of my first events with ATD was the annual get together that was held virtually in 2020. We played several games and it was so much fun. I got to meet so many new people, and with being new to the group, it felt so wonderful to have been welcomed as a new member of ATD Buffalo-Niagara.

What is something you're currently reading? I just finished a book entitled “The Scandalous Lady W” about a huge high-society scandal that took place in London around 1780 – and it was scandalous! I was inspired after binge watching Bridgerton. I love to read about history so I’ve been looking at books surrounding the Culper Ring, a NY based spy ring that helped win the Revolutionary War, but I haven’t decided on a next book yet.

What is a fun fact about yourself? I like to trap shoot (as well as skeet and sporting clays). It’s something that half my family does so not only do we get together throughout the year to shoot on a league, but we also have a family shooting tournament every summer.

Member Spotlight - February 2021


Learning Consultant // AAA Western and Central NY

3.5 years in role; 20+ years in career

How did you come to this role and/or career? I have always been a facilitator of learning. According to my kindergarten report card where my teacher wrote, Karen loves to show people how to do things. (I am not sure, if that was meant to be a compliment, but I am taking it as one).

If you gave yourself a creative job title, what would it be? Excellence Engineer

What is your favorite part of your current role? New Hire Orientation, welcoming new associates to the team is a big responsibility, and so much fun.  I love getting to know new people and sharing our Club’s rich history. 

What has ATD meant to you? I think it is a safe place to be yourself, and exchange ideas. 

What is one of your favorite memories with ATD? The trainings focusing on Diversity. 

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your career area/role? Watch other people, but always put your own spin on it. Figure out what works for you, and work it, work it, work it. And have fun with it. 

What is something you are currently reading, listening to, and/or learning? I am rereading White Fragility, and next up is The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir by Jenifer Lewis.

What is a fun fact about yourself? I have seen the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean on the same day.

Is there anything else you would like to share? I am an unapologetic advocate for creating spaces where people can feel that they belong, I am a challenger of status-quo, and a Huge Buffalo Bills fan!

Member Spotlight - January 2021

SHANNON HORBORWICZ - PBM Programs Trainer - Pharmacy Benefit Dimensions

How did you come to this role and/or career? I have had my hands in L&D, content development, instructional design and managing a training team for over 15 years.  Before I accepted the role at PBD, I was on a search for a position that would bring me back to my training roots without the stress that I had in my previous roles as Program Manager & Training Director.

If you gave yourself a creative job title, what would it be? L&D Curriculum and Course Designer

What is your favorite part of your current role? I love the instructional design aspect of my position.  I was a graphic design and English major, so creating courses gives me that creative outlet that I crave!  I enjoy creating and editing audio and videos and then embedding them in my courses.  I am always looking for new ways to include interactive content that will engage the end user.

What has ATD meant to you? It’s been an interesting year in the world of Learning & Development due to Covid-19.  We’ve all had to communicate in new ways using technology that we may not be comfortable with.  Having a circle of L&D experts in ATD allows me to reach out to find out how others are handling the facilitation of new hire courses, soft skills and systems training. 

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your career area/role? Find that piece of L&D that you truly enjoy.  Some of us love to create content and curriculum, while others prefer to facilitate.  There are so many facets of the L&D world and all of them are equally important.

What is a fun fact about yourself? Cooking is my #1 passion and has been since I was about 10 years old.  Through the years, I have become obsessed with creating meals from other countries and cultures using unique tools, spices and ingredients that most people have probably never heard of. I love to find creative and innovative ways to use fresh vegetables and other ingredients in my freezer and pantry.  I prefer to create from scratch and I rarely use recipes but if I do, I always add my own flare.

Member Spotlight - December 2020

LYNNDA WEST -  PBM Programs Trainer // Pharmacy Benefit Dimensions

How did you come to this role and/or career? I started out as a SME Pharmacy Technician for Walgreens 20+ years ago. That role evolved into a Store and Pharmacy Operations Trainer where I was able to build on skills that were strengths and develop some new ones.  

If you gave yourself a creative job description/job title what would it be? Coordinator of Chaos 

What is your favorite part of your current role? My favorite part of my job is feeling like a contributor, like the work that I do somehow impacts the organization in a positive and meaningful way.

When did you join ATD? Why? I joined ATD fall of 2019 after hearing about it from a peer at a workshop. I joined because it sounded like a great opportunity to network and get fresh new perspectives from others in field.

What has ATD meant to you? ATD has been a great resource during this COVID quarantine.  There are always great webinars and offerings that keep me engaged as a learner and facilitator.

What is a fun fact about yourself? I love animals and own 3 rescue dogs.

Member Spotlight - November 2020

CHRISTA MEER - Learning & Development Specialist at Independent Health (3 years in role; 10 years in L&D/Training)

How did you come to this role and/or career? I started my career at Delaware North Companies in their IT department. I understood the need for people to receive help in a way that promoted kindness and learning. I took the leap and received my Masters in Education from Canisius with the intent on teaching. I slowly realized that teaching in a corporate environment was just as needed for adult learners as it is for childhood learning.  From that point on, I was teaching and training on a variety of technical and functional concepts. It was a win-win for me!  

What is your favorite part of your current role? I love working with people and helping them learn and understand new concepts. It is wonderful to see the result of my training in their face and body language once they master the learning concepts.  It brings me great joy to help people.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your career area/role? I would advise that you need time to see how your talents and gifts fit with your goals in life. Don’t rush. Try new ideas and roles. Be patient. It will all come together as it is meant to be. 

What has ATD meant to you? 

It has been a huge benefit for me to meet new people and share ideas. Everyone that I have met has a different perspective on what they want to help others learn and how they want to accomplish it. Many talents bring many ideas to share.

What is a fun fact about yourself? I do not drink coffee because it is not a friend to me! Also, I do not use an alarm clock to wake up for work!! (or anything!)  

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software