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"I used to say ..."

"I used to say I design training programs for businesses. But workplace learning is so much more than that now. We get to use a much bigger tool box to support real-world performance in the workflow. And we have increasingly sophisticated ways of measuring our impact on business outcomes."

Career History


Learning Designer

Connect! Learning Design

I design powerful custom resources for workplace learning and performance, and I deliver them myself or teach in-house trainers or SMEs to deliver them. My signature focus is creating imaginative, realistic practice of the tasks and decisions participants/users will face in their actual workflow.

Other consultants and consulting practices frequently hire me to inject this realistic engagement in their content. I have subcontracted or contracted directly with companies including such recognizable names as Sam’s Club, CHANNEL,TE Connectivity, Graco, McGladrey, Marvin Windows and Doors, and Land O’Lakes.

As a result of questions I was consistently getting at speaking engagements to fellow workplace learning professionals, I also wrote a book for SMEs tasked with creating or delivering training. From KNOW to DO: A Quick Guide for Experts Teaching Other Adults will be self published in 2016.


Past President (2010), Past Co-Chair of Regional Conference (2014)

ASTD-Twin Cities Chapter

I have remained actively involved as a volunteer since joining in 1996. With over well 600 members, ASTD-TCC was the second-largest, most active chapter in the nation at the time I was president. I got to participate in some dramatic changes over the years, including restructuring the board of directors and adding a Director of Corporate Connections; restructuring the chapter's annual regional conference; and designing a radically new member orientation linked to the business goal of member retention. Under my leadership we changed the chapter mission from predictable, boilerplate language to being "the go-to resource for learning professionals to drive business results through training and development."


Membership Manager - Training Team

Girl Scout Council of St. Croix Valley (now Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys)

In addition to being 100% of the staff devoted to rolling out the council’s first elearning efforts (from writing the content to designing the graphics to serving as help desk to managing the LMS), I negotiated with the local Red Cross to become one of the first providers in the area to offer blended CPR/first aid training — and increased annual participation in our Red Cross training from 50 to 463 within three years.

I also created, piloted and managed systems for offering on-request training and for rapid on boarding of new volunteers; within six months the number of people earning awards for completing training above and beyond the requirements surpassed the total for the previous year.


Director of Education

Minnesota Chiropractic Association

I was recruited to MCA to repeat what I had accomplished at GSCCV: rebuild a crumbling and dysfunctional education program. I created a completely  new administrative infrastructure approved by state board for tracking and reporting education events and Continuing Education (CE) credits. But my proudest accomplishment was turning around the rocky relationship with the State Board of Chiropractic to the point that when it appeared three doctors faced automatic suspension of their licenses for lack of CE hours, the board had sufficient confidence in me to delay the process while I sleuthed out the records — which I did inside of two days. Sadly, my work with the state board was cut short when MCA staff was cut by nearly a quarter shortly thereafter.


Adult Development Director/Strategic Options Director

Girl Scout Council of Cannon Valley (now Girl Scouts River Valleys)

In the job interview I was told flat out that “very little fossil evidence” of a training program remained as the council scrambled to earn back its charter under the leadership of a new executive director. (She became a remarkable mentor to me.) My task, to mix metaphors, would be to pull a proverbial phoenix out of the ashes.

I recruited, trained and motivated a 39-member team of volunteer trainers, who helped me redesign or create 30 ILT courses. Our best year-over-year improvement was a 53% increase in training participation.


Various leadership positions

Concordia Language Villages

As Acting Dean of a French summer program and as Co-Director of French and Spanish weekend programs, I trained and supervised teams of up to 40 international and American staff. The job aids system I created for Weekend Immersion Programs resulted in substantial increase in effectiveness and satisfaction in "directed activity" workshops for students.


Teaching Assistant


ESMOD is France's oldest fashion school. I got to be a TA at their fashion-business school in Rennes because of my connections at the University of Rennes business school. How cool is that!



Bachelor of Arts

Concordia College

Graduated Summa Cum Laude, with majors in French, Spanish, and Communication.

My work-study job as a writer in the college's Office of Communications (writing primarily for the Concordia Language Villages, Admissions, and Alumni Relations) made it possible to challenge or substitute several communication classes. And my experience going to school in Belgium and in Mexico allowed me to skip to advanced language classes.

Upon graduation I was hired as a full-time writer for the college.


High School Exchange Student

Athénée royal Thil Lorrain (formerly L'Athénée royal de Verviers)

As a Rotary exchange student in Verviers, Belgium, I participated in advanced-placement classes for history (and got one of the highest grades in the class in the oral exam). 

As a result of actively engaging as a student, I was able to convert these Belgian classes into credits for four full courses when I started college back in the USA.

Peek into my mind ...

Community Involvement

Chartering President, Hastings StoryWeavers Toastmasters (2013-2014)

 Formerly active in three other Toastmasters clubs, including one for professional speakers

Board of Directors - Membership Chair, Tapestry Folkdance Center (2002-2003)

Volunteer Community Ed Instructor, Northfield and Hastings (2001, 2012-2013)

 Designed and taught "French for Travelers," "We the People: The Constitution through 18th Century Eyes," and other history-related topics.

Volunteer CPR/First Aid Instructor, American Red Cross - St. Paul (1996-2008)

Others say:

"I have to tell you that I absolutely was blown away by your presentation. Given our experiences together and having seen you work so many times, I am not the least bit surprised that you have that sort of impact, yet getting to go for the ride again, is thrilling. […] You made it comfortable, crystal clear, and there were exactly 5 lbs. in that 5 lb. sack. If you were shooting to meet my needs as a participant, you nailed it. "

Bob Cummins, Co-Founder of PeopleWorx

"Best orientation I have ever had when joining an organization. Terri Cheney is a pro."

James Bohn, PhD, Principal at Proaxios

"Terri has become a great resource for taking our training content to the next level. I have brought numerous challenges to her and she has helped develop great solutions that have resulted in better training content."

Joan Moser, President of Spoken Impact

"Terri is a true mentor and pushes me to try new things, and is calmly supportive when I have a crisis of faith in my own path. Her creativity has led to fantastic advances of the local chapter of ASTD, her instructional design strengths have moved our processes and programs to the next level, and last but not least, her coaching has made serving on the board with her a true pleasure."

Gabriella Broady, President of Yellow Giraffe Learning Partners

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Who Says Orientation Is Boring? This popular program has no lecture whatsoever. Instead it is focused on helping participants practice the behaviors of engaged, long-term members, including tapping their ASTD network to address current challenges they are facing in their work.