This spotlight is on one of our Learning Leaders SIG Co-Conveners, Leah Cridlin. Leah gained a passion for training as a volunteer while her husband was in the military. Although she is now a professional Training and Development specialist at Balluff, Inc., she never strays very far from her volunteering roots. Leah is a long-time participant and volunteer for the GCATD and an intricate part of our Chapter's success.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself
I was born and raised in Dayton, OH. I married my high school love who joined the Army and we traveled the world for 20 years until he retired in 2001. We lived in Germany twice, VA, CA, NY, AL and our last assignment was Ft. Knox, KY. That set us up for retirement, which landed us in Northern, KY. I have two sons. They are both married to wonderful women who are supportive and loving and a beautiful addition to our family. I also have 3 grandchildren, Lily (3), JR (2 ), and Jules (2). They bring happiness to my heart like I have never experienced.
During my time as a military spouse I spent a lot of time volunteering. My main focus was with the Army Family Team Building Program. This program educated military spouses on being a military spouse. We taught classes on the basics of understanding the military language/acronyms to Group Conflict/Dynamics, Teambuilding, Communication Skills, Crisis & Coping, Forming Family Readiness Groups and How to Conduct a Workshop. I started as an Instructor, and volunteered at the installation level, and then progressed to becoming a Master Trainer, then ultimately a CORE Instructor with the Department of Army. This is where I found my passion for training.
Since I married right from high school, I didn’t go to college right away but I wanted to. But with moving all around the world every 2-3 years, I thought it would be difficult maintaining my focus and credits. When our younger son started Kindergarten, I went to college. So I was not your traditional student. My time as a volunteer trainer with the Army program allowed me to earn enough credits through a work program associated with the military for one year of college.
My husband retired, I graduated from the University of Louisville with a Bachelor's Degree in Occupational Training and Development. Then life began in northern Kentucky.
Q: Share details about your role with Balluff, Inc.
I began working at Balluff in 2014, I am the Training & Development Specialist. I am responsible for internal training programs and new employee orientation. I am also the coordinator of our Sales Training Engagement Program. There are plenty of other areas, that I am responsible for or contribute, but those are my primary roles.
Q: What is it you enjoy most about being in a learning role
The thing I most enjoy about being in a learning role is that you get to continue to learn. There are so many elements to this profession including the jobs and interesting details that are a part of every skill and role. Being exposed to what make society function is fascinating to me.
Q. Where is your ultimate vacation destination?
My next vacation! I love to travel and I’m always ready for a new adventure. This summer we are going to the Catskills in NY and I am very excited to see someplace new.
Q: Tell me about your involvement with GCATD.
I learned about GCATD when I moved to NKY and I was searching for a job. The Human Resource Director where my husband works suggested I start there. I probably started attending Learning Leader meetings in 2004 and I have been a part of this group since then. I attend monthly meetings when the dates work, no matter what the topic. I always take away something even if the subject doesn’t pertain to my work. Attending GCATD functions fuels my fire, keeps me energized about my career and gives validation to my thinking and what I know is right for my workforce. In our roles, often we are the only trainer. Meeting with your peers, helps you not feel alone in this profession.
Q: What advice would you give to others interested in volunteering?
I was very hesitant in taking on the co-convener role with Learning Leaders. Taking this challenge has helped me in grow in ways I could not have imagined. The fact that someone thought I had the skills and the passion for this leadership role, was encouraging. I encourage you to take a chance on yourself. We encourage others to take chances on themselves and sometimes we have to do the same.
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
I love to spend time with my family. With our son’s conflicting schedules that isn’t always easy to do. I love to craft, read and travel. I enjoying attending performances at the Aronoff with my girlfriends. My husband and I have a Goldwing Motorcycle and we are the Chapter Directors for NKY, so we spend a lot of time riding the USA. The world has a completely different view on the back of a motorcycle, but I’m always happy to ride back home!