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Drawing the line between creativity and logic in the L&D industry. An interview with Courtney Harris, LT Project Manager

Post Series: Storytelling

“You cannot, you cannot use someone else’s fire. You can only use your own. And in order to do that, you must first be willing to believe that you have it.”
– Audre Lorde


With over 13 years of experience in Learning & Development, Courtney Harris, Learning Tribes Project Manager, shares with us how living in the line between creativity and logic took her on a fantastic journey within the L&D space.

Let’s get to know Courtney, her experience, and her projects.

1. Tell us about yourself.
My name is Courtney Harris, and I’m a Project Manager for Learning Tribes. I love creating things! I paint, draw, and do some creative writing from time to time. I also try to find ways to actively support the arts, creativity, and collaboration in underserved communities.

2. Talk to us about your experience in L&D.
I’ve been in the L&D space for going on 13 years, starting with teaching children after college and then progressed into the corporate training world, instructional design, development, and L&D program management.

3. Why are you in this space? What do you like about it?
I love how specific L&D challenges lead you to mix creativity, learning, and critical thinking to overcome them. I also enjoy the way that helping others develop and grow affects my development and growth since I always learn from the people I teach; it’s always an exchange of some sort.

4. Tell us about a recent project you conducted.
I think that I’ve had the privilege to work with a pretty diverse range of clients and projects so far. In terms of challenges, I see them as exciting and as opportunities to learn or get better at something.
One fun challenge that I’ve experienced has been working with clients in the start-up world, where there isn’t always a lot of structure or definition for the way things are done. Many times, things are still being figured out as you come into the process.
When it comes to healthcare, it can significantly impact if we aren’t able to pivot and provide the needed support. Sometimes, that means stripping away the things that block the critical things we need to see and do.

5. What was the solution implemented on this project?
Providing structure and streamlining processes so that we pave the way to be supportive and more efficient with how fast we can pivot to provide what is needed for the project’s success. Things are already moving at an incredible rate and can be a little chaotic in the start-up world, so coming in as experts in what we do and making it easier to provide our services and support is one of the best solutions that we can provide to a client in that space, and that also happens to include innovative, customized learning content and a great LXP.

6. What made the project challenging?
The timeline and rapidity of changes are what I would say posed the most difficulty. Plus, needing to allocate a large number of resources against a budget can always be daunting. The larger the team, the more challenges that can arise regarding communication, efficiency, and consistency. With that being said, I seriously have one of the best project teams globally, so they help make things run more smoothly, and we got through challenges together.

7. How was the training experience for the learners?
I think one of the best things about the experience for the learners is how immersive it is. They have a dedicated platform, and it’s built specifically for their needs. The client is just as passionate about creating a premium learner experience as we are, so as those things have come together and continue to come together, the learners benefit from the variety in modality, the number of resources to support them, and some stunning instructional design.

8. What were the benefits for the organization?
The partnership is the most significant value. We interact so frequently that we became an extension of the client’s family; by trying to make sure that we get the input from as many parts of the organization as possible, we end up in a place where everyone has a sense of ownership of what is created. That translates into engagement with the content, identifying needs and gaps more efficiently, and figuring out the best way to tackle a problem in a very collaborative method.

9. What is the most memorable experience you have ever had with a client?
My most memorable experience is with a client that wasn’t my client, and I happened to stumble on them having a very emotional moment; this was pre-COVID, so we were face-to-face, and they were not in a great place due to an unpleasant experience they’d had with the person with whom they were working. I remember sitting with them and talking about their original vision for their project and imagining how they would feel if they achieved that vision. Then, we started talking about some ways to get there. It made them feel better and more optimistic about the situation. It also helped them get into a better emotional space to address their concerns better and communicate their needs. It was awkward on one hand because I think I can sometimes be a little socially clumsy, but it was also gratifying to have been a part of getting them to a more positive state.

10. What has been the most memorable experience you have had with Learning Tribes?
The people here are memorable for me. I remember a particularly challenging project that I put much effort into that didn’t go how I expected. I took it hard and was pretty depressed about it. Plus, I was very new to the team at the time, and I felt like I let everyone down. I remember people on the team being incredibly supportive during that time. I could feel how authentic they were. It was the defining moment that made me feel like I was part of “the Tribe.”

11. Tell us about your upcoming projects and personal goals.
I have a couple starting up, but I am excited about doing some design work. My roots are in the creative side of things, so I don’t want to lose touch with that, and this lets me flex that side of my brain, so I’m looking forward to it. Plus, I get to work with some of my favorite people on it.
On the personal side, I need to paint! I have some canvas prepped, and I want to make something beautiful with it. I also want to get back into working with fabric, sewing, and screen printing. I am still pursuing that thing called “balance,” so I would love to achieve it to fit all of my professional and personal goals into my day-to-day life, so it just becomes who I am and what I do all the time. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m optimistic and have some pretty great cheerleaders to keep me motivated!

In conclusion, Courtney’s journey can be a source of inspiration to many people. She constantly searches for ways to positively impact the lives of those around her and encourages them to keep learning, growing, and becoming a better version of themselves.

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