A Chat With the Person in Charge of eLearning at GAAP Dynamics
Vicky Hale is a training specialist in charge of eLearning at GAAP Dynamics. A former college cheerleader and auditor with PwC, she joined the company in January 2012. Check out her interview where she discusses her career path, her role at GAAP Dynamics, trends in eLearning and her advice for millennials in the accounting profession.
What was your career path and how did you wind up at GAAP Dynamics?
I had been at PwC for about 3.5 years when I found GAAP Dynamics. Through my role as a senior associate, I had rediscovered my love for teaching — something I had always done through high school and college as a gymnastics and swimming instructor.
Having rediscovered that love for teaching, I was set on leaving the accounting world behind and going back to school to become an elementary school teacher. That’s when a recruiter told me about an “odd” opportunity … GAAP Dynamics. I met with Mike and loved the fact that GAAP Dynamics would give me the opportunity to teach and also use my creative side in development (I’ve always had a love for art). GAAP Dynamics seemed like a place with lots of opportunity — I could instruct live training, develop eLearning, design marketing pieces, whatever — and that was definitely appealing to me.
What are some of the highlights of your career thus far?
As far as teaching, the highlight of my career so far was probably the opportunity to teach for a week in Milan, Italy. It was a lot of “firsts” for me. It was my first time in Europe, my first time teaching for an international audience and my first time travelling alone for work! The people there were amazing and it was such a great experience.
With eLearning, the highlight of my career [thus far … I think the best is yet to come] was being chosen by Adobe to be featured in a white paper and video shoot as a client success story for our work using Adobe Captivate and its responsive design capabilities. Adobe sent a huge production team to interview us and shoot the b-roll video. It was a crazy hectic day, but it was so much fun. And, of course, it’s a total honor to work with such a prestigious company, like Adobe.
The last highlight I’ll mention is being able to work on our brand redesign and everything that goes along with it — changing our name, designing a new logo and tagline, launching a new website, redoing all of our marketing materials — the whole nine yards! Marketing is a field that the artist in me has always been drawn to, so while it’s been a wild ride, it has been such a fun experience to be so involved every step of the way, and I’m so proud of the results!
What is your current role at the company?
My current role at GAAP Dynamics is as a training specialist. But I think that title can be a bit misleading. Yes, I develop training, and yes, I instruct training, but I also do a lot more than that! I’ve been working closely with Mike on our new marketing and rebranding initiatives, which has been a ton of fun! I’ve also been leading the charge on our new eLearning initiatives, which has been challenging — as I’ve had to teach myself several eLearning rapid authoring tools and we are building this segment of our business from scratch — but also very rewarding.
What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
I think the most rewarding part of my job is the fact that I don’t truly believe I have a “defined” role. I’ve been able to grow and mold and shape my career to be what I want it to be. If I have passion for something other than developing and facilitating live training, I’ve been able to delve in and explore those other sides — through getting involved with marketing and discovering a new passion for eLearning. I’ve done so many things that I never thought I’d do when I chose accounting as a major in college: from learning all about setting up a recording studio to being featured in a video on Adobe’s website. It’s so refreshing to know that I have the ability to grow and change with this organization and that I don’t ever have to be “stuck” serving one particular role.
What is the most frustrating thing about your job?
While being a jack-of-all-trades is something I love, it can also be a bit frustrating when there are lots of projects happening at once, and you can feel like you’re being pulled in a million different directions. This has been especially true during the past year where the company has seen tremendous growth coupled with its rebranding efforts and website launch.
As the person responsible for eLearning at GAAP Dynamics, what are some of the current trends you see in the industry?
One of the biggest trends in the industry is the area of responsive design. Learners are beginning to ask for trainings that they can view anywhere, anytime and on any device — and responsive design is the answer to that demand! If you’ve ever opened a website on your phone and noticed that the screen looks different to accommodate the smaller screen size of your phone, that is responsive design. In the past, responsive design required additional coding and/or a lot of extra programming time. However, rapid authoring tools like Adobe Captivate are making it fast and easy to turn your eLearning modules into responsive modules that participants can view on their tablets, phones or laptops.
What advice would you give young people just starting out in the accounting profession?
I would encourage them to do two things. First, absorb as much knowledge about accounting, your industry and the business world as you can — whether that’s through your audit engagements or the company you work for. The experiences you have and the knowledge you gain will help open doors to expand your career. Second, I would encourage young professionals to remember that alternate paths exist. I was able to find a career that I love that uses my accounting degree in a unique way. I knew I would not be satisfied being an auditor or a financial analyst for the rest of my life, and so I waited until I found the right career that I knew would be a perfect match for me and my goals.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Personally, I hope I have a healthy, happy family with my husband and a gaggle of kids! Professionally, I don’t know what my career will look like, and that is what I love. GAAP Dynamics has given me the opportunity to change and grow and that is what I hope to continue doing with the company. I can’t wait to see where this company goes, and I hope to be right along for the ride. I am so excited to see what happens to our eLearning business that I helped create and now manage, and to see how our marketing and re-branding efforts pay off. I think it’s going to be a fun next decade!