It’s not every day that a valued client “retires” from a
company to which she has devoted a good part of her career. I’ve known Annie
Laures for almost half a decade in my role as an outside consultant and
work-learning auditor. I’d like to take a moment and acknowledge her work at
Walgreens—and wish her well as she begins a new adventure as a consultant to
chief learning officers, training directors, and learning professionals.
Annie retired as Walgreens Director of Learning Services
after a 32-year career helping Walgreens’ pharmacists, store managers, service
clerks, corporate managers and others learn and succeed in their jobs.
Here's Annie's picture from a relaxed informal moment.
Annie’s accomplishments are too many and varied to recite
here. Here’s a short list. In her learning-executive role heading up learning
services, Annie directed the overall learning strategy for Walgreens, led
multiple teams and units of learning professionals, and worked closely with
business management and operations. Annie has also led the Performance
Development and Training and Development units at Walgreens. She’s led
leadership development. She led the transition from classroom-only training to
an integrated e-learning system. She’s created customer-service initiatives, developed
videos, done executive coaching, managed instructional design, built 360-degree
instruments, and helped Walgreens as it merged with other corporations.
Annie has long been active in the International Society of
Performance Improvement, won an award, and earned her Certified Performance
Technology designation. Annie has presented at various industry conferences,
including a presentation she and I did together titled “Is Your Learning Organization Healthy?”
Annie’s colleagues remember her as a person of integrity,
wisdom, and a deep and practical knowledge of learning. They also remember her
as someone with a quirky sense of humor. “Often
she would tell you a story that was off-the-wall but she would do it with such
a straight face that you believe her. One time she mentioned that the new hire
missed her dog so much that we agreed she could take it to work.”
For me, Annie represented the best kind of client. She
wanted to do the right thing and create learning interventions that really
worked. She was politically savvy enough know what would fly and what would be
derailed by management. She worked within the system to get the best results
possible. Annie was also just a joy to work with—friendly, open, direct, personable,
and caring. She also had great instincts about learning and performance. Her
recommendations and thinking were almost always aligned with research and best
practices. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about Annie was her
willingness to be open to new ideas and improvement in learning-and-performance
design. Her inquisitive non-defensive nature helped her and Walgreens Learning
to continue moving forward in continuing cycles of improvement. Annie just
seemed to want to do what was right for the learners of Walgreens. It never
appeared to be about her.
When a person has a passion to make things better, when they
are focused on the general good (and not themselves so much), when they are
skilled at getting things done, and when they are open—truly open—to learning,
the world will become a better place because of their actions. To me, that
seems the story of Annie Laures career at Walgreens.
I want to acknowledge Annie’s Walgreens work and also thank
Annie for hiring me when my research-and-consulting practice really needed the
work. I also want to wish Annie the best as she opens up her consulting
practice. If you’d like to inquire about Annie’s consulting services, contact
her at this email.