These words spoken by chef Thomas Keller launched ATD’s first talent development executive network, CTDO Next, at the group’s inaugural gathering in Napa, California, on November 4, 2017. The phrase describes Keller’s dedication to excellence in his craft and defines the skills he seeks and develops in his team. It also illustrates the nature of CTDO Next as well as its commitment to sophisticated events and savvy thought leadership.
“It’s all about finesse.”
The handful of founding members who convened in Napa has since doubled in size, and the group boasted 100 percent retention in its first year. The members (Nexters) enjoy spending time together and convene twice annually to learn from one another and from celebrity-level subject matter experts whose work informs the talent development field.
For example, in 2018 the group headed to South Beach in Miami, Florida, where they heard from Kevin Mitnick, world-famous hacker turned white-hat security consultant, about the need for organizational cybersecurity training in the age of big data. A year later in Santa Monica, the late Grant Imahara—electrical engineer, roboticist, and former television host of MythBusters—challenged Nexters not to fear the robots when they prepare for the workforce of the future. And during a virtual session in 2020, David Epstein, New York Times bestselling author of Range, shared leading research about unexpected opportunities, invisible pitfalls, and future-forward applications in times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
These events are the foundation of what Nexters get from their premier membership, in addition to what they give to the field. Member organizations also receive a plethora of perks, such as access to ATD’s full research library of reports, whitepapers, webcasts, presentations, and case studies; conference registrations; and education passes. Other member benefits include special programming at ATD’s International Conference & EXPO and VIP meet-and-greet opportunities with conference headliners such as former President Barack Obama and Oprah.
ATD’s commitment to bringing Nexters ongoing access to interesting people is one of its hallmarks and transcending values. In October 2020, Ibram X. Kendi, founding director of Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020, discussed how to create organizational cultures of antiracism and inclusivity and answered Nexters’ burning questions about these critical issues.