By: David Holmes
Every learning professional hopes to be part of that rare organization that recognizes and lives a learning culture. When I walked into State National over a decade ago, I was at a point in my career where I eagerly wanted to be part of that elusive culture of improvement. I had been in positions of learning leadership but felt that upper management had those positions because a company is supposed to have them. This was different, it felt different, and I could tell from every individual I engaged with that State National was committed to a culture of learning.
While interviewing, I met not only the Human Resources team but also several executive leadership and sales leaders. After my final training presentation for the interview team, the CEO came in and kicked everyone out of the room. Lonnie Ledbetter and I talked for about 30 minutes. His strong belief in a learning culture was evident, and so was his desire for individuals to carry that vision forward within State National.
Lonnie and I have had several conversations over the years but I will never forget that first one. His message to me was one of growth and constant learning by all employees. Lonnie emphasized the importance of this position as one that moves the entire company forward through instilling a culture of growth and knowledge.
Having trained virtually everyone in the organization at one time or another, I always assure team members that learning is not only expected at State National but is also highly rewarded. New associates enter the organization with a clear message that everyone helps each other and that the client is first and foremost in every action we take. Accuracy is critical in providing a quality solution to our clients, but making a mistake is a learning moment as well. The culture of continuous improvement — both in our business and in ourselves as associates — is one aspect that sets the State National team apart from the competition.
David Holmes has held the position of Director of Learning and Development at State National for 12 years. In this time, he has been able to build a learning culture and expand the sense of “customer first” throughout the company. David focuses on employee skill-building and preparing associates to grow and advance within the organization. He and his team are responsible for all aspects of business, service, and leadership training within the organization.