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Dashe & Thomson Welcomes New Director of Instructional Design

Claire Narum

Dashe & Thomson is pleased to welcome Claire Narum as its new Director of Instructional Design.  Claire joined the company in July after working as a training and documentation consultant for Dashe over the past five years.  Prior to that, she spent several years working as a trainer and instructional designer for the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.  She has developed and delivered training both nationally and internationally, for a range of industries and systems, from large-scale ERP implementations to specialized, in-house software applications.  Claire has a B.S. degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University.  In her spare time she enjoys reading, cycling, swimming, and travel.

Find out more about Claire in the interview below.

Q:           How did you come to learn about Dashe & Thomson?

A:            I was in Minnesota visiting relatives, and my sister brought home a copy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  It contained a special section on the job market in Minnesota, and I stumbled on an article about Dashe & Thomson.  As I read it, I thought ‘That sounds like the perfect place for me to work.’  However, at that time I was still living in Switzerland.  I did send my resume, but not surprisingly, I didn’t hear back.  Eventually, when I moved back to the United States, I found a contract position in Minneapolis.  Dashe contacted me about six months later, and I’ve more or less worked exclusively for Dashe ever since.

Q:           Discuss your background a little bit.

A:            Well, after graduating from college I jumped on an airplane and moved to Switzerland to work for the international organizations.  It took three months to ‘break in’ to the system, and my first job was as a temporary secretary for UNHCR (the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).  I was pretty idealistic, and a little disappointed to be taking a secretarial position, but I figured I would work my way up.  Eventually I found my way to the World Health Organization, and after a few years there I landed a job doing training on one of their proprietary systems called AMS (Activity Management System).  That was the first time I ever had a job that I truly looked forward to in the morning.  It was like a revelation!  Since then I’ve moved more into the training development arena, but I’ve stayed involved in training ever since.

Q:           So how long have you been working in the training field?

A:            In total, I’d say about ten years.

Q:           And what about this industry attracts you?

A:            Initially, it was simply the desire to help people do their jobs more easily.  Working at WHO, there was a lot of bureaucracy, with a lot of hoops to jump through, and very little training.  Although they did have “New Hire Training,” it was highly conceptual – not practical at all.  So when I started, it felt great to help people go back to their desks and understand how to use the AMS to do their required work.  I was also the point person for system help at that time, so I really worked hard at providing help with problem-solving, as well as answering simple system usage questions.

These days, I’m motivated a bit more by the production process.  Now that I’m not doing much training, I like the process of developing effective training documentation.   And I love working with lots of different companies, getting to know their cultures, their special needs, and so on.  It keeps me growing and always learning, which I like.

Q:           You’ve been a contractor for several years now. What’s the biggest change, working full-time for Dashe & Thomson?

A:            It is kind of the best of both worlds.  As I said earlier, I enjoy moving around and working with lots of different companies in different industries.  Taking a position with Dashe gives me the stability of working with a team of people over the long term, without giving up the variety of contract work.  Also, I’m looking forward to getting to know a bit more about the other side of the business, the project development and planning side of the equation.

Q:           What are you hoping to accomplish in your new position?

A:            Generally speaking, the two things I’d like to contribute are, first, to build relationships with as many clients as possible.  I’d like to increase our repeat business by building trust and providing value adds wherever I can.  Second, and even more generally, I’d like to help grow Dashe & Thomson as a company.  I’ll spare you my grand fantasies of a multinational Dashe & Thomson perpetually climbing on the S&P 500, but I definitely want to be part of broadening the clientele throughout the United States, and beyond, if possible.

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