Training Industry Quarterly - Spring 2008 - (Page 40)

MEET CHRISTINA CERNUCH PEER REVIEW I t’s not surprising that there is more than one way to structure a learning organization. Some report to HR, some are self-sufficient business units, some are more tightly controlled by business leaders. And some, like La Quinta Inn and Suites, combine the traditional structures. That works just fine for Christina Cernuch, Vice President, Training and Operations Development for La Quinta. In fact, her dual role reporting to both HR and Operations has given her what many learning leaders find elusive: a seat at the table. “It’s a unique mix to have two bosses, one in Operations and one in HR, but I love it,” Cernuch said. “It’s the best mix for someone in learning.” Working with pretty much a 50/50 split of learning and operations duties, Cernuch said, allows her to stay grounded in daily operations while at the same time linked to the organizational needs through HR. That’s quite a step up from someone who started at La Quinta as a consultant implementing HR and payroll systems. Things have pretty much worked out in that regard as she’d hoped when joining the team in 2003. She has access to all the daily statistics and figures on the operations side, which arms her with the information she needs to determine training plans and performance support. The exposure gives the learning branch a chance to contribute more to the daily business operations and organization goals. Aside from all that, La Quinta is simply “a great organization when it comes to learning.” Right now, with more than 630 hotels (some corporate-owned and some franchised), and with about 9,500 corporate employees, Cernuch has a lot on her plate. This year, she said, the company is investing significantly to training hotel managers and staff. Her team is also involved with training for franchisees, particularly when opening a new hotel in the brand. While Cernuch was new to the hospitality industry when she joined La Quinta, the company itself was on her short list for a staff position. “They don’t believe in red tape. If something needs to be done, they move quickly,” she said. “They’re very willing to change. If they see a trend, they’re open to adapting to it. I thought this was a place I could come and make a difference.” She’s working on that goal now, rolling out instructor-led training designed to empower hotel general managers to train their staff. She’s also working with Applied Learning to formalize experiential learning at La Quinta. “Really this year is about going back to the basics and adopting a culture of accountability,” Cernuch said, adding that 2007’s focus was on system implementations and redefining processes. “Now that we’re behind those changes, it’s time to get back to the basics of running a hotel.” 40 Training Industry Quarterly, Spring 2008 / A Training Industry, Inc. ezine /

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Quarterly - Spring 2008

Training Industry Quarterly - Spring 2008
At the Editor’s Desk
Winning Organizations Through People
Before You Buy…
Learning Technologies
Take Your ROI to Level 6
LCMS: A Critical Link to Learning Success
Establishing Best Practices for Learning Governance
Training’s Role in Continuous Improvement
Meet Jim Mitnick
Meet Karen Kocher
Meet Christina Cernuch
The Personal Side of Personnel Training
Closing Arguments

Training Industry Quarterly - Spring 2008