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.