I got  to sit down with the very busy Sue Stinson and talk about learning management systems in the aviation industry, plus aviation marketing (of course!) and even about being an extra in the movies!

 

 

Paula Williams:

So this week we got a chance to sit down with Sue Stinson, who is one of our favorite clients. Actually, they’re all our favorite clients, but I really do like working with Sue. She’s a lot of fun to work with and she’s got a great personality and she’s so much fun to get on the phone with, and you’ll see that in just a few minutes. By way of introduction, Sue Stinson is the Director of Business Development for Motive Learning. And as the Director of Business Development is focused on increasing your organization’s productivity and efficiency through the use of Motive Learning’s dynamic talent development tracking and reporting systems, the , the Motive LMS, along with their mobile responsive 24/7 online training programs. By collaborating with workforce development and training managers in the aerospace, aviation and manufacturing sectors, Motive Learning can also design and deliver custom core solutions quickly to meet the challenges of administering and tracking critical, just-in-time training required by industry qualifications and government standards.

Prior to arriving in Florida, where she just began working with Motive Learning, Sue worked for 14 years with the Commonwealth of Virginia, his largest state university, George Mason University, where she focused on promoting and providing customized professional development programs through the executive and continuing professional education unit to meet organizational pain points and challenges. Those training programs were conducted cost-effectively in a confidential setting in-person and online. She brings over 20 years of experience in education, both as a teacher and administrator, with a master’s in organization development and knowledge management from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Since 2006, corporate and government clients of all sizes have received outstanding customer service throughout the execution of their contracted training event. Sue’s customers were assured of receiving quality just-in-time training, which directly impacted their bottom line, meets compliance requirements and powers performance. So, all of that said, we’re going to talk to Sue about aviation marketing, of course, working with Motive Learning and some of the things that training and marketing have in common and how that works together in a lot of cases. So, let’s turn it right over.

Absolutely. All right. Well, Susan, it’s really good to sit down with you. I know we’ve been working together for a little bit and it’s good to actually have a conversation one-on-one.

Sue Stinson:

Definitely, thank you for the opportunity. This is a real treat, real treat.

Paula Williams:

Thank you. All right. So tell us a little bit more about Motive LMS and how you ended up there.

Sue Stinson:

Yeah, that’s like, how do you get a girl from Wisconsin in Florida?

Paula Williams:

Hmm, yeah.

Sue Stinson:

But a long story there, but for today’s purposes, it is with a 20 year background in education, especially higher ed and custom professional development, spent that in Northern Virginia, outside of Washington, DC, and then a major life change occurred. I used to be married and my fiance lives in Melbourne, Florida, and it was a matter of who could get a job in which place first and that’s where we would settle. And it turns out that I was able to find a position before he could find one in Northern Virginia. So we moved to move down to Melbourne over the summer, right in the middle of the pandemic.

Paula Williams:

Wow. So it was a career race.

Sue Stinson:

It was a career race and COVID-19 race. I’ve been always involved in higher ed. I’m a lifelong learner and the pleasure that I get out of combining our resources with what the customer’s needs has always been what has driven me in various sales positions throughout my life. But raising children and being a volunteer teacher, as well as then going to school myself for organization development and knowledge management to help adult learners. So that’s who I am.

Paula Williams:

Wow. So you’re probably one of those people that really enjoys watching the lights come on when people learn something new.

Sue Stinson:

Most definitely, the light bulb moments. And I have them. I’ve always wanted to teach what I learned, whether it was guitar or skiing or whatever, it’s just something that is difficult for me to contain and it just seemed a natural combination.

Paula Williams:

Interesting. Yeah. There are people who are born teachers and it sounds like you’re really one of those.

Sue Stinson:

I would fall in that category, yes. And yet in this COVID time, not every teacher was equipped or prepared to go from live face-to-face classes to online classes. But thank goodness Motive Learning has always been online and always had the customer’s needs served with online delivery. So there was never a hiccup, never a gap in the need and the deliverability.

Paula Williams:

Right. So in the right place at the right time.

Sue Stinson:

Absolutely.

Paula Williams:

That’s very smart. All right. So could you give us a couple of examples of projects that you’ve worked on or people that you’ve you’ve helped?

Sue Stinson:

Sure, well, having come from Northern Virginia and serving in the greater DC area at George Mason University, we have many government clients and many large government contractors as clients. And I think one of the most unusual, which probably won’t happen here in Florida, we were faced with a snowstorm around St. Patrick’s Day. A large government agency had 110 people for training and they asked us to prepare the materials because the customer could or we could. And and then it turned out that the snow storm had closed the campus and closed the government. And there was no facility on either place to produce the materials.

So using some creativity, I went to my neighborhood Kinko’s and produced it overnight through the night and brought down the materials and the slides and all myself to the hotel nearby where the training was going to be held, in a ballroom of a JW Marriott actually. And we were able to have the class because the next day everything was clear and fine, but there would have been no way to produce the materials if we hadn’t done it in the middle of the night basically the night before.

Paula Williams:

Oh my goodness.

Sue Stinson:

So the 110 people who needed the training, it was compliance training, that had to have it or they couldn’t continue in their role. As you know, the mail stopped, but our training did not.

Paula Williams:

Neither snow nor sleet or hail?

Sue Stinson:

Right. So it gives you a sense of my commitment to the customer. The customer could not have rescheduled otherwise because people came from all over the country to do it. Strangely, that happened twice, another customer had a snow storm that almost derailed our training. But again, because of the conditions, I was able to get permission from the head of risk management at the university to have the class for these people who flew in from all over. They were all staying at the same hotel, so we did it at the hotel instead of having them traipse onto campus.

Paula Williams:

Oh, smart.

Sue Stinson:

Yeah, and well, flexible and adaptable. Rather than people risk life and limb to drive to a campus that was not going to be open, we improvised and we held the class right there at the Holiday Inn.

Paula Williams:

Wow. Thank goodness for Holiday Inns and 24 hour Kinko’s, right?

Sue Stinson:

Indeed, hallelujah, to be sure. But from the Motive Learning aspect, we have a very good client who has international needs. And that’s the beauty of the e-learning platform. LMS handles the online learning tracking, the CBT, the instructor led all over the country, no matter what the time zone. The students, the professionals can do it on their laptop, they can do it on their phone and all of their needs are met regardless of the time zone we’re on in Florida versus them in Amsterdam or Bahamas or Scotland. So, that’s a real advantage of the e-learning. No snow to worry about.

Paula Williams:

Right. Yeah, I think that’s the thing. Well, you never know, this is 2020, we better knock on wood.

Sue Stinson:

And global warming…I don’t know about that. Yeah, that’s right. But all in all, regardless of where the customer is located, they’re always going to be able to host, and to deliver, and to track the training that their employees complete. That is so important in quick turnaround, when folks are saying, how many have I got to be at this airport? How many can be servicing this plane? The LMS will tell you in a jiffy and no travel is necessary.

Paula Williams:

Right. An interesting thing that I learned yesterday during some of our discussions and things like that, was that Motive LMS actually is pretty flexible. And it also deals with the instructor led training, where the instructor has a checklist and can check people off. Even with the on-the-job training, just have them perform a procedure correctly, you check it off, it’s in the system, they’re good.

Sue Stinson:

Exactly, it’s environmentally friendly, there’s no paper trail. And even if there was a paper checklist, for example, the system allows you to download that so it becomes captured in an electronic form. And there’ll be no chasing around in a file cabinet or a folder – did this happen? How long ago, et cetera – the LMS is extremely flexible. Because as our customers have told us, they have different methods of training their folks, and we’ve adapted the LMS to be able to meet their system needs and meet their processes. As opposed to dictating what their processes should be, we adapt to theirs.

Paula Williams:

That’s very smart. Just to tie this back to marketing. And I know I’m throwing you a curve here because we haven’t talked about this. But a lot of FBOs and other aviation organizations are looking for a way to have a competitive advantage and having consistently trained customer service procedures and having a consistent experience is such a cool thing, in terms of marketing. That’s part of branding, is having your people do things the same way every time.

Sue Stinson:

Yes, and as much as I would like to brag, it is rocket science. In many cases, some of our clients have a lot to do with the rocket launches that shake my house every once in a while, and it’s life or death when you are flying commercially or privately. If the plane has not been serviced correctly, it’s life or death. That’s why the consistency of the training is so important. Whether a tablet delivers it, or it’s a video or whatnot, our customers have to know that the people they put on the job out on the tarmac or wherever, are going to be compliant and current, because it is life or death. When you’re talking about an airplane full of people or an airplane full of product going to save, wherever it’s going to be headed.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. In fact, there’ve been a few incidents in the news where the actions or inactions of someone on a ramp have caused horrific consequences. So, it’s not just routine. None of this is routine.

Sue Stinson:

And what has happened, compliance complacency has started to invade the compliance of the COVID-19 for example. That it’s here to stay and people are getting compliant, getting complacent, excuse me. Much like in Washington, DC on 9/11, I lived there at the time that happened and people were hypervigilant for a couple of years. Now to got to be honest, people are very… the anniversary comes around and then there’s a little more focus. But you get lazy, you get sloppy and bad things can happen. Same thing’s happening with COVID-19 and it does not have to be that way. With the e-learning people can get the latest and most important updates from their company for compliance and keep healthy. And be training without infecting their fellow students on either side.

Paula Williams:

Right. Smart. So any advice for people? What’s the biggest mistake they make with their LMS or with their lack of LMS when they should have [crosstalk 00:13:21]

Sue Stinson:

So, their biggest mistake is not to have one. That’s their biggest error. And when they erroneously rely on spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are cheap, they’re free, but they are not accurate. They are not in real time. And our LMS allows anyone anywhere any time zone to look and see what person or group of persons have been qualified and trained and qualified in certain job applications, job descriptions, government standards, industry standards. The lack of that ability in real time, when people are in crunches of staffing, for example, and compliant, how do you know? And the time saving, as well as knowing that the individual is in fact qualified to be there, it affects the company’s bottom line. They can’t put a person on the case, because they’re not qualified or their certification has expired, they lose money. So the LMS saves them time and money, bottom line.

Paula Williams:

Right.

Sue Stinson:

So the biggest mistake is not having it. And the other one is realizing that – and I’ve been a victim of this as well in a large university system. A company makes a purchase of a system that dictates how they have to process, as opposed to working with their current processes. I’m happy to say that Motive Learning adapts to your organization’s processes. It does not lead the parade. It adapts to your organization’s processes. And that’s so frustrating to spend tons of money on a system that dictates to you how you have to change the way you do business. A good LMS should not do that and Motive Learning adapts to your processes and lets you dictate how we set it up.

Paula Williams:

Right. Exactly. When we do business coaching with folks, a lot of times they are doing things the way that their software, whether that’s QuickBooks or whether that’s an ERM or whatever, tells them they should do things. That was designed for a much bigger company or a much different company than they are. So I think it’s great that you guys don’t force people into your way.

Sue Stinson:

At LMS we say “kill a fly with a hammer instead of flyswatter?” That kind of thing. So our LMS can be as big or as little as you need it to be. So we’re not overpowering you, and most important, the customer’s needs are driving it, not the other way around.

Paula Williams:

Smart. Okay. So I know you’ve been with Motive LMS for just a little while, but what is your best or favorite method of finding or attracting new customers?

Sue Stinson:

There are two favorites of mine and I would have to say the first is a satisfied customer’s testimonial. A happy camper to capture their testimonial. Knowing, again, historically some government agencies are not allowed to make a reference or a testimonial to the service they received of the product that they’re happy with. But I think that’s a number one, that’s golden. You’ve got a happy client and that client then can be up sold to other products as your company creates them, new features, for example. So the testimony of your current existing happy customer, I think cannot be underestimated.

And a close second would be offering a potentially new customer, a sampling. A demo of the LMS or three minutes or five minutes of a half an hour class, for example. Giving them a little taste test. That’s been a popular method of mine to let people know if they can’t send a person, at least they can get a little snippet. To see what the media rich quality is, that it’s not stick drawings, but why they should invest further. Give them a little taste test of the online course. Certainly, a demo to let them see what they’re missing out on. What their own customers need and what their competition may already have.

Paula Williams:

Right? One of the things that I love about Motive LMS, that I’ve seen, is that some of your courses are actually kind of funny. They’re well produced. You mentioned stick figures, well some of them are cartoons.

Sue Stinson:

[crosstalk 00:17:58] It is. It is tapping into our inner child. I had a wonderful professor who years ago said the mind will only remember what the ass can bear. And, you may want to edit that, I don’t know.

Paula Williams:

No, that was great.

Sue Stinson:

So it better be fun and it better be interactive. And in order for it to sink in, it needs to be fun and engaging. Death by PowerPoint is not the way to do it anymore. When you’re an undergraduate or a high school student, they thought that was the way adults learn. No, it is not, it is not the way adults learn. And you better smile and have a good time or you’re going to hate every minute of it. And you’re not going to complete it, or you’re not going to remember it. And all the time and the money invested is blown. So, yes, our products and the videos and things are fun and they’re engaging. They appeal to lots of different ethnic groups and cartoons and serious things. It’s a real mix in order to keep it lively and make it so that the learner learns and wants more.

Paula Williams:

Right. Exactly. Well, I’m not exactly a spring chicken, but I grew up with Sesame Street, and the whole fun that learning little snippets of little bits of information. So I was sold every little piece of information that is stuck in my head still. The Preamble of the Constitution. I sing it. I can’t say it without singing it.

Sue Stinson:

Isn’t that’s true. And I would wager that the people who designed those courses back then, those little TV courses, were doing it with adults in mind too, not just the kids.

Paula Williams:

Yeah, absolutely. Very smart.

Sue Stinson:

Yeah.

Paula Williams:

Okay. So let’s turn this a little bit more personal and talk about what book or movie inspired you the most when you were a kid?

Sue Stinson:

Well, the fact that my undergrad was radio, TV and film tells you that I loved movies. I loved going to movies and I loved being behind the scenes, and I was successful in being an extra in a movie. But as a kid, I would have to say the only movie that had an intermission, that we came back for, was Gone With The Wind. Gone With The Wind, as a Yankee, I thought, wow, the south really had a hard time. And this poor woman, she’s full of tragedy in her life. Will she ever find love? Everything’s going wrong? But underneath it all, I fell in love with the Civil War history period. I did reenactments. I worked for historic home in Tennessee and you learn to adapt. I mean, that was Scarlet’s success formula. She adapted to anything they threw at her and that’s turned out to be a pretty good life lesson for me.

Paula Williams:

Absolutely. That is a great movie. And yeah, that’s a…

Sue Stinson:

It’s a classic. [crosstalk 00:20:56].

Paula Williams:

Since you brought it up, I have to ask about your experience as an extra. That’s cool, not everybody’s done that.

Sue Stinson:

Right. Well, that was on my bucket list, actually. A widowed friend of mine, she had it on her bucket list too. And there was a cattle call in Baltimore, I’ll expand on that just a little bit. My youngest son is a professional actor and this was before he got into acting. So his mom actually got there first. We had an opportunity, a neighbor, another widowed friend of mine had an opportunity to be in a movie. They were looking for 500 people of different ethnicities, heights, weights and everything, to be in a movie about a presidential candidate. This was before President Obama was elected and the star was Chris Rock.

The name of the movie is Head of State. We went to Baltimore and they filmed in many parts around the city of DC. Bottom line is I got paid $85 before taxes. In the last minute or two of the film, you can see me on camera for four seconds. It was 18 hours in a hotel lobby, no air conditioning running because you can’t have that humming. I was shaking hands with him for 21 takes, all in all by the end, on the cutting room floor and all. My girlfriend did not appear in it, but I did.

Paula Williams:

You’re our only client who’s an actual real life, honest to gosh, movie star. That is so cool.

Sue Stinson:

That was quite fun. But being in Washington, DC, there are so many films that use the real places. But the finale was done in Baltimore in a hotel with no air conditioning, because you can’t have the humming of the air conditioning. And it was 102 degrees in the city that day. Filmed it in August. Everyone was wearing suits, dark navy suits because November is election time. Right? So everyone was dressed in dark clothes, sweating profusely off camera, dabbing your face and whatnot. But yeah, so that was my claim to fame. I got on film on camera and got paid for acting before my son did.

Paula Williams:

That’s fantastic. I bet he’ll never let you, or you’ll never let him forget it.

Sue Stinson:

And he’s gone on to do other things, too, but I beat him to it.

Paula Williams:

That’s fantastic. So has he been in anything we should see?

Sue Stinson:

Yes. He was in a couple episodes of House of Cards. He’s now an equity actor, so he can speak in films. There’ve been a lot of commercials and television series that were about the Civil War. The Discovery Channel. A lot of his characters he’s playing, historically – George Washington’s assistant on Crossing the Delaware. He played Robert Todd Lincoln in a series that featured the Lincoln administration. So he’s into history too and being in Washington DC, you’ve got your pick. Lots of stuff. He works at Ford’s Theatre, too. So lots of different things.

Paula Williams:

What is his name? We’ll have to watch the credits.

Sue Stinson:

His name is Chris Christenson. Unfortunately, now because of COVID, all the work at the Kennedy Center, all the work at the Ford’s Theatre, the assignments he had are in are dead in the water, because those facilities can not be opened, tragically.

Paula Williams:

Right. Well, we’re hoping for the best possible, soon as possible ending of all that.

Sue Stinson:

Yeah. It’s going to be awhile I’m afraid.

Paula Williams:

So what’s your favorite airplane?

Sue Stinson:

Oh, my favorite airplane. I got to see the stealth bomber up close at Andrews Air Force Base 1996 during an air show. But my favorite, my real favorite has got to be the Enola Gay.

Paula Williams:

Oh, wow.

Sue Stinson:

Enola Gay was on display in the Air and Space Museum in Washington. My father was a World War II navigator Bombardier and he flew with Paul Tibbets, the gentlemen who dropped the bomb. He was not on that trip. My dad flew as his navigator after he dropped the bomb, after they were back in the country and dad was finishing out his tour of duty with the Army Air Corps. Dad got to see the Enola Gay up close too when he came to visit us. That’s been a real special airplane. Can’t fly on it, but it’s cemented my love of the Air Force and my delight in serving the veterans, the World War II Veterans, Korean veterans, Honor Flight that comes through Washington DC. I’m hoping to be able to do it here out of Florida when they open back up again. Because there’s a group not too far from here – the Space Coast Honor Flight group. I could help.

Paula Williams:

Right. Oh man. Those moments just give you chills. Especially when you connect someone with something that they’ve done in the past, something that’s so much of an impact in their life, and the world really.

Sue Stinson:

For sure. Well, if that plane hadn’t dropped the bomb, my father was training on planes that were going to invade Japan and they were estimating a million American casualties in that effort. And I probably would never been born if that had happened.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. Oh, that’s right.

Sue Stinson:

Goose bumps.

Paula Williams:

And I’m sure with your Civil War history and things like that, there are so many moments on which history just pivoted and none of us would be here if not for some of those things that happened that seemed probably so insignificant at the time.

Sue Stinson:

Right. Very true.

Paula Williams:

All right. Great. Well, let’s wrap it up and tell people how they can get in touch with you and how they can get in touch with Motive LMS and what their best way is to get started if they think this is something that might help them.

Sue Stinson:

That is a great idea. Thank you for that opportunity. You can either email me at [email protected] or contact us through LinkedIn, my LinkedIn Sue Stinson. We can arrange a couple of different things, Paula. We can just have a simple conversation to find out what their current training needs and challenges are. We can also arrange to have a demo of the learning system. You can actually have a free trial of it. We can sample some of the online courses with little snippets of video. But the most important thing is just to start the conversation and find out where you are and what troubles you’re having in training folks cost-effectively and efficiently tracking their training and their completion of training. We can help with all of that. I look forward to the opportunity. They can certainly reach out, the LinkedIn has our phone number and my signature block has the phone number of the company so that we can set up a zoom appointment, have a conversation just like this.

Paula Williams:

Right. I imagine a lot of people who have never used it an LMS system before, feel a little weird about talking to someone because they’re not really even sure what questions to ask. So I’m sure that conversation would be super low key and super friendly and super easy to jump in and start learning how this can help.

Sue Stinson:

Most definitely. I mean, COVID is here to stay sadly, and it’s impacted so many businesses and so many lives. Our company with our learning system and our e-learning classes are here to stay as well and can make your life easier and much more cost effective to let us do that part and tracking employees for you much, much easier now. And the cost savings, as opposed to sending people across the country, they can do it right in their jammies, on their cell phone and late at night, if they want to.

Paula Williams:

There you go.

Sue Stinson:

Now’s the time to invest in that because COVID is not going away anytime soon and the productivity of your people is right at the crux of it. If they’re trained, if they’re qualified, you can get them productive and impact your bottom line.

Paula Williams:

Right. I saw a quote recently that said, an optimist hopes for the best, a pessimist fears the worst and a realist or a real captain of a ship adjusts the sails. I think it’s definitely time to adjust the sails. And this will be a great adjustment to make if you’re at an FBO or any kind of an organization that has to do those complex procedures keep people trained.

Sue Stinson:

Absolutely. I look forward to walking with anyone who is curious, or if they’re not happy with their current LMS, we’d be pleased to help them make that adjustment.

Paula Williams:

All right. Sounds good. Thanks, Susan.

Sue Stinson:

Thank you for having me.