Get to know the eLN Director: Hannah Gore

With over 20 years of L&D experience in face-to-face, online and blended, Dr Hannah Gore has led innovations in public and private sectors. Her achievements include leading a Business School in 93 countries, working with corporate giants, to creating content for circa 10m learners globally for The Open University for iTunes U, Amazon Kindle and YouTube, to name but a few.

Hannah is an advocate of lifelong learning, completing her entire academic studies online from undergraduate to doctorate, whilst advancing her career. Since formally completing her academic studies, she has gone full circle and is now also an Associate Lecturer in research methodologies and ethics at The Open University for their triple accredited MBA programme.

Since Covid-19, Hannah has created The Canonbury Consultancy Group, providing solutions and services on a wide range of L&D specialisms; she serves as a Board Director for the eLearning Network, is a Fellow at LPI, and sits on panels for think tanks, podcasts, and conferences, sharing her views on emerging technologies and the impact of social changes across the industry.

What do you like most about the L&D field? The field of L&D is constantly evolving and there are a growing range of sectors within the industry. With the pandemic accelerating online learning it has been a time of change and growth for L&D and so many of the professionals in our industry has expanded their networks to personally develop themselves to help advance the provision within their own organisation. What I like most about the L&D field is that we as professionals recognise the need to continually evolve ourselves to lead the development of others.

What made you decide to stand for the eLN board?
When I started out in the world of work, I always knew that I needed to always give back to the community. So, when places on the board became available, I wanted to stand for a place to share all the knowledge I had accumulated with others in the field. For the past 15 years I have been working specifically in online learning and we are at a crucially important time to share that information, as well as my experiences within both the academic and corporate worlds.

What would your dream job be?
What I do is genuinely my dream job: helping people become the best versions of themselves is why I get out of bed in the morning. I did not take the traditional route in adult education, only attending university from the age of 23 through The Open University whilst working full time there. Having taken this route with my studies gives me more drive to help others find the route best for them.

If you could change 1 thing about the world of L&D, what would it be?
That more focus was given to the development of L&D professionals. The focus of conferences, podcasts, etc. is on developments within the sector, with very little on the type of skills that L&D professionals need to develop themselves to become the leaders we need for our sector in their organisations. These include soft skills such as negotiation, presentation, communication, and business skills to work more seamlessly with their colleagues within their own organisations to advance the L&D provision.

What does a typical workday look like to you?
I’m freelance, so I work with a range of clients, often in different time zones, so sometimes I have early starts or late nights. After 21 years in L&D I’ve pretty much covered most roles in the industry, so I can be discussing and creating strategies, creating content, writing wireframes for learning platforms, analysing data, or researching and writing papers. No two contracts are the same, and I really enjoy the variety. I then work some evenings and weekends as an Associate Lecturer for The Open University to give back to the student community as an OU alumnus.

What is your favourite type of training to either build or deliver?
I’ll be honest I love all types of training, because it’s not about me, it’s about the training, helping others to be better versions of themselves, helping companies become more efficient thus safeguarding them in these turbulent times, and helping business managers see the benefits and importance of continual development of their teams.

If you could give yourself advice when you were first starting out, what would it be?
Never stop learning and developing yourself. Not just in terms of changes in the sector, but your skills and knowledge that you need to be the best version of yourself. I’ve always worked and studied at the same time and that also helps to give me insight as how best to design content and platforms for learners to undertake.

What has been your proudest moment?
My doctorate. My thesis dedication is: “This thesis is dedicated to my late father who taught me that I could achieve anything, and to my dog who has impatiently waited for me to finish.” I crossed the stage at my graduation with six of my closest friends loudly cheering, a very misty-eyed moment!

If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?
2000, the year I took the non-traditional work and study path and told myself that my instincts were right, and it would work out better than I then imagined.

If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?
That is a tough question! My favourite superhero is Wonder Woman. I love her not for her superpowers, but her confidence, insight, and phenomenal female independence.

If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
My late father. I miss him a lot, he passed away when I was 23 so never go to attend any of my five graduations. I know he would be really proud and then we would discuss the changes in motorsport as we used to watch every F1 race together and talk about our next track day. I would forgo the other three guests for that moment.

What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done? I’ve always been petrified of bridges, but 10 years ago whilst I was in Ireland, I decided to face my fear and cross the Carrick-a-Rede rope brick in Northern Ireland. It’s 20 metres in length and a 30-metre drop to rocks and sea below. It was a cold, rainy and very windy day so the bridge was bouncing and swaying, but I crossed it anyway to only discover that you had to cross it again to get back to the mainland! Afterwards I had a very stiff drink at the local whisky distillery, and I am the proud owner of a certificate to commemorate my crossing!

What three items would you take with you on a deserted island? Definitely a copy of the complete works of Jane Austen, my dog Toby and his favourite treat Dreamies (he thinks he’s a cat), otherwise I’d never have a peaceful moment!
Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
Probably Spotify or Audible. I have limited time to read a physical book, so I have my Spotify and Audible apps to listen to podcasts and books as I’m walking Toby, doing housework, etc.

Finally, what would be your top 5 tips for someone new to L&D?
1. If you are unsure, ask. The community is full of amazing and helpful people.
2. Networks are your strongest ally, you learn so much from other people, the eLN tea & talks are a great way to meet people.
3. Take advantage of all the great resources, from websites, webinars, newsletters, podcasts, etc.
4. Get to know all the different areas of L&D to find your happy place.
5. Remember to always be developing yourself – you can’t blaze a trail if you’re not at the front of the queue.
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Hannah Gore

Hannah Gore

With 20 years of L&D experience in face-to-face, online and blended, Dr Hannah Gore has led innovations in public and private sectors. From leading a Business School in 93 countries to creating content for circa 10m learners globally for The Open University for iTunes U, Amazon Kindle and YouTube, to name but a few. Hannah is an advocate of lifelong learning completing her entire academic studies online from undergraduate to doctorate, whilst advancing her career. Since Covid-19, Hannah has created The Canonbury Consultancy Group, providing solutions and services on a wide range of L&D specialisms, and serves on panels for think tanks giving views on emerging technologies and the impact of social changes across the industry.