American Wins Silver

American Airlines, a leader in innovative learning and development, won a coveted Brandon Hall Group silver award for excellence in the Best Learning Program Supporting a Change Transformation Business Strategy category. American’s win was announced on September 7, 2016. The winners are listed at

The award honored QIK on Sabre, a learning program designed and delivered to prepare thousands of legacy US Airways agents for the transition to Sabre as the company’s passenger service system (PSS). The blended solution consisted of a pre-course e-learning module introducing basic concepts and new terminology, a five-day instructor-led course with extensive practice in a sandbox environment, and a library of realistic micro-learning simulations available on demand for participants to launch and review as the cutover date approached.

A majority of participants rated the learning experience as “excellent” and they strongly agreed that the course was well designed, relevant, and useful. Agents were pleased to receive an email immediately after training giving them credentials to the new system to practice.

Measurable benefits of the program included a flawless reservation system cutover, regarded as the most successful in aviation history. While it was a team effort, much of the success of the PSS integration can be attributed to the comprehensive training program agents received to prepare them for the changes they would be facing at cutover.

The program was a joint effort by Learning & Development and Customer Experience Training. Kathy Hains, senior instructional media designer, Learning & Development created the instructor-led curriculum and the web-based pre-course module and post-course simulations. Raye Alpsu, manager, Airport Customer Service Training spearheaded the implementation which involved recruiting, training, and deploying 80 temporary-duty instructors for the rollout over several months.

“We are proud to receive recognition for this project, which truly was a team effort between a lot of very dedicated departments.” said Jason Maxwell, director of American’s Learning & Development group. “Our goal is to provide effective, engaging, and meaningful educational experiences and this course is a great example of that.”

Jim Fahnestock, managing director – Customer Experience Training, whose group was responsible for the delivery of the program, said, “Our group is honored to have played a part in the collaboration by delivering this training, and we recognize the contributions of our professional training organization in making it a success. Recognition must be directed also to American Airlines leadership, who fully supported our training design and effort.”

“Winning a Brandon Hall Group Excellence Award means an organization is an elite innovator within Human Capital Management. The award signifies that the organization’s work represents a leading practice in that HCM function,” said Rachel Cooke, Chief Operating Officer of Brandon Hall Group and head of the awards program. “Their achievement is also notable because of the positive impact their work in HCM has on business results. All award winners have to demonstrate a measurable benefit to the business, not just the HCM operation. That’s an important distinction. Our HCM award winners are helping to transform the business.”

The award entries were evaluated by a panel of veteran, independent senior industry experts, Brandon Hall Group analysts and executives based upon the following criteria: fit the need, design of the program, functionality, innovation, and overall measureable benefits.

Excellence Award winners will be honored at Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Excellence Conference January 24-27, 2017, at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

About American Airlines Group

American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, whose members serve more than 1,000 destinations with about 14,250 daily flights to over 150 countries. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL. In 2015, its stock joined the S&P 500 index. (

About Brandon Hall Group

Brandon Hall Group is a HCM research and advisory services firm that provides insights around key performance areas, including Learning and Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Talent Acquisition and Workforce Management. With more than 10,000 clients globally and 20 years of delivering world-class research and advisory services, Brandon Hall Group is focused on developing research that drives performance in emerging and large organizations, and provides strategic insights for executives and practitioners responsible for growth and business results. (

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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.