Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

5 July 2017

Jay Cross Memorial Award 2017: Marcia Conner

Clark @ 8:01 AM

The Internet Time Alliance Jay Cross Memorial Award is presented to a workplace learning professional who has contributed in positive ways to the field of Real Learning and is reflective of Jay’s lifetime of work. Recipients champion workplace and social learning practices inside their organization and/or on the wider stage. They share their work in public and often challenge conventional wisdom. The Jay Cross Memorial Award is given to professionals who continuously welcome challenges at the cutting edge of their expertise and are convincing and effective advocates of a humanistic approach to workplace learning and performance.

We announce the award on 5 July, Jay’s birthday. Following his death in November 2015, the partners of the Internet Time Alliance (Jane Hart, Harold Jarche, Charles Jennings, and myself) resolved to continue Jay’s work. Jay Cross was a deep thinker and a man of many talents, never resting on his past accomplishments, and this award is one way to keep pushing our professional fields and industries to find new and better ways to learn and work.

Marcia Conner, recipient of the Jay Cross Memorial Award

The Internet Time Alliance Jay Cross Memorial Award for 2017 is presented to Marcia Conner. Marcia was an early leader in the movement for individual and social learning, and an innovator. As a Senior Manager at Microsoft, she developed new training practices and wrote an accessible white paper on the deeper aspects of learning design. She subsequently was the Information Futurist at PeopleSoft.  She also served as a co-founder and editor at Learnativity, an early online magazine.

Marcia  co-organized and co-hosted the Creating a Learning Culture conference at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, leading to a book of the same title.  As an advocate for the power of learning, alone and together, she wrote Learn More Now and co-wrote The New Social Learning (now in it’s second edition) with Tony Bingham of the Association for Talent Development. She also was the instigator who organized the team for the twitter chat #lrnchat, which continues to this day.

Marcia’s a recognized leader, writing for Fast Company, and keynoting conferences around the world. She currently helps organizations go beyond their current approaches, changing their culture.  She’s also in the process of moving her focus beyond organizations, to society. In her words, “I’m in pursuit of meaningful progress, with good faith and honesty, girded by what I know we are capable of doing right now. When we assemble all that is going on at the edges of culture, technology, and (dare I say) business, we find a wildly hopeful view of the future. People doing extraordinary things, on a human scale, that has the potential to change everything for the better.”

Marcia was a friend of Jay’s for many years (including organizing the creation of his Wikipedia page), and we’re proud to recognize her contributions.

Helen Blunden was the inaugural award winner in 2016.


  1. Clark,

    Thank you so much for this lovely post! Your persistent calls alerting me I was to be the recipient this year was a highlight of my family’s big cross-country move that week. As I dove back into unboxing and making sense of our new home, I still missed all of the fanfare. Now that we’re sort of kind of settled in, I’m enjoying looking back to look forward and truly appreciate your (and the team’s) confidence. Jay was like no one I’ve ever known and he always inspired me with his non-stop pushing against all that was “the way we do things around here.” To be honored in this way — I’ll assume to imply I share his rabble-rousing intentions — is the nothing short of heartwarming. The only trouble is that you and I often saw one another as a result of various Jay-inspired get togethers. Let’s make sure we keep spending time together well into the future. He’ll surely be smiling down on us, happy to be listening in, laughing and learning.

    Comment by Marcia Conner — 27 September 2017 @ 11:53 AM

  2. Marcia, of course it’s at least partly because of your rabble-rousing, but also your looking forward, like him. Indeed, let’s keep finding ways to get together. And we still need a formal event (to be followed up on). And welcome to your new home!

    Comment by Clark — 28 September 2017 @ 10:18 AM

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