Last week there was a major outage of electrical power that affected a million homes and businesses and left people stranded on electric powered trains on the East Coast Mainline.

It obviously wasn’t a pleasant experience for any of those travellers, it is to be hoped that no one ever has to go through the same experience again.

I wasn’t there, but I have been on other delayed trains, stuck in the middle of nowhere, on a train that left London on the Friday afternoon before a bank holiday weekend. Overcrowded, and under catered the length of the delay seemed longer than the reality, but it didn’t take long before strangers started to talk to each other. Initial complaints and competitive chats about who was going to be more inconvenienced soon become conversations about shared interests.

Part of me likes to imagine that on one of those delayed trains last week there was a newly qualified learning and development professional who found out that the person sitting next to then was the head of learning and development at a major corporation.

Someone like

• Chris Parkinson Head of Learning, Engagement and Talent, TSB Bank,
• Teresa Kotlicka, Head of People Development, Sony Music,
• Caroline Ford, Head of Learning and Development, Thomas Cook,
• Jodie Lowe, Head of Learning and Development, Moneysupermarket.com,
• Donna Turner, Global Head of Learning and Development, Charlotte Tilbury Beauty

I wonder what they found to talk about. What questions did the newly qualified professional ask their more experienced travelling companion? What impact did that chance meeting have on them both?

I wonder, given the opportunity to have a one-to-one conversation with the head of a large organisations learning and development function, what questions you would ask them? What information would you share with them about yourself?

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