Learning Collides with Culture at CERN

Episode: 018

Pascale Goy takes us into the world of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider! She talks about the challenges of enrolling and engaging highly technical and academic populations into the ‘soft skill’ learning journeys that are not typically their main focus and priority. We hear how Pascale successfully built a learning community that involves everyone and not just L&D. This is about shifting the culture to a more human centric, relational one while still dealing with the science based reality that has always been the emphasis at CERN. Central to her success has been the powerful strategy of engaging as partners with the scientists and engineers to create ‘conversational events’ versus formal training programs and curricula. By listening to their stories and gathering data Pascale and her colleagues were able to ‘meet them where they were’ and build programs around their worlds. Fascinating stuff!

Pascale Goy is an accomplished professional with 35+ years wide-ranging leadership and human resources management experience in international organizations. Before working at CERN, Pascale fulfilled several executive roles in other international organizations, such as the International Trade Centre (UN System) and the World Trade Organization. She is a certified executive coach and regularly delivers keynote speeches in international HR conferences.

Despite her 25 years of substantial experience in international organizations, starting at CERN was a major wake-up call. Indeed, with a long history of great discoveries (such as the World Wide Web), CERN was daunting in many ways and propelled her into a professional venture as complex and thrilling as searching for the mysteries of the universe. Being responsible for shaping multi-year development programmes to support the HR vision and develop the professional potential of all, she was bold enough to advocate the concept of a life-long learning culture at CERN. She leveraged the existing leadership culture to fast track her belief in learning communities through creative approaches. With energy and curiosity Pascale, to use her own words “collided my L&D vision with the reality of this Organization!”

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