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Dr. Karie Willyerd (’97) – Moving Sun University from irrelevance to a valued service

It’s not every day you get to hear what’s on the mind of an award-winning Chief Learning Officer of a truly global organization. Dr. Karie Willyerd, now founding partner at Future Workplace, joined us to talk about large scale workplace learning and performance improvement efforts.

During her time with us, Dr. Willyerd addressed the following topics:

  • How she came to her position at Sun
  • How she moved Sun University from irrelevance to a valued service aligned with strategic business objectives
  • A short demonstration of Sun Learning Services capabilities, with additional information regarding the performance gaps it addresses
  • Student Questions

Dr. Willyerd’s email address is
She encourages you to contact her with any additional questions you may have.


Dr. Willyerd is now a founding partner at Future Workplace.

Previously, Karie led the award-winning Sun Learning Services (SLS) organization where she was responsible for employee, customer, partner and community learning. This included Sun’s product and technical training; technical publications; executive, management and
professional skill development; business, sales and services learning; as well as library and research services worldwide. Willyerd also
directed the globalization group, which produced localized versions of Sun’s products to widen demand for Sun solutions in regional markets.

SLS’s customer learning business provided Solaris, Java and other Sun software training to university students, developers, system
administrators, essentially anyone interested in building a software career. Operating in over 150 countries, SLS delivered 6.5 million
training hours a year to more than 600,000 students inside and outside Sun.

Since joining Sun in 2005, Willyerd consolidated 12 disparate training and research-oriented functions at Sun into one cohesive group. She has spearheaded programs that make more learning available online– some in smaller packages of content, some at no charge. She
has also driven a strategy to make learning accessible through different approach paths,such as by role, by product, by solution and
by certification path.

Karie and Jeanne Meister have written a book entitled The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today.

Karie is a frequent speaker at professional events and is involved with a variety of industry, academic and philanthropic organizations.

Karie began her learning career as an instructional designer at an engineering training consultancy in the nuclear industry. Since then,
she has continued to hone her skills in training, eLearning, leadership development, executive coaching and management. Most
recently, she held the position of vice president and chief talent officer for Solectron where she was responsible for worldwide
executive development, organization development, global staffing, training and development, performance management, mergers and
acquisitions. Previously, she led the employee development function at Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems and executive development at H.J. Heinz.

Dr. Willyerd holds a master’s degree in instructional and performance technology from Boise State University and a doctorate in management from Case Western Reserve University.