Jonathan Kayes just died. For most of his career, Jonathan worked with the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). More recently he held the post of Chief Learning Officer at The Masie Center.
My path first crossed Jonathan’s in a funny way.
I was having dinner at Indochine, a French Vietnamese restaurant in Hong Kong, with Elliott Masie of the Masie Center along with his wife Cathy and Graham Higgins, who was then the learning and development manager at Cathay Pacific Airways, when Elliott asked if we knew of any interesting learning or performance support innovations coming out of Asia. I mentioned Chinesepod, which was born during SARS, and was, I thought, a great example of necessity mothering invention.
Elliott liked Chinesepod so much he brought it to the attention of the CIA, where he was a member of the board of advisors. At that point Jonathan picked the idea up and ran with it. Chinesepod has since gone from strength to strength, as have a bunch of other online language learning services, including Livemocha and Smart.fm.
I had the privilege to meet Jonathan several times after that and even to introduce him to one or two officials in other (friendly) governments trying to figure out how to achieve some of the successes he had achieved in his CLO roles.
Jonathan was a serious, good man. We’ll miss him. I’ll miss him.