By Tim Sosbe
The results are in: The 43rd LTEN Annual Conference was officially a success.
The annual conference was held this past June in Grapevine, Texas, with hundreds of LTEN members coming together for networking and knowledge sharing. The event, kicked off with the official name change from SPBT to LTEN, had an undeniable energy that fueled conversations and connections from start to finish.
The best part of that fact is that LTEN members agree: Responding to event feedback surveys, LTEN members have reported a 4.3 satisfaction level (on a 5-point scale) with the annual conference up from 4.2 in 2013.
LTEN members also reported an increased likelihood in recommending the event to their colleagues and networks, with the 2014 event drawing a 4.4 score (on a 5 point scale) up from 4.3 in 2013.
“The numbers are clear,” said Kevin Kruse, LTEN executive director. “LTEN members are seeing the value, potential and rewards of the annual conference. Forty-four percent of the 2014 conference attendees were first timers, and they joined the veteran conference-goers in realizing the opportunities for learning and expanding their networks.”
LTEN members weren’t shy about reporting what they found most valuable about the event. Not surprisingly for a professional network like LTEN, “networking” scored as the best-received benefit, followed by the keynote presenters, workshops, the Gaylord Texan venue and the event’s energy level.
Perhaps most importantly, LTEN membership showed strong support for the name change from SPBT to LTEN, and showed a clear understanding of the reasoning for the re-branding. Most respondents (72 percent) felt the new name better reflects the value and needs of the life sciences industry, and even more (85 percent) appreciated the reasoning for the new LTEN focus.Some of the comments from the survey tell the story best:
• “Everything was excellent,” one attendee shared about the expo hall. “I liked what was there, and would like to see more of it,” another attendee added.
• The Operation Gratitude charity event was also a success with members who enjoy giving back. “This was one of my favorite parts of the entire conference,” one attendee said. “Very proud to be a part of an organization that places philanthropy on such a high priority. We definitely need something like this every year!!!”
• The LTEN name and the orchestrated introduction to it also drew good feedback. “Really nice job rolling out the new name and making it a big deal,” one attendee said. “I loved when you got the audience involved in spelling out the new name (it made me remember the hyphen when going to website). I was impressed when we left the general session and all the branding was out there. Excellent.” Another attendee agreed: “I think the new name better suits both the network of individuals, as well as the future of education.”
Of course it’s valuable to look back, but LTEN members certainly were willing to look ahead at the 2015 event, taking place next June in Phoenix. Members shared suggestions for workshop topics (leadership development and mobile learning were the most often mentioned).
Asked for suggestions on improving the annual event, most respondents requested no changes, while an equal number wanted more time to roam the exhibit hall. Other helpful suggestions included more facilitated networking, repeating some popular sessions and increasing the size of workshop presentation rooms.
In general, the event left LTEN members looking ahead. “Overall it was a good conference and very good networking opportunity,” one member shared. “I found some old and new vendors I can work with in my new role and will be at the LTEN conference next year. Thank you!”
Tim Sosbe is editorial director for LTEN. Email Tim at email@example.com.