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focus_Learning at Conferences: Investing in Your Future

Learning at Conferences: Investing in Your Future

By Vicki Colman

“The shoemaker goes barefoot.” Have you ever heard this proverb? “The cobbler’s children have no shoes!” is another version of this saying. Whether you are familiar with it or not, the meaning behind this saying likely resonates with many of us; we often neglect ourselves while caring for the needs of others.

Too often we as trainers are so busy providing training and development for others that we don’t take the time to develop ourselves, or even our training teams.

Making the most of the LTEN Annual Conference is a great way to invest in developing our knowledge and skills as trainers! With the 47th LTEN Annual Conference coming up this June 11-14, now’s a great time to start getting ready to make the most of the learning.

Whether you are a veteran LTEN member or if this will be your first year attending, there are a myriad of opportunities to be taken advantage of. Both practitioners and industry partners alike find this to be the pinnacle event of the year; the time when we get to shine our shoes, so to speak, and invest in our own learning and development.

Let’s take a look at the past, present and future perspectives of members who attended last year’s conference. We’ve gathered achievements made possible by last year’s conference, as well as plans and goals for this year, from a whole host of folks.

Key Takeaways from 2017

Let’s start by looking back to last June when we got together in Nashville and enjoyed some good ol’ Southern hospitality. Here are what some of the attendees had to say about what they’ve put into practice so far.

Gregory Marthe, field sales trainer with the cardiopulmonary team at Bayer, has been developing his value proposition as the result of attending a workshop led by Dennis Falci of Yukon Training.

Just as our membership represents a variety of disciplines and tenures, there are countless topics to take advantage of.

In the Fall 2017 issue of LTEN Focus on Training magazine, we heard from Bayer’s Mary Myers, our past LTEN Board president, that understanding learning scrap impacts how we do business. Training must be embedded into clear work objectives for effective behavior change to occur, to be relevant, and perhaps most importantly, to stick. Mary challenged us to identify the scrap and to focus on teaching people to achieve our organizational goals.

Skills Application

For those who have been attending for several years, you can likely think of many ways in which you’ve enhanced training projects as a result of a workshop or learning lab, a keynote speaker or an LTEN Talk. We look for proven and innovative ways to make new shoes; ones that fit better (align with the culture of our organizations), are durable (pull through training solutions), affordable (vendor management), meet corporate objectives (micro-burst, just-in-time solutions) and of course, are fashionable (eLearning, gamification, you name it!)

Jennifer Baxter, RDN, corporate trainer, clinical nutrition & compounding, at B.Braun applied micro-learning from last year’s workshops when revising a training program. She engaged new hire sales reps with innovation and applied technology prior to live training.

Innovation is key to the success of all organizations and is a great lesson to be applied. Look for workshops or learning labs with topics that are outside of your current competencies. Being open to new ways to think about training and taking the risks to try new applications is a great start.

For field sales trainers, who often play an integral role in new hire training, their agility and openness to finding a solution that promotes learning is key. Oftentimes they have been chosen for the role due to their sales success or clinical acumen. Training is a new skill set that they must learn to be effective.

David Cohen, a field sales trainer with Bayer’s oncology sales force, has become a better teacher than a presenter as a result of the” Influence Without Authority...Works for Field Trainers” workshop.

He developed his facilitation skills, which in turn made it easier for his field sales colleagues to learn and apply the product and disease state knowledge and to effectively deliver marketing messages in their marketplace landscape.

Setting Your Sights on June

What are your objectives for the 2018 Annual LTEN Conference in Phoenix? It’s another outstanding facility and a great setting for us to focus on our own development. We’re here to find ourselves a great pair of shoes, and maybe assist our colleagues in finding a pair or two as well.

We all agree that embedding training initiatives into our culture and practices, rather than having it occur as a stand-alone event, is critical for ROI. The importance of this becomes evident very early on in the career of a trainer.

While Jessica Swanson, sales training manager at LEO Pharma, was a first-time LTEN attendee, she is not new to sales training. With 16 years as a pharmaceutical sales representative, Swanson has experienced both one-and- done training events, as well as lasting corporate initiatives.

When it comes to planning and preparing, both Swanson and her colleague, Emily Mason, plan to review the workshops in advance to select those with the greatest relevance to their roles and responsibilities. They are also setting their sights on attending a few learning labs and getting the most out of the interactions with supplier partners at their booths.

One of my favorite activities at the LTEN annual conference is networking! When I asked Michelle O’Connor, president & CEO at CMR Institute, what her 2018 meeting objective is, she cited networking and learning.

O’Connor, like so many other partners, is a valuable member and resource within our training community. Supplier partners are a very important part of the conference and we could not have such a great program every year without them!


Whether your area of training practice is traditional sales training, leadership development, market access, technology, GxP or field sales training, there will be plenty for you to learn and do in Phoenix.

As a 14-year veteran, I’m looking forward to the opening reception, visiting with all of my friends and training colleagues at the booths and seeing what is new and exciting! I’m always looking for new shoes and can’t wait to try on a few new pairs! Whatever brings you there, I’m looking forward to seeing you in Phoenix!


Vicki Colman is an employee of LEO Pharma Inc. and the opinions expressed in this article are hers and do not necessarily represent the views of LEO Pharma Inc.

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