An Inspiring Leader, An Impressive Legacy
Hall of Fame – By Amity Cutaia
Honoring an amazing leader and a great friend
The life sciences learning community lost one of the greats in 2021 with the passing of Chuck Pearson. Chuck was not just a boss or a mentor or a friend, even though he was all those things to many of us, but he was a learning giant when it came to personal growth and development. Chuck would always challenge each new hire who came through training here at Astellas to make time for learning each day.
Specifically, he would tell us to take 37 minutes daily to invest in ourselves to get better at a skill or learn more about a new subject. Why 37 minutes? When we first heard Chuck talk about this chunk of time, it started out as 17 minutes then he moved it up to 23 minutes and finally settled on 37 minutes.
I asked him once what the significance was of 37 minutes. He said, “I don’t know, but 37 minutes is an odd amount of time, which is attention-getting, and it seems long enough to pay dividends if you focus each day on something for that long.”
Chuck’s mother was a teacher for many years, and he would always say that she had inspired him to focus his efforts on helping people grow and be better each day.
Chuck had battled with cancer for four years, but he never let it stop him from inspiring a passion for learning in his team here at Astellas or within LTEN, where he served on the Board for many years.
When we found out in February of this year from Chuck that he was not doing well, he asked for several of us to come out and see him in New Jersey. We knew that this would probably be a visit where we talked about what was truly important and then, sadly, would say goodbye to our best friend.
While holding Chuck’s hand out there in New Jersey, we were able to let him know that Astellas would be creating The Chuck Pearson Learning Center to honor his legacy. To see Chuck’s face fill with emotion as he heard this was an incredible moment that I will always treasure.
We told Chuck that we were going to keep him with us and that he would be a part of each training class going forward. It is hard to put into words how meaningful this was for Chuck and his family to hear.
In July of this year, Astellas made its promise to Chuck a reality with the dedication ceremony for The Chuck Pearson Learning Center. We could feel Chuck there with us as we took turns talking about what we each learned from him and how we will keep his lessons alive in future learning experiences taught in the Chuck Pearson Learning Center.
We are pleased to offer this link to the dedication of The Chuck Pearson Learning Center so you may share in this amazing experience:
Thank you Chuck.
Amity Cutaia is director, commercial learning & development, for Astellas Pharma
US and a member of the LTEN Advisory Council. Email Amity at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LTEN to Induct Chuck Pearson to Hall of Fame
Editor’s Note: Chuck Pearson, a member of the LTEN Board of Directors and learning leader at Astellas, passed away Feb. 14, 2021.
In addition to being a good friend, Chuck was a strong supporter of LTEN, its mission and its members. He gave regularly and generously his time and hard work, and his loss has been felt both personally and professionally by those who knew him best.
The LTEN Board of Directors unanimously chose to honor Chuck’s life and legacy as the sole 2021 inductee into the LTEN Hall of Fame. Chuck will be formally inducted at a ceremony at the 50th LTEN Annual Conference.
Meanwhile, two colleagues who worked closely with Chuck shared their remembrances of an amazing leader and great friend.
What I Learned From Chuck:
Among the many lessons Chuck taught, I remember how he’d encourage creative ideation within the team. He’d always come into my office and gleefully announce: “I have an idea!”
Here are some other lessons I’ll always remember:
- Keep the learner experience top of mind.
- Create an environment where people try new things and feel OK about failing
- Have a passion for connecting with people and empower them to have fun
- Set the example for the team by keeping standards high.
- Develop opportunities for people to realize their full potential.
By Dawn Brehm
As a giant in the life sciences learning industry, Chuck made many contributions to the learning community beyond his work at Astellas. A dedicated people developer and coach, his contributions included the broad reach and influence of his LTEN membership and service through the LTEN Board of Directors.
Chuck was a ready volunteer, leading a charge to explore the opportunities for the global reach of LTEN. He also chaired and participated in many initiatives, including the Learning Executive Forum, the update of the LTEN mission and vision statement and providing input into the various aspects of the LTEN Annual Conference.
One of our newest programs, Partner Previews, is a concept that Chuck brought to the board to ensure all members can connect in a creative way.
Chuck’s positive solution-oriented approach and ready smile will be greatly missed by all LTEN members and the LTEN board, which had the privilege of working directly with him.
Dawn Brehm is executive director of LTEN. Email Dawn at email@example.com.