Making the Most of the Conference
FROM THE PRESIDENT – David Fortanbary
I’m convinced you already know the value the annual conference brings.
Here’s a statement so stunningly obvious I hope everyone reading this would say the same: I’ve learned a lot in my career. Since I first joined the workforce, I’ve learned how to do many things, processes for creating success and even some hard-earned lessons on what not to do. Life is a constant learning journey, and we should all be learning new things daily.
That’s one reason I’m excited about the upcoming 48th LTEN Annual Conference, coming this June 3 to June 6 to the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine. As the only major conference devoted strictly to life sciences training, it’s a learning opportunity like no other.
I won’t try to “sell” you on attending; I’m convinced you already know the value the annual conference brings and the fact that you’re reading this shows you’re already engaged and planning to attend. But before I say, “I’ll see you there,” I will take some time to give you some helpful advice. Consider these the wise words of an industry veteran who has been there and done that. You can call me a coach, a mentor or even an opinionated uncle, so long as you plan to join us.
There’s a lot to accomplish when you attend the LTEN Annual Conference, which is both a challenge and an opportunity. If you’re coming as part of a team, be sure to collaborate on an action plan. With more than 70 workshops happening, many of them simultaneously, the team approach offers a natural solution: Divide the list, gather the information and share together.
If you’re coming by yourself, don’t despair. You won’t see every session, but you can still plan ahead and read about them and decide which offers you the most value. After the event, you’ll be able to access workshop presentations and handouts, so even when you can’t be in every room, you still have the opportunity to view the information.
Use that same approach for professional networking as well. While you’re certain to see industry colleagues you’ve met at previous LTEN conferences, networking mixers or workshops, you’ll also be sharing space with about 1,000 like-minded professionals. Make a point to meet as many people as you can, to learn about their needs, interests and expertise. After the conference, nurture those professional connections – eventually a need will arise for you, and having an extensive network can be key. The people are the true value of LTEN membership, and making contacts is crucial.
And then there’s this: Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. We have keynote speakers who will make you laugh as they educate you. We have breaks where you can enjoy each other’s company. There will be games and refreshments and good times at the networking receptions. We know you aren’t coming for social hour specifically, but it’s an important part of the balanced program, and you may even find your greatest value as you enjoy a meal, a beverage and a chat.
Finally, remember what you already know: Learning happens everywhere, opportunity is rarely a planned outcome and preparation is usually the best way to succeed. That’s true whether you’re the trainer or the learner.
I hope you’re excited to join us in Texas this year. I’ll see you there!
David Fortanbary is president of the LTEN Board of Directors and head of U.S.
performance training for UCB. Email David at David.Fortanbary@ucb.com.