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Making Way (Finally) for New Leadership

By February 2, 2023Focus On Training

From the President – Richard Sampson

How do you wrap up such an incredible experience?

Well this is a column that’s been a long time coming. I mean that in a great way though, and I’ll attempt to explain.

According to LTEN bylaws and procedures, the Board of Directors elects a new president every two years. Each of our leaders serve two years at this particular helm, then step back to allow a successor to steer the ship. It’s a system that keeps new ideas and innovations churning, and it guarantees a stronger course for LTEN.

It didn’t happen that way this time. Thanks to reasons ranging from pandemic to personnel, the board asked me to extend my time. It’s been a journey to be sure, but it was also an honor I was happy to accept.

I’ve been LTEN board president since early 2020, which translates to me hanging around for about 13 extra months. It’s been a time I’ll never forget, and it’ll proudly have a place on my professional resumé, but I’m also excited to turn things over to my replacement.

I can’t tell you who that is yet – at the time I’m writing this, the successor hasn’t been selected. However, I’m comfortable saying you’ll be in good hands. LTEN will make the official announcement this month, and that person will take over this space in the next issue. So let me welcome them to the new role here. I know they look forward to sharing their incoming thoughts with you in next month’s LTEN Focus on Training magazine.

However, there are a few things that I would like to share as the torch is being passed.

How do you wrap up such an incredible experience? I’ve told you the honor was mine, and I sincerely mean that. Over these past three years, we’ve all been challenged like no other time in our lives, both professionally and personally. Amid all the challenges and uncertainty though, we as an industry have grown and thrived.

When our companies were forced to shut down offices, training helped save the day by diving headfirst into remote learning. We shared the tools, knowledge and motivations for our learners to reinvent themselves and their client approaches.

I’m proud to say LTEN kept pace with all that growth. We pioneered all kinds of virtual programs – from mixers to award presentations to live conferences – to keep you educated and to show you firsthand the tools and solutions available in our rewritten world.

And we came back together as soon as we safely could. Like good educators and life sciences professionals, we took the proper precautions and we soldiered on. I will certainly never forget that LTEN annual conference in Denver.

No one can take credit for all that human resilience and perseverance, of course, but I can share that I tried to do my part as your board president when the need arrived. I’ll always be proud of what we accomplished together during all that tumult, including the loss of a dear friend and fellow board member.

All of this brings me to the most important part of this presidential farewell – the ability to say thank you to so many who have shared this walk with me. I’ve thanked people individually, and will continue to do so, but I’ll also recognize the groups of professionals who’ve made my extended stay so enjoyable.

  • I would be remiss if I did not begin with Dawn Brehm, our executive director, and her staff. Dawn’s a trooper herself – she actually retired and then came back when needed to continue her support of LTEN. She’s been a great partner (and dear friend) and, additionally, every member of the LTEN staff has been critical to my success.
  • Next, I’ll thank my fellow LTEN officers and board members. We’re all busy leaders in our organizations, and if we ever make these positions look easy, well it’s just that – optics. Our board is a hardworking, dedicated bunch, and they’ve been there to support me, to guide me, to challenge me and to keep our network going. You’re the best!
  • I can say those same things about the LTEN Advisory Council, which helps implement many board programs and directives, and all those who serve on LTEN councils and committees. These member volunteers are often the true innovators who propose the programs and services you’ve come to count on. You can thank them yourself by getting involved, but that’s a subject for another day.
  • Speaking of support, I’ll also take a moment to thank our Preferred Industry Partners and all companies that have been sponsors and friends to LTEN.  The network literally couldn’t do what it does without their kindness, their partnership and their investments in us.
  • Last, but most certainly not least, I’ll thank all of you members of the LTEN network. You show your support every day by reading this magazine, attending events, joining webinars and Partner Previews, by writing, by speaking, by giving feedback and guidance. Your membership matters, your voice is crucial and your impact is felt. Thank you for that.

If this sounds like a goodbye, think again. I’ll continue to serve LTEN as a board member and you’ll continue to see me around and about. As I move into “past president status,” my contact options remain open to you. Through LTEN, we have something in common, you and I, and that’s a passion that doesn’t fade.

Richard Sampson is president of the LTEN Board of Directors and vice president, global training & development, global commercial operations, for Cepheid. Email Richard at


About LTEN

The Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network ( is the only global 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization specializing in meeting the needs of life sciences learning professionals. LTEN shares the knowledge of industry leaders, provides insight into new technologies, offers innovative solutions and communities of practice that grow careers and organizational capabilities. Founded in 1971, LTEN has grown to more than 3,200 individual members who work in pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostic companies, and industry partners who support the life sciences training departments.

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