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The Journey to Change

By June 30, 2020January 15th, 2021LTEN Focus On Training


The Journey to Change

FROM THE PRESIDENT – Richard Sampson

We have such a complex organization made up of so many specialties that innovation is inevitable.

This is probably not surprising, but as I kick off my new role as president of the LTEN Board of Directors and start speaking to you through these LTEN Focus on Training columns, I can’t help but think about new things. New ideas.  New opportunities. New approaches. Even new challenges.

In many ways, my transition isn’t exactly new. I’ve been a member of the LTEN Board for years and I’ve served LTEN members as treasurer, so taking on the president role is just an extension of those previous duties.

But in many ways, I’ve started a whole new ballgame. Think about your last promotion. Whether you went from representative to trainer, or trainer to manager, or manager to director, you’ve taken an incremental step up the ladder, just as I have. The responsibilities and duties have grown, but the sense of service and commitment remain. The more things change, the more they stay the same, right?

Advancement means change, of course: That’s practically the backbone of training. As we develop our colleagues and share with them the tools for change, we celebrate by seeing their advancement. They bring the drive that changes careers, but we provide the roadmap and the roadways that lead to those exciting new destinations.

But changing careers and lives is just the output of our hard work. What makes it all possible is the “how.” How do we manage the need for change? Do we spray new information and approaches from a firehose and hope it lands somewhere useful? Or do we carefully, like a surgeon or a sculptor, craft and shape our learners? There’s an argument for either approach (and many others) … the need, complexity and timing naturally help determine the proper approach.

And change, clearly, brings about change. New products, new solutions, new approaches, new ideas, new people all mean new ways of doing things. Those new ways may be extensions of the old way, adaptations from the old way or something far removed from the old way. There’s an old saying about education – when the pupil is ready, the master appears – and it’s a sentiment that fits training well. When a need is there, a solution is waiting.

That’s one of the many amazing things about a network like LTEN. We have such a complex organization made up of so many specialties that innovation is inevitable. Someone, somewhere, is literally coming up with a new idea or a new approach that, also inevitably, they’ll be happy to share with our community, through an article, a webinar, a workshop or a mixer.

So, what new path will my turn at the LTEN wheel bring? It’s hard to say at this point, because it’s not really my decision. The beauty of LTEN is we’re member-driven and member-fueled; we’ll go where we need to go when we need to go there. As board president, I’ll try to keep us on the right road, and I’ll certainly be available to help navigate as needed, but my ultimate goal is to ride along with you, enjoy the view as we see new scenery and arrive with you at new and exciting destinations.

Get in, buckle up and let’s get going. We’re on a long, exciting journey together.


Richard Sampson is president of the LTEN Board of Directors and head of global training 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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