The Rewards of Recognition

By July 6, 2020December 14th, 2020LTEN Focus On Training

The Rewards of Recognition

FROM THE PRESIDENT – Richard Sampson

Be sure to keep in mind what you can do to make your colleagues feel recognized.

This has certainly been a year of changes. How we work is different. Where we work is different. How we come together is an unknown. What happens next is still To Be Determined. While there are positives from our new normal to point out – the innovation level was off the charts, people found new ways to make magic happen, technology stepped up and filled a large void – there have also been some downsides we are all addressing, as well.

Most notably for us was the unfortunate decision to cancel this year’s 49th LTEN Annual Conference. Bringing the membership together is the highlight of our LTEN Year, and we optimistically look forward to our 2021 event, where we will be celebrating our 50th Year in Denver. We will have a lot to make up for, so please block your calendars soon to ensure we can all be there to work and play together.

But innovation, downsides and unknowns aside, one lesson has come through loud and clear from our 2020 experiences: The show must go on. We might currently call the dining room our workplace and sure, some of us need haircuts, but that hasn’t stopped us from meeting our responsibilities to the best of our abilities, and we have even found ways to bring more value to our various organizations.

But today, let me talk with you about one responsibility we need to continue – or maybe reinforce more than ever. In fact, in stressful, uncertain times, this one becomes even more paramount. I’m talking about recognition.

As our teams – as we – work in new ways from new places on new types of learning, we need to keep those contributions in mind. Now more than ever, a teammate might appreciate a kind word, a thoughtful comment, a shared congratulations or a simple thank you.

At Cepheid, we launched a Virtual High 5 program to allow our teams to be recognized with a virtual “job well done.” That virtual pat on the back is accompanied by a template with a personal note that allows the recipients to print it and hang it in their home offices. Our families in many ways are also our coworkers now, and it is nice to let our stars professionally impress their most important audience.

Perhaps more to the point, we also copy the recipient’s leader, plus that person’s leader, so that very senior members of our organization are aware of the value the team members are bringing during this challenging time. It’s a simple and effective way to let teams know we recognize and celebrate their contributions, and it’s taken off across all of Cepheid’s global regions. We all like to hear that we are doing good work and having a small token to display really makes it real!

I’m obviously sharing this story here, in this particular issue, for a reason: As we celebrate the winners and finalists of our 6th Annual LTEN Excellence Awards, be sure to keep in mind what you can do to make your colleagues feel recognized. Whether it’s some sort of formal or informal program or just something you do for those around you, now is a great time to celebrate success, congratulate effort and recognize contributions.

In that vein, let me recognize a few folks:

  • Let’s start with the obvious — the LTEN members. You’ve filled the seats in our webinars during difficult times, you were patient and helpful as we launched the new LTEN Connect virtual training forum, and you contributed your support and time. Thank you, because without you, there is no LTEN.
  • My colleague on the LTEN Board of Directors, Ranieka Weston of United Therapeutics, deserves recognition for an awesome job as emcee of the annual awards ceremony. Ranieka was simply incredible and made it entirely possible to forget this was her, and our, first time providing recognition on a new platform in a new venue in the middle of a new and limiting situation.  This is what professionalism looks like. Thank you, my friend, Ranieka.
  • And I’ll thank the usual suspects — the LTEN Board of Directors, the LTEN Advisory Council and the LTEN staff (including our incredible intern from North Carolina State University). You all know how much your work matters, but I’m saying it again: Thank you for being so amazing!
  • I’ll give a huge shout-out to our sponsors and the Preferred Industry Partner community. The LTEN Connect event, like all our programs, relies on their support and assistance, and we surely had it this difficult year. I’ll thank them here, and I’m officially urging you to, as well.
  • And everyone else I may have  failed to include in the groups above, a big thank you — including the partners who helped us produce the event, the guest speakers who gave us new things to think about and all those who supported us during the live virtual forum. Thank you.

We missed a lot this year, including the chance to shake hands with old friends and smile at new ones. But it’s not too late to turn the conversation from what was lost to what was gained. Recognizing the winners in your organization is a great way to start. So, I will end by asking, Who have you thanked today? Who should you? Now go and let them know how much they mean to you, and to your organization.


Richard Sampson is president of the LTEN Board of Directors and head of global  training for Cepheid. Email Richard at

Summer 2020



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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