Learning at Conferences:
Investing in Your Future
By Vicki Colman
“The shoemaker goes barefoot.”
Have you ever heard this proverb?
“The cobbler’s children have no
shoes!” is another version of this saying.
Whether you are familiar with it or not, the
meaning behind this saying likely resonates
with many of us; we often neglect ourselves
while caring for the needs of others.
Too often we as trainers are so busy
providing training and development for others
that we don’t take the time to develop
ourselves, or even our training teams.
Making the most of the LTEN Annual
Conference is a great way to invest in
developing our knowledge and skills as
trainers! With the 47th LTEN Annual
Conference coming up this June 11-14, now’s a
great time to start getting ready to make the
most of the learning.
Whether you are a veteran LTEN member or
if this will be your first year attending, there are
a myriad of opportunities to be taken
advantage of. Both practitioners and industry
partners alike find this to be the pinnacle event
of the year; the time when we get to shine our
shoes, so to speak, and invest in our own
learning and development.
Let’s take a look at the past, present and
future perspectives of members who attended
last year’s conference. We’ve gathered
achievements made possible by last year’s
conference, as well as plans and goals for this
year, from a whole host of folks.
Key Takeaways from 2017
Let’s start by looking back to last June when
we got together in Nashville and enjoyed some
good ol’ Southern hospitality. Here are what
some of the attendees had to say about what
they’ve put into practice so far.
Gregory Marthe, field sales trainer with the
cardiopulmonary team at Bayer, has been
developing his value proposition as the result of
attending a workshop led by Dennis Falci of
Just as our membership represents a variety
of disciplines and tenures, there are countless
topics to take advantage of.
In the Fall 2017 issue of LTEN Focus on
Training magazine, we heard from Bayer’s
Mary Myers, our past LTEN Board president,
that understanding learning scrap impacts how
we do business. Training must be embedded
into clear work objectives for effective behavior
change to occur, to be relevant, and perhaps
most importantly, to stick. Mary challenged us
to identify the scrap and to focus on teaching
people to achieve our organizational goals.
For those who have been attending
for several years, you can likely think
of many ways in which you’ve
enhanced training projects as a result
of a workshop or learning lab, a
keynote speaker or an LTEN Talk. We
look for proven and innovative ways
to make new shoes; ones that fit better
(align with the culture of our
organizations), are durable (pull through
training solutions), affordable
(vendor management), meet
corporate objectives (micro-burst,
just-in-time solutions) and of course,
are fashionable (eLearning,
gamification, you name it!)
Jennifer Baxter, RDN, corporate
trainer, clinical nutrition &
compounding, at B.Braun applied
micro-learning from last year’s
workshops when revising a training
program. She engaged new hire sales
reps with innovation and applied
technology prior to live training.
Innovation is key to the success of
all organizations and is a great lesson
to be applied. Look for workshops or
learning labs with topics that are
outside of your current competencies.
Being open to new ways to think
about training and taking the risks to
try new applications is a great start.
For field sales trainers, who often
play an integral role in new hire
training, their agility and openness to
finding a solution that promotes
learning is key. Oftentimes they have
been chosen for the role due to their
sales success or clinical acumen.
Training is a new skill set that they
must learn to be effective.
David Cohen, a field sales trainer
with Bayer’s oncology sales force, has
become a better teacher than a
presenter as a result of the” Influence
Without Authority...Works for Field
He developed his facilitation skills,
which in turn made it easier for his
field sales colleagues to learn and
apply the product and disease state
knowledge and to effectively deliver
marketing messages in their
Setting Your Sights on
What are your objectives for the
2018 Annual LTEN Conference in
Phoenix? It’s another outstanding
facility and a great setting for us to
focus on our own development. We’re
here to find ourselves a great pair of
shoes, and maybe assist our colleagues
in finding a pair or two as well.
We all agree that embedding
training initiatives into our culture
and practices, rather than having it
occur as a stand-alone event, is critical
for ROI. The importance of this
becomes evident very early on in the
career of a trainer.
While Jessica Swanson, sales
training manager at LEO Pharma, was
a first-time LTEN attendee, she is not
new to sales training. With 16 years as
a pharmaceutical sales representative,
Swanson has experienced both one-and-
done training events, as well as
lasting corporate initiatives.
When it comes to planning and
preparing, both Swanson and her
colleague, Emily Mason, plan to
review the workshops in advance to
select those with the greatest relevance
to their roles and responsibilities.
They are also setting their sights on
attending a few learning labs and
getting the most out of the
interactions with supplier partners at
One of my favorite activities at the
LTEN annual conference is
networking! When I asked Michelle
O’Connor, president & CEO at CMR
Institute, what her 2018 meeting
objective is, she cited networking and
O’Connor, like so many other
partners, is a valuable member and
resource within our training
community. Supplier partners are a
very important part of the conference
and we could not have such a great
program every year without them!
Whether your area of training
practice is traditional sales training,
leadership development, market
access, technology, GxP or field sales
training, there will be plenty for you to
learn and do in Phoenix.
As a 14-year veteran, I’m looking forward to the opening reception, visiting
with all of my friends and training
colleagues at the booths and seeing what is
new and exciting! I’m always looking for
new shoes and can’t wait to try on a few
Whatever brings you there, I’m looking
forward to seeing you in Phoenix!
Vicki Colman is an employee of LEO Pharma Inc. and the opinions expressed in this article are hers and do not necessarily represent the views
of LEO Pharma Inc.