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LTEN 2021 – Rocky Mountain “Hi!!”

Last week was the 50th Life Sciences Trainers and Educators Network (LTEN) conference.

It felt like going back 20 years or so – back when LTEN was NSPST, and the gatherings were more intimate. And perhaps for that reason, this year’s delayed conference was uniquely enjoyable.

It was like a new beginning.

Somewhere between 350-400 people gathered in Denver to finally network “live” again, and the joy and relief were palpable. The Rocky Mountain “hi’s!!!” were quite heartfelt.

After all the COVID restrictions, the event was slimmed down considerably from prior years; but, interestingly enough, I cannot remember ever having such productive conversations with so many people at a conference. I was not the only one encouraged by the quality and depth of the peer relationships being created and strengthened. Many reported the same experience I had.

There were fewer sessions. Fewer booths. Fewer people. Fewer distractions. The pace was more relaxed, and it just seemed easier to navigate around and talk to people – sometimes for 15 or 30 minutes at a time.

The LTEN staff, and Board of Directors, did a great job pulling this event off, despite all the obstacles. We were pretty much paperless, and the conference app really shined this year. And a big tip of the hat to our loyal group of industry partners (vendors), who rallied to the cause and staffed up a lively exhibit area.

(by the way, having the keynote room and the exhibit area side-by-side was really great. I know it’s not likely to be that way again once we move back to a bigger attendance, but I think everyone quite enjoyed the proximity.)

Many of the keynotes and other talks focused on themes like resilience and vulnerability, which were appropriate given recent circumstances. Also, we were treated to one high-tech virtual/streaming keynote session (Shawn Kanungo) that FELT very immediate and interactive – a glimpse of the future of hybrid events, I imagine.

For those who attended my workshop (Just Get To The Point!), I thank you for your enthusiastic participation during the session. It is no exaggeration to say that my many years of work on the Clarity Formula felt validated by your response as we thought through the practical issues surrounding great communication and collaboration.

As always, it was good to fly back home to Nashville (and experience a heck of a sunset from Row 9!), and I am looking forward to next year’s event in San Antonio.

Contact Steve Woodruff here.

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