In the film The Bridges of Madison County, Clint Eastwood tells Meryl Streep that change is one of the things you can count on and in that way change is comforting. I've watched the movie several times and that line has always struck me — because he expresses an attitude that is the opposite of most people's.
Take CME providers' response to the growing demand that they evaluate the effectiveness of their education, for example. During a conversation I had with Derek T. Dietze, MA, founder and president, Improve CME, Queen Creek, Ariz., he mentioned that some CME providers are afraid to measure outcomes because the results might show that they have to revamp their CME, and change is uncomfortable. But, measuring outcomes, said Dietze, will drive CME providers to do things better.
It's important to recognize that change can benefit you. Based on my observations of your passion and commitment to education, I'm confident that anything you do to improve your programs will make your job more gratifying. Another upside of learning new skills is that you may discover opportunities that you have never considered. When Amgen outsourced its meeting services, the roles of the in-house staffers morphed from planners to project managers. Although some resisted this realignment, others saw it as a chance to expand their knowledge and take on a more strategic role. In fact, several staff members have been promoted to new positions within the company. (See story on page 46.)
While additional and redefined job responsibilities are incredibly stressful, especially if your resources are limited, one way to feel empowered rather than sabotaged is to anticipate changes and initiate new directions before they are imposed upon you. Ask yourself: What new opportunities can I create for myself? How can I gain professionally from these developments? What can I do to motivate myself and my staff to take risks? Even though it seems overwhelming, take the time to step back and mull over the challenges that loom ahead and think about what you can do now to make those inevitable transitions work for you. While you may never feel that change is comforting, it doesn't have to blindside you. While additional and redefined job responsibilities are incredibly stressful, one way to feel empowered rather than sabotaged is to anticipate changes and initiate new directions before they are imposed upon you.
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Remembering Chris Pentz
I was terribly saddened, as many of you were, to learn that Chris Pentz passed away in May. When I started working for10 years ago, Chris was one of the first pharma planners I interviewed. I was impressed not only with her expertise and colorful quotes, but by her warmth, which meant a lot to me as a newbie. In fact, my editor cautioned me not to quote her too much, saying that even though she was a terrific source, I had to give space to other planners. Several years ago, when I began researching the Pharmaceutical Meeting Planners Forum, I called Chris for advice. As usual, she was generous in sharing her ideas. When the meeting grew in size beyond our expectations, she told me that it was not going to be a one-time event. “You're going to have to call it the First Annual,” she said. And we did. Her support and sparkle always energized me. My deepest sympathies to her family, friends, and colleagues. I will miss her. (See “In Memoriam,” page 36.)