CLEC Keynote Encourages Attendees to Reach Their Summits
The sounds of John Denver’s mountain melodies pumped into the ballroom of the Denver Sheraton as CLEC attendees entered the room.
Elissa Passiment, EdM, CLS(NCA), executive vice president of ASCLS, welcomed attendees to Denver on Thursday morning, marking the beginning of CLEC’s 25th anniversary.
Following her introduction, current ASCLS president Scott Aikey, MS, CLDir/CLS(NCA) said, “There’s no doubt that the conference is the premier educational event for educators in clinical laboratory education.” He noted the meeting continues to draw an increased number of laboratory managers as well. Aikey recognized the efforts of Linda Comeaux, CLS(NCA), dean, Arapahoe Community College, Littleton, CO, who served as general meeting chair.
Comeaux took the stage, adding to the introduction, saying the meeting is like hosting family, and joked, “I’ve been cleaning for weeks!” She thanked the executive staff of ASCLS and others, including the programming committee responsible for planning the meeting.
Next, Comeaux introduced the keynote speaker, Jake Norton. Norton, a climber since 1996 and guide since 1993, has traveled the world helping people reach the summits of their dreams. By the time he was age 33, he had already spent more than a year of his life on Mount Everest on five expeditions with two summits of the mountain.
He also helped discover the remains of George Mallory on Everest in 1999; completed more than 20 expeditions to Nepal and Tibet; and reached the summit of Mount Rainier an impressive 88 times.
Norton spoke in terms of metaphorical mountains, pointing to the current economic and geopolitical issues facing medical laboratory professionals. He asked attendees to envision their own mountains and feel what it’s like to face a distant goal. “How do you respond to the trail rising ahead of you?” He asked rhetorically, “Do you look at it and think it’s too challenging … or rise to the challenge? … Or am I simply settling for themountains I know I can climb?”
He pointed to a poster of the north face of Mount Everest as a catalyst to pursue his dream of climbing. “That poster was a constant reminder of where I was now as opposed to where I wanted to be.” Norton’s presentation employed multimedia to show the thrills, dangers and joys of Mount Everest.
He said he wasn’t going to challenge anyone to go to Mount Everest. Instead, he asked attendees to identify their own distant summits and strategies reach them. Using the acronym, “FITT,” Norton explained that “Fear, Instinct, Teamwork, Tenacity” can be used for professional journeys ahead. Turn fear into focus; trust your instinct in a dynamic environment; be a selfless team member; and be tenacious through pitfalls and setbacks.