25 Years of Standards Excellence: An Interview with Jen Adams, CLSI Vice President, Standards and Quality
Our Vice President of Standards and Quality, Jen Adams, recently celebrated her 25th anniversary with CLSI. Jen’s unique experience in the world of standards, particularly medical laboratory standards, has made her an invaluable asset to CLSI throughout the years. We celebrate Jen’s contributions to CLSI and the global standards community.
Jen spoke to us about her accomplishments, memories, and the colleagues who inspired her.
You began your professional career as a hospital laboratorian. What sparked your interest in the field?
For as long as I can remember, I had a keen interest in medicine and strived for a career in the field. I started working in a physician’s office laboratory when I was a senior in high school and found my “forever” place. Laboratory medicine allowed me to interact with patients and professionals. It ignited and fed my curiosity about human physiology and allowed me to stretch my intuitive thinking and problem-solving skills.
What advice would you offer to someone just getting started in the field of laboratory medicine or standards development?
Patience and perseverance are essential. It can take time to move the needle. Stick to it! Your contributions are important and will make a difference.
Which things have changed the most about CLSI over the years?
CLSI has become more nimble over time. We are better able to flex and pivot to meet needs—whether internal to the organization or externally facing.
I believe the way in which CLSI approaches standards development and its marriage with education and training to be one of the most significant changes that I’ve seen over the years. Products and programs are developed in concert with one another with the intent of creating comprehensive packages of information to meet the needs of the user.
There’s nothing that I think CLSI cannot achieve. Each year brings new challenges. CLSI manages those challenges with care and pragmatism, maintaining its core tenants of openness, inclusiveness, and transparency. It’s what makes CLSI the global leader it is.
Has anything stayed the same?
Absolutely! The unparalleled passion of CLSI’s subject matter experts and members and the dedication and commitment of its staff.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Those of the Standards Team. I am amazed by, grateful for, and proud of this team. They are a kind, thoughtful, fierce group of professionals that rise to the challenge and show up every single day. Standards development is hard. It’s long hours, endless questions, reading and re-reading, writing and rewriting, monitoring and nudging. Sometimes it’s thankless, but it is always rewarding. This group does it all. They guide CLSI experts and members with a smile and a knowing nod. They support one another in a way that is indescribably fluid and amazing to watch. Their efforts are inspired, and contributions valued. Their passion and ambition are undeniable and infectious.
What does the future of laboratory standardization look like to you?
In one word, complex. Laboratory medicine is intricate and the processes and requirements that guide laboratory practices are ever-changing. These factors create specific challenges in standards development. Too often standards lag, they don’t lead. To provide the needed guidance and benefit to the healthcare community, standards developers need to find a way to keep pace with the rapidly changing landscape. They need to think differently about how to provide and anticipate guidance and tools that are needed and how to update that information in “real time.”
Are there any CLSI members or colleagues who had an important influence on your career?
EVERY. SINGLE. ONE!
I will never be able to adequately express my gratitude for the guidance and support that I have received during my years at CLSI. I have established the best kind of professional relationships that I could have ever hoped for and have made cherished friends along the way. It is my great honor to work in service to CLSI, the laboratory community, and patients and practitioners around the world.