Story by Malcolm Hong

Although virtual reality technology has been around for decades, creating an affordable, easily mass-produced system used to be science fiction. Today, recent industry breakthroughs have made virtual reality (VR) applications possible on a greater scale. When VR technology became affordable and accessible, David Cleverdon, owner of Boise-based marketing company DTX Creative, was quick to realize the possibilities.

Cleverdon saw opportunity. He could transform conventional training techniques with the interactive, immersive nature of VR. For example, VR could optimize the quality of training for first responders, such as paramedics or law enforcement officers. This could mean the difference between life and death. To achieve his vision, Cleverdon needed a partner who could help him create a world-class VR company. He hired Jennifer Lastra, who had proven history in business development and project management. Together, they rebranded DTX Creative and formed 360immersive, with Lastra as Managing Director and CEO.

After forming the company, Lastra had to overcome several obstacles. They found a way to finance 360immersive and acquire tech talent, but Lastra had to transition from being a corporate executive to becoming the leader of a nimble startup. This wasn’t easy. Through feedback from staff, she forged a healthy company culture that allowed them to acquire and retain key employees. Lastra also had to overcome her fear of public speaking, so she confronted it head on by accepting any opportunities to publicly speak. Today, she is a sought-after presenter who was recently asked to keynote a prominent technology event.

Lastra’s leadership has been instrumental in the company’s mission–to use immersive technologies to enhance training while improving team communication and collaboration. Although virtual reality has been primarily associated with gaming, Lastra and Cleverdon recognized how the technology could become a disruptor in the training industry. Increasing the information retention rate is a key goal for trainers, but existing training models often fall short.

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