In the latest episode of Impetus Digital‘s Fireside Chat, I talked with Sandra Graham-Mason, Director of Marketing at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Sandra has extensive experience working in physician, patient, and brand strategy; product marketing; digital; and KOL engagement. We discussed a variety of topics, from the impact of COVID-19 on the way that Pharma teams interact with internal stakeholders and KOLs to the challenges it has brought for healthcare marketing and sales. We also dived into the lessons learned from Sandra’s work on patient education and advocacy, the importance of diversity of thought in Pharma, and much more.
Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:
Q: You have had a very interesting career trajectory. Can you tell us a little bit about your professional journey and how you landed at your current position as Director of Marketing at Regeneron?
A: Sure, thank you for the opportunity! First, I would like to start off by saying, Impetus, what you’re doing is amazing! I think this is something that we need in our industry; it is always nice to hear what others are doing. We do get siloed, especially within our own organizations, and even more so with our teams about what we’re doing on a day-to-day basis.
I think with this conversation that we’re about to have today, even more so lets us know that we need to expand and talk to people in digital platforms. Thank you again for the invitation. Before I get into that, I would like to say, yes, I do work for Regeneron, and I am the Director of Marketing there on a brand for Oncology. The statements that I am going to make today are my own and may not necessarily represent Regeneron. Thank you for the disclaimer as well, so that we’re not confusing what I’m talking about today versus what’s in the media of late.
Just hearing my experience, I’ve been in the industry for over 16 years, and it’s been a wonderful opportunity for me. When I started my career out of college, I was working for insurance providers. I got in right out of college and went through the insurance school, and did those kinds of things. I had the opportunity to become familiar with pharmaceutical as an industry just based on self-funded groups and working very closely with large companies who were able to offer self-insured programs. They would carve out their benefits, and one of the benefits that got carved out often would be pharmaceutical benefits. I would start to understand a little bit more about that and became intrigued by the industry.
Back in the day, I actually went online and posted for a job with Johnson & Johnson and got it. I had several interviews, went out, and learned from the bottom up. I started as a sales representative working in New York City, and it was fantastic. I learned a lot and had an opportunity to continue to grow, and hone my own skill set, as you mentioned earlier. Most importantly, when I moved in-house from my sales roles, I did go into sales training where I would take the skills that I’ve learned and shared that with other representatives who are looking to advance their careers. From there, I had a stint shortly as a fill-in district manager where I got to lead. I really enjoyed leading a team of people who looked to me to help them solve their problems in their own fields and their own territories, and how they can continue to make an impact for those doctors but most importantly, for those patients.
Then, I got a tap on the shoulder, “Why don’t you consider marketing?” which I did. I never thought I would ever do marketing but I tell you, it’s been one of the best career decisions that I made for myself. I really got a chance to impact so many people, people I’ll never ever meet, but I know that the message will resonate, and not only with the patient but also with the doctor because the doctor needs to be ready to prescribe. If the doctor is not ready to prescribe, that patient will never get that drug. So what I can do to foster that kind of experience and learning with our doctors, as well as our patients who ultimately need the care? That is what we do every day.
For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Sandra Graham-Mason, or listen to the podcast version, below.
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About Impetus Digital
Impetus Digital is the spark behind sustained healthcare stakeholder communication, collaboration, education, and insight synthesis. Our best-in-class technology and professional services ensure that life science organizations around the world can easily and cost-effectively grow and prosper—from brand or idea discovery to development, commercialization, execution, and beyond—in collaboration with colleagues, customers, healthcare providers, payers, and patients.