In her role as Vice President and Chief Communications Officer at Thermo Fisher Scientific, Sandy Pound is responsible for steering the company’s global communications, investor relations, strategic meetings and events, and global brand functions. Before joining the biotechnology company, Pound spent 14 years at Johnson & Johnson (J&J), where she held the position of vice president for communication and public affairs for J&J Medical Devices Companies in her most recent role.
Throughout her career, Pound has gained invaluable experience and insights like the importance of building teams with complementary strengths and recognizing the power of diverse thoughts and ideas in addressing challenges with both intensity and innovation.
We caught up with the Pound to get her thoughts on the future of the communications industry.
What book, podcast or other media do you recommend to other comms pros?
I am a huge fan of Axios, I read five to seven Axios newsletters every day. I love how the content is tailored to my areas of interest and it’s a great resource for communicators who want a quick overview of the news that matters most to them. I also read the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times each morning.
What’s your favorite tool you use regularly for work?
I love SmartSheets, our global communications team uses it to track all that is happening across the function. We also use it to help prioritize and allocate resources to the items that drive the greatest impact for the business.
What excites you most about the future of communications?
First and foremost, I’m excited about the growth we have seen as a discipline over the past five years. Early in my career, there was a lot of talk about communicators getting a seat at the table. Now, in many cases, we are trusted advisors who convene the table to ensure we are considering every situation from a multistakeholder viewpoint. I’m also excited about the ways AI can streamline routine work so that communicators can focus on providing strategic insight.
What communications challenge keeps you up at night?
Before the pandemic, the biggest challenges were company issues which required traditional crisis communications. We had a robust approach to handling crises through tested scenarios and a playbook of actions. Since the pandemic, the world has been a very different, and at times, difficult place. The unexpected external events that we might face cause me the most concern.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
Balancing my work and personal life has been an ongoing journey. I’ve found that the pursuit of balance isn’t perfectly symmetrical, and the scales may tip in either direction at times, but the goal is to find balance in the center whenever possible. Prioritizing, setting boundaries and asking for help has helped me find that balance.
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing. This isn’t exactly what I wanted to hear from my husband any time I share something that makes me uncomfortable, but he is 100% right and I appreciate his honesty. It’s easy to fall into a pattern and as communicators, I think we need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Isis Simpson-Mersha is a conference producer/ reporter for Ragan. Follow her on LinkedIn.