I was fortunate during my time with HMC to work with leading pharmaceutical marketing professionals. They wanted to see their organization succeed, and they worked with me to show me how they would approach various challenges.
Three individuals particularly stand out. Then Executive Director, Dick Sawyer, Board President Harry Sweeney, and Board President Peter Frishauf.
Dick was the most incredible people person I’ve ever met. It was amazing how he would build a relationship, nurture it, and maintain it over time. He was always able to find at least one interest of an individual and once he had it, he would keep it in mind. He’d send a letter with a related article he saw or an email with a link. And he did this with seemingly everyone he met. Once while walking through mid town Manhattan he pulled me into a building, where he chatted and flipped quarters for a dollar with the maintenance workers. Turns out it was the building where our office was first located and we’d moved out some five or six years earlier, but they still remembered him.
Peter Frishauf opened my eyes to new media and how to take concepts from seemingly unrelated areas and bring them together or to take a concept from one area and apply it to a new one. It was while working with him on two projects, a revision of our newsletter and building a new Web site, that it occurred to me to start http://www.newsovercoffee.com. My ability to develop multi-faceted business development programs I attribute to what I learned from Peter.
Harry Sweeney, like the others, amazes me in many different ways, but the biggest take-away I gained from him was the value of ‘inventory’. He taught me how to create a communications inventory and how to track the use and results of communications. It seems so fundamental to begin by identifying what you have to work with, and yet many fail to do so. This exercise allows you to identify gaps and opportunities. Measurement is even more important online and so too is understanding the difference between the ability to measure on and off-line activities.
In my current position and projects, these skills I’ve learned are invaluable and put in use on a daily basis.
I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to work with each of these men (and many other individuals) through the non-profit. Their willingness to teach, mentor, and work with me is deeply appreciated and I try to pay it back as often as possible.