Naji Gehchan: Hello, leaders of the world. Welcome to “Spread Love in Organizations”, a podcast for purpose-driven healthcare leaders, striving to make life better around the world by leading their teams with genuine care, servant leadership, and love.
I am Naji, your host for this podcast joined today by Allyson Jacobsen a Global Marketing Executive who has led award-winning teams across the U.S., Europe, and Asia that were the recipients of 5 Gold Quill Awards. With over 20 years of expertise, her background in entrepreneurship and technology expands across industries, including Healthcare, BioPharmaceutical, Financial Services, and Public Sector. She is also a passionate mentor and presenter on topics around Women in Technology, AI, and Digital Marketing Transformation. Allyson is dedicated and driven to change the dynamics for the future by using visibility, diagnostic tools, and technology to help save lives across the World.
Allyson – it is great to have you with me today!
Allyson Jacobsen: Yeah, it’s great to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me.
Naji Gehchan: Can you please share with us, um, first your personal story from science to marketing and your passion for technology to save lives around the world?
Allyson Jacobsen: Yeah, I’d be happy to. You know, it’s interesting as I, um, I, you know, I was born and raised in Virginia, a little bit south of the colonial Williamsburg area, and as, as I went through school and I got into my career, It just naturally happened that I ended up in some of the.com startups back in 1999, 2000 timeframe.
So I think that’s when my love for technology for innovations, right, for bringing new, unique things to market, really got solidified.
So can you share
Naji Gehchan: a little bit more how you ended up working with, uh, healthcare Biopharmaceuticals and also this passion around marketing and leading marketing teams?
Allyson Jacobsen: Yeah. You know, it’s interesting. I really kind of fell into healthcare, um, and I shouldn’t have been surprised. I was raised by a mom who was a nurse for 40 years.
And I can remember as a child, um, going to the hospital with her and, and gosh, this would never be allowed today, but I can remember sitting in the nursery and holding and feeding and loving on the babies or the whole time I was in the hospital. So when I was, you know, probably in my late. Thirties, early forties.
A really good friend of mine that I had worked with before went over to GE Healthcare to start putting AI into the medical devices. And I had such an interest for technology and for AI in general and thought, you know, wow, this is a great way to bring my historical knowledge and love of just hospitals and patient care.
You know, my mom’s history with the technology and start to. Use that and to use my marketing expertise to solve problems that really will help healthcare for my children, my grandchildren, right. Generations to come. Um, and, and just like I said, got lucky. Maybe it’s serendipitous, um, that I came back into something that I’m so passionate about and I have not looked back since.
Naji Gehchan: thank you for sharing. That’s, uh, that’s great. And you have led since successfully marketing teams, uh, across different sectors, different industries. Um, what made you be the successful, uh, global award-winning marketing executive?
Allyson Jacobsen: Um, you know, I think it is all about this crazy trajectory that my career has taken, if I’m really candid about it.
I, um, I spent the long haul, probably eight to 10 years getting my undergraduate degree. Um, I needed to work full-time as I studied. And then again, when I got out, I, you know, went to a.com startup. Then I ended up in the Department of Defense, kind of owning and operating my own marketing, public affairs agency to then, you know, going to big ibm.
And I’ve just done this back and forth between. Industry sectors, entrepreneurialship, you know, large scale fortune companies that have structure and process and procedure and move a little bit slower. And I, I think it’s been that trajectory that’s allowed me to. Have that entrepreneurial mindset to be able to talk to our customers in a way that resonates and is impactful while.
You know, working within some of the boundaries and constraints of not having deep, endless pocketbook, not having, um, you know, months to deploy something, to generate leads and to generate revenue. So really having to bootstrap, be fast, be thorough, you know, test, fail, uh, revitalize, right. I think that’s the, that’s the cycle that makes a great marketer.
And I, you know, I still strive for that every day because within marketing, this digital platform, it, it does change. It does transform. It’s a, it’s almost a life source in and of its own. So you have to constantly, um, stretch yourself, try new things, uh, be educating yourself on new technologies and platforms and, and trans.
You know, transforming that to really be successful. So I think it’s just been that mixture of mindset that has allowed me to continually grow and outperform. So,
Naji Gehchan: Well, you, we feel the passion about digital transformation and how you’re framing it and you’re talking about, uh, marketing. Uh, can you share with us how you define digital transformation?
You’ve worked a lot on it. And where do you see the healthcare industry in its digital transformation journey today?
Allyson Jacobsen: Yeah, I think digital transformation crosses every, organi, every department within an organization, right? You’ve got, um, in healthcare today more, more particularly, we have physicians burning out at a rate that has just never been seen before.
We have populations aging, um, needing more medical care every day. We even have less physicians entering the marketplace. So it’s, it’s this cusp where being able to do more digitally and letting the physicians. Actually spend time with their patients is the most critical. You know, I read a study a couple of years back and I think it was Harvard, um, but, but I hope I’m not wrong on that.
That said, physicians only spend an average of 25% of their time indirect patient care. And that to me is. So sad and it has to change. So with digital transformation, we are able to now do things with AI that can elevate critical records in the workflow so the physicians see them faster. Can. Make manual tasks that clinicians of all type do more accurate so that we don’t have to do repeats, um, can help with, you know, smart scheduling so that a physician can take into account, you know, the number of patients who may cancel an appointment and ensure that they don’t overbook or under book.
Um, there’s just so many new ways digitally we can try. To simplify and consolidate all of the things they do operationally and administratively so that they can actually spend those times with patients. And that’s, that’s where we’ve got to get, we need more human element and not less.
Naji Gehchan: Sure. And really, as you said, using this technology to optimize, obviously, the time of physicians on their highest value, uh, versus all the administrative pieces that they, they have to do today.
Um, and as you’ve led this also internally in the different organizations that you add, uh, any key leadership, learning from your side, leading all those transformations,
Allyson Jacobsen: There has been, you know, it’s, um, it’s a windy road. I th and, um, I, and there are lots of lessons, and I hate to say this, but I think sometimes we as leaders learn the best lessons in the times of trial.
And what I mean by that is, You know, I mentioned it earlier when I was in my late twenties. I ended up starting and running my own marketing, public affairs agency and was really successful at that. Grew the business, um, really quickly and really large. But the problem was, I, I was young and the financing the business growth to keep up with the demands of the contracts became more than, you know, my husband at the time and my budgetary capabilities.
And we ended up, you know, selling the business off, you know, in our GSA contracts and that type of thing, and, and, Having that real moment of humility and having to let people go and having to know how negatively you were impacting their life and those stressors that you were putting on them. And their vulnerabilities, um, I think is when I became a better leader.
I learned a lot more about empathy and about connecting with my employees and, and how to lead them through uncertain times, um, and, and help rebound in those hard times. And I think that, Dramatically changed me and helped me become a better leader. It was no more just about getting the task done, meeting the business objectives.
It was about purpose and mission and passion and, um, that empathetic connection with every employee that you lead.
Naji Gehchan: Thank you for sharing, uh, sharing your learning across this, uh, journey. Uh, I would now give you a word and I’d love your reaction to it. The first one is leadership.
Allyson Jacobsen: I think leadership is, you know, uh, less about.
The job description or leading people to complete a job. I think leadership is about teaching skills and practices and teaching folks how to. You know, love one another, support one another, you know, drive towards a common goal and mission. It’s about building a culture where a team feels safe to try things right, and to stretch and to grow and, and to fail.
More importantly, and, uh, leadership really is. It’s a complex mixture of emotional intelligence, you know, practical intelligence, common sense. It’s, it’s all of these things wrapped up in one package to help folks grow.
Naji Gehchan: What about women in tech?
Allyson Jacobsen: Women in tech? Is that what you said? I’m sorry. Yes. Um, women in tech.
Gosh, for me, it’s, it’s, um, empowering any woman who loves technology to excel and to grow. It is still unfortunately, you know, balanced as more of a male industry than a female industry. And technology can be. So many things. It can be marketing technology, accounting technology. It can be actual coding and development.
It, it can be so many different things, and I want women to embrace the field and to not be afraid of the field, to have a voice and to, to grow their career if it’s something that they’re passionate about.
Naji Gehchan: Chat g,
Allyson Jacobsen: pt. Oh goodness. Chat G gp. You know, it’s really fascinating. We are starting to use it in a lot of ways in marketing. I’ll tell you just a personal example. Last week I needed to really quickly write a press release and I gave, you know, chat G P t, a couple of cues, and it spit out a press release for me in a matter of seconds.
It wasn’t right. I mean, it wasn’t. It wasn’t there. It wasn’t finished, but oh my goodness. It gave me a framework to really quickly modify and finish a project in. 10 minutes versus what might have taken me an hour to do. Um, I, so I love it. I, I really do love it. I think that there are some awesome opportunities for it.
I think like all ai, we have to interact with the ai, we have to train the AI with the, teach the ai, and it does still take that human. Peace to make it work. So do I think it’s gonna take over the world and eliminate, you know, jobs? No, not so much. But I do think back to that physician example, it’s gonna let us do so much more, um, with the limited number of hours that we have.
So, love it. Love it.
Naji Gehchan: I, I’ve been hearing a lot of stories from marketers actually using it already in, in similar ways as you shared. It’s funny, it’s also, I, I have another story exactly with, uh, with press releases. The last word is spread love in organizations.
Allyson Jacobsen: Oh, spread love in organizations. Oh, it’s so important.
We, you know, we live in a time where people are moving so fast and the race to succeed and to beat our competitors and to pivot. Um, it can be stressful, it can be scary, and. Again, it plays on those employees vulnerabilities. And I, I just love to turn that upside down. I love to, you know, inspire the employees, let them drive to achieve the company’s mission and objectives.
Um, to be empathetic, to be honest and kind and, um, You know, more importantly, not ask anyone to do something I’m not willing to do myself. So I think, you know, love in organizations is often overlooked. It’s often not really seen as a cultural initiative. Um, but we have to be servant leaders and we have to love on our employees, and we have to be honest to our teams to really.
Maximize their growth and potential, which ultimately means the potential of the organization.
Naji Gehchan: Oh, thank you so much for sharing those, uh, those great words and summary for how to spread genuine care and lead our teams to be themselves, uh, for them to deliver the outcomes. We’re, we’re, we’re here for, uh, the patients in healthcare specifically.
That’s right. Any final, any final word of wisdom, Addison, for healthcare leaders around the world?
Allyson Jacobsen: I, I think for me it’s like you said, never forget your purpose and your passion and why you joined healthcare. Um, that we, we really are on a mission. To solve some of today’s most challenging needs for the patients, and everything has to center around the patients.
Um, so whatever we can do to drive efficiencies or empower clinicians to be able to be better caregivers. That’s why we’re here and that’s our mission. And folks just, you gotta always remember that it’s gotta always remain a passion.
Naji Gehchan: That’s a powerful charge. And thank you so much again, Addison, for being with me today.
Allyson Jacobsen: You’re welcome. I’m, I was so glad to have the conversation. Thank you.
Naji Gehchan: Thank you all for listening to SpreadLove in Organizations podcast. Drop us a review on your preferred podcast platform
Follow us on LinkedIn and connect with us on spreadloveio.com. We’re eager to hear your thoughts and feedback. Most importantly, spread love in your organizations and spread the word around you to inspire others and amplify this movement, our world so desperately needs.