marketer of the month

EPISODE 186: Shaping the future of the workforce with AI: SAP’s VP for Solution Sales & Innovation Sandrine Pons on Effective Teamwork

Hey there! Welcome to the Marketer Of The Month blog!

We recently interviewed Sandrine Pons for our monthly podcast – ‘Marketer of the Month’! We had some amazing insightful conversations with Sandrine and here’s what we discussed about –

1. Increased women’s representation and provided opportunities for diverse profiles to enhance visibility and promote inclusion.

2. Recognized and supported new mothers in the workforce, fostering an environment conducive to women managers’ growth.

3. Implemented mentoring, promotion, encouragement, and team building to foster individual growth and enhance team success.

4. Prioritized sustainable customer value, innovation, and diversity as key pillars of organizational strategy.

5. Emphasized support for customers’ sustainable transformation journey through tailored initiatives and solutions.

6. Cultivated a culture of inclusivity and diversity through mentorship programs and collaborative team-building activities.

About our host:

Dr. Saksham Sharda is the Chief Information Officer at He specializes in data collection, analysis, filtering, and transfer by means of widgets and applets. Interactive, cultural, and trending widgets designed by him have been featured on TrendHunter, Alibaba, ProductHunt, New York Marketing Association, FactoryBerlin, Digimarcon Silicon Valley, and at The European Affiliate Summit.

About our guest:

Sandrine Pons, Regional VP of Solutions Sales and Innovation at SAP is a seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience, renowned for her reliability, strategic thinking, and results-driven approach. She excels in establishing and developing organizations, consistently delivering substantial revenues and profits while nurturing strong customer relationships across mid-size and large organizations.

Shaping the future of the workforce with AI: SAP’s VP for Solution Sales & Innovation Sandrine Pons on Effective Teamwork

The Intro!

Saksham Sharda: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. I’m your host, Dr. Saksham Sharda, and I’m the creative director at Outgrow. co. And for this month we are going to interview Sandrine Pons, Regional VP of Solution Sales and Innovation, EMEA North, SAP. 

Sandrine Pons: Great to be here. Thank you.

Don’t have time to read? No problem, just watch the Podcast!

Or you can just listen to it on Spotify!

The Rapid Fire Round!

rapid fire Don McGuire

Saksham Sharda: So the first question is, at what age do you want to retire?

Sandrine Pons: 60.

Saksham Sharda: How long does it take you to get ready in the mornings?

Sandrine Pons: Depends on what I’m doing during the day.

Saksham Sharda: Favorite color?

Sandrine Pons: I like blue but I like red also.

Saksham Sharda: What time of day are you most inspired?

Sandrine Pons: End of the day I would say.

Saksham Sharda: How many hours of sleep can you survive on?

Sandrine Pons: Four.

Saksham Sharda: The city in which the best kiss of your life happened?

Sandrine Pons: Paris.

Saksham Sharda: Pick one. Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg.

Sandrine Pons: First one.

Saksham Sharda: What was the biggest mistake of your career?

Sandrine Pons: When I was young, not thinking that I could, you know, get a big dream because of where I came from.

Saksham Sharda: How do you relax?

Sandrine Pons: Going outside, natural forest, walking.

Saksham Sharda: How many cups of coffee do you drink per day?

Sandrine Pons: Depends 10.

Saksham Sharda: A habit of yours that you hate?

Sandrine Pons: I hate that I don’t do that anymore so I don’t have.

Saksham Sharda: The most valuable skill you’ve learned in life.

Sandrine Pons: Let people speak.

Saksham Sharda: Your favorite Netflix show or TV show.

Sandrine Pons: La Casa de Papel.

Saksham Sharda: One-word description of your leadership style.

Sandrine Pons: Empowerment.

Saksham Sharda: The top priority in your daily schedule.

Sandrine Pons: The top priority must be between personal and professional life. Having everything scheduled, and prepared, knowing what is expected, and letting some time off for things that we can do during the day to make sure I can answer.

Saksham Sharda: An ideal vacation spot for relaxation.

Sandrine Pons: Beach.

Saksham Sharda: A key factor for maintaining a good work-life balance?

Sandrine Pons: Make sure you schedule some time for yourself in advance during your week. I think it’s a better way not to forget about it because they are always busy with something for a walk.

The Big Questions!

Big Questions Don McGuire

Saksham Sharda: Alright, so now we can go on to the bigger questions, which you can answer with as much time and thought as you like. The first one is, what impactful actions or initiatives have you taken to champion diversity and inclusion within SAP?

Sandrine Pons: There are so many. First I increase the percentage of women in the team. I have more women leaders than men today and it was completely the tech industry. I also love to give a chance to profile you know but might be the ones who are looking at or taking for example we have a program in Europe that means people who started like type of profile studies and one time to come back and travel you know coming back to tech. And I think it’s great to also give a chance to women to change their life and be passionate about industry and successful. Women are very successful who joined the team and I’m very proud of it. What I would say is that every time I come I’m on stage. I am on stage and AI to really increase and make a better experience and I think that’s how you know by sharing that we can show that everything is possible matter who you’re with, gender you’re coming from and that I also like people and I think that’s very strong. So I would say that for policy, the team’s something but more.

Saksham Sharda: What’s a memorable experience regarding this that you can share with us today? Because you talked about memorable experiences from your experience?

Sandrine Pons: I’ve got many of them. The one that came to my mind is when you have a new baby and think that you know, cannot apply for it because you know, you need more time just showing that to cover. I’m very proud to see strong women managers who have grown and believe in themselves. So I’ll say that one came to my mind because it’s something really important in life here. When we become that and see, you can see both personal and also your personal life.

Saksham Sharda: So congratulations on the recognition for the SAP immersive journey platform. Could you provide insights into the key features of this project and how it aligns with SAP’s commitment to innovation and supporting mid-size businesses, especially during challenging times?

Sandrine Pons: Yes, so we launched it in 2021 and we are thinking about how we can sit for our customers where we can have face-to-face meetings and thinking about how digital to deliver the right way to still deliver high customer value. So we have a platform where any customer can find their way. You know, it’s like you looking for your house and thinking Wow. I need to find the right ecosystem to make it happen. I want to find offers to work, Dont with this partner. For instance, you want to make sure that the one who is working with is bringing the latest technology of today, but also tomorrow regarding the climate change ET for instance, making sure the company has the same value. So the platform is where you can find more than success. You can find great content because of your industry. You can find great content because you are a CFO you’ll find what matters to you, how the office sold your pay, for instance. So it’s another way to boost, you know, customer satisfaction, and find a way to answer them more quickly and effectively. So we asked how we read it and now we are working on how we can have a more personalized journey. So you, for example, could have your journey, what matters to you? We are looking at Gamification, and we are also looking at AI platforms as a learning curve. You know what is important, it’s never-ending and it always is also a way of thinking of doing things differently with an even higher level of answers than just traveling basically.

Saksham Sharda: And you’ve constantly emphasized here the importance of motivated and empowered teams. Could you elaborate on specific strategies you deploy to develop leadership within your teams fostering both individual growth and overall success?

Sandrine Pons: Wow, that’s another one. I would think of different things, maybe mentoring and promotion but we need to mentor people, take example from them, you know, with being our big organization and make sure they have a plan and wait for them to be promoted. So that’s important. As I said before, I have been promoted for the last two years to seven managers and half of them were so different. I’m so happy about it. So mentoring and promotion. The second one is you need to encourage and support them very well, making them shine, you know, and congratulating them is very important. And sometimes I think that leaders and managers are forgetting about it, and concentrating on the little things that maybe can be improved, but they forget about that culture of resilience and learning. So what’s number three? I mentioned a little bit about visibility and coalition. You need to take time to speak about what they did, and how they did it because I practice sharing. You share with others what you have experienced, the others you might have experienced. So I like that type of thinking and promoting teams, and member visibility internally and externally, and could be different things. Media, communication. So, number four I think we need to have a diverse DNA and have that inclusive decision-making. And I think that’s also important. And what we do, for example, we have a world where we are being by a new boat, we share our team’s values and we decide the winner and then we celebrate together. So that’s also a very interesting cultural exchange. Team building is also important. We are doing monthly energizing forms for everybody from different locations. We have different profiles coming together and it’s a way important to promote bonding and collaboration so that’s what came to my mind.

Saksham Sharda: Speaking of promotions, you mentioned you’ve been promoted many times. You’ve also won the global TV awards. What do these recognitions mean to you personally and how do they influence your approach to leadership and innovation at SAP?

Sandrine Pons: Well, first I’m very proud of her because that type of work was very hard before. It’s not coming like that. You have a really strong dedication to your team. So something we also important to bring with all my colleagues at ACP, but we want this type of work. So that’s important. And yeah what I like to say is that it’s really like a testament. Testament of our work together. Dedication and support from what also give you the envy to continue to fight, and continue to give more and more of yourself and more of your companies. Like Fuel to my passion for leadership and innovation and the way of doing so that I inspire and empower, you know, making things that we can dream big and we can all achieve if we want in our lives. That’s what it’s saying but finally, anything is possible to relate.

Saksham Sharda: So let’s go onto a bit of lighter topics. What does your typical day at SAP look like? You wake up in the morning and then what?

Sandrine Pons: Oh my god, first not a single day is the same as ever, could be waking up very early around eight or half past eight. And there’s a lot on the agenda and you really wanna optimize it. You need, as I said at the beginning when you asked me you need you know I break one hour sunny like today here in Barcelona I love to go a little bit outside or we can go have lunch all together outside. So that’s a typical day, quite a long day mixing formal meetings and informal ones where we can just go for coffee.

Saksham Sharda: So as you kick off 2024, what are the key goals and visions you have for SAP, particularly in terms of sustainability, customer success, and innovation?

Sandrine Pons: The first one is driving sustainable customer value, Innovation, and diversity very close to one another. Every time we do, for example, even if we look at carbon emissions we look in parallel to plant the same number of trees. I think that we are looking forward to graduation. I also love that we’re saying that we’re growing the planet. I think that’s important and everything we do needs to be it. So I would like to have more time, more time and more support for our customers. Also that sustainable transformation path. Also of course including all the new technology like business AI. I think that’s important because we need to spend more and more time with our customers. So what can leave us time for support? And I’ll say that’s my main mantra when I look at 2024.

Saksham Sharda: So the last question is of a personal kind. What would you be doing in your life, if not this?

Sandrine Pons: How would you like to work in the arts? I love creating things. I love design. I have designed I like to think about technologies that I think. So I love that curiosity of thinking how technology can help us to support us. I’ve got old parents in my house. When I look at life today, I feel like we can make their life better, and more comfortable. So I think about it like, it supports them, makes them more secure, I’m very open-minded, so every time I look at something I think, oh wow how are we doing this? How could we make that work better work? With peace that would be fantastic.

Let’s Conclude!

Saksham Sharda: Thanks, everyone for joining us for this month’s episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. That was Sandrine Pons, Regional VP of Solution Sales and Innovation, EMEA North, SAP. 

Sandrine Pons: Pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Saksham Sharda: Check out the website for more details and we’ll see you once again next month with another marketer of the month.

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