Guiding Global Change with Sanofi's Eva Martins

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This is a podcast episode titled, Guiding Global Change with Sanofi's Eva Martins. The summary for this episode is: <p>Today’s guest is a ground-breaking and ceiling-smashing transformational leader who knows a thing or two about guiding top-10 pharma companies through periods of great change. In this episode, we’re joined by Eva Martins, the Global Head of Customer Engagement at Sanofi. Find out what she considers the greatest challenge in driving customer-centric global transformation. Learn how Sanofi uniquely tackles change management in delivering AI solutions globally. And hear how Eva has successfully navigated a male-dominated industry to reach professional pinnacles while inspiring and supporting women in life sciences and beyond. And don’t miss “Eva Martins in Context” where we learn about Eva’s secret aspiration of being a parachutist, her go-to music choices, and her ideal sushi dinner companions.</p>
What Eva sees as the biggest influencer of success in global transformation projects
00:36 MIN
The biggest threat to sustainable change? Shiny object syndrome.
00:36 MIN
Establishing realistic timeframes for deep transformational change
00:39 MIN
Eva shares a real-life example of co-creation at work at Sanofi
02:08 MIN
Eva's advice for overcoming common roadblocks to AI adoption and scale
02:03 MIN
Strategies for navigating ownership and driving engagement for AI initiatives
01:02 MIN
How to keep engagement high while managing commercial pressure for immediate impact with long-term initiatives
02:47 MIN
What Eva means by "leading technology" and why it's critical for effective leadership today
01:05 MIN
Eva's advice for women leaders looking to catalyze change in the life sciences industry and beyond
02:02 MIN
Two surprising influences on Eva's career
00:44 MIN

Eva Martins: Impact does not appear in one or two days. It takes time. But if we are willing to take the same risk that we take when we define clinical studies, which also we never have the resource before two, three years, even though we invest millions. AI's a little bit the same.

Clay Hausmann: I'm Clay Hausmann, Chief Revenue Officer of Aktana and host of Contextual Intelligence. We've taken a bit of a summer hiatus, I apologize to our avid listeners of the podcast, but we're going to make it up to you in a big way today because we have a fantastic guest with us. She knows a thing or two about guiding top 10 pharma companies through periods of great change, especially as they adopt new technologies. We're joined today by Eva Martins, the Global Head of Customer Engagement at Sanofi, where she leads transformation initiatives focused on customer centricity. Before that, she spent 16 years at Novartis, most recently as the Global Head of Innovation and Commercial Transformation. And somewhere along the way she's found time to become an internationally acclaimed author, speaker, and founder of the Global Women Leadership Academy. She is a friend of Aktana and I'm fortunate to say a friend of mine. Eva, welcome to the podcast and thank you so much for joining us today.

Eva Martins: Thank you.

Clay Hausmann: So along that journey, that career journey, you've had a number of different roles. You've been on the product management side, the marketing side, you've been in a regional role, a global role, you're in a global role now. One of your first jobs was at Sanofi. You've now come back to Sanofi. Maybe start by just telling us a couple of insights you've gained along the way from those different perspectives and how they apply to where we are today in transformation in the life sciences industry.

Eva Martins: I think everybody has understood that the world has changed. And I think COVID really helped us. Because I think we understood that there's something out to change, but there was no burning platform. And I think COVID really came to us, and a bit of a smash I would say, which really made to understand that actually the way we were working was not anymore sustainable. Suddenly patients were taking care of themselves as well, and physicians had other expectations. So there's a huge burning platform for transformation at all levels of the industry of life science.

Clay Hausmann: And as you're leading that transformation at Sanofi right now in a lot of ways as it pertains to customer engagement. You've held global roles in the past as you do now, but you've also had regional roles and a lot of, I think, what allows that transformation to happen is identifying certain influencers of success. Is there a single biggest influencer of success? Are there a couple of key factors? What have you identified as you try to get a global change in place or a global transformation underway?

Eva Martins: Number one is really co- creation. What I mean co- creating is from the thinking process. Right from the first day until the end. I've had roles in the country, at the global level, at the regional level. But one of the things that I've been practicing, which I think really helped me when I was in the region, was really to co- create with the countries. Because they're the ones really leading with the customers in the end. And they're the experts. And I think if we are able to really bring everybody around the table with the same aim, the same focus. And really allowing everybody to play on their strengths and participate. So co- creation. I would say it's the number one for me. And transparency.

Clay Hausmann: On the flip side, is there a single biggest challenge that you've encountered? Where you say, " You know what? If I'm going to get this to be effective around the world as I roll this out to different regions, different countries, I need to make sure I'm always thinking about this. I need to tackle this right from the very start." Is there something that comes to mind that way?

Eva Martins: Only one challenge?

Clay Hausmann: Fair point. Maybe the biggest one.

Eva Martins: Yeah, I think there is two of them. But the first one, I call it the shiny object syndrome. Where especially now with the new technologies, with new opportunities, there's this shiny object syndrome. Where there's a new thing. The new opportunity where everybody wants to jump on it. Everybody wants to drive it until there's another shiny object. Which makes those deep transformational initiatives which need to have an impact in terms of dynamics of the organization, in terms of modus operandi way of working, they're not sustainable. Because we create... I call it a generation of kangaroos. Where we always jump to the next shiny object syndrome, but we don't create sustainability in the company.

Clay Hausmann: That reminds me. So maybe if we can take a step back for a second. Because so many companies, so many of your peers, are in the middle of a digital transformation process or some similar term about changing the way that they go to market. The way they interact with HCPs or directly with patients. Could you take a minute and just describe the way that is structured at Sanofi and where you are in that process? Because I think it's interesting. As I talk to different senior leaders at other organizations, they're wanting to borrow as much as they can about the way other leaders think about it. Because we're all going through it at this point. So how is it structured at Sanofi right now? And where are you on that path?

Eva Martins: I think Sanofi is same as the other ones. We are trying as much as we can to really transform ourselves from within. To really put the customer at the center of everything that we do. And I share a lot with my peers in other pharma industries because I do really believe that when we join efforts we are much stronger. I think we all have a little bit of the same vision. We start from different angles. In Sanofi, we start with putting really the customer in the center of everything that we do. And then we create projects or programs or initiatives around that in order to deal or try to solve some pain points that we do encounter along the way. So I don't think that it's much difference pharma to pharma. I think we all are trying to make the same efforts, but we tackle maybe different angles.

Clay Hausmann: Yeah. Do you have a timeframe? Is yours a one year, a three year, a five year initiative? How do you look at the time aspect of it?

Eva Martins: I think it really depends on the end goal. For me, when we drive such transformational programs, it's not only from the end goal of doing the best for our customers and delighting them on the day to day, but also brings change management internally. And we know that change management does not happen in one day, right? We need to bring people along. We all have strength and I think the soft skills sometimes make the difference. So from a change management perspective. If you would ask me, " When would you like to delight your physicians with new initiatives?" Yesterday. From a change management perspective, we might need to have one, two or three years in the plan in order to bring everybody together with us. Which is, in my opinion, more sustainable and more impactful.

Clay Hausmann: I'm going a little off our script here. I'm wondering if you have an example or a story about how something that you've instituted already has... You've heard back from the field. You've heard from an HCP. You've heard from someone who has experienced what you have rolled out and said, " This changed the way that I interact either with my patient or I interact with my HCPs." But have you heard that as you talk to different members of your team in the field or in different regions about the impact that it's having?

Eva Martins: Yes, I do actually. I still remember. I think it was a rep in Australia. I even recorded him. I almost cried when he was saying in the video that for the first time we were driving a project which was done with him, for him and by him. And that's for me the most beautiful definition of co- creation. Because we are definitely there to help them in the fields to have the most impact and delight our customers on the day today. But it would never work if it would be a top down approach. If we would tell them what to do, where to go, and what to say next. Which is somehow sometimes what I hear in the pharma. Yeah, finally. For example, when we speak about next specs action, we're going to tell them what to do. But that's what we did. And hearing this feedback from a rep for me, just really reinforced that we were doing the right thing and we were in the right track.

Clay Hausmann: And was it about that co- creation? Was he able to participate in the design of it? Or was it respect for local knowledge, local data sources, local regulations? What was it that made it feel so personalized for him?

Eva Martins: No, I think it's really from the first moment we started. The problem, one of the main problems, is trying to be perfect even before starting. So then we never start and we always fail anyway. So what we did, we started with some business rules. And the first feedback from the reps were, " I'm sorry, but I don't agree with it. I don't know what's in this box of what you call AI. I know better than you. So I'm not going to implement this." And for me was not a sign that it was the wrong thing or the wrong rules, but simply they were not safe enough to really understand what was behind. So then we stepped back and we decided, " Okay, guys. You're right. So let's go back to reset. Step zero. What is your needs? What would you need on the day to day? Which are the kind of recommendations? Supports? Imagine that AI is your personal assistant that brings you superpowers every day. So what would you need from me?" And so then we delineated with them. Okay. So those are the top five things I would love to receive every day. For example, telling me what my physician was looking for, or which of them needs information, or do they have patients waiting. I can help them shine and do better their work every day. So then we stepped back and we really ideated around them. " Okay, how can I augment you? How can I give you superpowers?" And that's why they really loved it.

Clay Hausmann: Well, I find that's always so helpful to hear. The example of the impact and the personal experience. So let's talk a little bit about AI, because you mentioned that reaction to it. I don't want it to tell me exactly what to do. I want it to respect my knowledge as well and be a partner in the process. So we're at a point where most global pharma companies have successfully piloted an AI initiative in at least one major market. And now a common topic is how do you move from that initial deployment or that MVP to enterprise- wide deployment. And so it's that scaling topic that I'm sure is very central to your role. What are some of the most common roadblocks in terms of how you can get to a path to scalability pretty quickly and how do you overcome those?

Eva Martins: So I was lucky enough to be able to deploy that in top 10 countries and more than 5000 to 10,000 representatives. To support them and augment them on the day to day. And I think there are a few roadblocks along the way. First of all is really understanding the power of AI. That it's not here to save the world suddenly in two days. That it takes time. It's just here to augment the capabilities that we already have on the day to day independently. If we focus on in the field, if we focus in terms of internal capabilities, it takes time. And first AI needs to understand and learn by the process as well. It's the same as... For example, the program that we created, personal assistant. We need to train a personal assistant. We need to say, " Hey, those are the kind of meetings I would love at certain hours. This is the kind of service that I need. This is the kind of message or data that I need in order to take the best decision." That's the same thing. So I think one of the misconceptions that I hear most of the time is simply by not understanding what AI is capable of doing. Is thinking that suddenly because I am driving and using a lot of buzz words like AI and machine learning without really understanding behind. Which is simply an algorithm to solve certain questions. But if the question is wrong from the beginning, then the solution will be wrong. So I think it's really stepping back and instead of focusing on the skills or AI or machine learning and using all those buzz words, I would recommend to put them aside and actually to focus most of the time on the business problem we're trying to solve. Because if the business problem is really clear for everybody, then the skills and what we need to put in place, it's easier to define it. Then the second thing is really to have leadership endorsement from the beginning to the end. Because impact does not appear in one or two days. It takes time. Sometimes it takes six months. But if we are willing to take the same risk that we take when we define clinical studies. Which also we never have the results before two or three years, even though we invest millions. AI is a little bit the same, but we are not used to that debt. Because from a commercial point of view we're a little bit more risk adverse and conservative, sometimes with legitimate reasons. But it's the same risk appetite that we need to have. So those are the main roadblocks.

Clay Hausmann: That's a great point. A great comparison. Yeah, I hadn't thought about it that way. But that time horizon and the risk willingness, there are parallels between those two. As you shifted into a global role from a regional role or a product line management role, has there been a learning for you about how to scale effectively? Did you go into it saying, " Okay, I've seen how global people do it, but I'm going to come in and do it differently. Because I've had this experience being on the front lines and I'm going to do it this way." But then you realized, " You know what? Maybe I didn't know as much as I thought I knew when I came in." Have you had a learning like that along the way?

Eva Martins: So many. I think I've been on both sides. And when I was in the region and in the country, my heart is purely commercial. So I was speaking the commercial language. Any time some of my digital colleagues would come with pilots, they would come with a verbatim that I would not understand. But I would always pretend that I would understand, of course, like almost 99% of commercial leaders would do. So then when I stepped in the other side, I had a big shock. I thought that I was going back to the primary school. Because I could not understand their English. And I would spend my time asking them, " Could you speak normal? Really language for dummies because I really can't understand." Like MVPs, proof of concept, all those kind of AI whatever. But the kind of language we were using was creating a cloud suite commercial. And what I understood really from the beginning was actually my role would be to be a translator. A bridge. And that's why one of the big roadblocks as well when those pilots as you were saying, or proof of concepts, they don't work at it on scale simply because we do not create enough engagement at a commercial level. And we see it as a digital or an IT or project, and we do not involve enough commercial people. And speaking their own language and really setting it up as a way to really solve the pain points that they have from a business perspective. And if this work of integration is not done, we go nowhere. Even though we might have the best solution, the best skills. Because in the end, commercial people have the P& L, right? So they have the power to say, " Yes or no. I invest in this."

Clay Hausmann: Yeah, that's a great point. And that's something that I think we've seen often. That there's so much attention focused on the technology components of this, but there's so much that is behavioral or that is team oriented. One thing that we talk about very frequently is that one of the great benefits we feel of what we offer is that it unites a commercial team that previously has been working across purposes or in silos. And that's a great benefit of what it can do, because it harmonizes the whole commercial process or the medical process to create a personalized experience for the HCP. The challenge is that it's not easy to bring all of these people together who haven't previously worked as one harmonious team. And then to figure out the ownership word. Who owns the AI or intelligent engagement initiative? So how do you grapple with that? And how do you see that topic in terms of who comes to the table together and then who owns it or leads it?

Eva Martins: It's always a wonderful political challenge. And depending on the companies where we have different silos. Different level of engagement I would say instead of using politics. I think the best way that I've encountered is really understand where people are coming from. And what do they really need in order to outperform their own work on the day to day. One of the strategy that I use is actually that. It's the first connect on 101. Try to explain and really bring everybody all the functions. And yes, it takes more time in the beginning to put everybody around the table, but I think it's really critical. Because the worst we could do is try to really embrace a project. It's so important that we just move forward like a formula when we implement, but we forgot to engage everybody else. So then it's not sustainable. I think it takes a lot of effort, but I think it's much more powerful to sometimes go slower. Really ensure that we involve everybody. Allow them to vent the emotions and fears and the resistance that they have in the will. But then after really come with a common solution and at least one end goal that we all have in common and allow everybody to shine through the process. Those are for me the most powerful situations that I've put in place, which really helped me to move forward.

Clay Hausmann: Is there one organizational approach or organizational model that you found? Well listen, each situation's going to be a little bit different, so I'm going to have to tailor it or refine it. But if it adheres to this type of model. Is there one model that you try to utilize in every situation just as a foundational piece to start from?

Eva Martins: Yeah. I do always apply everything in the agile setting. Ensuring that all the key functions are part of the regional or course quads. That definitely. And I always try to have a really strong engagement, or even leads from a commercial point of view, in order to avoid that it's seen as a digital or side project that is nice to have but not foundational. So those are the key elements. So agile, cross- functional teams and then commercial leads.

Clay Hausmann: You mentioned, or you alluded to this earlier, about the time period to achieve results and achieve impact. And I thought the patience and the perspective that the industry has on the clinical side, it doesn't translate through to the commercial side. We have expectations on the commercial side that are much more immediate. How do you keep teams engaged when it's a long term initiative like this in terms of the path? The impact? How do you keep management patient, as much as they can be? How do you give them the metrics they need to show that it's on the path to success, even if it's not quite there yet? How do you manage that long duration aspect in a very immediate world that we live in on the commercial side?

Eva Martins: If you have the solution share with me.

Clay Hausmann: I do not.

Eva Martins: I can tell you what I try to put in place. It's not always successful, but we do as best as we can. First of all is try to focus as much as I can not only in the outcome based on sales. I think when we drive such transformational projects, it's really important to really define upfront the KPIs and manage expectations, which are the end goals. And there are many different end goals. Some of them are change managements, capability building, increased productivity internally. And then yes in the end. But also, for example, how do we delight our physicians? Our customers? And then in the end maybe impact on sales, but managing from the first day. It will not happen before six months. And that's what I realized. Before we start a project, when we all have signed off and we all have the investment needed. Everybody says" Yes, of course. No worry. Nobody will ask you before six months." After one month and two months, because we all are quite driven by investments and short term and quarterly phasing. Which is a bit against the agile setting. Those processes that don't change. Then suddenly, even though we all agreed, you get 10 questions a day. " So when is it coming? Well, we know the results were in six months, but do you have any sign?" So it's keeping a smile, meditating a lot, drinking a lot of green juice every day, and keeping patience. And towards my team that is driving the transformation is really managing their expectation as well from the first day. And telling them, " Hey, this is going to happen. We are going to keep a smile together. And no worry, I'll take care of it." So it's really creating a safe environment for the team where they can operate. Where you still protect the agile setting. Where they can take decisions, they're empowered to move forward, and they have fun. Because it's really quite complex and it's difficult on a day to day. So the fun for me is very important. And creating a psychological safe environment. And then trying to shield them and protect them from all of those questions. And then sometimes, yes, need to be a little bit assertive and say, " Hey, I just want to remind us that those are the KPIs we're tracking." And then I think share as much as we can. Because if we don't share, then everybody freaks out a little bit and" What's happening?" Especially when we work in agile setting, which is really quite different from the organization. And if we are not the ones booking directly during the meetings or the steer calls and those kind of things. And meeting is fine. Even though we said" No worry. We work on agile setting." But suddenly you're invited for share the status. And then suddenly you have 10 hours a day of sharing the status instead of you driving the formula one. So it's being really transparent with the KPIs. Showing all the different KPIs, and then as well reporting every month on those KPIs.

Clay Hausmann: Yeah, that makes sense. And I think you're right. Those meetings. Avoiding the illusion of progress just by getting together and discussing quite often because it feels like you're moving the ball forward. But having those KPIs. And the KPIs by stage as you say. So there's certain things that you're going to be able to measure in the first quarter and the second quarter. You will not be able to measure certain things related to sell through, but that's okay. That's coming. And you can show that indicator word. And KPIs is a really key one. It's indicating we're on the right path and we're moving forward. Let's shift a little bit just to talk about leadership. Because I want to get your perspective on some things. As I mentioned in your intro, you have had a number of leadership roles yourself and you have been very active in fostering a culture of mentoring young leaders or sharing best practices. You're very generous that way. So I'm going to read you. This is a quote I read recently. It's" Cultural transformation is more likely to happen in an organization that promotes experimentation. Recognizing more the learnings instead of failures, creating a safe environment for feedback and personal growth." Now this is something that you wrote two years ago in an article that I think is a great perspective. But it's also very tricky. This is something we talk about quite often. About creating an environment for failure so people can learn from them. But I have found that's really hard to do. People like to say that frequently, but when it comes to having a failure happen on your watch or in your team or on your initiative, people no longer are as big of a fan of this embracing failure and learning from it. So how do you foster that?

Eva Martins: The way I really try to do it is to inspire with the freedom just to be themselves. And really creating an environment where sometimes they can be good, sometimes they can be just tired. And be able to voice their fears and voice their struggles. And practice as much as I can to listening. I lived in many environments where I could not be myself. And that's why some of the companies I left them, because it's not sustainable in the long term. You can survive for one, two, three years, but in the long term it has a huge impact in our personal lives. So it's first really trying to create an environment where they just can be themselves. Where they can voice whatever they have to say. Where they feel that they're heard and they're not judged by that. That's the first thing. And then also creating this feeling, which sometimes I'm a little bit judged externally with this. Which I create really almost kind of a family where yes, we work really hard but we play hard as well. So where they have the feeling that when they're within the family, within the team, they can be just themselves. And they can just relax and they can just voice any kind of emotion that they might have. Yes, it's quite demanding in terms of leadership, but that's the best way and I could not be it in a different way. Then regarding mistakes and how to create this. Really try to debunking this need to be perfect, which we have in pharma actually. Where we would foresee before three years what's the outcome of what we want to achieve, and we exactly know every steps. It doesn't work today. It really doesn't work anymore. The world is changing so fast that the unknown is totally present. So the more we are able to build in self- confidence. To really just say, "Hey, I don't know. But let's just test. And whatever happens will be okay because we've learned through the process." So it's really try to celebrate those learnings. Celebrate also those failures. Not as a failure, but because of the learning that it provided. That's what I do. And often with my team I just tell them, " Hey, today I F'ed up. Because of this and this and this. But hey, I've learned the process and that's okay." So I think it's not an easy one, I'll be honest, but I really want to lead in a way that really allows them to be fulfilled.

Clay Hausmann: I think that's great. Great guidance for teams and team management. On the other half of it. So that's managing down to your teams. The managing up part of it.

Eva Martins: Yeah.

Clay Hausmann: Can you think of an example in your past where... Because that's where I think the tolerating failure tends to be a little bit more unforgiving. Where you say, " Okay. Well, I've got a manager who may not share my same view around failure is a good thing. So how do I get that manager or that management team to understand that part of my process is to encourage a risk taking environment that will come with failures, and to be tolerant of that and not to come down on people every time it happens? Because then they won't take those risks." Can you think of an example where you say I had to really manage up and help a manager understand the benefit here?

Eva Martins: Yeah. I had both situations. One where I was able to really explain because the leader has understanding of what it means to really iterate constantly and evolve. So where we could have a totally transparent conversation and say, " Hey, that's what we are going to test. This is what we are going to test. One of them we are going to fail and that's okay, but we learned the process." Fully empowered. " Go on. Great. I love this." I also had exactly the opposite perspective. Where when we approach this and I say exactly the same thing. " A and B. One will fail. The other one maybe. We don't know. But I need to invest$10 million." So then" Yes. No wait. No worry. Go on." And after two months then you come back and you say, " Actually it did not work." And then suddenly actually you start feeling the pressure, and that actually your leadership is not the right one. Because in reality they feel compromising their own shininess cycle, where they don't know how to defend themselves. And I think the big difference that I've seen lately is whether you come from what I call the selfless mastery leadership. Where are you really doing it from a mission perspective or are you doing it from yourself? And those are the two big differences in terms of leadership. One will work because you have the self- confidence. And yes, we still have the mission. Did not change, we just course correct. The other side is, " Hey, you're impacting my next job." So then that doesn't work, so then that's your fault. It's not easy to navigate on this one. The way I do is just to put back the responsibility.

Clay Hausmann: Smart.

Eva Martins: And there, that's when I need to breathe a lot.

Clay Hausmann: Yeah, very smart. Okay, so I'm going to read you another quote from that same article, but I'm very curious to hear your explanation for this. " New leaders need to be able to lead technology as well as businesses and teams." So lead technology. That's not a common phrase. What do you mean by leading technology? What does that entail?

Eva Martins: What I mean by that is we need to be digital leaders. Which means that we need to be able to read data, take insights from data, and take decisions based on those. But also today I really believe that any kind of commercial leader needs to be able to navigate the digital world. It's not only... Like in the past, five or 10 years ago, where we would simply know the investment level we would have, how many reps you would have in the field, and then you navigate one plus one whatever. Today it's much more complex. You need to understand if the data that you receive before the data is integrated, if you receive the feedback loop from the HCP, when did you receive, how can you reply in real time. And then as well, how do you navigate between all the channels. It's not only understanding how to lead people, but also how to lead people within this complex environment of the new technology, which we'll leave on the day to day. And I think it makes it a little bit more complex. Or even, for example, AI. As a leader, I need to understand a little bit how AI can help me on the day to day and where AI will not help me. So that's what I mean by that.

Clay Hausmann: Yeah. That makes great sense. Another major focus of yours in your career that you've spent a lot of time both personal and professional is in supporting women in leadership roles. And creating an environment for them to have a pathway to reach their greatest achievement, to be as fulfilled as they can be. You've created a Global Leadership Academy, you've written and published a very successful book on the topic. What advice do you have for women leaders who are looking to catalyze change that you wish you could see the life sciences industry benefit from? Or you'd see the life sciences industry embrace?

Eva Martins: I would have one main advice, which is allow yourself to be successful. Allow yourself to be yourself without having to be a man. I started in the industry and I went to down that path. And that's why I had a lot of women coming to me and that's why I founded the academy. When I started, I was the only woman in the commercial level. And the only way I could survive and defend myself was almost like raising my voice like a man. Is being decisive like a man. And then I really disconnected from my own strengths and skills and capabilities because I was becoming something else that I was not. And actually I became much more successful in my career when I decided, " No, I'm sorry. I'm going to show up on my day today with my skills, with myself, and showing up authentically." But often there's this perception as a woman that you need to work double as hard as a man in order to have the same level. You need to prove yourself constantly. And even women between themselves, they're so competitive that it's insane. Simply because there's this feeling that there is less opportunities for women. And in fairness, in most of the companies where in middle management you have a lot of women, when you go upwards you have a lot of gray suits still. So to be honest, I would not put the onus and the responsibility on men. It's most of the time we play small. And that's why I called my book Stop Believing the BS. Because it's a BS of our mind that I might not be good enough, I might need to sacrifice, I might need to compromise. And putting all of this aside and just try. Just have fun and just go for it. Which is in reality what men do. And I see that in interviews when I try to recruit someone. I always have 80% men and 20% women. And I need to go and fish to have more women to candidate for the role. It's simply because they tend to try to be perfect before candidating to the role. And only if they know that it'll be successful, they do that. While men would jump on it and then figure out how they can be successful. So I had to learn with this and really do a little bit the same. And that's what I would advise. Yes, some of the things are wonderful to copy. Some others, we can still be authentic and play on each other's complimentary, which I really believe in.

Clay Hausmann: I do think there is advice to be given to organizations and to leadership as well. To foster more opportunities and to think of the benefits that come from all kinds of diversity balance. And I think the industry is moving in positive directions that way. Sometimes we wish it would be faster, but I think the progress has been there and I think it'll continue. That's great.

Eva Martins: I agree.

Clay Hausmann: So we're going to shift to our closing section, which we call our guest in context. And I'm going to ask you a couple of questions. Personal in nature, but they're going to tell us I think even more interesting things about you. So I'm excited for this part. So my first question. Who has been an influence on your career that might surprise us?

Eva Martins: I had to think about this and it's really interesting. The two names that came to me. One is Tracy Chapman with the song that she was singing about apartheid. To see the power that she had to go against a dynamic, which was where they were living and where maybe you were not allowed to even put your finger in those kind of social problems. I think I was really inspired by her power. So that's one. The second person is Nelson Mandela for he is mission driven. And even though he was suffering on the day to day, I really get inspired by him. No matter what happened externally, he kept focus in his mission and kept really being authentic and valuing his own values. But I keep them quite close, and it's more because of their mission parts.

Clay Hausmann: As expected. That's a very interesting and rich answer. So thank you for that. If money was not a factor, what career would you most like to pursue? And it cannot be the one you're currently in.

Eva Martins: I would be a parachutist.

Clay Hausmann: Oh, wow, okay.

Eva Martins: Yes. I would love to drive planes and then just jump constantly from a plane. I did it two weeks ago. I love the feeling. I love the feeling of freedom and the adrenaline of it. I would just do that every day.

Clay Hausmann: Oh, good. Well, I'm going to call you for a pep talk because it's... My son turns 21 next year. It's been on his list that when he turns 21, he and I are jumping out of a plane together.

Eva Martins: Wonderful.

Clay Hausmann: I may call you up for a little pep talk. Little morale building on that one before that comes. All right. So what profession would you most not want to pursue no matter what it paid?

Eva Martins: The one that would oblige me to stay stuck in my sofa. I don't know how you could call this profession. Because I adapt quite easily to everything, but not to boredom and to routine. So the worst you could ask me is to really do every day the same thing. Not having to think, no excitement, no fun, and being stuck and not doing anything. I would die.

Clay Hausmann: Interesting. I would agree with that. Knowing you as I do, I would agree with that. I think that would be challenging for you. So during our time away, I've been listening to other radio programs. And there's this great radio program called Audiobiography. And that airs on WVKR up in Poughkeepsie, New York. It's Tuesday nights at 10: 00. And on that program, the host asks the guest to take them through their musical journey. The music that's inspired them throughout their lives. You've already mentioned Tracy Chapman and that song that influenced you so much. So in a little homage to his program, I'm going to ask you, what is your creative inspiration or brain break escape music?

Eva Martins: So I have three. When I really need to be really creative and really tune into my inner gut and intuition, I would use brain waves musics like Barry Goldstein. Where it really allows me to lower my brain waves to take theta brain waves, and really be connected with my subconscious mind, and be totally creative out there in the world. In the universe. The other one where I really need to uplift and before going to do a presentation or I want to uplift my team just because the impact is not there and I really want them to still celebrate. I would use Happy.

Clay Hausmann: Okay.

Eva Martins: Or when I'm in a momentum where I just want to be in the flow because I need to travel between Australia and Buenos Aires and Miami as I did already in 48 hours only. I would listen to Over The Rainbow.

Clay Hausmann: Nice. Very appropriate. Okay, so you are at a family gathering and your eight year old niece asks you what you do for a living. What do you tell her? How do you describe your job or your company?

Eva Martins: No, I could not say I'm a change agent or transformational leader or... That's all blah, blah.

Clay Hausmann: Exactly.

Eva Martins: What I would tell her is I work in a company where my job is to read the brain of people, know where they have some fears, in order for us to really drive big transformational programs and make them happy in the process.

Clay Hausmann: Very nice. I have a feeling you'd get a couple follow up questions to that, but that's great. I love that. All right, so this one I'm really looking forward to. Your ultimate dinner party for four. Who is Eva inviting to be at that dinner and what is being served?

Eva Martins: So I would have definitely my kids and my husbands, so it's not four, but five. And I would definitely have champagne because champagne fits well with everything. And then sushi is the best one and pleases everybody.

Clay Hausmann: Perfect. I love it. We've had an equal balance of historical figures and people of influence and also family answers. I love them both, so it's great. Absolutely. Eva, thank you so much for joining us for this. It was insightful as expected. And I really appreciate you taking the time. I know the time difference is a little crazy, so thank you.

Eva Martins: No, my pleasure. Always a pleasure. Thank you.

Clay Hausmann: That's it for this episode of Contextual Intelligence. I'm your host, Clay Hausmann, and you can find all our episodes on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. And please leave us a review or a comment or a question or all the above so we can make sure that this podcast brings the proper context to your work. Thanks everybody for joining us.


Today’s guest is a ground-breaking and ceiling-smashing transformational leader who knows a thing or two about guiding top-10 pharma companies through periods of great change. In this episode, we’re joined by Eva Martins, the Global Head of Customer Engagement at Sanofi. Find out what she considers the greatest challenge in driving customer-centric global transformation. Learn how Sanofi uniquely tackles change management in delivering AI solutions globally. And hear how Eva has successfully navigated a male-dominated industry to reach professional pinnacles while inspiring and supporting women in life sciences and beyond. And don’t miss “Eva Martins in Context” where we learn about Eva’s secret aspiration of being a parachutist, her go-to music choices, and her ideal sushi dinner companions.