Corporate Advisory Council Member Profile: Sarah Pohmer

The Fisher Leadership Initiative has recently launched its Corporate Advisory Council – a group of high-profile, Fortune 500 leaders across Central Ohio to discuss pressing leadership and leadership development issues facing organizations and support Fisher in developing relevant content, pursuing new research and creating new services that will help fill the leadership void across organizations. 

The following profile from Sarah Pohmer, Managing Director, Head of HR for Card and Connected Commerce at JPMorgan Chase, reveals her reasons for joining Fisher's Corporate Advisory Council and her personal insights on leadership. 

Q: What was your motivation for joining the Fisher Leadership Initiative’s Corporate Advisory Council?

It’s been my privilege to work with and counsel dozens of CEOs and senior leaders during my more than 20 years at JPMorgan Chase. I’ve learned a lot from them. But I’ve also observed the blind spots that they must overcome to be successful. The Fisher Leadership Initiative’s Corporate Advisory Council gives me an opportunity to give back by sharing the lessons I’ve learned over my career.

Q:What can businesses/organizations learn about leadership from institutions such as Fisher College of Business? And vice versa?

When you leave the classroom and start your first big job in the real world, it can be a big change. We want to make that a smoother transition. The Fisher College of Business is shaping our future leaders before they become part of our talent pipeline. Fisher faculty can help us understand what inspires their students, how they may be learning differently, and what they value in a career experience. We are always evolving and improving as an employer. Employers, in turn, can help Fisher and other schools understand what makes business leaders effective in the real world. That is valuable insight they can use to make sure those skills are being developed and emphasized as part of their education at Ohio State. 

Q: What does effective leadership look like?

Effective leaders can be found almost anywhere. You don’t have to have a corner office to lead. I have four daughters who all play sports, so I see first-hand how young people figure out how to work as a team and emerge as leaders. If you’ve ever volunteered or collaborated on a neighborhood or school event, you’ve probably seen how people tend to gravitate toward one leader. In my experience, great leaders spend less time talking, more time listening. You can’t just tell people what to do without getting to know them first and earning trust and respect. They may do it once but don’t expect them to follow you into the trenches. One leader I worked with called it “putting cookies in the cookie jar.” Leaders are clear, decisive, and inclusive. And again, those qualities apply in almost any setting in life!

Q: What is the best leadership advice you have received?

Asking for help or admitting you don’t know the answer are not signs of weakness. Great leaders recognize that showing authenticity and vulnerability at work are actually signs of confidence and strength. And it makes the entire team feel invested and part of the solution.

Q: How will this council impact the community or business community in any meaningful way?

There’s so much uncertainty in our world right now, especially in the business community as we navigate new workplaces, racial and social injustice, and shifting priorities in life. Now more than ever, we need strong, ethical, empathetic leadership. I’m excited to help lift up the community and be part of those important conversations. It’s valuable and powerful.

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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.