March 29, 2019

A Day in the Life of an Intouch Associate Director of Strategic Planning

Photo of Sahar Ejaz

Every now and then, an awesome Intoucher leaves to explore options at another company … but then they realize what a great place Intouch is to work for, and they want to come back. It doesn’t always work out for folks who want to “boomerang” — there may not be a good-fitting position for someone who wants to return — but when it does, Intouch is happy to welcome them back. For this Day in the Life installment, we talked with associate director of strategic planning Sahar Ejaz — one of our bitchin’ boomerangs — who works in the Kansas City office. 

First of all, how did you become an Intouch boomerang?
I went to explore what I wanted to do in life and came to a realization that I wanted to shift careers slightly but wanted to do it HERE around my work-home. I would say that coming back was, hands down, one of the best decisions. I needed to step away to figure out what I wanted professionally, and making the decision to come back was just natural. Intouch has always been home.

What field did you work in before you joined Intouch, and how long have you been in marketing?
I’ve been working in marketing and communications for about eight years. Prior to my five years (and counting!) at Intouch, I worked in nonprofit marketing.

How is working in pharma marketing different than what you expected when you started here?
Understandably, the amount of regulations to consider is one of the most different facets of healthcare and pharma marketing. That said, I would add that while it is regulated, there are still opportunities to push the guardrails and truly create inspiring work that ultimately helps people.

How would you describe your job to someone who isn’t in the marketing/advertising field?
We’re constantly thinking through the eyes of the customer – often in our case, patients and HCPs. We leverage research to extract and fuel insights that become central in shaping the strategic direction across all of the brand’s efforts.

What are your typical responsibilities and challenges — what’s your average day like? How often do you interact with clients, and in what capacity?
Thankfully, there’s no Bill Murray/“Groundhog Day” situation while working in this industry and in this role! I’ve never experienced the same day twice. That’s actually one of the best parts – there’s no typical day.

Everything from internal and external meetings to collaborating with our brilliantly badass creative teams, as well as my own partner-in-crime Planning/Strategy lead, makes each day something I look forward to. We interact with our clients frequently, most often on larger strategic initiatives as well as research-driven efforts.

What type of a personality/disposition or skill(s) do you think is best suited for your job? What do you find most challenging about your position?
A modern-day Nancy Drew! You have to be fearlessly curious to ask questions, to learn something new, and to actively pursue unknowns. That type of mindset and willingness to explore is essential to a career in strategy/planning.

From my experience, helping people become comfortable with gray areas – those unknowns – is the most challenging. However, doing so can help unearth new ideas and can lead to a more impactful solution as a team.

Any advice for people interested in getting into a role like yours, or advertising/marketing in general?
Channeling my inner camp-counselor soul, I would say the most important advice is to always keep learning. It sounds as cliché as a cat poster in a library but it’s incredibly important!

Learning isn’t limited to only taking classes, but it’s also about trying new things, meeting new people, questioning the world around you. That, collectively, helps you see things differently and ultimately helps you grow in your career and within this industry.

Want more Day in the Life stories? Recently, we profiled an innovatora social media analyst, a creative, and a data analyst. Go check them out!

Want to work for a company that inspires people to come back after leaving? Check out our vast list of openings in several major cities!