Alumni Profile: Sandy Leonard ’95

Alumni Profile: Sandy Leonard ’95
Degree(s): BA Psychology, UW–Madison; MPH, University of Tennessee – Knoxville
Current Occupation: Chief Commercial Officer, COTA Healthcare

What are some of the benefits of your psychology degree?
Solid foundation on how to do and assess research, personal and organizational emotional intelligence, understanding influences on personal and professional behaviors

How did you find your way to your current profession?
It was not a direct route at all. My route took me from direct patient care at a psychiatric facility to customer service and sales for government mental health and medical insurance programs then on to an MPH. I then moved into the pharmaceutical industry where I spent time in DC managing government reimbursement and ultimately evidence policy. I took on global roles building out a real world evidence strategy, then a data science team, ultimately taking on leadership of a large global team of epidemiologists, data scientists and other key evidence delivery professionals. After 17 years in the pharmaceutical industry, I joined a real-world data start up and built out the RWD/RWE capability, partnering strategy and establish a government business unit. I am now at an oncology real world data and evidence growth company as their Chief Commercial Officer. Throughout my journey, I explored topics and areas that were of interest to me and continued to challenge myself with each new role to ensure that I was going to be learning something new.

What advice would you give to students graduating with a psychology degree?
Ask questions and keep learning. My greatest leaps in my career occurred when the “job” did not exist yet. I worked to anticipate what was coming next and positioned myself to take on the new challenges.

If interested, please list an identity or group membership of which you are particularly proud:
I was part of Psi Chi.

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