Whitman Voices


Alumni of the Week: Brian Hammer MBA ’11

Alumni of the Week: Brian Hammer MBA ’11

BH HeadshotI came to Whitman with the goal of advancing my career in the pharmaceutical industry with sights on becoming a national sales and marketing director. Little did I know upon completion, I would be on a completely different path; a better path. I still recall my very first day in the iMBA program (now MBA@Sryacuse) at Whitman; walking out of the Sheraton and being greeted by the coldest, most blinding and bitterest wind imaginable. I thought it was a blizzard as it was a struggle to walk one city block. Later, I was told by my future Whitman colleagues it was simply a “lake effect.”

As the industry was changing due to health care reform, Whitman helped me realize I was blinded by the fixation of chasing money and, as a result, I was unsatisfied. Unhappy to be another faceless number, unhappy that no matter how much I strove to make money, it would never be enough. Whitman helped open my eyes by altering my perception and approach to business with the possibility to be someone more. It wasn’t an easy transformation and I credit the help of my classmate and professor interactions. My “aha” moment struck me during Professor Gemmill’s intensive elective series as it was there I realized it was more important to chase purpose over money.

Subsequently, I left the pharmaceutical industry and found myself in the non-profit sector working for a community hospital system. I took a 15 percent pay cut (not including a company vehicle and other perks) and was working harder than ever. I was learning more in the health administration space implementing pilot programs than I ever could “carrying a bag” or attending national sales meetings. Within a year, I was moved into a leadership role to mobilize an outreach team while engaging physician acquisition and recruitment efforts. Instead of chasing money and being a faceless number with physicians, I was having impactful conversations with purpose about the physician’s business and, ultimately, improving patients’ care. Without the education and experience at Whitman, these dialogues would not have come to fruition.

My work caught the attention of NAACO, a national health care advocacy association in Washington D.C. The organization asked me to lead its membership and business service efforts. The opportunity to work on a national platform, engage the country’s best and brightest health care leaders and be at the forefront of health care reform was one I couldn’t pass up. For more information, check out NAACOS at https://www.naacos.com/. And if you navigate to the staff page, I’m arguably the second most handsome guy on there.

In summary, when chasing purpose, you transcend obstacles by seeing through the industry’s lake effect and become a steward for good. That purpose stokes the fire for passion in one’s work. Passion fuels the desire to be a better family man, classmate, colleague, leader and friend. And interestingly enough, when you chase purpose and you are good at it, the money follows as a nice byproduct.

Brian Hammer
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