Difficult Conversations Podcast

Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician

Episode 180 | December 5, 2022

Recognizing Fear

Gina Jacobson

Chief Growth Officer at Starcom

Gina Jacobson400

Welcome to Difficult Conversations. Today, we have Liz Poret-Christ hosting along with Dr. Orsini. A few weeks ago, when Liz was scrolling through Facebook, she came across the PELOTON Cancer Warriors page and saw a post by Gina Jacobson. Her thoughts about battling cancer, mixed with a bit of dark humor, and a lot of honesty made Liz realize that she would be a great guest on this podcast. So, joining us today is Gina Jacobson. For the past twenty-seven years, Gina has worked in a broad range of roles with the Publicis Group, including overseeing media at Starcom and creative development at Leo Burnett. Her official title at Starcom is Chief Growth Officer, but she thinks of herself as a “Chief Potential Officer.” She’s known for her critical strategic thinking, digging into her client’s businesses, and has a passion for building and nurturing teams who deliver engaging, strategic work. Gina was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in 2018, and has outlived her prognosis by several years, and intends to keep living a joyful and purposeful life, helping others realize their full potential. Get ready to hear Gina’s story and be inspired!

Gina shares her background story and how she got to where she is today with her career. We learn how her leadership style and philosophy of “recognizing fear” started, and she goes in depth how her philosophy deepened after her cancer diagnosis. Gina tells us about the breakdown she had at a conference in front of her whole leadership team and reveals how having cancer changed her philosophy of leadership, how she views the world, her job, and how being more vulnerable helped her and her co-workers. We hear the story about the four oncologists Gina interviewed and how their communication affected her ability to envision a successful path forward. She explains how each of the conversations went, and how she ultimately chose the one that communicated with her in a way that she felt this physician was her advocate and one that she could trust. With the great connection she had with this physician, she makes a point that the positive attitude certainly made for an easier journey and a more tolerable journey. Gina describes her cancer journey as a “masterclass in fear” and shares her message to everyone. We hear about her blog and a post she wrote about telling the kids, and specifically one with her son, and his response that felt like a knife in the gut for a mother to hear. We end with Gina telling us the type of conversation she finds most challenging and the strategies she’s developed to get better at having those difficult conversations. If you enjoyed this podcast, please hit the subscribe on your favorite podcast platform.

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