After 18 years at FedEx, Vic Reiss just started his new job at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

I can’t be in social — where a foundational pillar is listening — and not come into a new company ready to listen.

As the new Director of Social Media for CTCA, SocialMedia.org member Vic compares his job change to going back to college.

“I went from a position of knowledge to feeling like I was a freshman all over again, where I have to learn fast because the final exam is coming soon,” he says.

As a part of the Digital Engagement and Innovation department, Vic has a dedicated social team that’s supported by external agencies and social teams at each of their five regional cancer centers. He says he’s also appreciative of the level of executive support for social throughout the enterprise. Vic’s first goal: to deeply understand the business and their needs.

He began his role at CTCA with a “listening tour.”

As a part of a 90-day plan, he met with corporate staff and regional hospitals to ask five questions (which all serendipitously start with “R”):

  1. Repeat: What is working or has worked that we should scale?
  2. Results: How do we continue to deliver results and tell our story?
  3. Redefine: What programs and initiatives do we need to approach differently?
  4. Reallocate: What should we accelerate or decelerate?
  5. Reimagine: Let’s dream big. What’s the one thing we could do to advance social?

He says asking these questions have been the best thing to help him develop a strategic plan within his first few months with the company.

“I can’t be in social — where a foundational pillar is listening — and not come into a new company ready to listen.”

Like FedEx, CTCA relies on empowered and engaged employees with an intentional focus on company culture.

Sometimes in social, we’re so busy trying to multitask that people don’t know what we stand for.

“Our employees are important assets to our family. We refer to them as stakeholders because they have a stake in our ability to help win the fight against cancer every day. Our stakeholders know everything they do on a daily basis ultimately supports the care of our patients and caregivers. As a result, they are driven to make a difference in the lives of others.”

He says CTCA’s emphasis on the “Mother Standard” of care and FedEx’s “People- Service-Profit” philosophy have helped make his job transferrable. He believes each social leader, no matter what company they work for, operates within different “dimensions,” balancing different roles and personalities.

Vic specifically names these nine dimensions: Strategist, Artist, Scientist, Engineer, Evangelist, Educator, Mediator, Visionary Futurist, and Entrepreneur.

The difference and the challenge: telling brand stories under HIPAA laws and industry regulations.

Vic says sharing the unique experiences that happen at the hospitals comes with a challenge, but there are other areas of opportunity, like building their reputation with content from expert staff.

“It’s about being a trusted source. Trust means you have to be willing to give something away without an expectation of getting something in return,” he explains.

“I want to inspire CTCA to become digital by default.”

You have to be a curious leader, because then you’re able to gain the valuable insights and understanding.

“I want to inspire people to fight their cancer with us by supporting them digitally at every step of their cancer journey,” Vic says.

In his leadership position, he says that means taking on a more aspirational role. To do it, he says he’s inspired by books like The ONE Thing, by Gary Keller.

“Sometimes in social, we’re so busy trying to multitask that people don’t know what we stand for. The ONE Thing is all about prioritizing. We have to have focus, otherwise we’re vanilla to the enterprise,” he says.

Other books he recommends: The Dragonfly Effect, by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith, and Rebels at Work, by Lois Kelly and Carmen Medina.

Rebels at Work is about how to be that person who’s a positive disrupter — someone who’s not comfortable with the status quo. It’s about transforming the business.”

Vic says, “You have to be a curious leader, because then you’re able to gain the valuable insights and understanding. But curiosity also helps you frame a vision, advances learning, fuels passion, and drives innovation.”

Find Vic on LinkedIn and ask about his favorite wheatgrass smoothie. Vic’s been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2011.


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