Life at Elsevier:
Cherise Bernard

locationNew York

“All of my colleagues who I work with on a regular basis are very dynamic people, very intelligent, and they just know how to do a lot of different things."

Cherise Bernard

What is your role?

I am the senior manager for the Global Academic Relations Team. Our aim is to engage with our partners — university partners and other organizations — to create more of a standing, long-term relationship apart from our sales relationships. We want to understand our customers’ priorities and their changing issues and problems and figure out the best way that we can be a long-term development partner with them. The Global Academic Relations Team works with universities and organizations based in the U.S. primarily. My particular role is to support all of our engagements. There are a few engagements I have a bigger role in, and those engagements are usually the ones that have anything to do with science or precision medicine, since I do have a science background.

What would you say is the best part of working at Elsevier?

The people. The people are great. All of my colleagues who I work with on a regular basis are very dynamic people, very intelligent, and they just know how to do a lot of different things.

I also love the fact that Elsevier is a global company. We can’t just take one country’s perspective into consideration; we have to take the whole world into consideration when we do our business and when we design things. When we think about the customer, the customer is global. It leads me to think on a larger scale and on a higher level, and that’s something that I was never exposed to before, so it was definitely a growth opportunity for me.

The other thing I love is the culture — the culture of learning and the culture of teaching, at least in my group. I work with Global Academic Relations, and we’re the team of people that engages with the university leadership and educates them on what Elsevier does and how we try to create longer-lasting relationships. I think that’s something that really helps our sales force and helps our upper management, and it’s a great team to work with.

And finally, I think Elsevier really has a heavy focus on work-life balance, and that’s something that I really also treasure. That’s something that really is not found everywhere, so I’m very grateful for that.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time at Elsevier?

A few months after I joined, our team retreat was in Amsterdam, and it was really cool. I met my global team, consisting of people from Brazil, from Germany, from Russia and from London. That has to be my favorite memory, which was just communicating and networking with all these people who had the same goals that I did. That’s not an everyday occurrence to just come across such a diverse group of people, so I would have to say that that first retreat was a really positive memory. It was just really great meeting everyone, learning about different cultures and understanding everyone’s different perspectives for our goal.

What does Elsevier stand for, and why is the company important to you?

The dissemination and the sharing of information that is going to advance the world, specifically in technological areas: science, computer science and social sciences. That’s important to me because one of my passions is science and science advancement. I think advancement of science, math and technology is really what drives the world forward. More importantly, teaching our college students about the importance of science and technology and computer science and social sciences is very important. That’s something that Elsevier has a huge hand in, because we are critical to disseminating information. It’s important to me because without dissemination of information, nobody would know what the advancements are. That’s what Elsevier stands for, and it’s what I stand for..

How does what your team do important for the company or the world?

My team is fairly new. What I think is important for Elsevier, first, is that we maintain a humanistic approach to our relationships and our engagements. Not that the other teams don’t, but what I want to emphasize is that we go and we actually ask the university leadership, ‘what’s important to you?’ There’s a team of people who understand what that university needs in terms of products. We want to understand what that university needs in terms of its priorities, and with that information we are also able to help the rest of the company inform their decisions. If we know what the university needs, what their issues are, what their accomplishments are, it’s a great help in informing the rest of the company how they can succeed in their roles. My group is sort of like a liaison group. We connect information. We connect people with people. If we’re speaking with university leadership and we see that they don’t have a particular product, we’re the connectors. We know how to connect them with the right people in sales, or we know how to connect them with the right people in marketing. We’re liaisons that understand the deeper relationships, or the deeper engagement levels with particular universities and organizations. That’s why it’s important to Elsevier.

It’s important to the industry for the same reason, which is that we connect information. If we know that, for example, President Obama made a speech about the Cancer MoonShot, and we know that, let’s say, some university on the West Coast is having huge advancements in cancer, we can connect those two dots and see how those two organizations or people or industries can connect with each other and make a huge advancement that would not have been possible before. You need those connectors in whatever industry you’re in. And for the world it’s pretty much the same answer; once you are able to advance an industry, then you’re able to advance the world.

Do you have a life motto or philosophy that you live by?

I think the one that I live by the most is understanding that no two people are the same. That eliminates a lot of stress and pressure because the need to try to get people to agree with you sometimes is a little bit overwhelming, especially in the workplace and in your personal life. Once you give up that need to convince people of anything and you understand that no person is going to see things exactly like you do, it takes a lot of the pressure off of you, and then that helps me to respect people’s perspectives a lot more, to respect my own perspectives a lot more, and to just kind of go with the flow.  That has really eliminated a lot of stress from my life because I learned how to say ‘okay’ and keep going. I think that’s something that’s relevant for work, and it’s relevant for whoever you come into contact with. It’s relevant for your own peace of mind. So that’s my philosophy.

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