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Sandrine Pons

Innovation, Inclusion and Impact: Sandrine Pons’ Leadership Journey at SAP

The modern global business environment is constantly advacing, presenting constant challenges. From geopolitical shifts to technological advancements and changing consumer preferences, companies must navigate these changes with agility and foresight. Successful organizations employ data analytics to anticipate market trends, embrace digital transformation for operational efficiency and proritize innovation to maintain competitiveness. This adaptability ensures their relevance and leadership in the global market.

Sandrine Pons stands out as a key player in this landscape, celebrated for her strategic acumen and fervent commitment to achieving results. With over 30 years of experience, she has become a respected senior executive, making a mark both within and beyond SAP.

Throughout her illustrious career, Sandrine has cultivated a reputation as a dependable leader, adept at steering organizations towards success. Her expertise lies in establishing and nurturing customer relationships, consistently delivering substantial revenues and profits. Moreover, she thrives in multifaceted environments effortlessly navigating complex matrices and fostering collaboration across diverse teams.

At the core of Sandrine’s leadership philosophy lies a deepseated belief in the power of diversity and empowerment. She champions a positive and inclusive culture where every team member is encouraged to unlock their full potential and emerge as future leaders.

In her current role as RVP Sales and Innovation, EMEA, Sandrine leads her team in spearheading cutting-edge innovation. Together, they aspire to propel SAP to the forefront as the premier enterprise application and business AI company.

Apart from her corporate responsibilities, Sandrine is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion. Her efforts have been recognized with prestigious awards both internally at SAP and beyond the company, such as several Global Stevie Awards over the years, among other worldwide accolades, affirming her commitment to driving positive change in the tech industry.

Join in on a conversation with Sandrine and how she is inspiring others with her visionary outlook and dedication to excellence!

Innovation and Inclusivity

Sandrine begins, “Reflecting on my 30-year career journey, three significant milestones and experiences come to mind.” A pivotal role at BaaN Corporation on stands out in her memory. She recalls, “I directed a team of 400 professionals, focused on boosting upsells, cross-sells, and fostering adoption.” Sandrine emphasizes the importance of delivering customer value.

Transitioning to managing startups brought fresh inspiration. Sandrine admires the dynamism and agility inherent in startups. She notes, “They are all about thinking outside the box and being quick on your feet.” Notably, she reflects on the change in gender dynamics, recalling a team predominantly composed of men. “It’s amazing to see how much things have changed,” she reflects.

Her tenure at EY also left a lasting impact. For five years, Sandrine was a trusted advisor for midsize and large companies, offering strategic guidance on their IT landscape and leading the CRM line of business. Her valuable insights played a crucial role in the successful deployment of ERP systems across Europe.

More recently, at SAP, Sandrine and her team achieved a remarkable feat. She proudly states, “We won the highest SAP employee recognition, the Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award in the Go-to-Market category in 2022.” This accolade honored their digital platform, SAP Immersive Journey.

Over the years, under Sandrine’s guidance, numerous teams have been shaped with a strong focus on diversity and inclusion. She asserts, “Diversity and inclusivity are paramount to me, regardless of color, gender, sexual orientation, age, or background.”

Sustainable Solutions

Driving sustainable customer value through innovation, diversity and inclusion is paramount for creating a better future. She emphasizes, “I am passionate about making the world a better place and being the best version of us for future generations to thrive in a more sustainable world.” Her motivation stems from seeing her team succeed. “Making sure everyone feels good is key for me,” she explains. “When your team feels good—balancing work and life, having clear goals and staying on track with regular check-ins—success just falls into place.”

Sandrine underscores the importance of maintaining a human touch within corporate structures. Encouraging open communication, understanding individual needs and demonstrating empathy are crucial elements. “All our innovations aim to help our customers’ businesses run better,” Sandrine continues. “Our key goals are to remain on the cutting edge, continuing to create innovations like our SAP Immersive Journey platform.”

Tomorrow’s Leader

In sales and organizational leadership, Sandrine’s approach centers on a customer-first mindset. She says, “Organizationally, I advocate for automating processes and embracing digital tools to simplify operations and enhance client focus.”

Her leadership style prioritizes fostering a positive culture of continuous learning. She affirms, “A happy team is crucial for success, so I focus on empowering and supporting them to achieve excellence.” Sandrine embraces a mindset where failures are opportunities for learning. She notes, “Remaining open-minded and executing strategies with a ‘build and run’ approach is key.”

Looking ahead, she envisions tomorrow’s leader as someone who embraces change and leverages technology for innovation and growth. She states, “Tomorrow’s leader thinks fast, is eager to try, learn, and adapt.” Sandrine emphasizes the importance of having a strong partners ecosystem network for success.

Embracing Differences

As a leader,” Sandrine asserts, “it’s all about ‘leading by example’ and treating others with the same kindness and respect I expect in return.” Diversity is their superpower. She emphasizes, “Our differences drive us to understand our customers better and deliver exceptional value.”

Creating a winning culture isn’t just about hitting targets, it’s about making every team member feel cherished and empowered to shine. She highlights the importance of being involved with her team. She states, “I want to get to know each team member beer and support them in every step of the way.” Sandrine sees each team member as a unique puzzle piece contributing to collective creativity and adaptability. “Our collective intelligence makes dreams happen,” she states.

Tech for All

Sandrine’s leadership ethos revolves around recognizing and nurturing the unique talents of each team member. She explains, “It’s not just about filling positions, it’s about recognizing the individual spark in each person and helping them reach their full potential.”

Promoting gender diversity in tech is close to my heart,” Sandrine shares. “I’ve made it a personal mission to mentor and support women.” Notably, she highlights that “60% of women in my team have leadership positions.”

In France,” she continues, “I’ve supported initiatives like ‘DesCodeuses,’ empowering women from disadvantaged communities with tech training and inclusive job placement services.” Sandrine proudly mentions, “Thanks to this program, I was able to onboard incredibly talented female software developers to my team.”

Her efforts extend beyond the workplace. “I use my social media influence (+22k followers) to speak about the importance of diversity and inclusion,” she says. Empowering individuals and embracing diversity is the secret to building a team where every member can reach for the stars.

Driving Innovation and Diversity

Sandrine’s passion for inspiring others to pursue their dreams fearlessly stems from her own experiences as a woman in a male-dominated field. “I know firsthand the importance of resilience and perseverance,” she shares.

By sharing my own journey and successes,” Sandrine explains, “I hope to show other women what’s possible and encourage them to pursue their goals.” Her commitment extends to mentoring and supporting women in their careers, helping them navigate challenges and reach their full potential.

Sandrine asserts, “At SAP, we’re committed to driving innovation and using AI to create a more inclusive world.” She highlights SAP’s goal to become the #1 Enterprise Application & Business AI company by 2024 prioritizing sustainability, customer success and AI innovation while placing diversity at the forefront.

Sandrine shares, “Through my advocacy, I want to empower women to believe in themselves, follow their passions and succeed in the tech industry and beyond.”

Core Values and Corporate Alignment

Sandrine begins, “For me, it all starts with who I am at my core; from there, everything falls into place effortlessly.” She adds, “Finding a company that shares those values is crucial which is why I resonate deeply with SAP’s principles.”

Sandrine emphasizes, “At SAP, we’re dedicated to making the world a better place by promoting diversity and inclusion, prioritizing sustainability and ensuring AI is used in an ethical way.” She elaborates on SAP’s initiatives, stating, “For instance, we are launching an AI tool in our solutions that will avoid biases in recruitment, enhance feedback management and aid in career growth, all while maintaining a focus on ethical AI deployment to ensure fairness and transparency.”

Cultivating Collaboration

Sandrine asserts, “In my team, fostering a positive and empowering culture is a top priority.” “We actively prioritize diversity, transparent communication and equal opportunities for everyone,” she emphasizes.

Sandrine elaborates, “For instance, we regularly conduct employee surveys to gather feedback and insights, ensuring that every voice is heard and considered in decision-making processes.” She highlights the importance of taking action based on the feedback, stating, “After the feedback is shared, we take action by building an action strategy for the months to come. This is a very important step that we always respect.”’

Sandrine also shares her commitment to mentoring and promoting women, emphasizing merit-based advancement and encouraging cross-collaboration. Additionally, she mentions hosting monthly ‘Energizer’ calls to promote cultural exchange. “A happy team equals increased productivity, creativity and overall success,” Sandrine shares.’

Ahead of the Curve

At SAP, innovation and sustainability are at the heart of everything we do,” Sandrine emphasizes. In 2023, Sandrine and her team organized the Innovation Forum and Sustainability Forum, with customers and partners, showcasing their dedication to enhancing global operations while prioritizing sustainability.

Our SAP Immersive Journey platform is a testament to our commitment to harmonizing technology with personal interaction,” she continues. It offers an all-in-one solution that transforms the customer value journey, prioritizing immersive, value-driven experiences.

Sandrine expresses excitement about the future, stating, “Looking ahead to 2024, we’re excited for the integration of AI and gamification into our platform, as well as the incorporation of AI into all our solutions to become the #1 Enterprise Application & Business AI company powered by our leading platform.”

These initiatives reflect SAP’s ongoing commitment to innovation, sustainability and customer-centric solutions reinforcing their mission of helping the world run better and improving people’s lives.

Towards a Kinder, Safer and Sustainable World

Sandrine expresses, “Professionally, I aspire to harness SAP’s data influence to foster a more sustainable and inclusive world. My mission is to always put people and customers at its center, envisioning SAP’s AI technology making a tangible difference in people’s lives, leveraging our data to develop ethical algorithms.”

She adds, “Our main goal for the near future is becoming the undisputed leader in business AI.”

Sandrine shares, “On a personal level, my heart is set on leaving a world for my children that’s safer, kinder and more sustainable. I want to protect them and equip them with the resources to make a positive impact.” “Empower yourself and others with kindness, effort and grace,” Sandrine quotes Oprah Winfrey, encapsulating her personal ethos.

Dream Boldly, Achieve Greatness

Have a clear vision of your dreams and fiercely fight for them,” urges Sandrine. “Your journey is yours to create, so don’t let anyone dictate what you can or cannot achieve.” “Dream big and refuse to be limited by others’ expectations,” she advises. “While seeking advice from others is valuable, always stay true to your own vision.” “Give your all to your aspirations, leaving no room for regrets,” Sandrine concludes.