Learning moments in a career can be successes and failures. It’s what a leader does after that really matters. Knowledge Is Power goes one-on-one with leaders in different industries to uncover these experiences. Host Brandon Pfluger spoke with Jessica Pantages, Chief Communication Officer at NSF International, developer of public health standards and certification programs that help protect the world’s food, water, and environment.

Pantages has spent over two decades building a career in PR and communications. She shared her journey and key insights, starting with what makes her a good leader. “The experiences I’ve had made who I am. I’ve also had a career in several broad industries, which allowed me to be well-rounded. I’ve also never been scared to take chances in my career,” she said.

Pantages began a career in PR after diverting from journalism. She was working toward that goal in college when a chance to shadow a broadcast journalist. The story involved being at the scene of a shooting where she watched the journalist go up to a grieving mother and ask her how she felt. “It bothered me, and I wasn’t sure it was me. It had me rethinking my career,” she explained.

She then found PR, starting before the age of digital everything, creating clip books for companies. She continued to grow and learn, leading to leadership positions in several companies. “There have been learning moments good and bad, and I’ve had hard decisions to make, especially letting someone go. I have great empathy toward that person because I’ve been in that position,” Pantages added.

She counts a great peer group of other CCOs as an excellent sounding board. The other most important voices are those of her team, wanting to know what motivates them and where they want to go with their career.

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