Becoming a Subject Matter Expert

If you’re interested in becoming known as a subject matter expert, take some lessons from Mark Pew, Senior Vice President of PRIUM, who is profiled in this Thursday ThoughtLeader piece. Mark is a prolific speaker (392 presentations between March 2012 and January 2017) and regular media source on issues involving workers’ compensation, pharmacy management and chronic pain. He was interviewed for more than 35 articles in 2016 alone, he also writes articles for industry publications and he regularly posts original content on LinkedIn and Twitter @RxProfessor. 

I’ve worked with PRIUM since early 2012 and been in a great position to watch Mark grow in his role as “Chief Educator.” The profile lays out his journey; I’ll just note a few of Mark’s characteristics that contribute to his success as a subject matter expert for conferences and journalists. (Obviously, the first and most important step is the expert part. Mark studied the workers’ compensation industry’s pharmacy issues and developed PRIUM’s services long before hitting the speaking circuit.)

  • Makes media relations a priority.  Mark will jump through hoops to research material to prepare for an interview and meet reporters’ (often short) deadlines. After interviews, he often sends the reporters links to relevant studies, reports and other articles.
  • Dedication. I can’t count the number of times he’s spoken in California one day and on the East Coast the next.
  • Accurate and Thorough. Mark explains complicated concepts clearly and thoroughly, gaining him appreciation from journalists and high ratings from conference attendees.
  • Constantly Learning. He is always reading, talking with clinicians, state regulators and legislators and other experts.
  • Open to feedback. Mark soaks up every drop of advice on working with the media and article writing – and follows it.
  • Disciplined message. Mark came up with the concept of the RxProfessor and his original posts and presentations focus on the intersection of chronic pain and appropriate treatment. He does not deviate from the core message so when people see his name they know what to expect.
  • Driven to do the right thing.  Mark definitely wants to do the right thing for PRIUM’s clients and while pursuing that goal, he has developed empathy for injured employees who struggle with the workers’ comp system, people who suffer from chronic pain, and people who have become dependent on or addicted to opioids and other drugs. While working to correct inappropriate drug regimens, he became passionate about facilitating lifelong recovery.

Another thing that made Mark’s a subject matter expertise possible is the support of his company.  PRIUM’s president Michael Gavin is a big believer in the power of education and public relations. When Mark started speaking and writing, he was still in charge of the company’s sales and marketing. Michael absorbed these responsibilities so that Mark could focus totally on education and advocacy. 

Take a few minutes and read this article and check out Mark’s posts on LinkedIn and Twitter.  Do you have what it takes to be a subject matter expert? Let me know if I can help.