During the 2022 CEO Summit that took place in New York on March 2022, Brian Sullivan, “Worldwide Exchange” Anchor and Senior National Correspondent, CNBC discussed with Danny Meyer, Founder and CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group and Sally Susman, Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Pfizer, about the current pandemic and how it has affected and continues to affect business and everyday life.
Sally Susman told the story of when the vaccine was perfected and was ready for distribution, “our scientists came on the phone and they said, we have good news. And those simple words, they still give me a chill today”. The Pfizer team had worked hard and was filled with joy, knowing their efforts and struggles had brought about this positive news.
“We are a better company, and we are a better community of people. I think because of this, because it really has distilled what matters and what doesn’t”. That is how Danny Meyer expressed his battle with COVID. As a company it was very hard to find a balance between what is good for the business and what you must do for your people. But he managed to navigate these trying times and he sees a brighter future for all.
Sally Susman agrees and believes that having created a vaccine in 8 months instead of 8-10 years is going to be the new norm. The way this was handled has shed light into reality and how we decide what is really important and what matters most. “I believe that the future of medicine is transformed, the way in which we conduct clinical trials, the speed and energy and urgency that we bring to our work. All of these things, you know, it took this crisis to make it happen”.
The innovation with which COVID was fought will be there for other diseases too, it has paved the way for new science advancements. As Sally Susman said she did not expect to see such big percentages of hesitancy in the vaccine and in medicine, she went to Pfizer to try and change the way people view medical advancements and huge corporations like Pfizer.
Danny Meyer mentioned the use of masks and how that has affected the way people in his restaurants work. He says it is very difficult as a server to feel you are being intimate and helpful and cheerful to your customers if you are behind a mask. He did however say that he feels confident and safe that all his employees are vaccinated and wear masks and when Sally Susman gives him the okay, he will be glad to remove them.
They ended the discussion on a positive note, with the hope that things will get better and there will be a future where people are not so divided on masks and vaccines. The advancements on medicine are helping people and hopefully this pandemic will bring us together and will be the measure of comparison for all future similar crises.