Courage is the ability to act in the face of fear, danger, or uncertainty. It involves standing up for what one believes in, even if it involves risks or sacrifices. Courage requires a willingness to confront challenges and overcome obstacles, often by taking decisive action.

Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Chase, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at SAS.

Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Chase leads the company’s data-driven marketing strategy for global brand awareness, demand generation and customer engagement. She is responsible for brand strategy and activation, product and industry marketing, go-to-market teams, analyst relations, communications, creative, paid media, digital marketing, events, customer contact centers and executive briefing centers. Her 20-year journey at SAS spans both marketing and R&D. And her hands-on experience using SAS technology shaped her belief that carefully curated data, intelligently applied analytics and curious minds drive the best customer experiences.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?

I have been at SAS for 23 years!! I have grown up here and that is an unusual longevity story in today’s day and age. The reason behind my long tenure is because SAS has always invested in me. I have had the opportunity to spend time in every part of this organization and that has given me a unique and in-depth understanding of our value chain and what it means to our customers. This really speaks to SAS’ unique culture and its commitment to its employees: the company recognizes employees as its most valuable assets and works hard to provide them with a supportive, inclusive, and rewarding workplace. And that is why I am equally loyal to SAS.

I would characterize my career journey as more jungle gym than corporate ladder…I often veered sideways to gain knowledge so that I could continue growing. I have learned the most on these horizontal moves, and those experiences put me on track to continue growing and eventually moving up.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

SAS is a global company, operating in more than 140 countries. This has given me the opportunity to work with global colleagues and get to know diverse cultures all over the world. I love this aspect of my job.

In my CMO role I also have the thrill of selecting speakers to keynote at our flagship events like SAS Innovate and SAS Explore. Magic Johnson, Adam Grant, “Sully” Sullenberger, Reshma Soujani and so many more great minds have graced our events with inspirational stories. What I am always fascinated by is how each of their stories has a connection to the work we do here at SAS around data, analytics and decision making. It is a reminder that we solve some of the world’s toughest problems and empower businesses to make better decisions across all industries. That could be a bank detecting fraud or a hospital using computer vision for early cancer detection. Some of my favorite quotes from these keynotes:

Hero Pilot Sully Sullenberger: “You can’t use data if you don’t understand it, and we have to understand that the purpose of science is to provide humankind with a more complete and accurate understanding of reality.”

Reshma Saujani of Girls Who Code: “Equipping women with computer science knowledge could be the solution to our problem, but we have to help women believe from the earliest stages of life that it’s possible,” said Saujani. “That means encouraging young girls to be as curious as they are polite, and as messy as they are pretty. We must help our girls see that coding is as simple as telling a computer what to do.”

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

SAS is the leader in analytics. Its world-renowned culture remains committed to employees. And as a trusted business partner, SAS is devoted to its customers.

This focus on our customers and meeting their needs is such a part of SAS’ DNA that I will share a great customer story that parallels the SAS story.

Lockheed Martin’s Hercules C-130 aircraft has been around for decades and has been continually reinvented to meet changing customer needs. The four-engine turboprop started as a troop transport in the 1950s. It now is used by 22 nations to fly into hurricanes for weather data, land on short runways to bring relief supplies, perform aerial firefighting and refueling, carry out long-range search-and-rescue, and support military operations.

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) relies on SAS IoT analytics and machine learning to power predictive maintenance and keep the Hercules mission ready. Lockheed uses SAS to analyze data from more than 600 sensors on each C-130 — generating 3GB every hour.

Like the Hercules, SAS and its technology have been delivering for decades, while also being continually reinvented to meet evolving customer needs. SAS® Viya®, SAS’ cloud-native, massively parallel analytics and AI platform is just the latest in a long line of powerful technologies that help organizations transform data into better, faster decisions. And for Lockheed, better, faster and more reliable airplanes.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

Nelle Schantz, a former SAS colleague whom I worked for and with whom I shared a strong bond. She always nurtured and pushed me to do things that I did not believe I could do.

Former SAS CMO Randy Guard placed a bet on me, putting a non-technical person in a role surrounded by technical people. He encouraged me, saying “I need a business mindset. I want you in this role because you are different.” This allowed me to be myself. Frankly, at that time Randy had more confidence in me than I had in myself.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

SAS is the leader in analytics, including advanced analytics like AI and machine learning. For nearly 50 years, SAS has helped organizations across industries to transform data into better business decisions. Yet this goal was challenged by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic and its related economic disruption, which adversely affected organizations everywhere.

The word “resiliency” has become ubiquitous over the last year, as companies and government agencies seek that elusive “new normal.” But how are these organizations doing? Are they resilient? What are the key drivers of a resilient organization? And how can all companies emulate the most resilient ones to rebound and grow?

The SAS Resiliency Rules Report is based on surveys of more than 2,400 executives globally. It reveals the importance of resiliency for these executives, and the gap between their resiliency goals and current efforts.

The report also shares five key areas — the Resiliency Rules — for achieving greater resiliency. By fostering and embracing Curiosity, Data Culture & Literacy, Equity & Responsibility, Innovation, and Speed & Agility, organizations can become more resilient. And better respond to today’s disruptions while preparing for tomorrows.

Of course, as an AI and analytics company, SAS feels strongly that technology can play a key role in achieving resiliency. And the Report supports this notion. More than 90% of executives surveyed believe data and analytics are critical for implementing the Resiliency Rules. But many challenges fostering the right skillsets among their workforce, a shortage of access to data scientists, and overall data overload.

Together, advanced analytics and the Resiliency Rules give companies a roadmap to meet these challenges and achieve greater resiliency. And to be ready for more economic uncertainty, continuing supply-chain disruptions, extreme weather, political instability, and other hurdles.

Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different from resilience?

Courage and resilience are often linked because they both involve facing challenges and overcoming adversity. However, there are some key differences between the two concepts.

Courage is the ability to act in the face of fear, danger, or uncertainty. It involves standing up for what one believes in, even if it involves risks or sacrifices. Courage requires a willingness to confront challenges and overcome obstacles, often by taking decisive action.

Resilience, on the other hand, is the ability to bounce back from adversity or setbacks. It involves adapting to change and recovering from difficult experiences, rather than simply facing them head-on. Resilience requires a combination of mental and emotional toughness, flexibility, and a willingness to seek support when needed. While both are important, resilience has really become critical, dare I say an important buzz word, as we live through unprecedented change and disruption. Our recent study on resiliency showed that when it comes to business resiliency, one in two executives signal lags in resiliency planning and strategy and admit they’re not fully equipped to face disruption. But it’s not all doom and gloom — executives are investing in business resiliency and are confident about closing the Resiliency Gap. Nearly all executives agreed that data and analytics plays an important role here but many struggle to gain the right insights because of the challenges involved with fostering the right skillsets among their workforce.

When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?

Without question, I immediately think of Dr. Jim Goodnight, the co-founder, and CEO of SAS.

Dr. Goodnight has led SAS for over 45 years, steering the company through various economic cycles and technological changes. He has consistently maintained a long-term focus on the company’s growth and profitability, even during times of uncertainty or difficulty.

Under Dr. Goodnight’s leadership, SAS has evolved from a statistical software company to a leading provider of advanced analytics and AI solutions. He has demonstrated a willingness to embrace new technologies and business models, keeping SAS at the forefront of innovation.

Dr. Goodnight has fostered a strong culture of employee empowerment and engagement at SAS. He has consistently invested in employee development, workplace flexibility, and work-life balance, leading to high levels of employee satisfaction and loyalty.

Dr. Goodnight has shown a commitment to social responsibility through his philanthropic efforts, various data for good projects and a commitment to educational resources to teachers and students around the world.

Overall, Dr. Goodnight’s endurance, adaptability, employee engagement, and social responsibility demonstrate his resilience as a leader and his ability to lead SAS through challenges and uncertainties while maintaining its long-term success.

How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?

My experience as a figure skater. This taught me early on that falling was not a failure. My skating coach used to tell me that if I was not falling, I was not trying hard enough. This taught me an important life lesson that failing is an opportunity to learn and improve and I certainly carry that thinking with me today.

Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.

We’ve identified five principles organizations need to follow to adapt and keep pace with, or even outpace, market changes: speed and agility, innovation, equity and responsibility, data culture and literacy, and curiosity. We call these principles the Resiliency Rules.

Our research shows that each one of the Resiliency Rules plays an essential role in helping companies drive business resiliency. And highly resilient executives consider each rule very important to their business. Companies should ensure they are prioritizing addressing these principles as part of their resiliency planning and strategy. Learn all about the study here and take the assessment tool to see how your organization fares.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Society and business will be better when there are more women in both STEM and leadership roles.

And one of the biggest trends in STEM today is artificial intelligence. AI offers tremendous potential to provide great benefits to society. However, if AI is not developed with equity and fairness, we can unintentionally do more harm than good, particularly to already marginalized or underserved communities.

Bringing in more and diverse perspectives as we continue to develop AI technologies is a big plus. So too is involving more women in STEM fields like AI.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

I’ve always admired the Obamas. I appreciate their genuine love and commitment to each other, the partnership they have, what each sacrificed for the other, and their work to make this a better world for all. The former President and First Lady would make a fantastic brunch date. And we need not talk any politics!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Check out our Resiliency Rules research here, I contribute blogs here like my latest post: 5 rules to make your organization more resilient. Follow me on LinkedIn.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.