MMM Hall of Femme

Hilary Gentile

EVP and chief strategy officer for North America | McCann Health

What would you be if you didn't work in healthcare?

A psychologist. In my current job I deal with psychology on a societal level. As a psychologist I would be dealing with psychology on an individual level. The insight of how people approach problems in their personal lives is fascinating, especially in contrast to my current responsibilities.

Talk about the last time you experienced a truly fist-pumping victory moment.

My family is so important to me as I know they make me a better person. My victories are helping my kids navigate peer pressure, deal with defeat, and truly enjoy every moment.

What are your words to live by?

Honor. Trust. Trust is the foundation and gateway to productive relationships. It seems so simple, but I've realized that trust drives everything. To be successful you have to connect with people, which requires building trust.

Face challenges head on. What's the worst that can happen? Failing? How you fail is the real question. Failure is a first attempt at learning. You can't get to a solution unless you fail. I've learned that it's necessary to fail sometimes in order to learn, that learning leads you to success.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

Vulnerability is your friend. It's OK to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is human and it opens connections with people. Connecting with people is not about being powerful or pretentious. It's about being authentic and curious. Curiosity is an indispensable asset. As humans, we're often too quick to judge people.

What is one thing you would tell young women starting their careers in healthcare marketing?

Don't be afraid to embrace the attributes of womanhood that you will bring to your career. Don't feel that success in a “man's world” means that you need to approach your career from a non-feminine perspective. Your feminine attributes like empathy, insight, and compassion are strengths that you bring to every situation in both business and life.

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