What would you do if you didn’t work in healthcare?
There are so many things that I would love to pursue outside the healthcare marketing field: I would love to teach a class as a visiting professor. I would love to write a book. I would love to run a nonprofit directed at education needs for learning disabled kids. I’m not interested in the concept of retirement so I look forward to exploring all of these other interesting paths as I move to the next stage in my life.
Can you give a shout-out to someone who helped you at a pivotal time in your career?
The person that helped me during a pivotal time in my career was Joe Torre, former CEO of McCann Torre Lazur. I was 31 and director of client services at a large U.S. agency. I was ready for a change and wanted to try something different in the industry. Joe had just sold his agency, Torre Lazur, to McCann and he needed a head of the worldwide network of agencies. It was a dream job and Joe took a huge risk putting me in that position. He overcame resistance from the parent company to hire someone so young. It ended up a tremendous success — we grew from 17 agencies to 51 companies over a five-year period. Joe took a chance on me and I will never forget that.
Work to live, or live to work?
I fall somewhere in the middle. My family and our life together has always come first for me so from that perspective you could say that I work to live. But I love our industry and feel passionate about the work that we do to improve patients’ lives so there are many aspects of running an agency that don’t feel like work. I also have a unique situation because my husband is my business partner and we own our own agency so it’s very personal — our agency is really our work family.
Share a moment when you left your comfort zone; what did you learn?
I had my first child at 34 while working for McCann. As you would expect, the experience of running a group of companies and having a newborn was daunting. Before being a mom, I was all in on work — I did 14 trips to Europe the first year of my network job! I knew that had to change and I needed to figure out how to work smarter and more efficiently without sacrificing quality. It was challenging on both fronts but I developed a new approach to my career defined by empowering others to lead that has sustained me for the past 20 years through three children and starting two agencies.
What do you find frustrating about working in healthcare marketing?
The most frustrating part of working is healthcare marketing is how misunderstood the industry is by the public. The pharma/biotech industry can sometimes be lumped in the same category with Tobacco or Wall Street. Yet there is so much profound positive impact that our industry has had on improving patient outcomes and overall mortality. If there is a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that the public perception of the value of our industry has improved dramatically.
What is one thing you would tell young women starting their careers in healthcare marketing?
The one thing that I share with the young women who have worked for me is to “define your own ‘all’.” There’s so much noise about how you can’t have it all or here’s how to have it all. But the critical aspect for young women is to understand that you need to start by defining what “all” means to you in the context of your life. And don’t be pressured to accept someone else’s definition. This will be dramatically different for every woman.
My favorite song of all time is “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen. When I was a senior in high school in 1983, my friends would sing the lyric to me “you ain’t a beauty but hey you’re alright” and change the words to “you ain’t a Judy but hey you’re alright.” So it sort of became my theme song!
Which three people, alive or dead, would you like to host at a dinner party and why?
Saint Francis of Assisi. Because I try to live my life by the prayer of St. Francis — it is in understanding that we are understood. Audrey Hepburn. Because she defined my personal sense of style. Peyton Manning. Because he brought strategy to football in a way never done before.