What have been your major pandemic takeaways?
I found myself thinking about the interconnectedness of people. You’re so used to seeing your colleagues in the office every day and having those sidebar conversations, and we’re all still figuring out how to do that in the new world. Also, I got a pandemic puppy and let me tell you — it’s definitely different having a dog in your life all the time.
Why did you get into this industry?
Like most people, I kind of fell into it. I knew I wanted to do something healthcare-related and was one of two entering freshmen in my college class to go into healthcare administration. A recruiter looking for payer experience eventually found me and I interviewed at Euro RSCG in the Chelsea Market building — and the guy I interviewed with went to the same college I did. The choice was wearing shorts and flip-flops in a creative office or wearing a suit and traveling every week for a consulting job. It all worked out for the best.
What was your “eureka!” moment?
When I was at Euro, we were burning the candle at both ends — sometimes you’d work until 3 or 4 in the morning. But when I got involved in the business-development aspect of the job, it was eye-opening. It allowed me to combine creative thinking with my entrepreneurial side.
Did you ever consider other professions?
Not really. Sometimes you feel like “same shit, different agency,” so at some point I looked into moving over to the client side. The agency side may be a different beast, but there are a lot of things you sometimes don’t get in pharma: varied backgrounds, different personalities and different creative approaches, versus some of the stricter approaches of pharma. I don’t want to say “buttoned-up”; it’s just different.
What are the essential items on your work station?
Anybody who knows me knows I typically have Dunkin’ iced coffee in my hand or by my side. I always have a to-do list, even though sometimes the things on it don’t get done. I’m always listening to music while I’m working — either alternative rock or beach music, such as Jack Johnson.
What’s something about you colleagues don’t know?
At a couple of different agencies over the years, we’ve done improv as part of team-building exercises. Every time I’ve done it, I’ve really enjoyed it. But doing it for real? Nah, not really (laughs).
What’s something about working in payer marketing that people outside the space don’t know?
That payers are consumers as well. People think payer [marketing] is boring and dry, that it’s all data and numbers and cost information. The reality is that we need to make sure we’re developing engaging strategies and compelling creative. It’s not just about presenting the facts.
What do you want to do when you retire?
You want to take everything you’ve learned and not let it go to waste, right? I just got back from a trip to France with a bunch of my friends. We talked about wanting to retire early and spend time traveling and sailing around the Caribbean or Mediterranean, but somehow stay active. That could be some sort of water-based activities or a startup organization where we’re looking to improve access to healthcare. I want to give back to some of the communities I’ve been around.