Biolumina’s anti-cancer focus connects people with a shared commitment, drives engagement, deepens a sense of meaning and increases feelings of reward in the work. During November’s sponsored podcast, Kirsten Kantak, president and CEO of Biolumina, spoke about the power of a singular focus and a commitment to purpose with Larry Dobrow, editor-in-chief of MM+M.

Narrowing the focus

Biolumina, which opened its doors in 2008 as a specialty shop focused mostly on oncology but included other fields as well, relaunched under the new executive leadership of Kantak with a growth trajectory in 2015 by rebranding around oncology, solely.

“I think most people in the industry thought we were crazy,” Kantak laughed, adding, “Most people assumed we were limiting our growth by focusing on just one disease state. The feedback I’ve heard internally is that our employees and clients appreciate the focus. They’re excited about it. The people that choose to work at an all-oncology agency are either really into the science or have a strong personal reason for wanting to work there.”

For Kantak, whose father passed away from cancer when she was a child, a personal connection to the space was evident from the get-go. Intellectually, the explosion of science taking place in oncology taps into her passion for the intellectual side as well.

“For many of us, the work we do as an agency is our way to give back,” noted Kantak. “It’s about making sure that clinicians and people with cancer and their loved ones have the necessary information to make the best decisions.”

Passion for purpose

According to McKinsey, about 70% of people say they define their purpose through their work and that people who feel purposeful in their work report higher job satisfaction.

“This is one of the reasons we really focus on the purpose of what we do,” said Kantak. “I believe what we do has the potential to make changes in our tiny corner of the universe and within the disease states that we work on. Anecdotally, when I sit in on meetings and client presentations, I see this really connected, passionate, brilliant group of people doing work that is quite remarkable, changing how decisions are being made by clinicians, patients and loved ones, and it’s making a big difference.”

Oncology is a tough field and interfacing effectively with clients with understandably high expectations demands being at the forefront of the industry’s innovations, including content creation, marketing strategy, patient-focused communications and execution.

“Our goal is to create a partnership with our clients and for them to think of us as partners rather than vendors,” said Kantak. “They look to us and value our focus in oncology and our expertise and yes, they hold us to high expectations, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We want to make sure that we’re doing the best work for these important brands.”

The anti-cancer agency

Describing themselves as “the anti-cancer agency,” a sort of rallying cry for Biolumina, is an organization that envisions substantial, sustainable growth ahead.

“We’re excited about continuing to partner with our clients to bring important new treatment options to the oncology community,” said Kantak. “We are also continuing to focus on the culture of the agency, ensuring everyone feels fulfilled and satisfied with the work they do and that they’re in a supportive, inclusive environment that encourages them to grow and accomplish what they want to accomplish.”

As the organization continues to deliver on making sure that every element of its work is as innovative and meaningful as the products they work on, Kantak noted that “over the last year and a half, we’ve really expanded our offerings from an omnichannel perspective, building out the whole customer experience and our digital capabilities as an agency. A year from now, we will be continuing to grow, do great work and staying true to who we are as an organization and as a group of people.”