Wunderman Thompson Health New York has scored a major victory in the ongoing battle for A-list talent, snaring multicultural marketing communications specialist Wallye Holloway from TBWA\WorldHealth to serve as managing director.

Holloway brings with her a wealth of expertise in oncology and rare disease, two potential growth areas for the agency in the years ahead. She has been charged with bolstering the company’s biopharma business, according to Wunderman Thompson Health CEO Becky Chidester.

“The biopharmaceutical industry is going through a tremendous amount of change. The product mix is shifting dramatically, with an emphasis around oncology and rare disease,” Chidester said. “Wallye has deep credentials in those high-science areas that will help us make sure we are fully realizing the potential of the agency, as well as fully supporting our clients in those areas.”

Holloway said she’s particularly excited about the large amount of change and innovation currently occurring in the space, not to mention the myriad ways marketers can use that to build stronger brands.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for agencies to partner and to think about where to go next, and to figure out how we take those brands to the next level,” Holloway explained. “How do we create leader brands and work that make sure our HCPs and patients are benefiting from all the science that pharma companies are bringing to the forefront?”

Holloway will also play a role in bolstering Wunderman Thompson Health’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Last year, the agency established a health equity practice, which has worked with clients on their own DE&I efforts.

During Holloway’s time at CDM New York, she helped establish CultureVu, a multicultural marketing offering that highlighted disparities, disease incidence and treatment opportunities for minority patients. Holloway was also a co-founder of #BlackHealthNow, a platform that aims to raise awareness about healthcare disparities among underserved communities.

“It’s definitely a passion area for me,” Holloway said. “Internally, making sure that an organization has an environment that is inclusive, equitable and diverse is really important to me. Part of the work I’ve been doing recently has focused on that, and I look forward to doing more of it here.”

Holloway added that the equity push will extend beyond internal changes and into the client realm.

“What we’re seeing across the board is clients asking us what to do and how to impact change,” she said. “They’re asking, ‘How do we make sure that we can close the healthcare disparity gap?’ Pharma can’t solve all the problems, but there is a role they have to play.”

Holloway will also spearhead initiatives around digital transformation, the use of data to drive personal experiences and designing experiences around unmet needs.

“One of the things we have made a commitment to at Wunderman Thompson Health is breaking inertia,” Chidester said. “We know that requires content and communication to be personally motivating. So that goes back to the need to make sure we’re using data, technology and customer experience to design those experiences around individuals.”

Holloway said she is looking forward to applying lessons learned during the pandemic, especially given its effect on perceptions around health, wellness and safety.

“It’s going to be important that we understand deeply the way that people are going to want to experience healthcare moving forward,” she explained. “Some things that come out of this are going to impact how people want to be spoken to and heard, and brands are going to have a clear role when it comes to patients and healthcare professionals. For health and wellness, what does this new world mean? And how can we help our clients navigate it?”