Lighter Moments

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Michael Agard • Sanofi-Aventis US I was traveling for business in Paris with some colleagues. I had arranged a wake-up call with the hotel. My colleagues called about 1 a.m. to tell me about plans for the following day. Instead of listening to their phone call, I thought it was the wake-up call and just picked up the phone and hung up. I got out of bed, showered, and got dressed before realizing it was the middle of the night. Dr. Johanna Allston • bioCapture I was traveling from Vilnius, ­Lithuania, with a young male ­colleague. At the airport check-in, I was told that my carry-on bag was too heavy. My colleague’s bag was well below the limit, so I removed some high-heeled shoes and several other heavy items from my bag and put them into his. When we returned to London, we forgot to put our luggage back in order before going to our respective homes. Needless to say, his wife was not amused when he unpacked! Dr. Vicente Anido Jr. • ISTA ­Pharmaceuticals During the early days of ISTA, Tom Mitro, VP of sales and marketing, Lauren Silvernail, CFO, and I were on a roadshow to raise money for the company. We were gone for two weeks visiting seven to 10 investors per day. This was Lauren’s first outing so she was very excited. Toward the end of the first week Lauren was still excited — Tom and I were not. So to entertain ourselves we started hiding things — silverware, salt and pepper shakers, etc. — in Lauren’s very large handbag. After a day or so, she was ­complaining about how heavy it was getting. We finally told her what we had done just before she went through security at Logan Airport in Boston. Mohan Bangalore • Pfizer As some of the readers know, Wyeth and GSK are next to one another in Collegeville, Pa. After resigning from GSK, I had decided to join Wyeth. After exiting GSK on a Friday evening, the next Monday morning I drove straight to GSK building. I realized later that I was not a GSK employee anymore, and I was in the wrong building! Glenn Bilawsky • i3 Years ago, an employee had to have a coronary catheterization. When he returned to work, a mixed group of male and female employees ­questioned him about his ­procedure. He commented — they were all ­medical professionals — and then proceeded to drop his pants in the office to show them the catheter insertion site near his groin. It’s the most unique human resource case I have ever had to address. Jay Bolling • Roska Healthcare ­Advertising As a 25-year-old account executive, I was convinced I could influence a VP of marketing of a large ­packaged goods company to ­partner with our client’s Rx brand in a co-promotion effort. Having already been told no on the phone, I persisted by paying him a ­personal visit at his office in Manhattan (in a beautiful office overlooking Central Park). In ­addition to it being one of the shortest meetings on record (less than five minutes), I was so ­nervous, and was sweating so profusely, that I was asked if I was feeling all right and needed to lie down. While funny didn’t come to mind at the time, I can only look back upon it and laugh out loud. Richard Branton • Merck I forgot my shoes on a business trip to Brussels; I had arrived on a ­Sunday evening and all stores were closed. The next day I had to make my presentation wearing flip-flops. Brendan Buckley • Firecrest Clinical My colleagues submitted a picture to PharmaVOICE of me halfway up a sailboat mast in shorts. Jamie Cobb • MicroMass ­Communications On a photo shoot in Alaska with some clients, we ran into Robin Williams at a local restaurant. He was shooting a movie on location in the same small town. When we introduced ourselves to him, he broke into a spontaneous stand-up routine that spared no one. It was perhaps the most intense 45 seconds of funny I have ever experienced in person. Nick Colucci • Publicis Healthcare ­Communications Group When I was a pharma rep in Buffalo, N.Y., I took a key opinion leader physician who spoke with some of my local physicians to Niagara Falls because he had never seen it. I ­forgot that I crossed the Canadian border with drug samples in the trunk of my car. Let’s just say that getting back was difficult after being strip-searched and interrogated for hours! Not funny at the time…but real funny as I look back! Joanne Duckman • Torre Lazur McCann I had a freelancer show up at work in a mesh shirt with a see-through bra on underneath it. I found that quite funny, although I am not sure she did when I asked her to go home and change. Dr. Deborah Dunsire • Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company The airline lost my luggage as I arrived in Japan for meetings with nine different companies. I had two hours to get to the stores in Tokyo to buy a new outfit (top to toe) and found I was in the giant category — most of the large sizes were equivalent to a U.S. size 0! I also found out how expensive department stores can really be! Leslie Gaber • Leslie Gaber Associates Every time I attend a medical ­convention there is always someone who sees my name tag and says “I didn’t know there really was a Leslie Gaber.” Steve Hamburg • Wishbone I was creating a new TV campaign for a product called 2000 Flushes — I kid you not. In order to learn more about the product, I visited the company lab, which was a stadium-sized room containing nothing but toilets. It was quite a visual. Rick Keefer • Publicis Touchpoint ­Solutions As a new pharmaceutical ­representative for A.H. Robins, fresh from training and decked out in my new shoes and suit, I was making my first visit to the state mental health hospital. The physicians I needed to see were in the locked wards treating the patients, and I had to go through several security points to gain access. On my first visit to the severely ill unit I was required to use a code to operate a secure elevator to access the top floor. When I entered the elevator, a female patient followed me in. The elevator was almost to the top floor when she suddenly lifted her skirt and urinated all over my brand new shoes. The door opened, she exited without a look back, and I was left with wet and somewhat odorous shoes but I still made the call to the physician. Needless to say, I never got on the elevator with a patient again. Jeff Kozloff • Verilogue When traveling with colleagues to a qualitative research meeting on the West Coast, a D-list celebrity/rapper thought he and I were long-lost friends from the LA party scene. We exchanged phone numbers, but I haven’t heard from him since. Vijai Kumar • Excel Life Sciences I took my usual Halcion, a sleeping pill, as I boarded a plane for a long flight. When the aircraft developed a technical snag, I was so sound asleep that I had to be carried to the lounge. Robert Likoff • Group DCA After complaining for years to my boss that he paid me “peanuts,” he sent me a 100-pound sack of peanuts after a successful launch meeting. Craig Lipset • Pfizer I was recently riding the Acela from Washington, D.C., back to New York when a man approached and politely asked if I would not mind changing seats. He was traveling with a group that wanted to sit together, and I noted that one in his party happened to be the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. There were other empty seats in the next row, and as I ­gathered my bag I smiled and asked the ­gentleman “are there any perks that come with giving up a seat for the Chairman of the Fed?” I then realized that Chairman Ben Bernanke was standing behind this man, who stepped forward and answered: “There are no perks that come with my job.” Margaret Long • Astellas Pharma I was introduced to the New York Assembly Republican Caucus as Margaret Short. I am 5 ft. 1 in. with the last name Long. Dr. Michael Marcarelli • FDA I met a high school friend that I had not seen in 25 years across the table at an FDA regulatory meeting. Marcee Nelson • Pink Tank We were shooting Oscar Mayer’s first Super Bowl commercial, and we almost sunk the Wienermobile. David Ormesher • closerlook Back in 2000, when we had outside investors, we dressed our staff in gospel choir robes, wrote our ­quarterly report to the tune of “Oh Happy Day,” and marched into the investor’s conference singing our financial update. No surprise, we were the most ­memorable portfolio company. Vincent Parry • Y Brand I was working on the opening sales meeting sketch for the launch of a new indication for Zestril. My ­partner, Joe Paumi, and I wrote the script based on the movie Back to the Future. The VP of marketing and the brand director were supposed to pop out of a DeLorean and talk about how it was going to be like going back to the future based on Zestril’s successful ­initial launch. Several days before the show, the meeting planner snagged Paul Anka, and we were told we now had to work in a segue to him. So we changed the last lines of the marketers’ ­dialogue to the unfathomably stupid: “It’s just like having a new baby, isn’t it? And speaking of ­Having My Baby, ladies and gentlemen, Paul Anka.” Robert Paull • Lux Capital Management A Hollywood TV producer called my venture capital firm asking if we wanted to be involved in a reality TV show. We politely declined. Robert Piwko • C3i Many years ago, I went to a formal presentation at a client wearing one black shoe and one brown shoe. I didn’t realize it until we were ­walking in the door to the client. The jokes from my colleagues continued for years. Dr. Ahnal Purohit • Purohit Navigation A colleague and I endured 18 hours of plane delays, cancellations, and alternative routing while traveling to a new business presentation, ­ultimately having to give the ­presentation via WebEx from an airport lounge! Dr. James Pusey • Omnicare Clinical Research I walked up the red carpet with a Hollywood actress at a Los Angeles star-studded medical research fundraiser and was called “the tall guy” by the paparazzi. Bruce Rooke • GSW ­Worldwide A client fell half-asleep during a ­television storyboard presentation and then told me it would make good radio. Dr. Una Ryan • Diagnostics for All I’ve become a spokesperson for ­diarrhea (diarrheal disease). Joe Shields • Pfizer Early in my career I was working on a video parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey and wore a gorilla suit for the opening scene. I couldn’t see very well and tripped over a box in the studio and injured my back. Since I worked at a chemical company that took employee safety very seriously, I had to file an OSHA report and explain in great detail how I hurt my back, gorilla suit and all. Brenda Snow • The Snow Companies I was going to make a speech to an audience of about 500 ­people and the audio crew was not paying as much attention as they should have. They neglected to render my ­lavaliere microphone “mute” after they wired me. Of course, I did not know this and suddenly ­realized that I should use the restroom before my 45-minute talk. So I ran to the bathroom but unfortunately for me, the entire audience heard! Luckily, I washed my hands! John Spitznagel • Oceana Therapeutics I gave the company’s presentation at a major investor conference and only one person attended. Dr. Hugo Stephenson •, a quintiles company I arrived in the United States directly from Australia and was ­complimented on how well I spoke English. Maryann Szabo • Roche I had two identical pairs of shoes in different colors that I packed for a business trip. As I stood in front of the room ­presenting someone raised their hand and asked why I was wearing a blue and brown shoe. I certainly made a lasting impression. Deborah Wood • DWA Healthcare ­Communications There is a theme every year for our awards program. Last year it was DWA Channel 15, a news broadcast. I was the topic of a few insider stories and was taped “undercover” ­smuggling my dogs into the building, stealing food from the employee fridge, etc. F

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