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Effective marketing in today’s highly complex healthcare arena needs to address myriad stakeholders, and these marketing vanguards understand not only the channels but the patient populations to be successful.
Raising the bar… by thinking creatively and nimbly
Title: Senior Director, Oncology Digital Marketing & Customer Experience
Industry Awards: Top 40 Healthcare Transformers, Medical Marketing & Media, 2018; 25 Pharma Marketing Influencers to Follow – Synthesio, 2017; PM360 Elite Award Winner Disrupter Category, 2016; Ragan’s PR Daily Social Media Award Winner Best Use of Social Media in Healthcare for Student Stories blogs: 2013; Social Media Leadership Award Winner, Entrepreneurship Category for Student Stories blogs, 2013
Company Awards: AstraZeneca US President’s Award Winner in “We Put Patients First” category for AZhelps program, 2015
Community Awards: Miss Congeniality Award, Stonewall Sports Philadelphia, 2015
Associations: Philadelphia Youth Orchestra/PYO Music Institute Board of Trustees; Boston Gay Men’s Chorus Member; Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, Member & Social Media Director; Stonewall Sports Philadelphia
Often companies shy away from new or controversial strategies, but Ryan Billings has shown he’s not afraid to take risks when it comes to campaigns that benefit patients. He challenges the industry to re-think how to engage with patients in a mobile-first world and sets new standards for what is possible in social and digital marketing. At GSK, Ryan’s aim is to transform oncology digital marketing.
“We are challenging the internal status quo while harnessing the built-in infrastructure of a large company at the same time,” he says. “Patients inspire me every day, especially in oncology. At the end of the day, it’s why we do what we do. If we reach just one more patient, that’s incredible. The science behind oncology is rapidly evolving and changing, and that motivates me, too. It’s exciting to learn, and even more exciting and rewarding to bring that science to patients every day.”
While at AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Ryan rolled out a telemedicine capability for the women’s health franchise, a huge endeavor since there was little industry precedent. However, it was something patients expected. So, Ryan worked with various stakeholders to navigate what was unchartered territory.
“It took a total of 10 months from exploration to implementation, but it paid off as telemedicine became a top prescribing channel and set the standard for telemedicine partnerships across the industry,” he says. “It was also a huge win for women, who are often an underserved patient population, especially in the sexual health space.”
Before that at AstraZeneca, he helped launch the first branded Facebook community with open comments for a brand with extensive equity and affinity, and that was about to lose exclusivity.
“It was really the perfect storm for a brand to go on social media with open comments,” Ryan says. “It already had a community of patient ambassadors, and by opening comments we were able to bring them together. This also enabled us to hold a huge share of the market and maintain share of voice after loss of exclusivity.”
It was a highlight for Ryan for several reasons: first, it brought patients together and gave them a place to create community around a condition; second, it paved the way for other brands to successfully launch branded social media presences; and third, it propelled his career forward and gave him the confidence to take on multiple additional firsts.
With a passion for music in his spare time and a studio art minor during his undergraduate studies, Ryan describes himself as a creative soul. “In an industry that can often be stereotyped as a ‘sea of sameness’ when it comes to creative campaigns and approaches, I want people to remember the creative lens I’ve brought to the table to help change that,” he says.
Ryan inspires those around him with positivity and humor, and by being the first to offer support if someone is struggling. He is all about giving people an opportunity and letting people own a project from start to finish, while being there for support and guidance.
He’s excited to mentor others, saying someone invested in him once and he believes in paying it forward. Ryan helps others tackle challenges by referencing times he’s hit similar hurdles and how he came out the other side.
“My passion is figuring out how to do something that hasn’t been done before,” Ryan says. “My drive comes from problem-solving and implementing new, modern capabilities to meet our customers’ needs. (PV)
Paving New Paths
Raising the bar… by asking why there is even a bar to begin with
Title: Chief Marketing Officer
Industry Awards: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Luminary, 2017; Rising Star, 2011
Community Awards: Multi-time Spartan finisher
Associations: HBA; Edward Hopper House, board trustee; Double H Ranch, board trustee; Medical Advertising Hall of Fame, board member; Rutgers Design Thinking Advisory Board, member
Colleen Carter is no stranger to taking on evolving business needs. But COVID-19 has presented her with her most challenging assignment yet.
“I started overseeing the people and culture team at Fingerpaint this year just as COVID-19 hit,” Colleen says. “This additional oversight makes me not only responsible for revenue generation, but also employee well-being during a time when there is no pandemic playbook or best practices.
“However, when you strip it down, what remains is the issue of people,” she adds. “Data show the connection between positive employee well-being and revenue. When you put your people first, everything else will fall into place.”
As chief marketing officer of Fingerpaint, Colleen elevates brand awareness and drives new business. Her efforts were the catalyst for Fingerpaint’s 30 new business wins in 2019 and contributed to the agency’s $51.4 million in revenue.
“My biggest career highlight to date has not been a moment in time or specific achievement,” Colleen says. “It has been a philosophy and a willingness to learn, which has allowed me to pave my own path instead of climbing a traditional corporate ladder. It is a mindset defined by remaining comfortable when there is low control and low certainty, and it involves keeping an open mind with regard to the natural evolution of my career.”
Colleen notes her last three positions have been new roles created due to market evolution and customer need. “Paving these new paths certainly represents the high points for me,” she says.
Colleen is motivated by curiosity and the desire to make a difference in the world, one person at a time. “Going to work every day, especially in the health and wellness space, is exhilarating,” she says. “Asking the tough questions and interrogating the status quo to help move the needle in a new direction motivates me every day.”
As a leader, Colleen aspires to be authentic. “What’s so great about authenticity is it allows others to be comfortable enough to be their authentic selves as well,” she says. “I want to make sure my team is excited to show up to work every day, because they are continuously growing, learning, and achieving their goals. At the same time, I want them to develop an appreciation for knowing when to hit pause with their work and take time for themselves.”
When it comes to problem-solving, Colleen says you must first listen and deeply understand the challenge before you can take action. “Then, approach the situation with empathy, and decipher what is really important and what the best path forward should be, personalized to fit the particular condition,” she says.
As far as success goes, Colleen believes it has less to do with external factors and more to do with internal considerations. “For example, if I am able to find gratitude in the toughest of situations, or persevere despite failure, these are two personal goals that allow for a clear path toward success,” she says.
Colleen’s desire is to be surrounded by people with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. “This type of group dynamic helps me imagine new opportunities I may not have otherwise thought about,” she says.
Colleagues say Colleen’s passion for sharing what she has learned with others, especially women working to grow their careers, is yet another testament to her strong leadership. For her part, Colleen says being a mentor makes her a better thinker, listener, and leader.
“There is a misperception that the mentee is the only one learning, but I believe the mentor is getting just as much — if not more — out of the experience,” she says. “It’s an opportunity to learn more, hear another perspective, and gain more knowledge.
“It’s important for me to live my values, be honest, and treat others the way I would like to be treated,” she adds. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for those who helped me along the way. I want to pay it forward and help others achieve their goals.”
Colleen is committed to causes that provide assistance to the most vulnerable populations. For decades, she has been dedicated to the advancement and rehabilitation of incarcerated women across the East Coast, with a focus on workforce readmittance, mental health, and addiction.
“My actions impact those around me, both personally and professionally,” Colleen says. “I want to set a good example for my kids, family, friends, and colleagues.” (PV)
Raising the bar… one behavior at a time
Title: Senior VP, Brand Strategy
Industry Awards: MM&M Gold, Best TV advertising campaign (Mannkind Afrezza), 2018; PM360 PharmaChoice Award Gold, Best Print DTC/DTP campaign (Avanir Pharmaceuticals Onzetra), 2017; Trailblazers Gold Best DTC campaign (Exact Sciences, Cologuard), 2017; Trailblazers Silver Best Product/Service Launch (Avanir Pharmaceuticals Onzetra), 2017; MedAdNews Best Philanthropic Campaign/Heart Award (Lifebox, pro-bono work), 2016; Trailblazers Best Unbranded Campaign (Auxilium Pharmaceuticals AAtC), 2013
Company Awards: 2013 Beyonding Award
Associations: UCLA Alumni Association; Yonsei University Alumni Association
For the past 10 years, Kunsan Kim, senior VP, brand strategy, has led the teams at PRECISIONeffect to position and define brands based on his exceptional ability to combine insightful research and hard-nosed strategic analysis. He possesses a remarkable ability to synthesize a seemingly disconnected set of data into a smart, cohesive, and compelling story.
Kunsan says his greatest accomplishment is having introduced and instilled a specific strategic philosophy within PRECISION-effect. “We emphasize simplicity, actionability, and wisdom over intelligence because these are the traits you need when dealing with interpersonal relationships,” he says. “We are in the business of changing behaviors, so it’s crucial that we achieve alignment in terms of how we approach a strategy. Every single person at the agency, whether they are in Los Angeles, Boston, or London, can talk strategy and do it well. We have created proprietary products along the way that assist us in doing this, and our strategic culture has contributed to 20% year-over-year growth over the last five years.”
One innovation Kunsan is particularly proud of is the company’s proprietary FRONTview strategic mapping dashboard. “We are challenging the traditional advertising agency model that shies away from linking results to sales, and we’re developing tools that help our clients with more of their business goals,” he says.
Kunsan means “big mountain” in Korean, and colleagues say that definition captures the grounded calm he brings to a room, the intellectual heft he applies to a problem, and the soaring perspective that arrives when he leads the team to the summit.
Kunsan says he demands a lot out of his team, but he tries to equip them with everything they need to succeed. “The people I’m closest to, I have the most expectations of,” he says. “If I can get you to push yourself one extra step beyond your comfort level then I believe I will have helped you grow.
“The people I work with are amazing — colleagues and clients both,” he adds. “We’re all trying to make the world a bit better for patients, who are often in dire need of not only the treatments we can provide but an encouraging word or an empowering idea.”
Kunsan takes the current COVID-19 pandemic challenge, which has everyone trying to stay focused on keeping interpersonal communications focused, as well as any other demands on the business as they come. “Challenges always arise, and challenges always get resolved,” he says. “The results may not always be to our liking, but we will get through it and we’ll be stronger for it.”
Colleagues say Kunsan keeps everything in perspective, which is extremely important. “We’re trying to do something important in our industry, so we always want things to be perfect,” he says. “That said, I try not to allow myself to think in these terms. I try to keep the perspective of doing the best you can on this day.”
To Kunsan, being a mentor means being aware of the influence he has and making deliberate choices to positively enrich others around him. “I mentor teenagers and some young adults outside of the work environment, and to me it’s important simply because I want more amazing people in this world,” he says.
He says the best professional advice he ever received is “find your voice and don’t shy away from it.”
“It’s the same advice I now give to my team members,” Kunsan says. “It’s not about being the loudest person in the room, rather it’s about trusting you have a specific point of view to contribute. I believe people are looking for examples of successful people who make decisions that show a good balance in terms of work/personal life, level of stress/intensity, humor/seriousness, etc. Secondarily, people want to know you are not superhuman. You can impress people or you can inspire people. I believe the latter requires you to be relatable.”
Kunsan’s professional goals include demonstrating growth for each client, doubling the size of the agency, and creating more value-adding products within the next five years. In terms of personal goals, he believes it’s important for him to make strong contributions in all aspects of his life.
“The best compliment, in my mind, is if someone were to say that I made others around me better,” Kunsan says. “Not just people who report to me, but colleagues, clients, and whoever I interact with. I’d like for people I work with to look back one day and hear my voice in some of the things they say, or in some of the ways they approach decision-making. And I’d like for those things to help them succeed. This would show me I have made a positive impact.” (PV)
Starting With the Why
Raising the bar… through teamwork, agility, and tenacity
Title: VP, Client Partnership
Company: Relevate Health Group
Personal Awards: Core Value Awards for Accountability and Positivity
Associations: Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD); Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit (HMPS)
Lisa Owendoff’s career and connection to healthcare are deeply personal. “I’m a huge fan of Simon Sinek and the importance of always starting with ‘the why,’” she says. “My personal why for working in the healthcare industry is twofold: my dad and my sister. Both faced unexpected health battles for their lives, and as a family member, I experienced firsthand the profound difference that good and bad communication makes in the healthcare industry. My personal mission is driving incremental change for the better in this industry. And in the interest of positivity, I think it’s important to share that my dad and my sister both got their happy endings and are still with us today.”
In less than one year in her new position, as VP, client partnership at Relevate Health Group, Lisa is driving change. Colleagues say she has had an incredible impact on the company’s clients, business, and culture. Lisa had spent the majority of her career working in healthcare system marketing, yet she transitioned successfully to agency services.
When Lisa first came on board at Relevate, she worked with hospital clients, but after just nine months in that role, a new opportunity arose within the pharmaceutical customer marketing group and she took it. Since then, she has helped Relevate support clients at a whole new level, leveraging her background and ability to learn quickly to develop strong relationships. She now sits at the table for all strategic conversations as they relate to driving performance and building relationships with clients.
Lisa has a great instinct for marketing and a strong skill set, which along with her deep understanding of the healthcare ecosystem gives her an edge that is appreciated by those with whom she interacts.
Additionally, colleagues say she always has a positive attitude, which goes a long way on long days.
“I’m the eternal optimist,” Lisa says. “I try my best to push others to fail fast, learn lots, and grow into their best selves while also letting them know I’m here to support them.”
Colleagues add that Lisa is a true leader and mentor within the organization. She constantly takes time to share her healthcare experiences with her team members and looks to build the next group of leaders within Relevate.
One of her most challenging and rewarding endeavors was to launch and grow a local grassroots initiative, the Cincinnati Clean Indoor Air initiative, when she worked for the American Cancer Society. Through Lisa’s efforts, eventually, the statewide campaign successfully brought the issue of eliminating indoor secondhand smoke to the state ballot, where it passed.
“As an asthma sufferer who also has a sister who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 21, I cannot think of any work that has been more frustrating and exhausting, but also immeasurably rewarding,” Lisa says. “Being a small part of that victory was a fantastic reminder that anything is possible if we work together.”
She also chaired the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, raising more than $40,000 as a first-time site, despite bad weather. “This was an emotional accomplishment for me because the committee comprised my friends and family, including my sister,” she says.
Lisa’s deep understanding of the healthcare system, and the complexities of working across medical system stakeholders, as well as her ability to turn insights into actionable tactics, are the traits that put her above and beyond the norm. “I am very goal-oriented, and I tend to move really quickly, but I’m also someone who genuinely cares about my team and embraces differences as a strength,” she says. “I have high expectations of myself and others but only because I work with such amazing and talented people, and I know we can accomplish anything together.”
In addition to coaching her own team, she partners well with Relevate’s market intelligence and creative groups to develop strategically sound programs that drive engagement and results.
On top of all of this, Lisa proactively stepped into a culture-crucial role within the organization. She drives the monthly Town Hall conversations around core value recognition.
Colleagues say she is caring, positive, proactive, and accountable and someone who always walks the talk. Her embodiment of Relevate’s core values shows others in the organization, especially more junior team members, what a strong team leader looks like.
One of Lisa’s endearing traits is that she thinks in groups of threes, so when asked to identify the best professional advice she has been given she offers the following: “I always start with ‘the why’ — everything is easier and more meaningful when people understand intention; second, in your career, you will be happiest if you are always running to something and never running from something; and third, as Confucius says, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room,” she says. “Luckily, I’m constantly in the right room.” (PV)
Raising the bar… by challenging the status quo
Title: Group Director, Client Engagement
Industry Awards: 2019 DTC Perspectives Agency Vanguard Recipient
Company Awards: 2019 VMLY&R Core Values Recipient
Associations: Notre Dame Club of New York City
At just 33 years old, Katherine Piscatelli, or Kat, as she likes to be called, is the youngest person to achieve the group account director title in VMLY&R’s health practice.
She is responsible for more than $20 million in revenue and has proven to be a creative problem solver and inspirational leader. She partners with the firm’s most important pharma and life-sciences clients, overseeing agile, integrated network teams in the strategy, ideation, production, and deployment of both branded and unbranded ROI-driven digital and traditional tactics.
In her 10-year career, Kat has already accomplished more than most in the industry. At VMLY&R, she is considered a rock star among colleagues and clients alike.
She has been instrumental in establishing a digital discipline practice implementing processes and protocols, identifying resources and tools, while translating complex technical solutions and managing client and vendor expectations.
“Within our vertical we were responsible for launching some of the earliest social media campaigns within integrated 360-campaigns for black box consumer brands — brands such as Belsomra, Linzess, and Xeljanz,” she says. “We also built Linzy, the first branded prescription chatbot in pharma, for Linzess. And then we brought her further to life in an online video to help dispel the taboo associated with IBS-C/CIC.”
Colleagues say there are few people who know more about how to build effective pharmaceutical brand programs than Kat. Her work spans all channels including TV, print, websites, detail aids, patient-support materials, point-of-sale and personalized marketing campaigns. She has been involved with big-name products to drive awareness all the way through to acquisition, conversion, and retention/brand advocacy.
Throughout her career, Kat has worked across multiple healthcare categories with blue chip clients, including Pfizer, Allergan, Merck, Sanofi, Janssen, and Genentech. She has led teams in launching several iconic campaigns including, YES! for Linzess, Body Language for Xeljanz, Laid Up and Losing Out for Prevnar, Ahh Sleep for Belsomra, and her team’s latest brand work for Ocrevus, which has proven to be her most rewarding and challenging assignment to date.
“The Ocrevus Dear MS, campaign makes me particularly proud but it was also exceptionally challenging,” Kat says. “It was the fastest we have ever brought a direct-to-consumer campaign to market, including OPDP pre-clearance as well as an unprecedented amount of market research and steering committee checkpoints.”
The campaign featured “patient ambassadors” and their “Dear MS,” letters. The letters confront MS in a “Dear John breakup” style. The communications capture the real and raw emotions people feel about their MS and are a testament to each person’s struggle, journey, and perseverance with MS. The campaign has been so successful that it has inspired a movement on social media where other patients with MS have been moved to write their own “Dear MS,” letters.
“From start to finish we launched in five months — the team rallied and remained singularly focused on our objective,” Kat says. “Despite many late nights and weekends spent working, we had so much fun developing this campaign, and hearing the reactions from the MS community made every moment worth it.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, Kat has focused on her team’s needs as they work from home.
“In a remote working environment, team members now have to be employees, schoolteachers, chefs-on-demand, dog walkers, etc.,” she says. “They have achieved amazing and superhuman tasks while on lockdown, but I worry that it may not be sustainable.”
Kat is passionate about giving back to the community, and one of her favorite charity events is Cycle for Survival. Cycle for Survival not only raises critical funding for rare cancer research, but participants get to ride a bike while doing so.
She also supports the Arthritis Foundation because she herself is living with a lifelong autoimmune condition. She believes it is important that the millions of others who are impacted are provided with the same support system.
Additionally, Kat acts as a counselor to colleagues, clients, friends, friends of friends, or industry partners who have recently been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition or who might have to switch their course of care to a more aggressive treatment.
Kat loves to use her inner project manager and crafting skills to throw epic parties, and she never turns down an opportunity to go to Starbucks with a colleague.
“Some of my best conversations with team members, mentees, and mentors have occurred on those quick trips back and forth for a much-needed afternoon caffeine pick me up,” she says. (PV)