Taren Grom, Editor
NOTE: The content below contains the first few paragraphs of the printed article and the titles of the sidebars and boxes, if applicable.
In celebration of 10 years of the PharmaVOICE 100, we are proud to launch the Red Jacket Award. This honor recognizes individuals who have been nominated multiple times by their colleagues and peers as inspirational leaders.
Throughout their careers, they have demonstrated a commitment to furthering the life-sciences industry through leadership, innovation, motivation, mentorship, and philanthropy.
Their entrepreneurialism and managerial styles have allowed their employees and companies to not just thrive but leave a lasting impact on their various sectors of the life-sciences and healthcare industries
They are committed to the careers and professional goals of their employees and colleagues.
This year’s Red Jacket Award honorees demonstrate that success is not just based on hard work and a healthy bottom line; their legacy extends to improving the healthcare environment for patients and caregivers now and into the future.
These inspirational individuals have also significantly given back in service to domestic or international philanthropic associations and communities dedicated to social change.
Join us in congratulating this year’s Red Jacket Award honorees.
The 2014 PharmaVOICE Red Jacket Honorees
(presented in alphabetical order)
Jeffrey Berkowitz, President, Walgreens Boots Alliance Development GmbH
Jeff Berkowitz’s path to Bern, Switzerland, where he is currently president of Walgreens Boots Alliance Development, which was established by Alliance Boots and Walgreens as part of a strategic partnership synergy program, has been one few, if any, have traveled.
This innovative life-sciences and retail pharmacy executive, who has extensive global pharmaceutical, pharmacy, and distribution leadership experience in senior executive P&L accountable roles, started his career in healthcare as a lawyer.
He moved over to the business side to run the managed care division at Schering-Plough during a time of great turmoil. Mr. Berkowitz held a number of progressively larger roles leading up to his appointment as group VP, diversified products and global market access, at Schering-Plough over 11 years, before being named senior VP, global market access at Merck, after the merger.
Mr. Berkowitz’s career took another interesting turn when he left pharma to join the retail pharmacy giant Walgreens in September 2010.
As senior VP, pharmaceutical development and market access, he led teams totaling more than 1,000 colleagues and was responsible for enterprisewide purchasing and inventory management of more than $30 billion in brand, generic, and specialty pharmaceuticals, blood products, respiratory, retail, mail, specialty, and home-care pharmacies, as well as enterprisewide contracting and pricing, salesforce, and payer marketing for all lines of business.
Now in his current role, Mr. Berkowitz is leveraging the value propositions of Walgreens, Boots, Alliance Healthcare, as well as AmerisourceBergen to help solve some of the looming issues large pharmaceutical companies are facing on a global basis.
Nicholas Colucci, President and CEO, Publicis Healthcare Communications Group
Nick Colucci leads Publicis Healthcare Communications Group — one of the largest healthcare communications networks in the world.
Mr. Colucci’s vision for PHCG is to be at the forefront of creating a life-changing dialogue around health and wellness. He challenges his employees to be intellectually curious and bring a broad perspective to deliver ideas of purpose that compel action, change lives, and amplify business outcomes for clients. His organization attracts and nurtures a diverse talent pool, and he challenges his people to always be better and conduct themselves with integrity.
Under Mr. Colucci’s tenure, the network grew from a fragmented group of agencies to a global powerhouse. He has expanded innovation and capabilities, attracted global client relationships, and built a footprint in emerging markets.
Having served on both the client and agency sides of the business, Mr. Colucci brings a broad perspective to his clients and teams. Before joining Publicis, Mr. Colucci was VP of marketing and sales at EyeSys Technologies and marketing director at Roche.
Mr. Colucci is a well-known leader in healthcare circles, leading key initiatives for the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, an industry trade association, as well as serving on the New York board of the American Heart Association.
He also is an advocate for promoting women leaders and is a strong supporter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association.
Amir Kalali, M.D., VP, Global Head, Neuroscience Center of Excellence, Quintiles
Dr. Amir Kalali’s role as VP, global head, Neuroscience Center of Excellence, at Quintiles only touches the surface of this industry thought leader’s influence to accelerate drug development through the principles of collaboration and innovation, and the use of new and emerging technologies.
At Quintiles, a global contract research organization, he is responsible for the enterprisewide strategy for neuroscience, encompassing drug development and healthcare services.
Over his long career, Dr Kalali has been responsible for numerous successful drug development programs that have led to new treatments for patients.
Dr. Kalali was the founding chairman of the executive committee of the International Society for CNS Drug Development (ISCDD), a founding member of the International Society for CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology (ISCTM), where he also has served on the executive committee.
He has been involved in a number of initiatives by the Institute of Medicine Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation, as well as the NIH FAST, and the NIH NCATS New Therapeutic Uses program.
He is professor of psychiatry at University of California San Diego, editor of the journal Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, and the lead editor of the book Essential CNS Drug Development, published by Cambridge University Press.
Dr. Kalali regularly presents at national and international scientific meetings, and lectures frequently on drug development, innovation, technology, and digital health.
Dr. Kalali is particularly interested in educating clinicians worldwide, and has trained clinical investigators from more than 60 countries, and impacted the education of scientists globally, including when he held the role of the chairman of the Educational Committee of the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (CINP).
His awards include the ISCDD Leadership in CNS Drug Development Award in 2012.
Dr. Kalali is an active member of many professional societies, including the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the American Psychiatric Association, the Collegium Internationale Neuro Psychopharmacologicum, the Drug Information Association, the International Society for CNS Drug Development, the International Society for CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, United Kingdom, and the Society for Neuroscience.
Rick Keefer, President and CEO, Publicis Touchpoint Solutions
Rick Keefer is a 30-year industry veteran with broad-based experience in leading commercial operations.
He joined Publicis Selling Solutions in 2006 as chief operating officer. He was instrumental in rebranding the company to its current model, Publicis Touchpoint Solutions, and was made president and CEO in 2006.
Before joining the Publicis family of companies, he was senior VP, commercial operations, with Biovail Corp. His previous experience includes VP, sales, at Pharmacia Corp. and before Pharmacia, he spent 11 years at Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, where he held a number of increasingly responsible senior positions in the company’s institutional and primary care divisions.
Today, Mr. Keefer has overall responsibility for Publicis Touchpoint Solutions centers of excellence, which include promotional and clinical message delivery, as well as field and contact center channels and support solutions.
Mr. Keefer is extremely community- and civic-minded and contributes his time and resources to several associations that are close to home for he and his wife, including the Pheo-Para Alliance, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Foundation, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
David Ormesher, CEO, closerlook inc.
David Ormesher set out almost 28 years ago to create a unique relationship marketing agency. His goal is to change the way healthcare is bought and sold.
As CEO of closerlook inc., a digital marketing agency serving the healthcare industry that helps pharma brands integrate digital, mobile, and social media channels to acquire and interact with their most important customers, he is doing just that. He is focused on improving the interactions between pharmaceutical brands and healthcare professionals by providing online and mobile access to the medical information they need to make better healthcare decisions to help them help their patients.
Mr. Ormesher is a nationally recognized thought leader on the topics of relationship marketing and digital marketing solutions for the pharma industry.
Globally, he is recognized for his work with Bigger Future, whose mission is to inspire and strengthen promising entrepreneurs in emerging countries. Mr. Ormesher is instrumental in helping high-potential entrepreneurial leaders achieve growth by giving them direct access to experienced entrepreneurs in North America, enabling them to tap into world-class leadership, professional, technical, and financial resources. He has been working with business owners in Rwanda since 2008.
In addition, Mr. Ormesher serves as chairman of the board of directors of i.c.stars, a nonprofit Chicago-based technology, business, and leadership training organization that works with inner-city young adults. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Lyric Opera of Chicago; the Foundation Board of the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; the board of PhysIQ, a personalized physiology data analytics company; and is an adjunct professor of CRM at IIT Stuart School of Business.
Donato Tramuto, Founder, CEO, Chairman, Physicians Interactive
Donato Tramuto, founder, CEO, and chairman of Physicians Interactive, has more than 30 years of healthcare experience in both the product and service segments. He founded Physicians Interactive in 2008, and today the company is one of the world’s largest online providers of medical content to healthcare professionals. The company, which was formed through four acquisitions, was recently acquired by Merck Global Health Innovation Fund.
From 2004 to 2006, Mr. Tramuto was CEO of i3, where he assembled and then led a $300 million-plus global pharmaceutical services division of UnitedHealth Group.
Before joining i3, Mr. Tramuto was one of the founders of Protocare Inc., a provider of drug development and disease management services, where he served as chief executive and president of the Protocare Sciences division and corporate officer from 1998 to 2002 before selling the company.
Before cofounding Protocare, Mr. Tramuto was general manager/president of the home healthcare business and corporate VP of marketing at Caremark, where he championed the development of the company’s national disease management program for HIV/AIDS and the first AIDS in the work place program with Arthur Ashe.
Mr. Tramuto is a sought-after speaker and is lauded for his involvement with Health eVillages, which he founded in 2011 following the devastating effects from the earthquake in Haiti.
Health eVillages, a program of Physicians Interactive and the nonprofit Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, provides state-of-the-art mobile health technology, including medical reference and clinical decision support resources to medical professionals in the most challenging clinical environments around the world.
Mr. Tramuto also is the chairman and founder of the Tramuto Foundation, a nonprofit organization that he created in 2001 to help young individuals achieve their educational goals. He started the foundation, which also provides grants to children with special challenges, in honor of two friends and their son who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001.
Later this year, Mr. Tramuto will be honored as one of four recipients of the 2014 Ripple of Hope Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights. He joins former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton, Academy Award winner Robert De Niro, and Grammy Award winner Tony Bennett as 2014 honorees.
The RFK Ripple of Hope Award recognizes leaders of the international business, entertainment, and activist communities who demonstrate an unmatched commitment to social change.
He serves on several executive leadership boards: The Boston University School of Public Health Dean’s Advisory Board, the Physicians Interactive Board of Directors, the Robert F. Kennedy US Leadership Council, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights Europe Board where he serves as chairman of the Leadership Council, chairman of the board of Directors for HealthWays, and is a past member of the Maine Economic Council, an appointment by former Governor John Baldacci.
In May 2012, he was recognized by The Boston Globe as one of the Top 12 Innovators in Massachusetts for his work on Health eVillages.
In 2013, he received the Healthcare IT News H.I.T. Men & Woman Award in the Innovators category.
The Road Less Traveled
Executive Needed: Innovative life-sciences and retail pharmacy executive with extensive global pharmaceutical, pharmacy and distribution leadership experience in senior executive P&L accountable roles to lead new global joint-venture alliance.
Jeff Berkowitz brings this and a whole lot more — a strong track record of success leading enterprisewide change and large-scale integrations; directing large sales and marketing teams and developing new capabilities; in-depth knowledge of access, reimbursement, health technology assessments, contracts and pricing, distribution, and procurement; hands-on experience with clinical development strategies and processes; and experience with government affairs and policy, generics and international and emerging markets — to his role as president of Walgreens Boots Alliance Development GmbH.
This lawyer turned commercial strategist is positioning the Walgreens-Boots joint venture to be the first global group in the pharmacy, health, and wellness sectors, opening up exciting opportunities for both companies.
In a one-on-one interview, Mr. Berkowitz talks about his leadership style, how partnerships will shape the future of healthcare, and his commitment in bringing medicines to as many people as possible.
PV: How does your leadership style inspires others to reach their professional goals?
BERKOWITZ: For me the team has always been the most important piece of what I do. I surround myself with really good, really passionate people and let them have at it. I also have to believe in what I’m doing, I have to be passionate about it, and hopefully this translates to those around me.
I’ve been very lucky in my career, whether it was at Schering-Plough and working on the turnaround, or at Merck and creating a global market access program, or now working on this new initiative in a completely different industry with Walgreens, to have absolutely believed in the mission of these companies and more specifically in the missions of what I was tasked to do.
From a people perspective, I’ve been able to identify passionate and smart people who I know can go well beyond what it is that they’re doing on a day-to-day basis. This is very motivating to them; they know that as long as they’re doing good work and as long as they’re challenging the status quo, there are going to be opportunities for them within the groups that I lead.
One of the things that’s been very gratifying for me is that even as I transitioned in my career, including to other companies, I’ve had people follow me to those companies and come work with me. If people are willing to follow you on a new mission, you must being doing something right.
PV: How is your role helping to drive innovative solutions for the industry?
BERKOWITZ: One of the reasons I came to Walgreens was to step outside of pharma and be able to look through a different lens to make a difference. Even though we are the largest distributor of drugs on the planet, we had an arms-length relationship with pharmaceutical companies, which really struck me as odd. We are literally the ambassadors for pharmaceutical products; when a patient goes to the pharmacy, a Walgreens pharmacist is handing over a Merck, Novartis, or Valeant product.
The mission has been to understand the value proposition of all of Walgreens’ assets and then explain what these are in a completely different way to the pharmaceutical companies. The pharma industry had preconceived notions of what retail pharmacy meant versus what it really does today. In the past, pharmaceutical companies didn’t want to work that closely with retail pharmacies, but now they’re starting to realize that the issues of patient access, reaching consumers directly, compliance, and adherence, can be driven very effectively in lower-cost settings, such as pharmacies.
Walgreens has 8,400 stores around the United States. Three-quarters of the U.S. population lives within three miles of a Walgreens, and more than 40% of our stores are in medically underserved communities. We knew we had huge value in terms of the assets that we could bring to the table, and I started going to the pharmaceutical companies and saying these are the types of capabilities that we have, how can you best leverage them? What can we do for you? What are your biggest pain points?”
One of the responses that I kept hearing was the extraordinary cost of research and development and what could we, Walgreens, do to help companies lower the cost of bringing a drug to market. Clinical trials was one of the areas identified where Walgreens could really bend the cost curve in an innovative way.
I believe passionately that the way that clinical trials are conducted needs to be shifted to a lower-cost paradigm to get more medicines to market. Within Walgreens we are looking at how we can leverage our asset base to help companies, such as Novartis, Merck, and BMS, bring products to market more efficiently by providing a lower-cost clinical trial setting, which is something we had never looked at.
We are now working in partnership with pharmaceutical companies to bring innovation to the clinical setting; we’re solving problems together. Three or four years ago this just didn’t happen. These dialogues didn’t exist, and now some pharmaceutical companies have actually changed their organizational designs and structures to partner with retail pharmacies.
PV: What do you think the future landscape of the life-sciences industry will be?
BERKOWITZ: I feel very strongly about a couple of things. I believe the future is going to be all about alliances, partnerships, and joint ventures. I think individual companies will no longer be successful in their traditional operating models; they’re going to have to leverage the strengths of different types of skill sets across the board, whether it be retail pharmacies, specialty pharmacies, lab testing, or something else. It’s going to be harder to separate drug development, for example, from drug distribution and how a pharmacist interacts with patients or what support programs are wrapped around a product.
Take specialty pharmacies, for example. A lot of specialty drugs are not just going to be about the products themselves, the disease state, or what they do clinically, but about the services that a pharmaceutical company can wrap around the product in conjunction with a company like a Walgreens to provide a fully integrated care delivery model on behalf of the patient.
A pharmaceutical company is not going to be able to do that on its own; it’s going to need partner companies. That’s one massive change.
Another change will be to the traditional R&D model and the traditional model of large salesforces. The companies that are going to thrive in the future are those that are flexible and willing to challenge the status quo of their existing business model.
The last change is around the products that are going to be available. Essentially, most of the major products in the major therapeutic classes will have gone generic. In the United States, about 90% of pharmaceuticals will be for chronic diseases, for long-term use, and will be available in generic form. The remaining 10% of drug innovation is going to be in the specialty area.
The marketplace for those high-cost specialty products is going to continue to be challenged. And healthcare systems, given the economic pressure they are under on a global basis, are not going to be able to absorb these high-priced specialty drugs.
To adapt to that future, pharmaceutical companies are going to have to change their access models and the pricing models; they are just going to have to be different. Companies will need to be more clever about market access, about working with payers on a global basis, as well as being accountable for the clinical outcomes and results of those products in terms of what it costs and/or saves the healthcare system.
PV: What mark would you like to leave on the industry as your legacy?
BERKOWITZ: One of the hallmarks of all of the different roles that I’ve had, including in different industries, is that they’ve all been about access and the patient. I want to make products more accessible to the people who need them.
This focus started when I was in the law department at Schering-Plough when I was responsible for managed care contracting and assuring that all our products at that time were available on managed care formularies.
Creating the global market access organization was a career highlight. I had to determine the appropriate way to price a product and be able to negotiate with governments to make products accessible and affordable for consumers, for payers, and for pharmaceutical companies to bring them to market.
In my current role at Walgreens, I would say this thread continues. Ultimately, what I’m doing now is making sure products are accessible to patients in an affordable way. I believe the future is going to be all about access on a global basis. The reason pharmaceutical companies make these products is because they want to cure disease and they want the products to be accessible to patients.
So if I have any legacy, it’s that I tried really hard at different companies, in different roles, in different positions, and with different teams to assure that great products are accessible to as many patients as humanly possible to eradicate diseases.
I’d like people to remember to take risks and evolve; even if you make mistakes as you go don’t be afraid to take risks.
I’ve always felt as though I’ve been able to say I’ve got one of the coolest jobs in the industry. I felt that way while I was at Schering-Plough, I thought that while I was at Merck when I ran the global market access division, and I thought that when I first came to Walgreens. And now that I’m on the ground in Europe bringing together a global retail pharmacy and wholesalers for the first time ever, I can still say I am lucky enough to have one of the coolest jobs in the industry.
Getting to know Jeff Berkowitz
Company: Walgreens Boots Alliance Development GmbH
Education: J.D., Brooklyn Law School;
B.A., Political Science, Union College
Experience: Member, Board of Directors, Infinity Pharmaceuticals
First Industry-related job: Legal Director, Schering-Plough
Words to live by: Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. — Henry Ford
Jeff is one of the most customer-focused and committed individuals working in healthcare today.
Jeff has a unique perspective into the various stakeholders and the complexity of the dialogue happening today, which allows him to bring a fresh voice to the best ways organizations can work collaboratively on the complex issues associated with the delivery of healthcare.
Jeff is developing a new operating model that could become an industry standard, one that provides better outcomes for patients and payers and a new engagement channel for retailers and manufacturers.
The team has always been the most important piece of what I do. I want to surround myself with really good, really passionate people and let them have at it. It’s been gratifying to have people follow me as I have transitioned throughout my career.
— Jeff Berkowitz
For the Love of the Industry
2013 was a year of milestones for Nick Colucci, CEO of Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG). As PHCG celebrated its 10th year, it remains the largest, and, as at its conception, the only network dedicated entirely to healthcare communications. Mr. Colucci’s leadership within Publicis Groupe was evidenced by his appointment to the P12 Executive Committee, an exclusive operating committee led by Publicis Groupe Chairman Maurice Levy, joining his counterparts at Leo Burnett Worldwide, Starcom MediaVest, MSL Group, ZenithOptimedia, and VivaKi, and Saatchi & Saatchi. His seat at this executive table, as well as his presentation at the Publicis Group Investor Day in April, advanced the visibility of the healthcare industry, beyond being a momentous individual accomplishment.
As the network continues to grow organically and through acquisitions, Mr. Colucci makes it a personal goal to visit every agency each year. Mr. Colucci makes it a point to have a dialogue with all levels of employees, transferring his passion for healthcare to colleagues across the globe. With more than 5,000 employees in 68 offices in 10 countries, this is an enormous undertaking, but one that is personally important to him.
Despite running an organization of this size, Mr. Colucci aims to create a culture of warmth. He strives to keep himself relatable and available through his internal communications efforts. He blogs, creates videos, and writes to employees on a regular basis to share business updates and benchmarks against annual goals. He also asks each employee to participate in an annual survey and has deployed champions across the organization to enhance engagement throughout the network.
As an honored “Superhero of Heart and Stroke,” and member of the AHA New York Board, creating awareness of heart disease is near and dear to his heart. One example of his wit and humor — and willingness to put himself out there to inspire others — was his pledge to wear a red dress for the American Heart Association Wall Street Run/Walk if his network met its fundraising goal. Needless to say, the agencies rallied and his employees captured the occasion, and the photos speaks for themselves.
In an exclusive interview, Mr. Colucci, he discusses his love for the industry, his view on leadership development, how innovation will drive much-needed therapies in the future, and the traits that make great leaders.
PV: How do you believe your leadership style inspires others to reach their personal and professional goals as well as those of your clients and the industry as a whole?
COLUCCI: I truly believe in my heart that each person in this organization brings a unique perspective, experience, talent, and abilities. When we are focused and work together in a collaborative fashion, we contribute to the bigger effort and the bigger aspirations of our clients and our business.
I am passionate about this business. We make a difference in people’s lives. I believe it in my heart and I’m inspired by the work that our clients do and by the work we do on behalf of our clients. We truly make people’s lives better. We inspire people to live healthier lives or live with diseases as best they can. This passion comes across to people.
PV: How do you create an environment that fosters passion and innovation?
COLUCCI: I try to provide an environment in which people feel comfortable being who they are and knowing that who they are is great. I believe that we can all be better and I push people to be better all the time on behalf of our clients and on behalf of our organization. When the right processes are in place to reward positive behavior, people are stretched in a good way, they become inspired.
The influence we have as leaders is always far greater than we can see with our own eyes. We have a profound influence on more than just clients in the industry. If we do our job right, we will have a real impact on society.
PV: How do you think technology will impact the future of the life-sciences industry?
COLUCCI: The innovations of the past have led to incredible products and devices. For instance, certain diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, were an absolute death sentence as little as 25 years ago; now, while they are not cured, we are living with these diseases into old age. The innovations of the future will come from how products and services in health and wellness are distributed among people and how they are consumed.
Although products have been developed to reduce our blood pressure, to lower our lipids, or shrink a tumor, heart disease is still the No. 1 killer in this country and cancer remains a plague on our humanity.
The real answer to these diseases lies in encouraging people to live a healthier lifestyle from the very beginning, which could mitigate or eliminate, the emergence of these diseases altogether.
There’s going to be a lot of innovation around how healthcare is distributed in mature markets in terms of point of care as well as how we communicate and build relationships with people before they actually become patients.
It won’t be so much about the “drug” anymore. It will be about how that drug is distributed in a macro sense, how it is prescribed, how it is taken, how it is monitored, and how effective it is in the body.
We have to start to change the words we use and change the dialogue. Technology is going to be one of the ways to facilitate this change, but technology is just an enabler. It is a vehicle to enhance the relationships between people and their doctors, people and themselves, or people and the authorities that provide information or services on what’s right for health and well-being.
Everyone wants to talk about personal and mobile devices, and they are certainly the future because they are personal, but these are just technologies. There has to be something else that’s going to enable connections that drive better behaviors.
PV: What would you like your legacy to be?
COLUCCI: I hope that people will someday look back fondly on having had the opportunity to work with me, smile, and say, “I’m a better person today because I had a chance to work with Nick or interact with him or cross paths with him.”
If someone can say that, then I will have accomplished much of what I set out to do, which was to make a difference.
I realize that making a difference isn’t always about doing something that impacts the world in a profound way like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. But if I can impact people’s lives on a daily basis to help them be better at what they do and envision what they want to do with their lives, then I will have succeeded.
I believe that what we have built here at PHCG during the last 10 years — a balance between individual agencies that perform at the highest levels with their own unique characteristics and capabilities and working together in a collaborative way — has helped people deliver the best work they can for clients. I tell people it’s more important to be networked than to be in a network. I made that a vision for our company from the beginning and I hope that will be part of my legacy.
PV: How important is it for you to mentor and develop the next generation of creative talent?
COLUCCI: I have done a lot, particularly in the last five years, to recruit and bring young talent into our industry. A few years ago, we had no interns, none, zero, zip. I inspired the company to develop an internship program and now we have almost 40 interns spread across our groups, and last year we hired about 30% of those interns. I’m not going to be happy until we hire almost all of them; which would mean that we’re picking the right people from the beginning and bringing them in. I want to be the Pied Piper for bringing bright, young talent into this industry.
The Wall Street movement that began in the mid- to late-1980s and continued into the beginning of this millennia pulled a lot of talent into the financial industry, and I’m afraid we didn’t do enough to create a compelling reason for them to go into marketing, healthcare marketing specifically.
As an industry, we have a great opportunity now to draw the best and the brightest into our business, which would allow it to flourish into the future. I hope that the things I’m doing now and over the next few years will be part of my legacy too.
Collectively, as agencies, we have to do a better job with leadership training and development. Agencies have never been known for training and developing their people and their talent. We are all about people and talent here, and yet we have more to do to grow and develop our people. I’m not anywhere near where I want to be, so I’m really pushing hard.
PV: What advice do you have for up-and-coming leaders?
COLUCCI: The most important characteristic that all of the great leaders have — and I’d like to think I have it — is that they are a perpetual learner. They are constantly and intellectually curious. Curiosity contributes mightily to being effective. Curiosity also means that your mind stays open to new and different ideas. You foster a respect among others because you let them know that you can learn from them and people love that. It also means you’re a great listener. Leaders have to be open-minded — in the true sense of the word. When people have that type of curiosity they show insight and engagement, and when those traits are mixed with the right level of motivation, initiative, and determination, then you’ve got yourself one hell of a leader.
I hire people who have what I call the three “I’s” — initiative, intellectual curiosity, and integrity. Initiative involves determination and will; these people just don’t need to be told what to do, they just charge right at it. You can’t teach that. The next I is intellectual curiosity, which as I noted is critical to being a good leader. My third “I” is integrity. Integrity is so much more than just honesty. It’s a congruency of what you say with what you do. Leaders who have these three qualities will always be successful no matter what they do.
PV: You are involved in a number of philanthropic endeavors; why is it important to give back?
COLUCCI: A really great man who I worked for at Roche a long time ago told me: you should live your life in thirds. The first third of your life is all about taking. You take from your parents. You take from your teachers. You take from your early bosses. To build yourself up, you’re a taker. You spend the middle part of your life sustaining yourself, making use of those gifts you were given at the beginning and flourishing and growing yourself and those around you. You should spend the last third of your life giving it all back.
I give back to causes that are personal and that I believe in. I’ve been lucky enough in my life to have the means financially and intellectually to give back, so I do what I can.
Getting to know
Company: Publicis Healthcare Communications Group
Education: B.S., Neuroscience, University of Rochester; MBA, Marketing, Loyola College
Associations: Coalition for Healthcare Communication, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, American Heart Association of New York, AAAAs
First Industry-related job: Sales representative, Hoffmann-La Roche
Words to live by: No regrets
Nick embodies inspiration and innovation through his business leadership and personal devotion to
furthering the dialogue around health and wellness.
Nick has integrated consumer, HCP, and payer strategies into how PHCG is structured, recognizing that without an integrated lens, clients can’t be successful.
In his leadership role with the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, Nick reorganized the leadership and reoriented its mission so as to increase the organization’s influence and effectiveness.
The most pivotal point in my career happened when I became a district manager at a pharmaceutical company. There I learned that I loved management and the leadership of people. I got an amazing thrill from assembling a team, deploying a team, defining a problem or finding an opportunity, putting a plan together, and then deploying the people and resources to accomplish the goal.
— Nick Colucci
Amir KALALI, M.D.
Patients Are Waiting
For almost two decades, Dr. Amir Kalali, VP, global head, Neuroscience Center of Excellence at Quintiles, has been at the forefront of neuroscience clinical research. He has played an integral part in the development of many new medications and as a result he has touched the lives of thousands of patients.
Dr. Kalali is a founding chairman and current executive secretary of the Executive Committee of the International Society for CNS Drug Development (ISCDD). The ISCDD was formed in 2002 with the goal of establishing a forum for improving the methodology in CNS research. The nonprofit independent society is focused on addressing scientific challenges in CNS drug development, through research and collaboration among stakeholders, including academia, industry, and government.
Dr. Kalali, who actively facilitates scientific collaboration between academia, government, and pharmaceutical industry scientists, is also a member of the Scientific Committee of the International Society for CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology (ISCTM), where he served on the executive committee and currently serves on the scientific committee.
The ISCTM is a multi-disciplinary independent organization devoted to promoting advances that address strategic clinical, regulatory, methodological, and policy challenges that arise in the development and use of CNS therapeutic agents. This work is accomplished through partnership with persons in academia, industry, government, policy-making, and the public.
Dr. Kalali is a frequent presenter at ISCDD, ISCTM, and CNS Summit, as well as other meetings on such topics such as innovation, technology and digital health, as well as methodological challenges in international CNS clinical trials.
In an exclusive interview, Dr. Kalali provides his insights on leadership, the importance of patient-centricity, the impact of technology on the future of the industry, and how he has created change.
PV: How do you believe your passion and leadership inspire others?
KALALI: I have found time and time again that the best way to inspire and lead is by one’s conduct and example, rather than just talking about it.
I am a big believer in being seen to walk the walk. This is particularly true if you are trying to push for industrywide initiatives that require a level of collaboration that many partners are not accustomed to.
I think if we always put the patient at the center of all that we do and “do the right thing” in each circumstance, this will go a long way in enhancing the impact of the life sciences.
People who work in the life sciences usually come into the industry to help others. I believe that people are inspired when they feel they are part of something worthwhile, which in this case, is being part of improving lives, and are inspired when they see leaders who are passionate about the mission.
PV: In terms of the ongoing shift toward patient-centricity, what more needs to be done?
KALALI: It’s important that everything we do is patient-centric, and we have a long way to go. I think we’re just beginning to work on this issue, and quite frankly, I think as an industry we can be much more patient-centric. As we continue to have challenges in drug development, it’s becoming quite clear that being more patient-centric is not just the right thing to do but clearly the way to conduct development more efficiently. I think these efficiencies will continue to draw people’s attention toward putting the patient at the center.
PV: Looking into your crystal ball, what do you think the future landscape of the life-sciences industry will be?
KALALI: First of all, I think the life-sciences will not be unique in being profoundly changed by new technologies.
I think just about every aspect of our lives will be impacted in some way. The healthcare and drug development sectors are particularly ripe for this. This is why we are seeing the very large technology companies turning their attention toward the life sciences. I believe the whole spectrum — drug discovery, development, commercialization, and healthcare delivery — will be impacted by technology.
The emerging trends will make these changes inevitable. The question is not if but when, and I believe the when is going to be sooner than many people think.
Drug development is still at the very beginning stages of understanding and interacting with the technology sector. There are quite a few people in the technology sector who talk about exponential technologies. And what they mean by this is that for most of our lives we’ve experienced linear steps forward, which is how it’s been for centuries. Now, I think a lot of people believe that certain technologies are at the point of becoming exponential and their progress and their uptake is going to be much faster than before.
Some examples of exponential technologies that are expected to move the industry forward are artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, and 3D printing.
Vinod Khosla, one of the cofounders of Sun Microsystems, has been quoted as saying in the next 10 years, data science and software will do more for medicine than all the biological sciences put together. He’s a big believer that artificial intelligence, such as IBM’s Watson, will actually replace physicians in 80% of cases in the next 10 years.
Additionally, Marc Andreessen’s 2011 quote that software is eating the world is taking on new significance in light of predictions that mobile, cloud, social, and big data technologies will disrupt firms in every industry. Companies that get this will rise; those that don’t will go out of business.
When I present and reference these quotes the general response is bewilderment. Physicians, particularly, as well as others in the life-sciences are not aware of these trends.
Basically, when we look at Nokia versus Apple or Sony versus Twitter or Barnes & Nobles versus Amazon, Kodak versus Instagram, Mandarin Oriental versus Airbnb, we are seeing software companies absolutely roaring in their market caps, whereas many traditional companies are collapsing.
Uber is a perfect example. I talk about the uberization of healthcare. This is not my term; but it refers to how software is going to profoundly change the aspects of healthcare that are inefficient, such as primary care. We can go to Wal-Mart to have our blood pressure taken in the kiosk and eventually Watson will be able to provide a diagnosis.
Based on the technologies that are emerging, I think both healthcare and drug development are absolutely going to be disrupted.
Most of the conferences I am involved in are very focused on these issues and making sure leaders in the life sciences are aware of what’s going on.
We need to be aware of how technology is going to impact our world and be prepared to, as I would call it, ride the wave and not be drowned by it.
There’s no question that people working in the various technology sectors don’t have the patience to wait. In fact, one of the things I talk about is that in academic medicine and pharmaceuticals our rate of progress in discovery and development could be described as glacial.
The next generation of technologists is developing methods of research that they believe are much faster.
They are not interested in protecting academic IPs or proprietary processes. They just want to get down to the business of helping patients.
These are just a few of the disruptive forces that I think will impact the industry in the near future.
PV: What is one of the biggest challenges you face?
KALALI: For me, it’s the inability of people to question the status quo and the acceptance of the “we have always done it this way,” and the “this is good enough,” mindset.
We need collaboration to improve how we do things; this is an ethical duty we have to patients. We have a long way to go on this, which I see as an opportunity. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity of living and working in different continents and traveling to many countries. This has given me a global perspective, which I believe is important in drug development, as well as in life.
PV: What would you like your legacy to be? And how have you successfully incited change and innovation?
KALALI: I hope you will think I am too young yet to think about a legacy, and I still have many goals to achieve in terms of impact.
I have been told that I am known for pushing to change mindsets, increase collaboration, and embrace innovation. These are all overused words because so many talk about change but so few truly live that change.
I have tried to be a bridge between the worlds of technology and life sciences. I think the mere action of introducing new concepts, methods, and technologies to people who are not aware of them is a big step forward. I want to show people how new ways of thought and action can dramatically improve what they do and can be considered a success. I have done this in my daily work, and by being a cofounder of several scientific societies that focus on actions that will improve drug development I am making an impact there as well.
PV: What words of wisdom would you provide to future leaders?
KALALI: I will keep it short and with random thoughts: One person can make a difference; the best way of predicting the future is to shape it yourself; try and travel and see other cultures; you only get one life — use the time well; admit mistakes and take responsibility; get off that phone and talk to people in person, with full eye contact.
Getting to know
Dr. Amir Kalali
Title: VP, Global Head, Neuroscience Center of Excellence
Education: M.D., London University, United
Associations: American College of Neuropsychopharmacology; the American Society for Clinical Psychopharmacology;
the American Psychiatric Association;
the Canadian College of
Neuropsychopharmacology; the Collegium Internationale Neuro Psychopharmacologicum; the Drug Information Association; the International Society for CNS Drug Development; the International Society for CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology; the Royal College of Psychiatrists, United Kingdom; and the Society for Neuroscience
First Industry-related job: Medical Intern
Amir has spearheaded many initiatives to improve the conduct of clinical trials, including the founding of the International Society for CNS Drug Development (ISCDD) and ISCTM and CNS Summit, which provide platforms for collaboration. He is also focused on the innovations and emerging technologies that will help propel CNS drug development forward.
Amir is committed to furthering healthcare by bringing together research physicians and medical centers, with research teams of major pharmaceutical and biotech companies to collaborate for success.
Amir’s vision is to dramatically improve collaboration, accelerate innovation, and use new technology. He believes accelerating and enhancing the success rate of trials is an ethical imperative.
I have had the opportunity to work for a long period of time for a company that highly values ethics and doing the right thing. This opportunity and the ability to impact so many diverse clinical development programs at so many companies have allowed me to learn so much.
— Dr. Amir Kalali
Leading with Integrity
Rick Keefer is revered for his passion, his vision, and meeting the needs of his employees by providing the support and leadership they need to succeed.
Under Mr. Keefer’s leadership, Publicis Touchpoint Solutions has grown significantly year after year into an organization that helps its clients respond to and thrive in today’s new marketplace. He has approached the industry’s challenges as an opportunity to provide the company’s clients with a competitive edge.
He expects much from his leadership team, holding everyone accountable for their goals and objectives, while also surrounding them with top talent and trusting them to do their jobs.
Mr. Keefer also believes strongly that it is important for individuals and corporations to give back to the community in which they live. He has encouraged alliances with local nonprofit organization, such as the United Way of Bucks County PA, HomeFront, Princeton Area Community Foundation, Rebuild Together, Sparkle of Hope, Pheo-Para Alliance, Kayla’s Hope, the Women’s Health and Counseling Center, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation. He is also a long-term supporter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) with Touchpoint Solutions supporting the organization as a corporate partner.
In an exclusive interview with Mr. Keefer, we had a chance to explore his leadership style, his vision for the future of healthcare, and how his legacy and guidance will influence the leaders of tomorrow.
PV: How do you believe your passion and leadership inspire others to reach their personal and professional goals?
KEEFER: I think I’m probably like many people; I don’t view myself as an inspirational leader. I’m happy that people are able to derive some inspiration from my approach, which is that whatever role you play or whatever area you operate in, the ultimate goal is to facilitate better healthcare for patients. I think I’ve always done a good job of reminding people why we’re in this industry and that what we do — whether it’s developing a tool that allows patients to access better communications or facilitate better dialogues or increase the educational stream — helps facilitate better healthcare; I think this helps give people passion and a common goal.
One of the things that I’ve always enjoyed doing and have an ability to do is to look farther down the road, this encourages people to put forward ideas and suggestions around an initiative, solution, technology, or advancement that may not have been done. I challenge them to look at things differently, take an outside-the-box perspective, so to speak, and when they can do that, we come up with some pretty good ideas.
PV: Looking into your crystal ball, what do you think the future landscape of the life-sciences industry will be?
KEEFER: Well, that’s an exciting question to think about, and while I don’t think any of us have a crystal ball I can surely give you what my perceptions and thoughts are in terms of what the industry will look like in eight to 10 years. I don’t think the personal interactions around products, information, tools, technologies, and other ways of providing better healthcare are going to go away. The level and the sophistication of the people delivering that dialogue and the dialogue itself will change significantly as we go forward. I think we’ll move back toward a more science-based, educational-based, outcomes-based dialogue, which is really what the industry was founded on 30 or 40 years ago.
I also think patients are going to become much more involved healthcare decision-makers and they will be better informed and educated. Hospitals, through accountable care organizations and other vested third parties, are going to play a much bigger role in how healthcare is delivered. And, finally, we’re going to see a greater emphasis on lifestyle, lifestyle quality, and prevention of diseases, as opposed to just treating the disease symptoms after they occur.
As we move from treating symptomatic conditions to preventing illnesses, the word patient will no longer be applicable; people are becoming vested players in the quality of their lives. I don’t know that we’ve gotten the vernacular down yet, but hopefully in 20 years, because it’s not going to happen overnight, we’ll see diseases such as obesity and all the associated co-morbidity conditions such as hypertension and arthritis decline and we’ll focus more on healthy living as opposed to just treating disease symptoms.
PV: What advice would you provide to future leaders?
KEEFER: There are four key areas I tend to counsel up-and-comers about that have worked very well for me. First, and foremost, never, ever compromise your integrity, because at the end of the day that’s all you have.
The second thing I tell them is don’t be afraid to make a mistake, because you are going to make mistakes. We all make mistakes, but you learn from those mistakes, then you apply those learnings, and you don’t make the same mistake twice. If you don’t want to ever make a mistake you’re not getting outside your comfort zone and you aren’t thinking outside of the box.
And third, and I go back to the comment I made earlier, never lose your vision for why we do what we do; never lose sight of the fact that we are all working toward the goal of providing a better quality of life for ourselves, our loved ones, and the population in general, and that’s a pretty lofty goal. There are not many industries in which you can work and say that.
Another thing that I always tell up-and-comers is lead by example. Your actions are much stronger than your words. People need to feel empowered, supported, and nurtured. As a leader, if you don’t do these things it’s hard to develop a culture of cohesiveness. I’ve always believed that it’s not the “I” in an organization, it’s the “we” or “us.”
PV: What would you like your legacy to be?
KEEFER: That’s a great question. I really haven’t thought about it to be honest with you. When you leave this industry, which we all do at some point, and, by the way, I’ve always felt the greatest leaders know when it’s time to leave, you want to know you’ve made a difference. There’s always value in the next generation taking over with a different focus, a different vision, and a different perspective to take the industry to the next level.
I hope people will think of me as a person of utmost integrity, honesty, and transparency because that’s how I like to think I operate. And that I made a difference in this world and I made a difference in inspiring others to engage in meaningful dialogues and interactions to increase the quality of people’s lives.
I’ll go back to something my father told me when I started in this industry, he said: Rick, you’re going to shake the same people’s hands going up the ladder as you will coming down the ladder. And when I look at that simple statement it does say a lot about how to lead, how to treat people, and hopefully how you’re remembered.
PV: Outside of your busy schedule, you are in a number of philanthropic endeavors, why is it important to you to give back?
KEEFER: I’ve been blessed to be in a great industry. I’ve been blessed to be in an industry that affords us a comfortable lifestyle. I’ve been blessed to be in an industry that truly does influence the quality of people’s lives. So it’s nice to be able to give back, and this is something that I do personally and as a company. We stopped sending corporate gifts five or six years ago and instead of sending fruit baskets around the holiday season, we make a donation on behalf of all our customers to the Wounded Warriors to help our military veterans and our military personnel. It’s a way to say we appreciate what you’re doing for us and we are providing some small token to help those in need. Our clients love it.
Every year we have a company volunteer day. This year we went to the Buck’s County Housing Group through partnering with United Way and spent a whole day volunteering; we had about 100 people on site. The entire leadership team and I joined in; this type of engagement removes the hierarchical business relationship and we are just a bunch of people who are helping other people and that’s pretty cool. Our people really enjoy it. We have a culture of working hard, but we also appreciate the need to give back to our community and our country.
Personally, I sit on the board of a charitable organization called Pheo-Para Alliance, which is looking into a cure for pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma, very rare forms of cancer. Our best friend’s daughter is a patient, so I’m involved in raising awareness and funding for research. This is a cause that is very much close to home. My wife and I are also active with the Breast Cancer Foundation; my wife’s sister had breast cancer and so this is another cause close to us. We also help out with the Alzheimer’s Foundation. My father passed away from dementia so this is another closely held disease in terms of its impact on us. Also, a grandson of very good friends, whose daughter used to work for me, has cystic fibrosis and so I’m involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as well. This keeps me pretty busy but it’s nice when you can use your relationships and use your abilities to give back. We also support Fred Hassan’s Sparkle of Hope Foundation, which benefits veterans and disabled individuals.
We can’t do everything, but we try to pick the causes that are meaningful to us as a company and, to my wife and me from a personal standpoint.
Getting to know Rick Keefer
Title: President and CEO
Company: Publicis Touchpoint Solutions
Education: B.S., Marketing and Accounting; Certified Medical Representative, West Virginia State University
Associations: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association
First Industry-related job: Sales representative for A.H.Robins Co.
Words to live by: A person is only as good as his or her word — his father
Rick is a visionary leader in the biopharma industry. He is focused on innovating and continually pushes for cutting-edge solutions to meet the needs of a changing healthcare market.
Rick dedicates himself to placing the needs of his employees above his own. He spends a high percentage of his time and energy coaching, advising, and supporting his people. A true leader inspires people to do their best. A leader’s people want to be successful because they sincerely care about their company and its leaders; and Rick is that type of a leader.
Rick believes whole-heartedly in what he does and he is brilliant at surrounding himself with intelligent, sharp people. He knows that to be truly successful, you need to be passionate about what you do, and you need to build a great team behind you. His passion is so strong, it’s almost tangible. Leaders who know that it takes more than one person to make a great team, are leaders who know how to succeed.
Actions speak a lot louder than words, and I think a lot of folks have had a chance to see my actions over a lot of years and, fortunately, it appears that they have viewed those actions to be beneficial, transparent, and full of integrity and bring value to the industry, which is a nice thing to know.
— Rick Keefer
The Difference Maker
David Ormesher’s professional success speaks for itself. Under his leadership, closerlook has grown from an innovative digital marketing agency to a driving force in the use of analytics and digital initiatives to build valuable relationships with healthcare professionals.
He has dedicated himself to demonstrating how marketing can be more respectful and more productive at the same time. Passionate about the industry and a prolific writer, Mr. Ormesher speaks to the pharma community regularly in his thought-provoking blog, “The Difference Makers.”
Mr. Ormesher has further committed himself as a thought and technology leader to giving back through the field of mentorship. He continues to lead Bigger Future, a nonprofit entrepreneur training and coaching program in Rwanda. He and the closerlook staff also participate in the annual Chicago Care Serve-a-thon, transforming public schools. He is a founding member of the board of directors of i.c.stars, an innovative business and leadership social enterprise for inner-city young adults; serves on the board of the Lyric Opera of Chicago; recently joined the foundation board of the Lurie Children’s Hospital; is an investor and board member of PhysIQ, an early-stage company in personalized physiology data analytics; and is a member of the Innovation Board of the XPRIZE Foundation.
He has been a role model, change agent, and advocate of giving and mentorship on a global scale.
In an exclusive interview with Mr. Ormesher, we had a chance to explore how he inspires others, the importance of giving back, his vision for the future of healthcare, and how his legacy and guidance will influence the leaders of tomorrow.
PV: How do you believe your passion and leadership inspire others to reach their personal and professional goals?
ORMESHER: First of all, I think each of us influences each other all the time. I think that we all have the power of influence through our attitudes and our actions to inspire and encourage others to reach their highest aspirations. I’d like to think I am someone who always believes that the cup is half full and not half empty. I always take the approach of trying to move the ball forward.
Interestingly, I’m frequently asked how I balance the responsibilities of running a company and contributing to several local and international philanthropic activities. I’d like to think that I show people that one can have passion and demonstrate leadership for more than one thing at a time. I encourage people to think about ways that they can broaden their lives, their scope, and their leadership potential.
I ask people to think about what their point of view is on how the world works, how they understand their role in the world, and ultimately how they can find a way to take the lessons that they’ve learned and expand their reach.
PV: Why do you believe it’s important to give back?
ORMESHER: I think anyone who has achieved a modicum of success in life or business didn’t get there on their own. They were helped along the way, sometimes in very unexpected ways, by all types of people and experiences. I’ve learned that the more we put ourselves in situations where serendipity has an opportunity to work its magic, the more chances we have of living a rich and fruitful life.
I found that serendipity happens most often around the edges of a planned life and that we need to get out of our comfort zone, we need to work with different people and organizations to see the world differently.
I love challenging myself to meet new people, new situations, new opportunities head on to see if there’s a way that through my own set of experiences and expertise that I can help.
There’s a mutually beneficial relationship that develops between professionals who volunteer and the nonprofit organizations that welcome them. There’s an interesting and virtuous circle that happens when these two worlds meet up and intersect.
I also think that philanthropy is different from charity. While both are important, philanthropy involves creating impact and change, and as an entrepreneur and as a business owner these are the types of opportunities that intrigue me. Philanthropy looks for root causes, philanthropy develops a theory of change. This fits my personality as an entrepreneur as I tend to be a quick start and want to change the underlying problem not just the symptoms. I suspect this aligns with the personality of many leaders in the pharma marketing world.
PV: What do you think the future landscape of the life-sciences industry is going to look like in five years?
ORMESHER: I think in five years, we’re going to begin to see the first signs of what will ultimately be a 10- to 15-year change. We’re going to begin to see the lines blurring between food, pharma, technology, genomics, data, and communications. These are all very discrete industries at this point, but the lines are beginning to blur now that the financial incentives move toward outcomes and not just fee for service. There’s going to be a general pivot to focus on restoring and sustaining a better quality of life, which is going to lead to personalized nutrition and exercise based on an individual’s profile data. We’re just beginning to move into an area supported by personalized medicine — treatments based on unique genomic profiles integrated with ubiquitous body-censored data, which will give us real-time biofeedback to support daily decision-making.
Much of this is going to happen quickly not only because of the financial incentives that are beginning to line up, but Moore’s Law will bring down the cost of data acquisition and personalized insight, which is the analytics piece. It will also make genomics more meaningful than they are right now.
I had my genome sequenced recently and it provided some very interesting clues, but it also raised more questions than it provided answers. I think there’s going to be significant advances in genomics as the technology gets better. Because of this, one of the biggest challenges we have right now around living healthy is the feedback loop — understanding what we do today and the long-term repercussions. For example, we smoke a cigarette today, we get lung cancer in 20 years. Or we eat a high carb diet now, we see the effects in five or six years. I think with technology, data insights, and biofeedback we’re going to begin to close the feedback loop on understanding the effects of what we eat, drink, and how we exercise has on our body and mind.
Not only is this going to incentivize individual consumers to do the right thing, but I think it’s also going to put increasing pressure on CPG and food companies to change what they sell to the public and move from unhealthy processed foods to more healthy low-processed foods. With all of this in play, I’m not sure that we will necessarily see the impact in five years but I think in 10 years, there may be some interesting new leaders that emerge.
I’m not sure whether it will be a CPG company, a consumer electronics company, a national provider network, a phone company, or even a pharmaceutical company that will be the first to deliver on this vision; or maybe it will be a brand new start-up that will disrupt the entire industry, but I think there is significant change coming.
PV: What lasting impact would you like to have on the industry?
ORMESHER: For the past 10 years I’ve had a declared vision within closerlook to change the way healthcare is bought and sold. And we are beginning to gain insights around change and innovation. I’ve been speaking, writing, and campaigning for a relationship marketing approach to pharma marketing for more than 10 years and changing the way we think about marketing and changing the way we think about customers and the way we think in terms of value for physicians.
While it all sounds good, and whenever I would talk about this mission, I’d always get a lot of heads nodding and people saying it sounds right philosophically, but when it actually came down to budgets and how marketing spends were executed, it never happened. Brands and marketing teams always went back to the tried-and-true methods of promotion and shouting at the marketplace; it’s only in the last year or two that it became glaringly apparent that this was not a model that was sustainable.
In the last two years, we’ve had tremendous response to this message of understanding the customer, understanding the patient, understanding the physician in a very unique and individual way and then creating a platform for messaging and for tools that help them and not just promote to them.
So I think if there’s anything that I can point to recently, and certainly through closerlook, it’s this consistent message around focus on the customer and a focus on providing value through the framework of relationship marketing.
PV: What advice do you have for up-and-coming leaders to help them frame their leadership style?
ORMESHER: My advice to future leaders would be to think about life holistically.
It’s conventional to spend the productive years of your life building your business or your career assuming that you will “give back” after you’ve achieved success. But life isn’t that simple. It’s not as simple as giving back when you have presumably achieved wisdom later in life. I think a better model is to be totally engaged with life now, including opportunities to share your expertise and to gain new experiences in a not-for-profit world.
It’s not only possible to do both, but you actually become a much more rounded individual and a much better prepared leader as a result.
The misconception around philanthropy is that it’s somehow morally required or it’s hard work or it’s boring. In reality, getting involved particularly outside your comfort zone is interesting, challenging, rewarding, and fun. You look at the world differently. Frankly, you become a much more interesting person at a cocktail reception.
Getting to Know David Ormesher
Title: CEO, President, and Cofounder
Company: closerlook Inc.
Education: M.A., Ethics and Society, GETS; B.A., Liberal Arts, Wheaton College
Associations: Chairman of the board of directors of Bigger Future; Chairman
of the board of directors of i.c.stars; a member of the board of directors of the Lyric Opera of Chicago; board member of PhysIQ; member of the XPRIZE Innovation Board; Adjunct Professor of CRM at IIT Stuart School of Business; Economic Club of Chicago; Chicago Yacht Club; Chicago Club; Angel Investor
First Industry-related job: TV and Radio Producer, Writer, and Director
Words to live by: You have to touch the heart to move the mind
David embodies the spirit of innovation and has fostered innovation in all of us as leaders, dreamers, and change agents every day through his mentorship, his generosity, and his leadership.
David is an inspirational leader in both the professional world and the world beyond work. He inspires the people around him to give back to the community and the world, while encouraging growth and potential in one’s personal goals.
David’s coaching, guidance, mentorship, and leadership have been invaluable to me as a developing leader in the nonprofit world in Rwanda. For the organization, David advised and guided better structures for financial and organizational management. Additionally, he helped with sponsoring and funding and finding other donors and support. Through this, almost half of our children are in the best schools in the country.
I hope to inspire others to step outside the comfort zone of their day job and personally embrace the risk and thrill of impacting the world for good.
— David Ormesher
Champion for Equality
This November Donato Tramuto will be awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award. The award lauds leaders of the international business, entertainment, and activist communities who demonstrate commitment to social change. Honorees reflect Senator Kennedy’s passion for equality, justice, basic human rights, and his belief that we all must strive to “make gentle the life of this world.”
The award springs from Senator Robert Kennedy’s famous South African speech in June 1966, which basically said one person can make a difference and can create a ripple of hope for those who are in a situation where injustice is occurring.
Mr. Tramuto, who is extremely humbled by the award, will share the stage with Hillary Clinton, Robert De Niro, and Tony Bennett in December in New York.
Mr. Tramuto was driven to improve healthcare with affordable and accessible solutions after experiencing severe hearing loss as a child and later by the death of his sister-in-law during childbirth.
At Physicians Interactive, Mr. Tramuto used digital communications to improve connections and build trust between physicians and life-sciences companies to improve healthcare processes.
He also led the development of healthcare programs, including the first HIV/AIDS Arthur Ashe workplace education program in 1991 and the launch of a national HIV provider network focused on comprehensive disease management. In 2001, he founded The Tramuto Foundation in honor of two friends and their son who were killed on Sept. 11. The foundation today provides hundreds of grants to children with unique challenges.
In an exclusive interview with PharmaVOICE, Mr. Tramuto discusses his mission to address social injustice, how he inspires his teams, and how he would like to be remembered.
PV: What does winning the Ripple of Hope Award mean to you?
TRAMUTO: I am extremely humbled by the award, yet no amount of awards can ever replace the satisfaction received from seeing lives saved. The award does not change who I am because I will get up the next day and continue to dedicate my time on earth toward that mission around saving lives.
In our lifetime, 1 billion people will have died prematurely never having seen a healthcare professional. They will go to their graves prematurely because they did not have access to healthcare. Out of that number, 6.6 million are children who will die each year because they didn’t have a doctor or a nurse they could see or did not have clean water. This is appalling and it is a human injustice if I’ve ever seen one. Article 25 of the Human Rights Declaration outlines basic healthcare for everyone and yet almost 20% of the world population does not have access to it.
Yet, here we are. We have technology available to remotely connect people to healthcare professionals; this is what pushed me to launch Physicians Interactive. It’s what pushed me to found the not-for-profit organization, Health eVillages, because in our lifetime, we will never be able to train enough physicians and nurses to address that 1 billion problem, but we can through technology.
In Lwala, East Africa, Health eVillages has lowered the infant mortality from 100 deaths per 1,000 birth to 30. How and why? Our devices are connected to the local and trained community care workers. The village people know how to identify the mothers and connect them to our medical devices and content and then help them to understand what conditions they might have that might put their life and the life of their baby at risk. We are also able to connect them to the community center where they can get the care they need.
Last December, Health eVillages raised money to build an in-patient clinic in December; I was horrified when I saw with my own eyes nearly 20 mothers in a 12-foot x 15-foot room with babies. No one should have to have a baby that way — not even a poor person. Just because someone is poor doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have the basic right to the type of care that you and I receive in the first world.
In 2001, after I lost my friends and their 3 year old — I was supposed to be on that second flight that hit the tower — I was very upset and I decided that I could either be angry or I could do something that would honor their memory and address a significant concern I had.
I lost my hearing at age 7, and from then until about 17, I was bullied and made fun of. Kids treated me terribly, I couldn’t play sports, or do many of the things other kids could do. Today, people look at me and they don’t see that chapter of my life.
After my friends died, I started a foundation that reaches out to young kids with disabilities and to organizations that share our vision: every single child has a right to have an education and the right to be treated respectfully regardless of what his or her condition might be. They shouldn’t have to go through the torture that I went through. Even today, wearing hearing aids, my life is difficult. Every conversation is challenging.
We started the Tramuto Foundation in 2001 and in the past almost 15 years, we have put hundreds of kids through college. We’ve gone into communities in Cambodia to teach English. We have provided grants to an HIV center in Portland, Maine, where funding had been cut. We have contributed close to a $1 million in grants to advance basic rights for people. It’s a remarkable achievement to see so many people being helped and to move the needle a little bit.
Those are the two areas that I have devoted my life to and will continue to devote whatever time I have left.
PV: How do you inspire your team?
TRAMUTO: In the old days, the perspective was that as leaders we didn’t need to have an emotional quotient. I don’t know whether it’s social media or just awareness of society’s needs, but today in order to lead, you have to have two components. One, you have to have the ability to have an emotional connection and understand the “why” that gets people out of bed is not always the paycheck; what gets them out of bed is their individual passion, especially in healthcare. The second thing to understand is that leaders just don’t transact, they have to transform; they have to see how they can make a difference. Transaction is easy, but very few people understand how to transform an organization.
The tide has changed and there still are people who don’t get it, and I think those leaders will not be successful. I think those who understand these dynamics will be able to mobilize an entire organization, an entire customer base, and they can be profitable and successful — we’ve proven that.
PV: What you would like your legacy to be?
TRAMUTO: I constantly ask my direct reports what they want their legacy to be. I think it’s very simple for me, I want it to be known that the approach to my business was not simply about making money; it was about making a difference and by doing that, we were able to make money.
This a bit different from how I would have responded 30 years ago when I wanted to have people view me as a successful businessman. Now I want people to know that in my short journey and time on this earth, I made a difference and tried my best to leave this world better than when I entered it.
There is a fear I have in my life right now. When I went to Africa, I asked myself what makes me think I’m so fortunate that fate might not bring me to this very region in another life. What if there is an afterlife and I come back and I end up in Africa with no access to healthcare and yet in our lifetime, we had in our hands the power to change what folks in Africa are facing and yet we simply ignored it?
Bill Gates in his annual report said he thinks by 2035 we can eradicate poverty the way we know it. In my lifetime I want to be able to eradicate the injustice that gets applied to healthcare access — the poor should not be treated differently from the rich.
PV: What do you think the future of healthcare will look like?
TRAMUTO: Life-sciences companies need to get beyond what they have historically believed their mission is, which was about manufacturing pills, and understand that they have a very significant role around mission-driven connectivity. They can connect people and in a way that uses the products and services they have.
Our whole society is about making connections right now — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. — and healthcare is a connected business. And it’s not just connections about who you know but the connections that can be made through technology.
We can give people the services and the programs they need through technology and this opens up a whole new population that can use a pharmaceutical company’s products.
I think companies are starting to redefine themselves as evidenced by the fact that Merck acquired my company last year. And the fact that Pfizer’s CEO stated in his mission statement that he believes that pharma companies must be more focused on health services.
I think life-sciences companies can play a major role. They’re the best marketers. They have the best connections to physicians and if they can enhance the role that technology can play I think they will be incredibly successful.
I say right now it is not about innovation; it’s about integration.
The last point I want to emphasize is the higher a company’s collaborative IQ is the more valuable it will be in the healthcare arena.
Getting to Know Donato Tramuto
Title: CEO and Chairman
Company: Physicians Interactive
Education: MBA Studies, Healthcare Marketing, University at Buffalo; B.A., Philosophy/Psychology, Wadham’s Hall Seminary College; Harvard School of Public Health; Wharton School of Management
Associations: The Tramuto Foundation, The Boston University School of Public Health Dean’s Advisory Board, the Physicians Interactive Board of Directors, the Robert F. Kennedy US Leadership Council, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights Europe Board, the HealthWays Board of Directors, and the Maine Economic Council; former Board Trustee for Regis College; former Advisory Board Member, Duke Fuqua University Advisory Board
First Industry-related job: Marion Laboratories
Words to live by: Never deviate from your principles and always follow your instincts
Donato creates an entrepreneurial environment that allows his teams to focus on strategy and execution. Each team member is empowered to drive change and contribute to the development of organizational goals and commitments.
By a twist of fate, Donato missed his flight from Boston to California on 9/11. However, his two friends and their child were on the flight that fateful Tuesday. In their memory, Donato established the Donato J. Tramuto Foundation as a means to provide opportunities and assistance to young individuals with special challenges. For him it was a way to both honor his friends and to help others achieve their goals and dreams.
For more than 30 years, Donato has demonstrated a passion for righting healthcare access injustices around the world through his philanthropic and business initiatives.
Today, leaders need to have to an emotional connection with their people; they need to provide the inspiration beyond a paycheck. Leaders need to be able to transform and not just transact.
— Donato Tramuto