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1. Uj, we’re excited to have you as our Practice Lead of Scientific Strategy. Can you tell us how that helps our clients build unfair advantage?

Our group focuses on leveraging deep scientific insights to drive best-in-class strategy and storytelling, whether it’s for a product, a disease state, or an organization. We provide a stand-alone scientific and medical communications offering, in addition to infusing world-class scientific thinking across our existing marketing, digital, and communications functions. Coupled with our unparalleled analytics capabilities, we believe that we can now create integrated solutions for our high-science clients like never before.

2. What attracted you to join W2O?

A few things attracted me to W2O. First, the possibility of building a scientific group that works across multiple functions- PR, IR, marketing, and now medical communications, was very appealing. I think there’s still too much of a siloed approach to developing communications to various stakeholders, and the W2O model uniquely addresses that through our unified offering. Second, the chance to work with true analytics experts who can help drive not only measurement, but strategic direction itself. Finally, the fact that we all operate for the good of the network- One Team, One Dream, as we like to say- cuts out a lot of the politics and rigidity that other organizations suffer from. The ability to be agile and build what you want was, and is, incredibly appealing.

3. You’ll work closely with our analytics/digital and value, pricing and market access practices – how does your role fit into these practices?

Science is at the core of much of what we do in helping to build and communicate about brands and organizations. Integrating deep scientific thinking into our analytics offering will help us generate key insights that can’t necessarily be uncovered through traditional stakeholder interactions—namely, the underlying perceptions, attitudes, and lexicon that can drive behavior based on scientific understanding. With value, pricing, and market access, the key is to build and communicate a scientific story that lives up to the true advancements that are constantly being generated by our clients. Part of this is through trial design itself, generating endpoints that show the economic benefit of a therapy to society and the healthcare system, and part of it is creating a strong, scientifically sound value proposition that ensures optimal pricing and coverage.

4. Where does science belong at the intersection between health, communications, and marketing?

Scientific understanding is the underpinning for discovery and is the basis for human health as well as the maintenance of human health. However, scientific communications often fall short in that they are overly technical, uninteresting, and burdened in complexity that does a disservice to the amazing healthcare advances that are occurring every day. This is where scientific storytelling comes in—taking the objective truth around the data and constructing an interesting story for why a product or company should be considered. We are seeking to empower healthcare decision makers with the ability to have a clear view into how a product might improve health, taking into account any potential caveats of course. 

5. The world of science moves quickly, what is your approach to learning and staying up to speed?

Honestly, email-based alerts from scientific journals and services like FiercePharma and FierceBiotech have been really helpful in this regard. Additionally, social media posts from leading scientists and clinicians give me a quick view into the latest academic and industry developments. In the past, I’d come in and do PubMed searches every morning for the latest interesting articles; however, online services now do this work for me by keeping me up to date on what the latest hot developments are in the world of science. I then dig deeper based on scientific literature, congresses, and interactions with relevant experts I’m in contact with.

6. Fun question: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Hmmm…that’s a tough one, but I’d probably say Legend by Bob Marley and the Wailers. It’s timeless, it helps me chill out, and it reinforces the fact that regardless of what all might be going on, life is a precious gift that we should all be infinitely thankful for.

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Back in March, MM&M announced the 2018 recipients of the Top 40 Healthcare Transformers and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts. This annual recognition focuses on highlighting and celebrating executives, investors, entrepreneurs, designers and thinkers who are ushering the healthcare industry into its new technological golden era. Among those being recognized are two of our very own …

Back in March, MM&M announced the 2018 recipients of the Top 40 Healthcare Transformers and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts. This annual recognition focuses on highlighting and celebrating executives, investors, entrepreneurs, designers and thinkers who are ushering the healthcare industry into its new technological golden era. Among those being recognized are two of our very own leaders – Kevin Johnson, President of W2O marketeching and Greg Matthews, Managing Director of Healthcare Analytics!

From using social research to identify how and where patients discuss rare diseases online to creating an analytics tool that maps the digital footprint of 871,000 doctors, patients, advocacy groups, and media outlets in order to better track digital trends for healthcare companies, the work these guys have done deserves to be celebrated.

Ahead of tonight’s big celebration, take a peek at some of the incredible work both Kevin and Greg have done to earn this well deserved honor.

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Last month, I had the pleasure of traveling to my alma mater – the University of Alabama – for the College of Communication & Information Sciences Honors Day, a time-honored tradition where both students and alumni are recognized for contributions in their various fields. It was truly wonderful to be back on campus – catching …

Last month, I had the pleasure of traveling to my alma mater – the University of Alabama – for the College of Communication & Information Sciences Honors Day, a time-honored tradition where both students and alumni are recognized for contributions in their various fields.

It was truly wonderful to be back on campus – catching up with old friends, making new ones, exploring the old haunts I used to frequent as a student, and humbly receiving an alumni award for my work in communication. My time in college holds a special place in my heart – evoking a feeling of nostalgia for that meaningful life experience that helped facilitate my creative and analytical thinking and shape me into who I am today.

As I wandered around campus, I thought about an important, ever-relevant piece of advice I received from one of my mentors on the eve of my freshman year. I was sitting in Burbank, Calif. – where I grew up – with my high school speech coach who had helped me earn my spot on the University of Alabama forensics team, and who 25 years later remains a guiding voice in my life. I was expressing to her my fears of failure. Would I be good enough to maintain my scholarship? Could I really compete at the collegiate level? Could I develop a taste for sweet tea and grits? Could I really go so far away from home? Maybe this was all just too much. I had cold feet and was ready to back out.

She shared with me that afternoon one of my favorite life lessons that I have recounted many times since, “Angela, playing it safe is for sidewalks and swimming pools. Take the risk – what do you really have to lose?”

My life and career have taken many twists and turns. Through epic failures as well as incredible successes, I credit this one piece of sage wisdom that has gotten me through. And along the way I’ve learned that there are SO MANY benefits of taking that risk:

  • It helps you clearly define what you want and what’s most important to you.
  • It empowers you to push the proverbial envelope and establish new boundaries you didn’t think you were capable of achieving.
  • It inspires creativity and rouses some pretty amazing problem-solving skills.
  • It enables you to gain the confidence needed to embrace new opportunities.
  • It can, and many times does, result in a positive outcome.

Whether you are a recent college graduate, a seasoned professional, or simply someone who wants to – but hasn’t taken that next step… albeit a scary one – you will find yourself having to make this very decision over and over again throughout the trajectory of your career and your life. Will I play it safe or will I take the risk? I hope you choose the latter… to be brave, be bold and take that big chance on yourself. This is where you will find the defining difference between having a great career vs. having an exceptional one.

At W2O, we are looking for exceptional leaders across all marketing and communication specialties across all geographies. Are you ready to take that next step? Take a look at our open roles here. We’d love to have you!

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As a part of our commitment to supporting and connecting women in the healthcare industry, W2O became a corporate member of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA).  One of HBA’s initiatives is to honor rising stars each year and I am thrilled to share the news that Mary James, Senior Analytics Director, is being recognized this year as the …

As a part of our commitment to supporting and connecting women in the healthcare industry, W2O became a corporate member of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA).  One of HBA’s initiatives is to honor rising stars each year and I am thrilled to share the news that Mary James, Senior Analytics Director, is being recognized this year as the W2O HBA Healthcare Rising Star.

Learn more about Mary James in write up on PharmaVoice.

W2O Group, Mary James, HBAMary is one of all of the tremendous women here at W2O.  She has been pivotal to running and growing Marketeching and played a leading role in integrating analytics across a wide range of clients and offerings supporting our broader W2O capabilities with a true dedication and passion for the healthcare space.  In her many contributions to W2O, she has created and led analytics teams that have become indispensable to the cross-functional teams they work with. In all of this, she has exemplified a collegial attitude and approached everything as part of a team all coming together for one common W2O goal. Not only have her work and leadership at Marketeching and more broadly across W2O been stellar, but her background at CMS is both impressive and also a great example of how our leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and expertise to create our unique talent base.

It is incredible how many talented and exceptional colleagues we get to work with each day, and we look forward to recognizing and celebrating others in years to come.

Please join me in congratulating Mary on this honor!

You can view all the 2018 HBA Rising stars here.


If you’re interested in knowing more about W2O, check out our Healthcare or About pages.
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Most stories about advertising and marketing call it a “man’s world,” and the stats are damning. Women make up almost half of our workforce, but a quick search of most agency sites shows a sea of male faces on the leadership team. Before I get into bragging about W2O, I’ll give this caveat: it’s still …

Most stories about advertising and marketing call it a “man’s world,” and the stats are damning. Women make up almost half of our workforce, but a quick search of most agency sites shows a sea of male faces on the leadership team.

Before I get into bragging about W2O, I’ll give this caveat: it’s still hard to be a woman in business. Time and time again, studies show that the same resume and behavior coming from an assertive man is received more favorably than a woman. There’s still so much sexism, obvious and subtle, and there are still really hard conversations happening all the time.

But W2O’s culture welcomes these conversations and we’re walking the walk in putting women forward.

I’ll dive into three proof points, two of which are statistics-based:

1. We were just on TV about mansplaining

Our Chief People Officer Deborah Hankin was on Good Morning America in April talking about “mansplaining,” sexist behavior, and gender bias.

Deborah’s point is that business must have zero tolerance for this kind of bad behavior.

From a practical standpoint, will it keep happening? Of course. But in our firm, we are empowered to call it out, discuss it, and escalate it if necessary.

Takeaway: Discussing sexism openly, if it is perceived to exist, is culturally okay here.

2.~50% of our most senior people are women

To be frank, this isn’t at all normal, especially for a male founder-led business. You can skim our leadership section, but we’ve jotted down a cheat sheet.

Takeaway: Talent is embraced.

3. ~50% of our 2018 SXSW speakers were women

This was our 9th year hosting thought leadership events during SXSW, but it was the first time we officially partnered with the SXSW organization. The focus was on healthcare and technology.  Again, nearly half of the experts we put forward were women. Our Chief Marketing Officer, Aaron Strout, was a big proponent of ensuring women were represented on the panels and discussions.

What was the result of this specific request? Two amazing panelists – Shaku Selvakumar and Nancy Giordano.

Shaku has worked for Fortune 500 companies like IBM, Shell, and fast growth companies like CognitiveScale and Webify Solutions. She is the founder of BraveCenter, a collaborative innovation lab for young adults. She also currently serves as a Community Impact advisor at CognitiveScale, a fast growth enterprise AI company.

Nancy is the founder of Play Big, Inc. With a portfolio of more than $50B worth of experience with companies such as Nestle, Energizer, Sprint, NRG, The Coca Cola Company, Brinker Int’l, Acumen, Lucid and more, she is passionate about helping leaders update their corporate “operating systems” to build greater salience and momentum.

Peek into our full SXSW’s 2018 recaps, agenda & speaker info, if you’re curious.

Takeaway: We recognize the value of diverse input, and we actively push for balance.  


If you’re interested in knowing more about W2O, check out our Healthcare or About pages.

If you’re interested in working with W2O, see what’s open on Culture & Careers.

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This week we released a podcast of a conversation that Aaron Strout moderated with Michael Sarraille, retired Navy SEAL and Founder of VETTED, Haroon K. Ullah, Chief Strategy Officer of Broadcasting Board of Directors, and myself. Rather than summarize the talk, I’ll let the podcast do the work. More here via Aaron’s post. If you are interested …

This week we released a podcast of a conversation that Aaron Strout moderated with Michael Sarraille, retired Navy SEAL and Founder of VETTEDHaroon K. Ullah, Chief Strategy Officer of Broadcasting Board of Directors, and myself.

Rather than summarize the talk, I’ll let the podcast do the work. More here via Aaron’s post.

If you are interested in our larger podcast series, you can see it here or just go on Spotify and subscribe to What2Know.

If you are interested in Vetted.org, you can click here to find out how you can help our Veterans and, as part of this effort, buy our book, Countering Hate (all proceeds go to Vetted).

Enjoy the podcast!

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Understanding how bias, hate, and extremism form and working to stop it is an incredibly important task. It can seem daunting and impossible, but after an incredibly enlightening conversation it is clear that’s not the case. I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Michael Sarraille, retired Navy SEAL and Founder of VETTED, Haroon K. Ullah, …

Understanding how bias, hate, and extremism form and working to stop it is an incredibly important task. It can seem daunting and impossible, but after an incredibly enlightening conversation it is clear that’s not the case.

I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Michael Sarraille, retired Navy SEAL and Founder of VETTED, Haroon K. Ullah, Chief Strategy Officer of Broadcasting Board of Directors, and my colleague, Bob Pearson, Chief Innovation Officer of W2O. All of these guys are brilliant and passionate, and talking to them truly was an education. Bob and Haroon recently published a book titled “Countering Hate“, a concept that was born from a conversation had on our podcast last year. During our chat they share how the book helps us understand the intricacies and nuances of extremism while providing tangible action steps of how we all can do our part to counter hate. As if that wasn’t enough of an incentive all proceeds from the book go to the organization Michael founded, VETTED.

VETTED focuses on transitioning Veteran leaders into industry disruptors and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. During our discussion Michael shares how the foundation focuses on transitioning our Vets from the battlefield to boardroom to careers they deserve and how you can get involved. Our Veterans deserve the opportunity to participate in the free enterprise that they defended with their lives and VETTED is dedicated to making this happen.

You don’t want to miss out on this conversation, take a listen below.

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Last week, we were excited to be honored by Med Ad News with the  “Vision Award” for the W2O Group Center for Social Commerce (CSC), our partnership with Syracuse University and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. We recently celebrated the five year anniversary of this program. For me, it’s personally thrilling to see …

Last week, we were excited to be honored by Med Ad News with the  “Vision Award” for the W2O Group Center for Social Commerce (CSC), our partnership with Syracuse University and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

We recently celebrated the five year anniversary of this program. For me, it’s personally thrilling to see the CSC recognized. I not only went to Newhouse, but I’ve been given the opportunity to help manage our various initiatives.

Back when I was a student, the youngest of five kids and essentially working my way through school, I won a summer internship with W2O Group. Not just an internship, but also a living stipend, which made it feasible for me to spend the summer in one of the most expensive cities in the world, New York. It’s the city I’ve now lived in for coming up on five years, while learning at a rapid rate and growing my career at W2O Group.

That was the first glimmer of what is now is our Syracuse Center for Social Commerce Ambassador Program. And it sure has grown since then. The internship and stipend are still there, but we’ve added on incredible exposure for our Ambassadors through experiences like an expense-paid trip to SXSW in Austin, TX, where they network with W2O experts, speakers and clients across all types of industries. We’ve recruited some standout talent through the CSC, including Lauryn Botterman, who shared her experience as a former Ambassador.

“I was honored to be selected as one of the program’s inaugural student Ambassadors during my junior year at Syracuse, and since then the CSC has opened so many doors for me, both as a student and now as a professional, ” Botterman shared.

“Not many students can say they’ve interacted directly with c-suite level executives before graduating, but through my Ambassadorship I got exposure to industry leaders at SXSW and during our events on campus. It’s been rewarding to coach subsequent generations of Ambassadors. I couldn’t be more excited to see the CSC grow and evolve in the years ahead.”

I have to agree that the CSC is truly a special partnership, and it doesn’t stop with our Ambassadors. Partnering with the faculty at Syracuse, each semester we also bring industry leaders and experts to campus for Social Commerce Days, a three-day whirlwind of class visits, student resume reviews, networking sessions, workshops and a keynote address by a prominent industry executive. Over the course of a few days, W2O staff and visiting executives help students get a better sense of what the industry is like, understand how digital analytics are re-shaping the work we do, and share tips on how to prepare to enter the workforce after graduation.

Now add on training sessions for faculty on the newest tools and approaches, proprietary research, an affiliate internship where students split their summer between agency and in-house, and ongoing remote class visits throughout the year and you start to see why the CSC is really the first of its kind.

It’s not just what we’re doing through the CSC, but how we’re doing it. W2O Group’s founder and CEO Jim Weiss’ vision for the CSC and continued investment in it is complemented by the unparalleled dedication of our CSC Co-Directors Gary Grates and Maria Russell. And our success has been assured by the depth of commitment from our other leaders at W2O, like W2O President, Jennifer Gottlieb and Vice Chair & Chief Innovation Officer, Bob Pearson, who are often seen on Syracuse campus, even teaching full courses.

And the of course there’s the dozens of staff who have participated in the effort, sharing their experiences with faculty and students.

The industry landscape is changing rapidly and the next generation of professionals are going to be fundamental to the future. I’m truly energized to be there at the forefront of where the classroom meets the industry. And I can’t wait for what’s next.

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Last week we were notified that W2O Group was one of five finalists in the Holmes Report Large Agency of the Year category recognizing firms of distinction at a certain size. So, whether we win the award or we don’t next week, why is this such a noteworthy milestone in our collective evolution? Actually, for …

Last week we were notified that W2O Group was one of five finalists in the Holmes Report Large Agency of the Year category recognizing firms of distinction at a certain size.

So, whether we win the award or we don’t next week, why is this such a noteworthy milestone in our collective evolution?

Actually, for several reasons:

1. It’s Recognition for all of YOU and your contributions to our success: no organization can grow and succeed without the dedication and performance of its talent.  You #MakeItHappen it every day!

2. It places us on another level – one that conveys scale, capabilities and relevance:  This is a huge milestone in our evolution as a firm akin to when your favorite sports team was first considered a championship contender.

3. We’re only 17 years-old – unlike our competitors in this category who have been around much longer – this recognizes our impressive successive  growth and accomplishments due to focused and relentless investment and our continuous pursuit to improve.  It signals a graduation of sorts.

4. Beyond this recognition, we’re Defining a New Category reflecting the consolidation of marketing, communications, and digital strategies and approaches as business and the world adjust amid a tectonic technology and consumer revolution.  The result is a new type of firm, one that is able to pivot and operate as #OneTeamOneDream across a new landscape of constantly shifting client needs and priorities.

5. It reinforces “Being the Best” – Since our beginning, the north star is to deliver outstanding client service based on smart analysis leading to precise execution because #WhySuck?

Receiving such an honor is important for another reason: Confidence.  Things are moving so quickly, improving our status among clients, prospects, influencers and potential hires not only raises our profile but provides a new found belief in our purpose and work.

What it doesn’t change is our strategy, direction and purpose.  The combination of hard work, smart people, attentive client service and partnership to innovate and create great work together that makes a real impact in the world.

That’s exactly what will keep us moving forward.

Life and business are always about a series of lessons and choices leading to learning new things each day.  Of course, that won’t ever change but it’s nice, every now and then, to discover that our efforts are being noticed and respected.  The optimism that peels away from such recognition is refreshing and invaluable.  This doesn’t mean we’ve arrived — because as you know that’s the time to leave — but it certainly says we are up and coming, on the right track and well on our way!

Thank you for making W2O Group exceptional in a world of shifting loyalties and beliefs.

And take a minute to be proud of this accolade, not just for what it says about the firm, but what it says about you and what you are capable of doing.

Jim

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