This article was originally published on PharmaVOICE
For Being an Industry Visionary
A visionary in the digital marketing and healthcare communications space, Jim Weiss is paving the way for what’s next. Jim is the CEO and founder of W2O Group, an integrated marketing and communications agency that he built from the ground up 17 years ago. Today, the company generates $170 million in revenue and spans 12 offices and hundreds of healthcare and technology clients. He built the firm on one platform: to be the best. And on two tenets: focus on the client first and foremost, and never be satisfied with the status quo.
“This requires focus,” he says. “You have to know where you’re going to get there and can’t go to too many places at once and still be the best.”
He has carried this philosophy through the firm’s evolution, resulting in consistent business growth, creation of innovative models, and development of progressive methodologies, such as inclusive programs in diversity, mentorship, and community involvement. Jim is justifiably proud that his efforts have resulted in several industry accolades, including being named Best Large Agency To Work For by the Holmes Report.
Over the years W2O has been agile, pivoting its infrastructure, leadership, offerings, and footprint based on client needs or industry changes. In 2016, Jim partnered with Mountaingate Capital to expand the agency’s reach with the strategic acquisitions of three companies: Sentient, an agency with a focus on data and insights; Marketeching, a market research and social listening consultancy; and Pure Communications, a communications agency focused on start-up life-sciences and med-tech clients. These acquisitions expanded the agency’s portfolio, strengthened its financial position, and enhanced overall capabilities and services.
Jim has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare and corporate communications, and he has been involved in nearly every aspect of brand, product, and organizational communications.
Colleagues admire Jim’s leadership style, which is based on courage, fortitude, constant curiosity, openness, and an ability to pivot.
His objectives remain lofty: to become the best firm in the sector to work at, to continue to disrupt and change the healthcare communications landscape, to stay ahead of the curve, to be the most valued counselors in the biopharma sector, and to work with increasingly larger and more groundbreaking clients to help them impact and/or transform their businesses in a meaningful way.
As a leader, Jim motivates his management team to deliver great results through encouragement, recognition, listening, and allowing them to lead their operating companies in an entrepreneurial, innovative, and collaborative culture.
Jim also invests in career development by supporting W2O University, an internal training program that includes webinars, presentations, and internal team sessions for all employees. The firm also offers one-on-one career and presentation coaching.
“One of the priorities I’ve set for myself is to make time to mentor dozens of my staff across W2O,” he says. “I have learned a tremendous amount over my career and want to share that same knowledge.”
With his wife Audra, he founded and sponsors of the W2O Group Center for Social Commerce at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, his alma mater. Now in its sixth year, the center is viewed as one of the most successful industry-academic sponsorships aimed at preparing students and professors for success in a digital age.