I’m very privileged to be bringing Julie Adrian for one of the final #4PRQs (Four PR Questions) on MK. Julie is EU President at inVentiv Health Communications. She studied at the University of Kansas and was featured in the PRWeek UK Power Book as the top ten healthcare comms professionals. Advising graduates and junior comms professionals, she suggests them to “be curious, ask questions, get to know everyone.”
What was your way to the industry?
I am a trained journalist, I studied journalism at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas which is where I grew up. I did a few internships, but realised it wasn’t for me. I then did an internship at a hospital in the community relations department and, luckily, my boss realised that PR was for me – she got me my first real job at a large community hospital in Kansas City. I did everything in the communications department that I should not have been doing, like designing brochures and posters, that’s when I fell in love with healthcare and doing communications in the health area. I was in-house at pharma and then agency for most of the rest of the time (in NY and LA, now London!), but always in health.
Working with clients to reach patients, caregivers and physicians makes the work very meaningful, and it helps when you have a great team that you care about and respect. Another reason I’ve stayed in healthcare is that we are always learning. What other job can you do where, after 26 years, you’re still learning new things every day?
What is the biggest mistake of junior people you employ, and how can it be fixed?
I think one of the biggest mistakes junior people make is not asking enough questions, being inquisitive or curious and not taking the time to understand the culture of the organisation, or being aware of the different dynamics and ways of working across different brands and teams. The way to fix this is pretty simple, be curious, ask questions, get to know everyone, get to know the ins and outs of the organisation. Another major mistake is junior people often expect things to happen in their career, but they need to proactively manage the career to make things happen, they can’t just expect change to happen overnight.
One of the biggest mistakes junior people make is not asking enough questions.
How can PR graduates take advantage of the social and digital platforms, in order to gain the attention of the agencies and other potential employers?
The obvious way PR graduates can take advantage of social and digital platforms is by using Linkedin, which is a given. Graduates should also use the various platforms available to them to showcase their work, provide links to articles (as long as the client allows!) and websites. All content graduates upload should be a reflection of their internal brand and the way they want to purvey. If a graduate is interested in design, travel and art, information publicly available on social media needs to be consistent with this.
All content graduates upload should be a reflection of their internal brand.
What is the most undiscovered area in the industry that could be used as a dissertation topic?
Patient engagement is a major trend and one which we are focusing on this year as it provides the chance to help clients fundamentally change, and improve, their application of drugs – it would also make a great dissertation topic! One of our clients, a large pharmaceutical company who I cannot name decided to switch its use between Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes because of a patient consultation. The client felt like they were contributing more to societal health than they would have otherwise – and also likely got a commercial gain. Patient engagement is also key in the new social age, as you can get taken down by social media because you’re not grounded in that patient engagement – there is an increasing need for transparency and engagement amongst consumers.
#4PRQs (Four PR Questions) is a weekly series on the blog. I’m on the mission to help PR graduates (including myself) make right decisions about their future careers, by asking industry leaders for an advice.
Would you like to give me a feedback or feature in the series? Drop me a line to kl.marcel [at] gmail.com or tweet me @marcelkl. Thanks for stopping by, have a splendid day!