Tell us a bit about your life growing up and what you wanted to be when you were older?
Growing up, my house was never quiet – a mixture of Italian and Maltese heritage meant that the house was always full of loud and enthusiastic conversation, cooking and craziness. I had a Catholic, Grammar school education, in which IT lessons were taught by nuns and careers advice (we called it ‘careers advice Tuesday’) was focused around very traditional pathways (Latin was still very much a core subject). I knew I gravitated towards the life sciences, but I did not know that a love for Biology, coupled with an interest in marketing and business were something I could combine within one specific role. Therefore, at the time, I thought I wanted to be a vet. I flipped between this and dreaming of becoming a commercial pilot!
Take us through your career journey. How did you get into MedComms?
When I finally discovered the world of medical education and healthcare advertising, I set about trying to gain some relevant work experience. I was working in dental sales at the time, and despite what I thought was a shining cover letter and solid CV, found I was met with many closed doors – I was told time and time again that unless I had some relevant work experience, I would not be able to break into the industry! I think this used to be a common problem, especially in the agency world, but now believe agency owners have started to see the value of transferable skills, passion and a bright mind when they make new hires.
Thankfully, Novartis saw that passion in me, and I started my career within their Oncology franchise, providing support to two brand teams across four solid tumour products. I absorbed myself in every meeting, strategy planning activity, agency pitch, and even the odd lunch break with a medic, to build as much knowledge as possible about my brands, the data, and the industry as a whole. I soon realised that I was drawn to the dynamic world of our agency partners, excited by the chance to delve into a brand’s challenges, and offer solutions to these, through often unique, beautifully crafted, behaviour changing activities. I thoroughly loved my time at Novartis, and even discovered my previously unearthed talent for go-karting whilst there!
My first agency role was in a med comms agency, specialising in Oncology. Through this role, I gained a wealth of experience across solid tumours, rare diseases and haematology, working across UK, EMEA and global accounts. This experience set the foundation for my agency career and along this journey, I met some wonderful friends too.
Following this role, I wanted to gain experience across other therapy areas, but also had a young daughter, so moved into a more flexible, part-time role at Grace Communications. I started in an Account Management role, but through exposure to many different campaign activities, across primary and secondary care, OTC and consumer health, was able to progress successfully through the client services journey. I’ve looked after accounts from baby formula to ophthalmology, women’s health to neurology, and this has allowed me to navigate the various codes and hurdles that each of these areas present, whilst delivering brand activities from internal launches to full campaign redesigns.
I finally went freelance last year during the pandemic, where I focused predominantly on Veeva integration of sales force materials for brand teams, ensuring a smooth transition from pre-existing collateral to optimised, dynamic content for Veeva Engage. This was before Christopher found me on LinkedIn, and well, the rest is history!
What does your role at Get Animated Medical (GAM) entail?
As a director of client services in an independent agency, my role is a hybrid one. I would say it is a combination of offering strategic counsel to our clients, ensuring excellence across account deliverables, as well as working to develop our client team so that individuals are given the best training, learning opportunities and challenges to excel within their careers.
I also work closely with Christopher and Darren to shape the GAM offering, identifying emerging trends and unmet needs within the world of digital med ed and healthcare comms, and of course introducing our services to, and developing proposals for our future clients.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Write down what you want to achieve. Writing your goals down makes it a more real commitment – it’s much more powerful than just thinking about them! I often look back over the goals I set 1, 2, or 5 years ago and these are the ones I realise have become a reality.
If you could pick up a new skill instantly, what would it be?
Flying – in a plane. It’s my absolute dream to learn how to pilot a plane. My grandfather was a wing commander in the RAF, and I think this fascination for planes and flight is something I have inherited from him.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want with you?
My family – because they are my world.
A tent – so we could have shelter.
A lighter – so we could create fire, boil water, and cook.
Coffee and chocolate were also up there as my must have options, but felt this question warranted a sensible answer!
If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be?
South Africa – maybe Cape Town.
If you could meet any famous person (living or dead) who would it be?
Queen Victoria – what a fascinating experience that would be!