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Q&A: Kay Wesley

PME chats to the Chief Executive of Kanga Health Ltd and Town Councillor at Women’s Equality Party Congleton

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

A cup of tea. Usually delivered by my amazing husband, but if I’m working away, the hotel had better have tea-making facilities in the room, otherwise as my colleagues will testify, I arrive at breakfast quite grumpy!

What’s the best thing about working in healthcare comms?

Helping patients – everything we do is for the patient, and we are all patients. When you cocreate with patients, it does feel more important. It impacts people’s lives.

What’s the worst thing about working in healthcare comms?

The word ‘can’t’, in relation to digital projects/ assets/tactics. It’s a knee-jerk reaction but an unhelpful one, and nearly always not true. Let’s start by saying ‘how can we?’ instead of ‘we can’t’.

Which buzzwords/office-jargon/concepts get on your nerves?

Acronyms! They are used almost as a secret code in pharma and each company seems to have their own unique set. It means the healthcare world can be very confusing for the fresh new minds that we need the most. Plain English wins every time for me.

What’s your favourite bar or eatery?

I have a new favourite, the Refuge by Volta in Manchester. It is in an amazing, historic building, has a great atmosphere and serves delicious food.

Which book/film would you recommend above all others and why?

This changes monthly, but right now, I’m recommending Elizabeth is Missing, the brilliant debut novel by Emma Healey. Part human tragedy but also a comedy and a thriller, this amazing page-turner is told through the eyes of Maud, a woman living with dementia. Glenda Jackson played the lead role in a recent TV film, but I’d recommend you read the book first.

Which person, living or dead, do you admire the most and why?

Sandi Toksvig is an amazing activist and campaigner for women’s and gay rights, yet also hilariously funny and has a magical quality that means everyone just loves her. Sandi co-founded the Women’s Equality Party in 2015, and I became its first elected Town Councillor in 2019, in Congleton.

Who’s your healthcare comms hero/heroine?

Ronny Allen, patient advocate for neuroendocrine tumours (NETs). Ronny has done so much to raise awareness of this incredibly challenging condition and to support other patients and the drug companies and healthcare professionals who are helping them live full lives with NETs.

What has been your career highlight to date?

The most exciting and scariest moment was launching Kanga seven years ago, with no office, staff or clients, just a sense of what my ‘dream agency’ would have been when I was in pharma. Thanks to many wonderful people, it is now a top 30 pharma digital agency, according to PMLiVE, and this is the best job I ever had.

What’s your golden rule/piece of advice for someone starting a career in healthcare comms?

Always ask ‘why’. Why is the field force the most important channel for your brand? Why do you need a website/app/social media campaign? If you keep asking why, then you will figure out what the objective really is, or the fact that the objective is not yet clear and needs more work.

Kay Wesley is Chief Executive of Kanga Health Ltd and Town Councillor at Women’s Equality Party Congleton

3rd June 2020

From: Marketing

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