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Q&A: Mike Dixon

PME interviews the CEO of the Healthcare Communications Association (HCA)

Mike Dixon

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

I have a 6-year-old who, however tired he is at night, is always full of beans in the morning. So despite the desire not to get out of bed, the choice is made for me. Roll on the teenage years when I will get my revenge by waking him up every morning!

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

The daily variety and diversity, the people I have had the pleasure to work with and the belief that, working in the healthcare environment, what we do is important and of benefit.

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

The fact that we have still not been successful in enhancing the public perception of pharma to the level it should be, considering the amazing amount of good it does.

What’s your favourite bar or eatery?

River Exe Cafe

I was born in Exmouth, Devon. If you know or are going to the area, I would fully recommend the Café on the Exe, which is a floating restaurant reached by ferry. It has great seafood and is just a fab experience all round.

And just up the road at Topsham, the Bridge Inn still has the best real ales (the Queen had a pint there once).

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

It’s a Wonderful Life. With a message as poignant today as it was in 1946.

Which buzzwords/office jargon get on your nerves?

‘Let’s have a TC’. It’s not that there is anything wrong with it or that it gets on my nerves, but I am of an age where the childhood response to TC is ‘Ok Officer Dibble’. (Apologies to millennial readers, this answer may not make any sense to you unless you watch old children’s cartoons on YouTube!)

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

Greta Thunberg

There are many and all are distinguished by striving to do something that is right, just or of benefit to mankind, but without self-interest and sometimes at the expense of their own well-being. Nelson Mandela has always been on that list.

At the moment Greta Thunberg has my admiration and has also rekindled my belief that one person can make a real difference – a belief I hope I can instil in my son.

Who is your healthcare comms hero/heroine?

I have been impressed how the royal princes William and Harry have used their position and profile to encourage people to be more accepting and talk more openly about mental health, by initially opening-up publicly about their own personal mental health challenges as a catalyst, and then continuing their support in a variety of ways.

Prince William

What has been your career highlight to date?

Starting my own agency in 2007. It was both scary and exciting, and something I have never regretted. Also, it’s true to say that the last two years as CEO of the HCA is right up there, as it has enabled me to meet so many amazing people and take a more umbrella view of the sector I love and have worked in for my entire career.

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

It’s actually the same for starting any career, although due to our sector being a small community, it’s even more important: always treat others the way you would want to be treated yourself.

5th March 2020

From: Marketing



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