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Q&A: Nicola Walsby

Gemma Jones interviews Syneos Health's Managing Director PR UK

Nicola Walsby

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My two year old son, literally and metaphorically. His boundless energy (at 5am), enthusiasm and go-getting spirit is inspiring on a daily basis.

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

It is an incredible privilege to work in an area where we make a difference on a daily basis. I am always moved when we receive responses from patients to disease awareness campaigns that prompted a discussion with a doctor, or led to an early diagnosis of a life-threatening disease. I think we all too frequently gloss over the amazing impact we can and do make to the lives of millions around the world. One of the campaigns I’m proudest of this year is our work with AbbVie to raise global awareness of Hidradenitis Suppurativa. Our programme has driven increased diagnosis in 43 countries worldwide, and has won a number of awards over the last year.

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

The analysis paralysis that cripples some client organisations, making it challenging to deliver in a timely way.

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

All of them! I don’t know when it became a symbol of intellect or power to talk like a walking MBA textbook, but we are all too guilty of it, myself included.

What’s your favourite bar or eatery?

For a special occasion, Hedone in Chiswick is unbelievably good. I also completely love the Cary Arms in Babbacombe, Devon. Overlooking dramatic red sandstone cliffs and the crashing sea, it feels like a complete escape. Whenever I go home to visit my family we will go there, followed by a long beach walk.

Cary Arms

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

The book ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain. I completely agree that too often we believe the path to success is extroversion, and introverts are overlooked. This book is a great reminder of the value different individuals bring to organisations, and the importance of recognising and celebrating the contributions of all, not just those who shout the loudest.

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

Emma Colyer (pictured below), MBE, founder and director of an amazing charity called Body & Soul. I had the pleasure of working with Emma and serving as a trustee of this incredible charity that supportS young people living with or affected by HIV. Emma is the most selfless, genuine, warm human being, with an endless capacity for compassion and care. It is an inspiration to see her work in action.

Emma Colyer

What has been your career highlight to date?

Joining this amazing team at Syneos Health and the success of the three Syneos Health PR teams in Europe – Biosector2, CCA and Chamberlain. Each agency has won awards in the last year and that is an incredible testament to the passion, dedication and energy of the team.

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

Be curious.  Ask as many questions as you can, understand why we are doing something, how it might be made better and the impact that we’re expecting.

Nicola Walsby is Managing Director PR UK at Syneos Health Communications

26th February 2019

From: Marketing

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