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Wanda Lesowiec did it. Could you?

How a background in pharma can mean a bright future in medical communications

Wanda Lesowiec, one of Bedrock’s Account Directors, brings with her a wealth of experience working for international pharmaceutical and medical device companies. We asked her a few questions about what brought her into the medical communications industry, what she’s learned since moving over, and how life at Bedrock compares to working in ‘pharma’.

After so many years working for the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry, what attracted you to the idea of working for a medical communications agency?

I’ve worked in a lot of different roles in pharma, and I remember thinking about the marketing and customer engagement projects I’d worked on over the years and realising that I wanted to do more of that and less of, you know, the ‘other stuff’. I didn’t want to be locked into a single therapy area or product anymore; I wanted an opportunity to work with lots of different teams, different patients, and in different disease areas. Also, I love creative marketing, and it felt like most of my favourite projects over the years have been ones I’ve worked on with agencies on. So it seemed like it was the right area to explore.

What experience or skills have you found most useful in your new role?

I’ve found my experience of working for pharmaceutical and medical device companies really valuable; understanding what it’s like to work in a marketing role, and having those practical project management skills with the knowledge of how to develop meetings and materials. Moving to Bedrock has also allowed me to build on my background of working with patients and healthcare professionals, and developing and running workshops and ad-boards. A lot of what we do at Bedrock is fairly similar to some of what marketeers and brand managers do, we just get more time to concentrate on the project and are able to leverage experience from a broader range of backgrounds to really get it right.

What do you know now that you wished you’d known back when you worked at pharmaceutical and medical devices companies?

A lot! Looking back, I was probably a nightmare client. I definitely didn’t realise the breadth of different projects going on simultaneously at an agency, or the impact that not keeping to agreed timelines can have on so many other projects. I think I also wish I’d known how much I’d enjoy it here, I might have made the switch sooner!

How does life agency-side differ, and what’s surprised you most after moving to medical communications?

The sheer breadth of work – there’s so much more variety. More projects, more clients (obviously) and more therapy areas. In three short months I’ve had opportunities to work on a disease awareness film, a project focused on improving quality in global communications, numerous internal communications projects, and I’m currently organising an ad-board for nurses from around the world in New York. This is all alongside producing the more traditional slide decks and marketing materials so common in healthcare communications. I love that it’s always fresh — as one project begins to wrap up, there’s always something new to get stuck into.

Life at Bedrock involves a much more tightly-knit team than I’ve experienced in a lot of my other roles —information isn’t siloed and there’s real teamwork. It was a bit of a culture shock to be honest; everyone’s so friendly and there’s a strong sense of family within the company.

As I used to mostly work in UK roles, it has been great to get to work with regional and global clients as well as national ones. And at Bedrock we’re so client-focused, I love that I get to meet so many clients face-to-face! I’ve also really enjoyed working on business development, brainstorming new ideas and creative ways of doing things. The creativity of my colleagues never ceases to amaze me.

What’s the best thing about being part of Bedrock?

Oh, easily the people. From the interview onwards they’ve helped me make what was, in fairness, a quite scary jump outside of my comfort zone. But even in my interview when I was talking with Meg Morgan and Su Smith, our Strategic Solution Directors, it really felt right, and I knew I had to go for it. I’ve had to learn a lot in the new role, but everyone’s helped to bring me up to speed.

It’s also been a huge culture change, and I’m really impressed by how we focus on personal growth and wellbeing here. I’d never expect to have time set aside for discussions on gender equality on International Women’s Day, or an afternoon’s training to reflect on health and wellness. There’s a lot of focus on work-life balance, and they’re not just words here. It’s nice to have time to concentrate on other things that are important, while still feeling like I’m able to contribute hugely at work. It’s also great how everyone pulls together when we need to meet a tight deadline.

What advice would you give anyone coming from a pharma background into medical communications?

Definitely make sure you talk with someone else who’s already made that transition. It’s not a switch to the dark side! It’s probably right for anyone who likes a lot of variety and is interested in learning about lots of different diseases, drugs and devices. And remember that individual agencies are very different from one another, and many do different kinds of work – you have to find an agency that fits you. I suppose a lot of people who work for pharmaceutical companies already work with agencies, but you’ll want to find one that not only does great work, but also is a great place to work. The two aren’t necessarily the same thing and both are important.

Find out more about how Bedrock Imagines, Creates and Delivers great careers for truly inspirational people.

5th June 2019

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Bedrock Healthcare Communications

01252 240200

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Address:
One Fleet
Ancells Road
Fleet
Hampshire
GU51 2UN

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