By Tracy Keim
VP of consumer marketing and brand, 23andme
The most inspirational and influential person in healthcare isAnne Wojcicki, CEO of 23andMe.
Anne brings data to the table — whether it’s genetic data, lab data, or health data. Anne encourages the public to access, understand, and benefit from their data when it comes to healthcare. She advocates for the consumer, and believes you are your strongest advocate.
Many of us don’t know that we can ask for our health records or get access to our genetic information. We cannot continue to live in fear or in the dark when it comes to our health. Anne’s changing the way we look at ourselves through genetics and advocacy. That is inspiring.
By Alexandra von Plato
CEO, Publicis Health
I have the distinct honor of calling Nick Colucci, chairman of Publicis Health, my most important mentor. As a boss, coach, role model, and friend, Nick always can be counted on to tell me what I need to hear and show me what it means to lead with my heart, head, and hands. As a true servant-leader, Nick has nurtured a small army of healthcare agency and network leaders, including many women, now serving as presidents, CMOs and CFOs. I’m grateful and proud to count myself among them.
By Debbie Renner
CEO, SSCG Media Group
I’m extremely fortunate to have had two phenomenal mentors at critical stages of my career — Carol DiSanto, past president of CDM Group, and Josh Prince, current CMO of Omnicom Health Group. Carol and Josh are not only incredible mentors, but also extraordinary human beings. It is from both of them that I learned, early on in my career, the importance of leading an organization with grace, respect, humanity, and gratitude — something that I continue to value above all in my role as CEO of SSCG Media Group.
As we continue to evolve and transform as an organization — this is something that will never change.
By Susan Isenberg
Global sector chair, health, Edelman
I’ve been honored to work with many outstanding women and men dedicated to health over the course of my career in health comms, but the most lasting impact has been by the person who helped carve the position I have the privilege to hold now — Nancy Turett.
Nancy’s passion for the power of the health industry to change lives was boundless. She instilled in me a career-long appreciation for the role of communications in transforming ideas into engaging actions that positively impact the health and well-being of people, as well as inspire and motivate our own teams.
By Jillian Janaczek
EVP, managing director, and New York market leader, Burson Cohn & Wolfe
I can’t think of a person who has influenced me more than BCW CEODonna Imperato.
Donna has been instrumental in teaching me the nuanced world of healthcare communications. Leading by example, Donna is fearless in her pursuit for innovation, which is critical to the ever-evolving health landscape.
One of the things I most admire about Donna is that she advocates for her people. She puts her team first and foremost, something I have tried hard to emulate as healthcare practice head and plan to continue in my new role as BCW’s New York market leader.
As the first woman to lead a top three firm, Donna is an inspiration — not only to me but to many.
By Michael Sneed
EVP, global corporate affairs, and chief comms officer, Johnson & Johnson
My grandmother, Laverta Johnson, began her journey as a nurse graduating from the Kansas City School of Nursing in 1932. She returned to Chicago and in the late 1940s she and my granddad opened the first rehab center on the west side of Chicago to serve the African-American community.
As a young boy, I learned the value of service to others that my grandmother instilled in all of her grandchildren. She believed then, as I do now, that health and wellbeing are keys to a strong and productive life in service to your family and society as a whole.
By Mike Hudnall
CEO, WPP Health & Wellness
The person who inspired me most in my career is John Zweig, former chairman of WPP’s healthcare and specialty comms sector. I will always treasure the years I worked with him. John showed us every day how to be a great human, leader, and friend.
He reinforced why our work in health is so important, but also reminded us that individually we aren’t as important as we think we are. Most importantly, he taught me that if I unleash our collective power of will, then we truly can change the world. Thank you, John.
By Jim Weiss
Founder and CEO, W2O
I was hired at Hill+Knowlton Strategies in May 1987 by Laura Leber, a client, friend, and powerhouse influencer herself. But Beverly Simons is our north star. A genuine mad woman from the golden age, she’s one of the first, best, and most prolific healthcare communicators who shaped this field and mentored so many of us.
She was all about hard work, perfection, client service, and results. She treated us like the pros we strived to be. It was 24/7, and I loved every minute of it. I’m forever grateful Bev inspired and pushed me to #MakeItHappen and #BecomeTheBest I could be.
By Leerom Segal
Cofounder and CEO, Klick Health
I’ve always been inspired by virtuosity in every form, and whenever we’re looking at a new space, first seek to find renegades that can influence our thinking. At an early age, my father taught me that being entrepreneurial means you have to have a bias for action and a strong work ethic. Klick cofounder Peter Cordy illuminated the importance of creativity, and I’ve always enjoyed hacking problems with our other cofounder Aaron Goldstein. In fact, a theme that has been consistently true at every stage has been the degree to which mentors have helped us see around corners and boldly imagine how to conspire with the future.
By Anne de Schweinitz
Global managing director, healthcare, FleishmanHillard
MaryEllen O’Donohue, currently at WE Communications, may not think of herself as a mentor to me, but she is. When I took my first agency job in 1999, MaryEllen was leading the North American healthcare practice.
I met her just weeks after starting at a major biotech pitch in California. I was clueless about the agency world and she was completely in it, very talented and fiercely determined to win.
She was also incredibly warm, funny, and deeply human. She remains a shining example to me of the profound impact one person can have when they bring their whole self to the job every day.
By Keri McDonough
Senior team lead, Biosector 2
Those who courageously evolve while holding onto what’s uniquely theirs inspire me most. Wendy Brennan, director of community outreach for Senator Liz Krueger, and Peg McCormick, consultant, patient partnership, CAR-T and cell therapy at Autolus, have done just this throughout their careers. While running a patient advocacy group and expanding access to mental health coverage, Wendy taught me how to remain vigilant and calm in the face of entrenched political and social barriers. When leading a global MS franchise’s advocacy work, Peg showed me how to balance visionary and realistic expectations for pharma and advocacy collaboration. Both women exemplify the possibilities for careers fueled by intellectual curiosity, kindness, a strong moral compass, and a drive for meaningful change. Mentorship is a gift and I am so grateful for their generosity.