Chatting with Chris Brooks, Account Director, Paragon

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Steve Scott at Media Contacts has chatted with Chris Brooks, Account Director, Paragon

What attracted you to this career in the first place?

I was working in a related field in operations and was fascinated. The opportunity to travel was a big appeal for me to start with but it was also the fact that I could work in a busy and exciting area that can actually make a positive impact to people’s lives.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Working with clients. It’s the best feeling when you put in a lot of hard work in the background and impress the client at the end of it. I’m pleased to count most of my clients as friends.

What is the most challenging experience you have faced?

Delivering a promotional symposium in the US on an investigational product – a compliance minefield

What’s the funniest memory and/or highlight of your career so far?

One highlight would have to be receiving an invitation to deliver an industry presentation alongside one of my clients to talk about our experience in publication planning.

Who would play you in the movie of your life?

Someone short!

What’s a typical day look like for you?

No such thing exists, you can plan for tomorrow as much as you like but there will always be a few surprises

What would your key tasks in a typical day be?

See Q6. The standard things would be to check what has come in overnight and prioritise what is on the list of actions and then go from there

Thanks, Chris. Have a great day!

Chatting with Julie Van Onselen, Director at Dermatology Education Partnership

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Julia Walton at Media Contacts has chatted with Julie Van Onselen, Director at Dermatology Education Partnership

What attracted you to this career in the first place?

I started off as a nurse and still practise clinically as well as working in medcomms. I diversified into medcomms in order to have more variety, at the same time as specialising in dermatology – the area I am passionate about – and the opportunity to set up my own business

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Every day is different but I love the feeling that the educational work I do ultimately makes a difference to help patients get better care and improve people’s lives

What is the most challenging experience you have faced?

Learning about developing online education and different strategies for online, virtual audiences especially in the early days! Now the possibilities are endless and developments for these learning platforms very varied and exciting.

What’s the highlight of your career so far?

I’ve won a few awards but the highlight was developing an early digital education package, called ‘Scratching The Surface.’ Twenty years on people are still talking about it.

Who would play you in the movie of your life?

Julia Roberts

What would your key tasks in a typical day be?

I’m either in the office or out and about and there is a mixture of writing, consultancy, training and educational development.

Thanks, Julie. Have a great day!

Chatting with Sophie Albon, Freelance Medical Writer and Editor

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Steve Scott at Media Contacts has chatted with Sophie Albon, Freelance Medical Writer and Editor.

What attracted you to this career in the first place?

I fell into it. I came out of uni with a science degree with no idea what I could do with it, other than lab work/a PhD. I stumbled across a Scientific Editor role and the rest is history!

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Working with different clients and agencies and Learning about different therapy areas

What is the most challenging experience you have faced?

Managing workload and client expectations is a constant challenge when editorial resource is limited (there are a lot of late nights)

What’s the funniest memory and/or highlight of your career so far?

Being quickly promoted to Senior Medical Writer

What’s a typical day look like for you?

  • Attend internal and client status meetings
  • Write the first draft of a primary manuscript/poster/oral presentation
  • Take in client comments on medical training slides

What would your key tasks in a typical day be?

As above (attend meetings, write materials, address client comments)

Thanks, Sophie. Have a great day!

Chatting with Petra Roberts, Medical Editor and Owner at Swanford Editorial Services

medcommsday19_julia_walton_1200x627Julia Walton at Media Contacts has chatted with Petra Roberts, Medical Editor and Owner at Swanford Editorial Services

What attracted you to this career in the first place?

I was headhunted from journal publishing, which can be repetitive, and attracted by the variety of work in medcomms.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

The feeling of flow when I am focused on an edit gives me joy.

What is the most challenging experience you have faced?

Learning to run a business solo is challenging but worthwhile.

What’s the funniest memory of your career?

I turned up soaking wet to an interview and still got the job.

Who would play you in the movie of your life?

I’d like Julia Roberts in ‘finding out the truth’ mode to play me.

What are the key tasks in a typical day?

Scheduling work from various clients in my trusty paper diary, editing and proofreading, and finance admin are the main tasks

Thanks, Petra. Have a great day!

Chatting with David Jenkins, Principal Medical Writer, AXON Communications

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Steve Scott at Media Contacts has chatted with David Jenkins, Principal Medical Writer, AXON Communications.

What attracted you to this career in the first place?

I’ve always had an interest in writing and was looking for a way to do that instead of bench science. After completing my PhD I attended a life sciences careers day and a talk given by a medical writer made the career sound appealing so I investigated more. Also, he showed a photograph of the glider he owns, and I thought ‘yes, I cou

What’s your favourite part of your job?

I enjoy the onsite activities, advisory boards in particular. It’s a buzz to see experts present slides that I’ve helped with at symposia and stand-alone meetings; and you’ll never hear a group of doctors talk like they do at an ad board!

What is the most challenging experience you have faced?

At a standalone meeting a speaker was taken ill at the last minute and couldn’t deliver their talk. We managed to brief and rehearse one of the chairs as a replacement in record time!

What’s the highlight of your career so far?

We had just handed a project over to the client; we had written our section and they were going to take on the next part for budget reasons. The next day they sent it back to us to complete (with more budget) because we had done it so well that they wanted us to continue

Who would play you in the movie of your life?

I’d like to say Mark Ruffalo – I think he did a good Bruce Banner in the Avengers films. As an ex-scientist I’d like to promote a positive image for scientists in the movies!

What’s a typical day look like for you?

Check email, check Outlook calendar, check to-do list, get urgent client request, throw the lot up in the air and do the rest of the day on the fly

What would your key tasks in a typical day be?

As well as my writing work and reviewing work from other writers I may also have catch-up meetings with account teams or line reports. We schedule regular client calls, so they crop up every couple of days or so. I also support recruitment for our department, so it’s not uncommon for me to interview a candidate for a medical writer role, either on the phone or in person. If I’m supporting a new business proposal I’ll fit in some research or catch up with other writers on the RFP team to make sure we’re aligned and not duplicating work

Thanks, David. Have a great day!

Chatting with Krys Dylewska, freelance medical writer

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Julia Walton at Media Contacts has chatted with Krys Dylewska, freelance medical writer.

What attracted you to this career in the first place?

I fell into freelancing as a medical writer from in-house project management. It suits my lifestyle because as a freelancer I am able to work from home and take care of my extensive menagerie of pets.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Getting paid! There’s a much more direct relationship between work and payment when you’re freelance so it’s a good feeling to reap the rewards for one’s hard graft.

What is the most challenging experience you have faced?

Being asked to do something completely wrong (be that impossible, unethical or unwise for the client’s business). An example was when a client wanted a set of slides that had been created for internal ‘cheerleading’ purposes to be adapted for KOLs, which is like asking to mix oil and water. Luckily, things like this have happened to me fewer than six times in 20 years and I am not afraid to say, ‘No’.

What’s a highlight of your career so far?

A recent highlight arose from working on a project for a big, global agency with one of their US divisions. Unusually for a freelancer, I was very heavily involved with being on calls and emails directly with the client. At the end of the project to deliver a slide deck she sent an email saying how pleased she was with the results. It was lovely to hear directly from the end-client that my insights and advice were so much appreciated.

Who would play you in the movie of your life?

Cher, because she has played a lot of feisty women who speak their minds and aren’t afraid to say controversial things, by being honest.

What would your key tasks in a typical day be?

It depends on what I am working on at the time, but they may involve responding to emails, making sure the brief is optimal for the end-client’s commercial objectives, researching, finding ways to add value, reading minds, and, of course, writing.

Thanks, Krys. Have a great day!

Chatting with Elif Melis Bicer of Lucid Group

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Steve Scott at Media Contacts has chatted with Elif Melis Bicer, Senior Account Manager at Lucid Group.

What attracted you to this career in the first place?

Not quite being sure what I wanted to do after my Ph.D., but knowing I definitely didn’t want to stay in the lab(!), my supervisor told me about a past student of who’d gone into MedComms, and had a career that involved both science and creativity (aka the dream!), and I was sold!

What’s your favourite part of your job?

The people! I have loved almost everyone I’ve worked with in every agency. A close second is getting the opportunity to work on projects i’ve been truly passionate about, and pitching  brilliant ideas to clients, getting to see the wild look in their eyes of wanting desperately to say yes (a fair few even do!), before the inevitable ‘we’ve got limited budget this year…’

What is the most challenging experience you have faced?

Working with a new client, who clearly loved and wanted to continue working with their previous agency, and proceeded to make life extremely difficult… (can every email really be marked urgent!?!) 

What’s the funniest memory and/or highlight of your career so far?

After having completed a project for an extremely demanding client  – three times daily whatsapp calls and messages (on my work phone) etc, said client, tried to set me up with her son, asked me to look him up on Facebook and waited on the phone to hear my reaction to his photos!

Who would play you in the movie of your life?

A moomin?

What’s a typical day look like for you?

Emails, all the emails, team meetings and 121 catch ups, client TCs, liaising with studio and learning! From finding out more about a therapy area, the clients strategy to new ideas of how to approach things

What would your key tasks in a typical day be?

Proposal and budget development 

Thanks, Elif. Have a great day!