During our meeting on Tuesday, October 30th, we welcomed not only one but two guest speakers: Kim Rotondo and Brian Kenney. Both work for Janssen, the pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson and shared the experiences they have had throughout their careers.
Each of them described their career experiences to the audience, starting off with where they went to college and how they ended up at Janssen. Both explained how Janssen focuses on unmet medical needs and how they have to look at the big picture for the good of the company. Rotondo and Kenney outlined their three most important traits to help public relations professionals tell their story: substance, strategic communication skills, and character. I thought it was really interesting how they mentioned these traits because they come up a lot in classes as a PR major, so exemplifying them in real-life scenarios was helpful.
Both Rotondo and Kenney then spoke about how exciting and stimulating it is to work for such a big company, such as Johnson & Johnson. Rotondo explained how there is never a dull moment working in pharmaceuticals because medical needs are always changing. They also provided examples of various drug companies they have worked with and explained how their jobs consist of various responsibilities, including managing media and creating campaigns.
One of Janssen’s recent campaigns was focused on lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease. The campaign consisted of a video series that tells the story of the work Janssen is doing and highlights one of the company’s researchers and one patient struggling with this disease. The video series was successful in showing that Janssen is working hard for the disease and cares about patients with lupus.
Another set of skills the two emphasized greatly were on the topic of issues management. It is important to “expect the unexpected” and to anticipate, prepare materials, respond rapidly, and correct inaccuracies. I thought it was important that they mentioned the issues that arise in PR because not everything will always go smoothly and it is important to prepare for that. To elaborate, Kenney shared an entertaining story about the situation he endured when his personal and business lives both became stressful.
Overall, it was very beneficial to hear the events both Kim Rotondo and Brian Kenney have experienced and the tips they had to share with us. Both of them have a unique experience in the pharmaceutical industry, since they are involved in the communications aspect of the field, so it was interesting and helpful to hear each of their perspectives.
This blog post was written by Kiersten Sholly, General Body Member.