Empowering physicians by providing information tools
Arnaud Lavenue talks about overcoming challenges, combining his passions through education, and his induction into the Canadian Healthcare Marketing Hall of Fame (1,270 words, 6 minutes)
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Arnaud Lavenue, Senior Partner at Toc Toc Communications, says he is fueled by challenge. Throughout his years of experience in pharma marketing, he has worked on many difficult campaigns that turned out to be successful. He notes the Covid-19 pandemic posed a significant challenge to the pharmaceutical industry. “It was hard to keep getting momentum while at the same time having huge barriers in terms of access to practitioners,” he said.
Lavenue [pictured below] added that during the peak of the pandemic, Toc Toc built a multichannel marketing campaign for a client that included print ads. These ads included QR codes that led to a link where both physicians and patients could download a free Covid-19 information kit. “[The campaign] was extremely successful. As a matter of fact, last year we received the Percy Skuy Award from OPMA [Ontario Pharmaceutical Marketing Association] for the best print ad for this initiative,” he said, “As I said, this was multichannel marketing, but I think it showcased our willingness at Toc Toc to empower physicians, in this case, GPs, by bringing them tools when they wanted them and then being able to interact with these tools.”
Lavenue is a doctor of pharmacy and has a Master’s degree in marketing. He says his education has had a significant impact on the course of his career. “I believe in complementing strength,” he said, “So having a background as a pharmacist means understanding the process of discovery, product, label design, and protocol of clinical trials.” He added that this dual education has allowed him to combine his knowledge of the technical aspects of the pharmaceutical sciences and his passion for marketing and communication.
Lavenue is also a board member at the Réseau des Femmes d’affaires du Québec or the Quebec Business Women’s Network. He says this non-profit organization has been around for more than 40 years and helps the professional development of women entrepreneurs and executives. He’s been a part of the organization since 2019, and he is passionate about it. “In the last two years, we’ve been heavily involved in helping to provide woman-owned organizations with better access to potential clients,” he said. “We are really into enlarging the possibilities for women entrepreneurs to get access to big mandates and basically develop more business for them.”
Lavenue said in addition to being a board member, he is also the President of the HR Subcommittee. He added the organization is growing tremendously, and more people are always joining. In his own words, he advises the non-profit on the key capabilities required to go to the next level. “This [the Quebec Business Women’s Network] is across the board. It’s for all industries. It’s not specific to pharma. It’s about developing and nurturing an economic moat and providing more visibility for women leaders, whatever their industries are.”
In 2022, Lavenue was inducted into the Canadian Healthcare Marketing Hall of Fame. “It was an honour to be recognized by my peers. I was a bit emotional, obviously, but I also felt that it was a great gathering for getting back to networking after the very long and painful pandemic that we went through.”
Lavenue said this recognition was a milestone and encourages him to continue sharing his experience and expertise with younger generations in the industry. He added he is currently mentoring MBA students who have an interest in pursuing a career in healthcare at the John Watson School of Business in Montreal. “I want to continue doing those things in the years to come.”
THIS WEEK 02/28/23
Seagen Canada’s Tukysa (tucatinib) can now be reimbursed in Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Tukysa is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor indicated in combination with trastuzumab and capecitabine for the treatment of advanced or metastatic HER2-Positive breast cancer.
Travere Therapeutics, Inc. announced the U.S. FDA has granted accelerated approval to Filspari (sparsentan), a drug indicated to reduce high levels of protein in the urine of adult patients with Berger's disease.
The Chiesi Group announced that the U.S. FDA has approved Lamzede (velmanase alfa-tycv) for the treatment of alpha-mannosidosis in adult and pediatric patients.
The Government of Canada announced close to $1.5 million in funding to support mental health programs for Black communities. The announcement was made by the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health and the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality on Feb. 24, 2023. Two organizations, Black Mental Health Canada and Wanasah: Mental Health Services for Black Youth, will receive $1.1 million and $400,000, respectively.
In season nine of the NPC Podcast, Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, Department Head of the Critical Care Unit at the Ottawa Hospital, talks about the value of implementing new technologies, experiencing racism in the healthcare system, and the importance of prioritizing love and compassion. Hear him in conversation with podcast hosts Mitch Shannon, Jim Shea and Mark McElwain.
CANADIAN HEALTHCARE MARKETING HALL OF FAME
The Canadian Healthcare Marketing Hall of Fame awards were established in 2002 to honour healthcare marketers who have contributed to our vocation and inspired others.
More than 100 honourees have been selected during the past 18 years. In the selection committee’s view, they represent a cross-section of the qualities that make our business unique and fulfilling. NPC Healthbiz Weekly will acknowledge one past Hall of Fame Honoree each week.
Carol Stiff, General Manager at Rhythm Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., says that her career in pharma happened almost accidentally. She had just finished a postgraduate diploma in communications and public relations and was looking for a new job. She found what was described as a great opportunity at a medical/healthcare communications company. “I was looking for a job in communications, or PR, which I did find, and it happened to be in healthcare. From that role, I learned what the pharma industry was, and I also got the opportunity to work with several different pharma companies and got exposure to the industry at large,” she says. What initially was meant to be an entry-level role in communications has developed into a 24-year career in pharma.
Stiff finds a lot of enjoyment in the work she does. Her favourite part of working in the pharmaceutical industry is that most of her roles have involved a broad spectrum of tasks and responsibilities. She likes that she’s had to learn and get involved in everything from budgeting and HR to KOL development and understanding clinical trials. “It keeps your mind busy, it keeps you moving, and it keeps you going. I find that fun and incredibly motivating. It's impossible to get bored.”
Throughout her career, Stiff has encountered many people who have impacted her in more ways than one. She believes that building significant human connections is very important. She also believes that strong mentorship is key to having a thriving career. Mike Cloutier, one of her most influential mentors, has even become a close friend and someone she holds in high esteem. “What is important from a mentor standpoint is that Mike [Cloutier] is always an honest sounding board. He is good at being sensitive but also honest with his feedback, even when it was things you wouldn’t necessarily want to hear. I think he helped me to learn and recognize the value that I brought to the table, but also some of the things that I didn't bring to the table that I needed to develop.” She adds that a good mentor provides the mentee with a good balance between building their confidence and pushing them outside of their comfort zone.
To Stiff, being inducted into the Canadian Healthcare Marketing Hall of Fame is a humbling experience. She feels grateful to be considered among a group of great professionals. “I was looking through the list of all the people who have been inducted over the years, and it's pretty stunning to be considered amongst this phenomenal group of peers. Some of those individuals have been mentors and continue to be mentors to me. I’m very grateful for this opportunity.”
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