On Thursday of last week, my role as Chair of Judges for the 2016 Communiqué Awards reached its conclusion when the ceremony itself took place. Attended by nearly 800 people, these awards are the pinnacle of the healthcare communications year. I was honoured to represent more than 100 judges drawn from advocacy, agency, in-house teams in pharma, health & wellness companies as well as professional consulting services and regulators when I gave a brief speech to open proceedings.
I was surprised to be interrupted during my opening remarks by a round of applause – I had referred to the challenges facing our industry as a result of the EU referendum, and I reproduce my words below, as it would appear that this really needed saying:
“It would be remiss of me not to speak to the fact that many of the people in this room, whether from agency or client-side, work in international teams across borders. Despite the anxieties of recent weeks following the EU referendum, I firmly believe that which unites us remains greater than that which might divide us.
“In truth, nobody really knows what the future holds but I am confident that, in our industry at least, holding firm to the principles which have made us successful in the past will serve us well in the future. Let us not forget that the work we do really matters. The conversation about health will continue to need leadership, and we will be needed to help shape and influence that conversation to the benefit of all.”
Our industry also needs leadership and we must not be afraid to speak out about the importance of what we do – as business leaders we have a responsibility to do so, to encourage the many people who believe passionately in our work.
I was further surprised (no, honestly I was), to be recognised by my peers as the 2016 Healthcare Communiquétor – an award sponsored by the Healthcare Communications Association (HCA) and which recognises “outstanding personal achievement at a very senior level in healthcare communications from a professional who is active within the healthcare industry”. It’s probably the highest accolade you can get and I feel incredibly honoured to have been chosen this year.
Our business is all about teams, bringing people together to do the very best work that they can and as there are no opportunities for speeches when the awards are presented, I’d like to take this opportunity to dedicate my award to all the amazing people it has been my absolute pleasure to work with over the years. Thank you.