FleishmanHillard's Anne de Schweinitz on the Deep Creativity in Healthcare
Anne de Schweinitz is a senior client counselor and global managing director of FleishmanHillard's Health & Life Sciences practice.
Anne has spent her career helping companies maintain, grow and defend their positions in the healthcare market through effective engagement with a wide range of critical stakeholders. She is sought after for her expertise in managing large, complex assignments, serving as an advisor on a wide range of corporate reputation and product issues and opportunities.
Anne had the honor of serving as a Clio Health juror and as the Pharma Lions jury president at the Cannes Festival of Creativity in 2021. She has been recognized as one of the most influential people in healthcare communications on PR Week and Medical Marketing & Media's top "Health Influencer" lists for the past six years.
Anne resides with her husband Neil and cat Shirley in southern Vermont and Gloucestershire, England. We spoke with Anne for our Checkup series, where we chat with leaders in the healthcare marketing space.
Anne, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I grew up in Palo Alto, California. It was pretty idyllic back then with a strong influence from Stanford University and the entrepreneurial engineering culture of early Silicon Valley. I never lose sight of how fortunate I was to grow up where I did. I now live in southern Vermont, a "quick" commute to Boston and New York.
How you first got into healthcare marketing, and what attracted you to it.
Science was my first love, and then came marketing/communications. I got a job early in my career working at the University of California, San Francisco, in the office of president of the hospitals. I loved being around the field of medicine and learned that I could combine my interest in healthcare with my love of writing. That's where it started.
Something people might not know about the healthcare industry.
Many see the industry as rigid due to the regulatory framework it operates within. But anything with science and discovery at its core is by nature deeply creative. To invent new medicines, technologies or services that truly improve health, you have to be willing to ask the hard questions, test and learn constantly, and explore new paths that present themselves along the way. It's a deeply creative field.
A recent project you're proud of.
We have to change the conversation around obesity in this country and get real about the true burden of this disease. I'm proud of our FleishmanHillard team working with exceptional clients at Novo Nordisk to engage new audiences and drive action with "It's Bigger Than Me."
Someone else's project in healthcare that you were impressed by recently.
I admire the work done by L&C for Dole Sunshine Company called "Malnutrition Facts." It won at Clio Health this year in part because it so cleverly puts a major societal issue right in front of our noses. Smart way to wake us all up.
A major challenge facing healthcare advertisers today.
It's not new, but I do think the politicized and polarized era we're living through right now is leading to more and more distrust in all players in the healthcare ecosystem. The endless blame game instead of a focus on "what's the problem and how can we collectively fix it" means it's hard to break through and get a coherent, evidence-based message out there to everyone who could benefit from hearing it.
One thing about how healthcare is evolving that you're excited about.
I'm excited to see that so many players in the industry are getting laser-focused on building the capacity within their organizations to deeply understand and address not just the medical needs of patients, but the social and economic circumstances that directly impact a person's health and health outcomes.
How healthcare can attract more creative talent.
Let's keep celebrating and talking loudly about the real impact that great work and brilliant ideas in this industry have on people's lives. We need to help the best creative talent see the opportunity to not just move culture or sell products, but to advance the human condition.
What you would be doing if you weren't in healthcare marketing.
Indulging in my love of art and interiors in some shape or fashion. I can't get enough of great design.