2 Minutes With ... Jeanine O'Kane, President of Syneos Health Communications
Jeanine O'Kane is president of Syneos Health Communications—a portfolio of agencies spanning advertising, public relations, patient advocacy, medical communications, managed markets and naming and branding. Formally president of the U.S. public relations group at Syneos Health Communications, Jeanine has been with the organization for more than a decade and has more than 20 years of industry experience. During her tenure at Syneos Health Communications, she has been instrumental in developing award-winning communications programs and has helped integrate communications and commercial expertise into clinical development, unlocking innovative solutions to deliver life-saving therapies to patients worldwide.
We spent two minutes with Jeanine to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.
Jeanine, tell us ...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I grew up in the suburbs of NYC. I currently reside on the Upper West Side in NYC.
How you first got interested in health.
My first job after college was working as a legislative aide. In that role, I got involved in programs to provide better access to health care. I learned a lot about access, healthcare equality and costs—it became a passion that turned into a purpose.
One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.
Ugh—so hard to pick a favorite. The projects I enjoyed the most are the ones where I have collaborated directly with patients to create authentic change to support their lives/needs.
A recent project you're proud of.
In my new role, I've been able to partner even more with my Syneos colleagues in our clinical organization. I am proud of the recent work we have been doing to bring our communications insights to research and clinical trials.
One thing about how health is evolving that you're excited about.
The technology is exciting right now—things like AI to reimagine the patient experience and next-generation sequencing to identify at-risk populations or target therapies to patients who are likely to respond.
Someone else's work, in health or beyond, that you admired lately.
I thought "Create Real Magic" by Coke was interesting for its partnership (two AI systems and Bain) and of course for letting people use artificial intelligence to create original artwork using assets from the Coca-Cola archives.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
So much of what I do every day is around storytelling. So, not surprisingly, I listen/view a ton of interview/storytelling format shows. I like to see/hear other storytellers, and see how others interact with those stories and storytellers. I get a ton of business inspiration/ideas from TBOY, a pop-biz podcast I listen to every day.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
U2—I like the music, the fact that the "band is still together" and their philanthropy.
Your favorite fictional character.
Peggy Olson from Mad Men. We watched her work her way to the top and along the way she touched on important questions/moments around feminism.
Your main strength as a marketer/creative.
My ability to use my imagination to envision diverse ways to solve problems.
Your biggest weakness.
A development area I am working on always is mastering the combo of speed and effectiveness.
One thing that always makes you happy.
The beach—any beach.
One thing that always makes you sad.
Watching people giving up too early. It's about the how you get to the end goal and what you learn along the way.
Something people would find surprising about you.
I am an introvert—I need that quiet time to reflect and recharge.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in health.
I would be a chef. I think it would be really rewarding to create food and experiences that help people celebrate important moments.