McCann Health's new North America president sees pandemic hardships sparking innovation

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The new president of McCann Health North America predicts innovation and growth for the pharma and healthcare industry. (Alpha Stock Images)(Attribution: Alpha Stock Images -

McCann Health named a new president to oversee its North American agencies last week. Jim Joseph takes the reins virtually as the agency continues remote operations.  

He fills the role that’s been empty since Amar Urhekar left last October; Chief Operating Officer Linda Szyper filled in during the interim.

Although Joseph has yet to meet most of the McCann Health staff face-to-face, he’s already introduced himself to many through video calls and Microsoft Teams meetings. While staring at one another across computer screens may seem impersonal, Joseph, who’s also an adjunct professor at New York University, has found warm and personal connections as he goes into people’s homes virtually.

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McCann Health’s business has remained strong during the pandemic, which has allowed him to focus on staff, Joseph said.

“Particularly now, I see my biggest priority as our people,” he said. “Making sure that while they’re working remotely, they’re thriving. And as we start returning to whatever work looks like when we return, that they continue to thrive. And creating a culture where everybody feels like they can succeed.”

Joseph is also looking to the future: He’s confident the agency will actually come out of the pandemic even stronger. Difficult times spur creativity and innovation, and he’s already seeing that happen across the agency and its client roster.

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With consumers and physicians more familiar with, and more open to, virtual contact, he said pharma companies have a chance to forge better connections, creating more personalized communications and working to become hubs of relevant, accurate information.

“Through any great crisis comes great innovation, and I think we’re going to see a lot of innovation in healthcare that’s already started,” Joseph said.