5 Questions with Jamie Lacey-Moreira, Principal and Founder, PressComm PR, LLC
“5 Questions With……” is a weekly BioBuzz series where we reach out to interesting people in the BioHealth Capital Region to share a little about themselves, their work, and maybe something completely unrelated. This edition features Jamie Lacey-Moreira, Principal and Founder, PressComm PR, LLC.
Jamie Lacey-Moreira has 25 years of experience providing dedicated communications service to trade associations and life science companies from start-up through commercialization. She established PressComm PR, LLC in 2009 and also serves as part of the Sam Brown Inc. strategic communications team. Before starting PressComm, she spent nearly seven years building the public relations department at MedImmune (now the biologics division of AstraZeneca). Previously, she managed communications functions at Celera Genomics and Novartis Corporation as well as the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.
1. What was your first job/role in biotech?
I went to work for Novartis Corporation as a PR manager a bit more than 20 years ago (shortly after Novartis was created by the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz). A former boss of mine from a multi-year college internship at Ciba-Geigy’s ag division recruited me for the position. It was a great leaping off point to learn the “ins and outs” of the multinational healthcare industry as I was a part of Novartis’ US holding company and a link between its US businesses (including pharmaceuticals, consumer health, eyecare) and the parent company in Switzerland.
2. Tell us about your current roles and the firm you founded.
For the past 11 years, I have worn two primary hats. I’m the principal and founder of PressComm PR, LLC, providing public relations services to many life sciences companies and organizations, especially in the Biohealth Capital Region. I’m also extremely fortunate to work with an exceptional group of senior consultants at Sam Brown Inc., a healthcare communications agency (founded by Laura Liotta more than 20 years ago) that provides exceptional public/media relations coupled with outstanding creative services, digital strategy, patient advocacy and more. In both roles, I serve as a strategic communicator advising on reputation, corporate positioning, media relations, social media and more. And I’m lucky enough to work every day with people I truly like and respect, both in terms of my colleagues and clients!
3. How is PR/Comms different in this industry compared to most others?
As most of your readers will know, the biopharmaceutical industry is regulated by the Food & Drug Administration in the United States and similar agencies in other parts of the world. Also, many of my clients are publicly traded and accountable to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (or similar agencies in other countries). With this in mind, all external communications must be carefully crafted to meet regulatory requirements and adhere to best practice guidelines. In addition, by the very nature of my clients’ work (researching, developing and delivering drugs and vaccines), there’s a great responsibility to be transparent, honest, ethical and accountable. At the end of the day, it’s all about protecting, preserving and healing humans.
4. What is a common PR/comms pitfall for companies in this industry?
It takes years of research and clinical evaluation and hundreds of millions of dollars to bring most drugs and vaccines to market — and many fail along the way. With this in mind, I think one of the biggest communications challenges for companies in the biopharma industry is delivering clear, concise and consistent information at the corporate level and with regard to their R&D programs and commercial products. It’s not only a matter of what to communicate — but also when and how. You have to know your audiences well and recognize their level of understanding, especially when communicating about sophisticated science and medical advances.
5. Outside of work, is there a cause/issue important to you and why?
My mother died of cancer in her early 60s and so the work I do with oncology companies is especially meaningful to me. I spent many years on the board and as chair of a cancer-related nonprofit in the Baltimore area that offers mind/body resources for individuals with cancer and for their support network (including family members and caretakers). My experience there helped me to realize the positive impact that mindfulness and meditation can have on individuals as they are both tools that provide an increased ability to cope, and even thrive, during incredibly difficult times. My belief in these skills led me to become a newly registered yoga teacher and I am eager to introduce the practice of yoga and its benefits directly to individuals.
Thank you to Jamie Lacey-Moreira for participating in the ‘5 Questions with BioBuzz’ series and stay tuned for more interviews with others from across the BioHealth Capital Region.