A look into a first year of Medtech

If anyone asked me what a medical device was a year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to offer an answer – I never realized they existed. To put it simply, my knowledge didn’t expand beyond what I saw while watching Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday nights in college (which is ironic, because one of our client’s devices was featured on an episode once-upon-a-time).

Looking back at that same time, I experienced a lot of change leading to where I am now – I earned my bachelor’s degree and graduated from college, moved back in with my parents to save money and look for a job, only to return to my college town weeks later to be where I am now. Today, I continue to thrive in the extraordinary environment of learning from the many successful PR, marketing and healthcare professionals I’ve come across during my time at Health+Commerce.

When I first started working for the company, back when it was known as Nicole Osmer Healthcare Communications, there were only three of us working at HQ – our founder Nicole, fellow colleague Reece and I. The rest of our team worked remotely from Menlo Park, Los Angeles and Portland. Today, we have approximately 10 people at our HQ for day-to-day operations and about twice as many working from even more cities around the country.

Even with most of my team spread out as far as they are, there are perks to working in a boutique-sized agency. It’s nearly unheard of for a fresh-out-of-college job seeker to secure a position that has the flexibility to grow with the company, and I’ve been able to do just that by working with Nicole directly on press release writing, social media proposals and posts, and even personally meeting C-suite clients. Never have I been so excited to have the senior director of global marketing of one of our clients follow me on Twitter, purely because my work was brought to his attention by Nicole and recognized as mine.

Aside from the front-seat view I’ve had next to Nicole in meeting our clients directly, Health+Commerce has offered benefit to my professional career through the accessibility I also have to the PR veterans I work with on the daily. While many of my newer colleagues are specialists in their respective fields, some are new to medtech or to working in a smaller agency – which in turn has provided everyone an opportunity to learn from each other. To them, I have offered my knowledge of our clientele and internal operations acquired over the past year in exchange for their share of industry experience and expertise that I have only just started to develop on my own.

It takes a certain species of PR professionals to set traditional PR creativity aside to navigate obstacles the healthcare industry demands – including the maze of FDA guidelines regulating medical technology. Our team has mastered how to embrace the challenges presented by our clients and to help tell their stories in a creative way that reflects their business goals and growth as a company, while also aligning with the regulatory guardrails that shape how these stories are shared in the media. This challenge leads us to be more invested and passionate in helping our clients achieve their ultimate goal: to advance patient health.

I feel extremely grateful to learn from our team of experts who have left a footprint in the success of healthcare industry giants such as Guidant, Abbott, Medtronic, Boston Scientific and Genentech. Their guidance and mentorship has helped me build my knowledge of all the ins and outs related to cultivating relationships with reporters, monitoring the news, seeking media opportunities and fostering the goals of our clients when developing a media strategy. I’m honored by their willingness to share their experience with me.

However, through all my experiences and learning curves over the past year, there is a single and most prominent realization I have learned at Health+Commerce: Medtech PR is unparalleled to any other industry, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

– Sierra Smith


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