Director, Health Economics, Forest Laboratories
For Steven Blum, director of health economics for Forest Laboratories, being aware of budget impacts is fundamental to the
job. "Our role is to help support and communicate the product's value proposition," he explains. Blum and his team do this
by keeping track of data and performing various studies throughout a product's lifecycle, including retrospective studies,
electronic medical records analyses, surveys, and prospective studies looking at data alongside clinical trials.
Though Blum now spends his time charting the prospective value of new drugs, three years ago he wore a different hat—sales
and marketing. "Transitioning over to the scientific side and not having a scientific background, there was a learning curve,"
Throughout his career, Blum says wearing many different hats gave him the skills and perspective he needed to become a successful
leader. "One of the things I've always appreciated was the fact that I've had a variety of different roles and have been exposed
to different parts of the business, all within one company." And he believes that such opportunities are invaluable to emerging
leaders who are just now putting down roots in the industry. "I've seen others who have been reluctant to allow staff to change
roles, but that's counterintuitive," he says. "As a manager, I've always felt that my success is dependent upon the success
of other people. If they have certain career aspirations, why would I want to impede them? Why not find a way that's a win-win
for the organization and the individual? In the end, that benefits the corporation, because [a professionally fulfilled] person
can bring more to the table."
Blum also advocates mentoring as a key mark of good leadership. In that spirit, what would Blum say to the new leaders in
the industry, who are inheriting such a politically and financially different world? "Somehow pharma always winds up being
the bad guy. Health reform [and cost control] is like squeezing a balloon—you squeeze in one area and it expands in another.
What you need to do is find a way to let some air out of the balloon," he explains.
Director, State Government Affairs & Policy, Johnson & Johnson
Jessica Monroe recalls a former boss who would always ask, "What is a leader?" He would then answer that a leader says, "I
have a plan. Follow me." Director of state government affairs and policy for Johnson & Johnson, Monroe tries to integrate
this approach into her own goals and objectives as she works with governments, operating companies, and other healthcare and
pharmaceutical interests on a daily basis.
Monroe followed the road less traveled by most of her pharma peers, when she started a career in government and then transitioned
to pharmaceutical sales. Her atypical journey led her from work as a legislative aide for the Louisiana Senate all the way
to Washington as a Congressional staff assistant and then back to Louisiana to work in the office of Governor. Her start at
Johnson & Johnson came as an office-based representative in its operating unit, Janssen Pharmaceuticals. In 2002, she arrived
at her current position. "In the years I have worked in government affairs, I have learned that many voices are stronger than
one, and my interactions with advocacy groups and government officials have shown me that disparate groups can share similar
aspirations of helping patients and their families," says Monroe, who was involved in the healthcare rebuild after hurricane
In an environment of change, Monroe believes it is important to maintain a positive outlook, think about how to have an influence,
see what the obstacles at hand may be, and work around them. "Those of us in the industry must be prepared to face the implications
of policies that impact our businesses. Everything from marketing reform in some states, to overall healthcare reform has
led to—and will continue to—create changes in how we all do business," she says. "I have learned that even within a lean organization,
there are still significant opportunities to grow our businesses." Being able to show an ROI from traditionally "soft" functions
such as public and government affairs is also important. With the impact of government on the industry destined to grow in
the future, demonstrating this is likely to be less difficult—and emerging leaders of tomorrow will need to embrace awareness
of the external environment as a key skill.