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Q&A: Julia Kirby, Langland

Q&A: Julia Kirby, Langland

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
In my new role, it’s having the opportunity to focus on the people that work for us vs. the people and companies we work for. It’s a privilege (and a responsibility!), after almost 20 years on the front line of client service.

What’s the best thing about working in healthcare comms?
I think it’s that you never stop learning. Change is your only constant. And that keeps you motivated and interested.

What’s the worst thing about working in healthcare comms?
My answer is the same as above: learning and change. It can be tiring and overwhelming at times.

What’s your favourite bar or eatery?
I’m a remote worker and live in Ireland. There’s
a gastropub called The Pink Elephant, near Kilbrittain, in Cork. It doesn’t matter what the weather is doing, the view is always breathtaking.

Which buzzwords/office-jargon get on your nerves?
Don’t get me started on this. ‘Circle back’, ‘strategise’, ‘growth mindset’, ‘synergistic’, ‘deep- dive’ and ‘disruptor’ are currently top of my list. Anything that needlessly complicates things for those not familiar with the terminology.

 Which book/film would you recommend above all others and why?
Impossible question. One book that did stand out is ‘Wave’ by Sonali Deraniyagala. It answered my question of how you carry on getting up in the morning, when life has taken everything from you.

Which person, living or dead, do you admire the most and why?
Elizabeth I. She outperformed Henry VIII and secured a legacy he couldn’t have imagined. What a woman.

Who is your healthcare comms hero/heroine?
My boss, Victoria Wright. It can be hard in this crazy agency world of ours to find someone that calls a spade a spade and isn’t afraid of a tough conversation. But who is also kind, and human.

What has been your career highlight to date?
I was involved in an event that convened all those taking care of people with schizophrenia with the patients at the centre (rare enough at the time!), to set out a gold standard for the future. I wrote up the proceedings and my report ended up on the desk of the then Prime Minister – I’ll never forget the sense of satisfaction I got thinking something I wrote might make things better for this incredibly vulnerable patient population.

What’s your golden rule/piece of advice for someone starting a career in healthcare comms?
Be prepared to work hard and make sure you’re always learning. But never lose sight of what’s important to you, or compromise on your core values in any role – you will not do your best work. And it (should) go without saying, never forget the patient. They are the point.

Julia Kirby is Director, Internal Engagement and Culture at Langland, a Publicis Health company