Question Time with Catherine Devaney

WE is home to many inspirational and knowledgeable communications professionals, with numerous years of experience to share. In this new series, we will be interviewing senior members of the WE team to gain insight into what makes them tick and discover how they reached the position they’re in today.

This month we meet the UK team’s latest hire: Catherine Devaney, the new Vice President and Head of Healthcare.

What was your first job?

I worked in the press office for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Why did you get into healthcare PR?

I knew I wanted to work in PR when I left university, but I was told that my degree wasn’t really good enough after a few applications. I was given the advice to try applying for health PR positions; they were ‘a bit more desperate for people’!

What’s your ideal holiday?

Anywhere in Italy! The food, the wine, the scenery, the cities – I just love everything about the country. It really is breathtaking.

What makes you get up for work in the morning?

I am motivated by having a list of things to achieve each day. I have a sense of what I want to feel like by the end of the day and the stuff I’m going to do to get to get there. I’m also just excited by the work that I’m lucky enough to do each day.

What’s your favourite quote?

I’m not one for quotes – I find them a bit cheesy. However, something I always try to remember is a phrase I was told very early on in my career: ‘seek to understand, before you try to be understood’. That always serves me well, as I know people will always have done something that, in their own heads, will have been done for a very good reason and it is worth understanding that before you come in with your own view.

What is the best book you’ve ever read?

Gone With The Wind.

Best part of your job?

I love working within a team. The thing that makes me click is being part of a team, with all the fun and struggles and difficulties that come along with that. That is the thing that makes me stay in an agency.

Predictions for the healthcare industry in 2018?

I think pharma will come under a lot more scrutiny regarding drug pricing, and we as communications professionals need to be ready to engage in that discussion.