2018 Grand Jury Spotlight: Dirk Poschenrieder

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Dirk Poschenrieder

Managing Director
Havas Life Düsseldorf


Grand Jury member, Dirk Poschenrieder leads Havas Life Düsseldorf, the German operation of Havas Health & You as a Managing Director. Havas Health & You is one of the largest health and wellness networks with more than 65-plus agencies in 50 countries and is part of Havas Group.  Dirk brings 20 years’ experience working in the fields of marketing and communication to the jury panel.

Dirk started his career in a small owner-managed Healthcare agency and moved quickly to client’s side, working in the marketing departments for well-known, global brands such as Deutsche Post DHL, Sony and Johnson + Johnson (Janssen).

According to Dirk, usually you do it the other way around, but he decided to leave the client’s side and go back to agencies again. For him, it’s the greatest industry you can work for!

Dirk also serves as a juror at Comprix (Germany’s leading healthcare award competition) and GWA Health Award.

What do you find thrilling about the industry now that may have been different 5 years ago?

What’s definitely different today is the approach of the Pharmaceutical Companies to be more patient-centric. I love the quote from Guy Yeoman, former VP Patient Centricity, Global Medical Affairs at AstraZeneca: “Putting the patient first in an open and sustained engagement of the patient to respectfully and compassionately achieve the best experience and outcome for that person and their family.” And that’s what it is! We are doing it for the patients!

What’s your biggest challenge in working in healthcare and wellness/pharma and what do you do to overcome that challenge, both personally and as a team? 

I guess everyone who works in this area will tell you the same. It’s the strict regulations. Regulations that are different from country to country. But - and that’s what I tell my team every day - you have to be strong and brave! Think out of the box and don’t let regulatory force you to be not as creative as you can be. And never forget that every change begins with a first step!

Why did you choose to work in the field of healthcare and wellness advertising?  Did you fall into it or seek it out? 

Once I’d joined Janssen, a Pharmaceutical Company, I fell in love immediately with the healthcare industry. For some reasons it didn’t work at Janssen, so I thought about my next step. Where can I combine Healthcare and Communications? And so, I’ve changed from industry to agency again. There is no other industry where you can impact lives in such a way and make a difference in other people lives. And that is day after day! And that’s what I love most. And to be honest: Working for an automotive client wouldn’t satisfy me.

Does working at times on such emotionally-charged and taxing projects that deal with life/wellness as well as illness/death issues ever bring up strong emotions for you? How do you remain present while still accomplishing the goals of the brand and pushing for good patient outcomes?

That’s a very good question. It’s indeed an emotional challenge to work in a field where illness and death is all around you. For me personally, it’s very emotional when I have to work for the Therapeutic area of Oncology. Like so many other people all around the world I’ve lost my dad to this f@%#-ing illness too, but to see how the products have developed over the years it’s just amazing.