Earlier this year, Syneos Health Communications launched its first Global Exchange Program, a 6-month initiative that gave MedComm team members Michaela Jurcec and Jaclyn Mironov, and PR team members Alicia Pirraglia and Adeline Li the opportunity to immerse themselves in their partner office’s daily work, gaining insight into global projects and ultimately visiting that office. The program was designed to educate team members and create stronger relationships across the global organization.

Learning to Co-Create  
While starting a new project with a whole new team abroad isn’t easy, Alicia Pirraglia welcomed the opportunity to expand her global partnerships.  

“In the US, our clients are increasingly being asked to have a global mindset and to think about the global landscape,” Pirraglia explains. “It's really exciting to be part of a program that more purposefully allows us to partner across the pond and across the world to better serve them.”

Adeline Li, Pirraglia’s London counterpart, agreed on the importance of these international relationships saying, “We must be connected so that we can then help our clients be better connected.”  

Connection, however, goes beyond occasional touchpoints and document reviews. As participants began to wrap up the program, they realized that much of their prior teamwork consisted of collaboration rather than co-creation. They found that while their teams had worked on projects together, they had never combined forces from conception to completion.  

Pirraglia explains her findings: “We were not co-creating work; we were collaborating. We thought that that was checking the box, but I think this program has really shown us how important it is to involve your colleagues from the outset and have them be part of the process from start to finish to ensure that you're really having that global lens on your work.”

Meeting In Person Matters 

One key way to prioritize co-creation is in-person interaction. Participants, particularly Mironov, boasted about the in-office aspect of this program, stating, “Meeting live is invaluable. The connection formed virtually was great, but it is no replacement for live interaction.”  

“After all,” Mironov jokes, “you can learn so much about someone just in a sidebar conversation by the coffee machine—something that may not come out online.” 

The value of peer-to-peer learning also remained a common theme amongst members. Pirraglia raved about the opportunity to learn about the EU market access and reimbursement landscape from the London team. Mironov saw the integrated structure of the Munich team as something that we could benefit from stateside. Jurcec loved collaborating with the New York team to explore  digital innovation and the applications of AI in MedComms services. Li participated in a team-building event with her New York counterparts.

Connection Beyond the Program

Although only participants got their passports stamped, the greatest impact was on their teams.

The connection that has formed “is not just about Jackie and me,” Jurcec explains. “Our teams are now more connected than ever before, and our work ultimately benefits because of that.”

True connection, of course, is often made outside of the office walls. In their visiting cities, participants attended a musical in London, an Italian opera in NYC, a walking tour in Munich, and last but certainly not least, aSex in the Citytour in New York, the city itself. 

“I'm a big fan of the four girls,” said Jurcec, avidSex in the Cityfan and first-time US visitor. Jurcec capped off her NYC trip in true Carrie Bradshaw fashion, with a Cosmopolitan. 

Forging Ahead

Given the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the program’s pilot, Syneos Health Communications has decided to continueforging ahead withits Global Exchange Program, welcoming additional members interested in broadening their professional and personal horizons. The program planning team is looking forward to giving others the opportunity to build long-lasting relationships.

About the Author:

Hannah Dietz brings over four years of experience in marketing and digital strategy to her role as a Marketing Strategist at Syneos Health Communications. During her time at Syneos Health, she has gained invaluable experience working across agency brands on everything from social media strategy and branding, to public relations and copywriting. Previously, Hannah worked at a digital marketing agency, where she specialized in paid advertising and SEO, and prior to that she worked in public relations.