Behind the Headlines with Verónica González
In this interview, Verónica, who leads PR agency Porter Novelli’s health and wellness practice in Mexico City, opens up about practicing PR in Latin America, her passion for healthcare communication and her transition from journalism to PR.
How did you get your start in public relations and healthcare communication?
As a reporter working for Good Housekeeping Latin American edition, I received a lot of press releases from PR agencies. And I realized, as we began to experience the shift away from print media, that I would have a better chance at writing about healthcare from the PR side. While my name wouldn’t appear in a byline, I would still get to read my stories in the media. And it is the way it has been all these years.
What will you be doing in your new role at Porter Novelli?
I will lead the development of Porter Novelli’s health and wellness practice in Latin America and will be responsible for overseeing the agency’s work with health and wellness brands. Porter Novelli has a long and notable heritage working on important and impactful healthcare campaigns, and I hope to bring that heritage to the region and continue building on it.
In your 18 years of experience in health and corporate communication, what has been your biggest challenge?
Health behaviors are not easy to understand, so every single time we develop a proposal, my biggest challenge is to find the right insight to build on. Porter Novelli’s proprietary methodology is very useful to create powerful healthcare communication programs.
What has been the proudest moment of your career?
When I know that a patient got the right diagnosis or the right treatment because of a campaign I was part of.
Do you have any daily rituals that keep you going?
There is a park near Porter Novelli’s office in Mexico City. I like to get a walk each day to clear my thoughts.
What do you like to do when you’re not in the office?
I like to have fun with my family and friends, read and go to the movies.
What social media platforms do you use most and why?
Facebook for personal purposes and LinkedIn for work, because it is very easy to get connected to key people.
Do you have any advice for those looking for a career in public relations?
In Latin America, it’s very important to speak English very well. There are a lot of good candidates applying for positions within PR agencies, but unfortunately many of them speak very basic English.
What are you hoping for in your future as a PR professional and with your new role at Porter Novelli?
I hope to contribute to the success of Porter Novelli in Latin America, to my clients’ business goals and to help people make better informed decisions in health.
Rapid Fire Round
1. I always thought I’d be…a journalist.
2. The most interesting fact about me is…that I invest more than 1,000 hours every year studying health issues.
3. My guiltiest pleasure is…working very early hours — I start working at 4 or 5 a.m.
4. My greatest inspiration is…my kids.
5. I’m at my best when…I develop disease awareness campaigns focused on changing patients’, healthcare professionals’ and influencers’ behaviors and attitudes.
6. My most prized possession is…my engagement ring.
7. The thing that gets me up in the morning is…my kids.
Image via Verónica González
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