Top ten innovators in pharma: Dennis Urbaniak

Rebecca Aris

pharmaphorum

(Continued from “Top ten innovators in pharma: Andrew Spong”)

We asked you to nominate those who you considered to be a top innovator in pharma. We were delighted with your responses and have whittled it down to the top ten pharma innovators for this series.

This week we speak with Dennis Urbaniak who was nominated for being the mind and the force behind Sanofi’s innovative approach to engaging in social media.

Name: Dennis Urbaniak

Position: VP U.S. Diabetes at Sanofi.

Reasons for nomination as a pharma innovator include:

• Dennis is largely credited as the mind and the force behind Sanofi’s innovative approach to engaging in social media.

• Never happy with the status quo, he has led Sanofi and the industry as a whole to put patients first.

• He also openly shares the company’s mindset, approach, and learnings in social media … which is refreshing in this industry!

• More on his effort and approach in a conversation with Discuss Diabetes.

• Example blog post of Dennis sharing his knowledge with the industry.

• Read about his current innovation project on Social Media Week.

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“He also openly shares the company’s mindset, approach, and learnings in social media … which is refreshing in this industry!”

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Background:

• U.S. Diabetes business unit head within pharmaceutical operations, Sanofi.

• Vice President Innovation and New Customer Channels, Sanofi.

• VP Lovenox Marketing, Sanofi

• Director Plavix Marketing, Sanofi

• Product Manager Plavix Marketing, Sanofi

• Director Sales Operations, Sanofi

• Field Sales / Sales Management, Sanofi

Interview summary

RA: What to you consider to be your defining character traits?

DU: I have a very strong determination to take on difficult, complex challenges. I am comfortable in chaotic, undefined areas where I don’t have all the answers and I have learned how valuable diverse perspectives and experience from others can be.

RA: How would your colleagues / peers describe you?

DU: I think they would describe me as a highly approachable, participative leader who is passionate about people and about change. They would also say that I have a serious competitive drive for performance but at the same time that I don’t take myself too seriously.

RA: Who or what has inspired you to get to where you are today?

DU: I was always raised with a very strong focus on family and on working hard to make a valuable contribution to others. This background triggered a real passion in me for the pharma industry when early in my career I had an experience of seeing a man with heart failure in the intensive care unit get up and walk around after being treated with a drug I was responsible for. The day earlier he looked as if he would never leave the bed again and from there I saw the potential that pharma had to create this type of positive, individual experience on a large scale basis.

RA: What advice would you give to anyone embarking on a career in pharma at the moment?

DU: Respect experience (both your own and your colleagues) but don’t rely on that for success today and in the future, you have to keep learning to make a real difference. Always remember that working to help improve the health of other people is a privilege that demands the highest degree of ethics and transparency in our continual drive for progress.

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“Respect experience (both your own and your colleagues) but don’t rely on that for success today and in the future.”

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RA: What do you see to be the biggest challenge posed to pharma at the moment?

DU: Moving from a traditionally proprietary business model to a completely open model that promotes rapid learning and collaboration.

RA: What key phrase best sums up your approach to work and life?

DU: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing,” (quote from Walt Disney).

RA: What keeps you busy outside work?

DU: My family, my wife and I are extremely fortunate to have five great kids who keep us very busy!

project-biomed-summit-2012

About the nominee:

Dennis Urbaniak is Vice President US Diabetes for Sanofi U.S. where he currently is responsible for the US business unit operations for diabetes products and services and also serves as a member of the leadership team for the Sanofi global diabetes division. Prior to this role Dennis has held positions such as the VP of Innovation and New Customer Channels and VP US Lovenox Marketing. Dennis joined Sanofi in 1994 and has held various positions within marketing, sales operations, sales management, and sales.

Dennis also serves as a member of the Monmouth University School of Science Advisory Council, the chairman of the executive council for the Center for Healthcare Innovation, (CHI), a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Telecommunications and E Commerce committee, and a member of the Med Ad News editorial board.

To reach Dennis, follow him on Twitter @DUrbaniak. He can also be reached via LinkedIn, or at dennis.urbaniak@sanofi.com. You can also telephone him on 917-392 5160 (cell) or 908 981 4100(office)

About Sanofi

Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, rare diseases, consumer healthcare, emerging markets and animal health. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

Sanofi is the holding company of a consolidated group of subsidiaries and operates in the United States as Sanofi US, also referred to as Sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC. For more information on Sanofi US, please visit http://www.sanofi.us/ or call 1-800-981-2491.

How can we learn to put patients first?