If anyone in health comms wants to put their skills and experience to the test, then this is the challenge to take! A fast-paced task which requires you to be sharp-minded, creative and strategically agile, providing a great opportunity to unveil your strengths and build on areas for growth. The virtual experience added a new, important dynamic. As we’ve become accustomed to working in a virtual environment, and a hybrid way of working will likely soon be here to stay, mastering presenting ideas both in-person and in virtual settings are essential skills in a comms professional’s toolkit. I was thrilled to win Aspiring Comms Manager of the year; being recognised by industry experts early in my career is hugely rewarding and encouraging. I’d highly recommend to all to take part – you might just surprise yourself with what you can produce and achieve in such a short space of time!

Lucinda Sandon-Allum

Langland, Winner of Aspiring Communications Manager 2020

The PharmaTimes Comms Manager of the Year challenge was stimulating and testing. Doing this over a virtual connection provided an interesting challenge, but one which I think sets participants up well for a future in which remote pitching and reduced face-to-face interaction becomes more normalised. I was stoked to win the award for this year, as I know from previous experiences just how high the standard is – hopefully we’ll be able to celebrate this year’s winner in person!

Michael Bradley

Langland, Winner of Communications Manager 2020

The process was an excellent opportunity for the team to think outside the box and demonstrate how our skills can be adapted to any scenario and any therapy area. Having to put together a pitch in just 2 hours with no idea of what the ask would be in advance was certainly challenging, but also very enjoyable and helped us to realise our own potential.

It was a delight to present our ideas to a panel of experts and to have them challenge our thinking. Coming together as a team who do not necessarily work together every day, it was a chance to learn from each other and share our experiences.

I would recommend anyone working in medical education / communications to consider putting together a team for this competition – you have nothing to lose and only positives to gain from taking part. Use it as an opportunity to test ideas or formats that you may want to try in a live pitching scenario – it is a great chance to demonstrate some flair and creativity.

Lauren Duncan

Synergy Medical, 2019 International Challenge finalist

We are super proud to have won,  the whole process was a really good insight in to how things work and a realistic test of what you can achieve in a limited amount of time.

Emma Gorton

Hanover Team, 2019 Winner of the International Challenge

CTOY is a fantastic way to put your knowledge, experience and creativity to the test. With a detailed brief and a ticking clock, you really have to trust your instincts to pull together and present a plan in a short time. I hugely enjoyed the challenge and would recommend anyone to take part.

Rachael Parkman

Publicis Resolute, 2019 Winner of the Communications Manager of the Year

Taking part in CTOY 2019 was incredibly rewarding. The briefs are put together by agency, pharma and charity professionals, so the scenarios are as close to real life as possible. On the day, you are judged by a panel of your senior peers, so the feedback you receive is from experienced experts who understand the field. The knowledge that you’ve met the brief, delivering something that is strategically sound and includes inspirational elements – all in the space of two hours – takes some beating.

We’d recommend taking part in the competition for the way it rewards a strong team dynamic. Although everyone in the Makara team came to the day with solid experience in health communications and a strong foundation in the regulatory environment, our backgrounds varied from brand and training to medical education and PR. Each member of the team contributed something different, each played to their own strengths, and there was real energy in the room.

Helen Laurence

Makara Health Team, 2019 Winner of the NHS Challenge

Taking part in the PharmaTimes Communications Team of the Year competition was a fantastic experience for our whole team. Getting the chance to work together on a brief in such a short timescale really pushed us to think as one, tested our knowledge and challenged our creative thinking. Receiving Highly Commended for our efforts was the icing on the cake for us, as being recognised by industry experts really meant a huge amount. I would encourage anyone to take part in the competition as it is was not only a great learning experience but also brilliant fun!

Kesha Tasney

Member of the team from Pegasus, 2018 Highly Commended in the NHS Challenge

The PharmaTimes competition was a great learning experience. We were given a scenario and then had to use our knowledge to create and present a communication strategy back to a panel of judges. The judges were all very supportive but at the same time, challenged my thinking so that I learnt a lot. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to push themselves to approach scenarios in a more strategic way.

Hannah Charleston

Synergy Vision, 2018 Winner of the Aspiring Communications Manager category

Winning the Communications Team of the Year award for a second year running was an absolute honour and incredibly rewarding. The nature of the finals day, having just two hours to show your best strategic and creative thinking, means you have nowhere to hide. The pressure is on and you need to bring your A-game! It’s extremely intense, but a great team building exercise. If you love a challenge then this is THE competition to enter.

Victoria Stanley

Publicis Resolute, Winner 2017 (International Challenge)

We entered the competition because I was keen for the team to test their wits against competitors in front of an industry panel. It was a rare opportunity to get some useful feedback and to develop the team’s experience and expertise even further. Winning the award has helped to position us as a market leader and has attracted the attention of prospective clients to our unique integrated communications offer.

Jenny Ousbey

WA Communications, 2017 Winner (NHS Challenge)

The competition is an absolute must for any ambitious healthcare PR agency. Not only is the two-hour task surprisingly fun, but it also gives you the chance to showcase your creativity, credibility and character to some of the biggest names in the business.

Alexander Davies

Hanover, 2017 Highly Commended (International Challenge)

The entire Tonic team are immensely proud of our remarkable achievement in winning this prestigious award. It not only reflects the outstanding abilities of each and every member of the team to deliver creative and strategic thinking, it demonstrates the quality of talent that is available to our clients on a global basis. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience as we absolutely thrive on challenging our thinking and working collaboratively.

Emma Coughlan

Senior Account Director, Tonic Life Communications

We are delighted to have won the Communications Team of the Year Award, for the NHS Category and for the judges’ recognition of our unique and integrated approach to the challenge. The competition brief reflects many of our clients’ challenges, both in terms of medicines access and share of voice and we relished the opportunity to work as a team to solve the problem in a strategic and creative way. While there were five of us representing MHP on the day, we want our whole team to take ownership of this fantastic award; it is their incredible work day-to-day, which ultimately inspired our winning programme, so they should all feel very proud.

Kate Podgson

MHP Communications