Venn: What inspired you to start your company with your husband, Marcel?
Vera: Marcel and I had talked about starting a company for a few years because we were both in the pharmaceutical and healthcare arena and have complementary skill sets. That was 28 years ago. Common sense said it wasn’t a good time since we had a 2-year-old son and had just started to build a new home. Then, within weeks, both our employer situations changed. We had three months mortgage payments in the bank and were young enough and brave enough to think that would carry us. We brainstormed on the weekend, came up with a name (80/20 Communications), a service (Project Management of launches and maternity leaves), a risky USP at the time (Brains for Rent) and launched on the Monday. We landed three clients within a week. What we hadn’t anticipated is that we were pregnant again...I may have been one of the first women to interrupt a North American Strategy meeting to go breast feed a 4-week-old baby.
What does your company do?
We are an outsource partner, providing third party customer care and compliance in regulated industries, primarily in pharmaceutical and health-related areas at the moment. We provide information, education and medical information support services to a variety of audiences through a contact centre, dedicated medical info teams, and a pharmacy and fulfillment centre.
How are you innovating your industry?
We are constantly pivoting to meet changing regulations. We have expanded and updated our services every 3-5 years to address privacy and security, pharmacovigilance and complaint reporting, complex advertising and marketing restrictions, and of course technology. Globalization now has a significant impact as well. We recently completed a major software transition, implementing globally validated software for handling sensitive information.
What is special and unique about your company?
What isn’t? We are two native Albertans who met in Ontario. We started a company in an industry concentrated Ontario and Quebec, then moved it to New Brunswick. We defied logic by building a niche business into a company with 40 employees. We defied skepticism by buying a rundown building in a sketchy neighbourhood and renovating it into classy office space (210 John Street). We’ve been in business for 28 years and spent most of that working in the same physical office, our desks facing each other. Yep. And we’re still married. That baby girl who surprised us when we launched? She’s grown up in the business and is now part of the Client Services Team. And just in case you think we’re slowing down...we have more surprises coming!
Learn more about HealthConnect by visiting their website: www.healthconnect.ca. If you liked this blog, and want to stay connected to the innovation and tech ecosystem here in New Brunswick, be sure to follow us on social on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, OR LinkedIn!