Secrets to a Successful Client/Agency Relationship

GCI Health CEO Wendy Lund and Astellas CCO Jeff Winton
GCI Health CEO Wendy Lund and Astellas CCO Jeff Winton

By Jessica West

A few nights ago, our class was fortunate enough to hear from Jeff Winton, Chief Communications Officer of Astellas, and Wendy Lund, CEO of GCI Health. Over the hour, Jeff and Wendy discussed their client/agency partnership and went on to share tips for an effective client/agency relationship. Given Jeff and Wendy’s two-decade-long working relationship, this advice means a lot.

One important piece of advice that Jeff and Wendy gave us was how they both became interested in healthcare as a field. “It’s really important in communications to figure out what subject interests you most,” Jeff said. Wendy went on to talk about how working in the healthcare field meant every day you are helping someone, and how this attracted her to the field. Listening to them, you can feel the passion they share for healthcare, and it’s this sort of passion that allows people to enjoy what kind of work they do and who they do it with.

Jeff and Wendy shared this list of tips with the class for having a successful client/agency partnership:

  1. Agree on business goals. Work together on making goals that help guide the work.
  2. Go above and beyond 24/7. Do what it takes to be there to help if needed
  3. Be more than arms and legs. Work as partners to achieve the goals together.
  4. Communicate often and openly. Always be willing to talk about anything at any time.
  5. Anticipate and flag issues. Stay ahead of issues and work through them together.
  6. Embrace the new; Retain the old. Build on the old and keep working on the new.
  7. Take mutual responsibility – Conquer issues and achieve success together by owning up to challenges to find better solutions.
  8. Share as much as possible. The key to driving the business forward is using information as a springboard.
  9. Reward staff and agency for good work. Take time to celebrate success and a job well done.
  10. Continue to build resources to support success together. Provide colleagues with the support they need to excel.
  11. Celebrate success together. Cheer the mutual relationship and look for ways to support each other to share that success.

All that being said, the most important tip I took away from Jeff and Wendy’s presentation was that a successful client/agency partnership like Jeff and Wendy’s takes time. Using the tips Jeff and Wendy shared with us, and the patience for those you are in a partnership with, you will be on your way to building a successful client/agency partnership.

A huge thank you again to Jeff and Wendy for coming out to DePaul and speaking with our class!

Jessica West  Jessica West is a graduate student at DePaul University, completing her Master’s in Public Relations and Advertising.


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