Interview: Moyra Knight of Astellas

Moyra Knight, Senior Director of Employee and Corporate Communications, Astellas US LLC, and President of Astellas USA Foundation, has had a very interesting career path—first starting in the non-profit world, then to agency, to corporate communications, and now most recently has added President of the Astellas USA Foundation to her resume. We had a great conversation and here are four takeaways from our chat.

New media has afforded companies the opportunity to spark conversation. When talking with Moyra about the new media growth she has seen, she conveyed that new media has given the healthcare industry an opportunity to proactively communicate and serve as a reliable source for the public. Prior to the advent of today’s channels, more traditional options like Op-Eds and earned media placements were the only way to go. Now, companies have instant access to social media channels like Twitter, or other owned channels such as blogs for executives. These channels have given the industry an opportunity and platform to discuss important topics.

Challenges exist, too. New media, in particular social media, also has its challenges. Negative feedback must be addressed in a transparent, quick, and authentic manner. Messages have to be balanced and free of “corporate speak.” For a highly regulated industry like healthcare, the ability to be nimble is not always easy. Or possible.

The shift in media has changed the role of communications. New media has afforded her organization the opportunity to mine for stories and operate as a newsroom internally. With a focus on story curation, communications teams are working in a journalistic capacity more now than ever before.

The blending of community commitment and communications. A company’s actions to support communities can help build reputation, tell the story of a company’s values, and augment the work of traditional public relations. This was most interesting piece of our conversation. I started my career work for an NPO in a fundraising and program management role and shifted into a communications world, so it was fascinating to me to hear Moyra’s insights on how her experiences have shaped her career. Moyra really feels the two worlds are closely related, and her ability to infuse the philanthropic initiatives of the company into external and internal communications work have proven beneficial.

Many thanks to Moyra for her insights and time. It was a great conversation!


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