Meet the faces of Blue Latitude Health USA

Blue Latitude Health | 13th July 2016

For 13 years, Blue Latitude Health have helped our global clients navigate through the complexities of healthcare, implementing a diverse range of global, regional, and local strategies. And now, we’re bringing that expertise and heritage to New York City.

Managing Consultant and VP USA James Atherton and Consultant David Cooney are the dynamic duo leading the charge on our New York business, having set out their placard on 428 Broadway earlier this month. We sat down with them over a coffee and a bagel to get to know them a little bit better.

Obviously an international move is always quite a big deal, but what about the New York opportunity is most exciting to you?

James: “First, the opportunity to start a new office for an existing company is huge. There’s a massive opportunity to deliver our services in the US market and realise the potential we know will result from our clients’ needs for a local presence. As someone who’s been at Blue Latitude Health for over six years, starting out as an Associate Consultant, it’s also exciting for me on a personal, professional level to help establish and grow a new, dedicated US base for the business.”

David: “I’ve never been to New York City before, so the opportunity to come out here, meet new people, and be a part of something like this from the beginning was a real draw.

Clients are also already asking for us in the US, which is very exciting. We’re bringing our way of thinking and working closer to the people who want to work with us. I’m also looking forward to doing more work on innovative, breakthrough products.”

JA: “The opportunity to work on global, impactful work is definitely exciting. And another part of the decision to set up shop in New York City, versus other American cities, was the opportunity to work with the incredible talent here. There’s such an intense enthusiasm and positivity in NYC, and it’s contagious – something we look forward to sharing with our colleagues in London when we visit headquarters.”

What’s been the biggest challenge in getting set up so far?

James: “That’s easy, visas. Everything else felt really easy in comparison. Looking at the office space was a breeze – WeWork is fantastic, and they have excellent options for us as we grow. Accommodation was straightforward – David has a friend on the ground, and I’ll be using Airbnb for a bit to get the lay of the land before my girlfriend moves out. But visas have been so much more complicated than we expected, even with the help of a great specialist agency. It’s taken a lot of time, but we’re getting there thanks to our great internal Talent team.

We should also give the fantastic people at UKTI a shout out here, because they’ve introduced us to so many good contacts and been really helpful through the whole process. We highly recommend getting in touch with them if you’re looking to set up your own New York office as a UK company.”

David: “I would echo James’ comments, but perhaps my biggest challenge was telling James I would be living with my friend and not him. We’re great pals and will be working closely together, but being Irish, I know all about keeping the church and state separate so to speak!”

Earlier you mentioned bringing our way of thinking and working to the US – what about Blue Latitude Health’s culture and way of working is unique?

David: “From an employee’s point of view, there’s an inherently social way of working here. We’re not just colleagues, we really get on and support one another. For example, I am very involved with Multiple Myeloma and participated in the Blenheim Palace Triathlon, raising money for Bloodwise (a blood cancer charity in the UK). I DJ’ed a massive afterparty to raise extra funds, and James and a number of other members of the team came out to support me. Across the company, there were extremely generous donations, without which I would not have surpassed my fundraising target by 122%.”

James: “And in New York, we’re basically a mini startup of Blue Latitude Health. We benefit from being part of an established business where we’ve made a concerted effort to collaboratively codify our values. This helps ensure a consistent culture for the new US office, drawing specifically on thinking like:

  • People first – we inspire each other and put our employees’ needs first.
  • Everyone contributes – we’re all about collaboration across the board.
  • Always getting better – we like to learn from each other and improve.
  • Stronger together – positive, optimistic support is integral to who we are.
  • Working smart trumps working late – this one speaks for itself.
  • Do the right thing – for our clients, their customers, and each other.

Having these values written into our DNA from the beginning means our New York office will inherit all the best bits from our London office’s culture, although we acknowledge they may need to be delivered with a touch more enthusiasm than the UK version!”

Opening a mini-startup in New York isn’t without risks – what are the key challenges you’re preparing for?

James: “Initially, we expect to have some hiccups and hurdles around distributed working. We’ll have some kinks to iron out early on with how we work with the London team from five hours behind. Small things like adjusting our Monday morning company stand up to happen in the afternoon will help, as will bringing in web cameras to all the London meeting rooms so we can easily have that visual connection for meetings.

We’re also aware that how we scale is important. Early on, we’ll have resource in the UK to support us, and get freelance consultants in to assist on consulting work. Long term, we’ll be building the New York team to grow and develop agency of record teams in the US. Our hiring target in 2016 is to be 4 people, however, early conversations indicate that we may be accelerating this.”

David: “We know we’ll definitely be hiring this year, which is exciting. We’re looking for commercially-minded strategic marketers with a scientific background. Cultural alignment is important to us, but it’s also very important to have some American accents in the room!”

 

To learn more about why we’re opening a New York office, and the Blue Latitude Health story so far, read the interview with co-founders Martin Brass and Fred Bassett or get in touch with James and David at helloNYC@bluelatitude.com. And if you’d like to chat with us about joining the New York team as a consultant, get in touch with us at careers@bluelatitude.net.

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