“It was such a gift,” says Joy Schmitt of “inheriting” Ritz Communications when she started a new role at Schering-Plough, which is now part of Merck & Co. “Our partnership was so collaborative. It was the ideal relationship to have with an agency.”
The feeling was mutual. The chemistry the Ritz team shared with Schmitt working on the oncology business resulted in some of the most inspiring marketing and PR work in the Ritz portfolio, including a portrait series that celebrated the strength and resilience of cancer survivors. Together, Schmitt and the team developed an international exhibit featuring professional photographs and personal stories of women from five countries.
“Working in oncology, we can get lost in the data and the promise of various compounds. But we’ve all been touched by cancer personally as well as professionally. Sharing the stories of these women who faced life – and cancer – with such grace and positivity was a lesson and an inspiration for all of us,” explains Elisabeth Ritz.
The Ritz team traveled globally with the photographer, managing extensive international logistics and ensuring the women’s stories were told with integrity and sensitivity. Following a successful debut at a major international oncology conference, the exhibit appeared at medical conferences throughout Europe and the Americas.
After countless commute-time phone conversations, international flights, and some of the most fun and collegial brainstorming sessions imaginable, Schmitt forged an unbreakable bond with the Ritz team.
“When Joy stepped into her role, the team felt an immediate connection. She was smart and enthusiastic. She had great ideas and high standards. And she was so much fun to work with. That created a feeling among team members of never wanting to let her down,” Elisabeth says.
Now she’s a consultant, bringing creativity, professionalism, and decades of experiences in healthcare communications to the Ritz team.
“So many of the dimensions of what I admired when I was a client haven’t changed,” Schmitt says. “The team is always encouraging, always confident, and always willing to explore new ideas and work collaboratively. That’s everything you want in a working relationship.”