Pennsylvania native Aimee Amann first attended Pennsylvania State University, where she studied French language and culture with a minor in linguistics. Later, she received her graduate degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from New York University through an executive MBA program at the Stern School of Business.
Amann began her career as a medical sales representative for Merck & Co. (formerly known as Organon USA Inc.). She was promoted to the position of U.S. national sales trainer, where she helped train and build a primary care sales team. From there, she joined marketing and she became their U.S. brand manager for MIRCETTE, where she re-launched the brand, producing a 45% growth year over year. For the next four years, Amann worked as their senior marketing manager gaining endorsement to commercialize a single rod contraceptive, IMPLANON.
Next on her journey, Amann became a senior marketing manager at Pfizer Inc. Over the next 11 years, she worked in various marketing positions as a senior marketing manager, then Director, spanning the US and Global markets within cardiovascular metabolic, neuroscience, rare disease, and immunology and inflammation. In 2017, Amann began as a director or Alliance Management for Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. L the European joint venture for tildrakizumab. She then moved to the Oncology team, launching YONSA and as their new products marketing lead before taking on her current position as senior director, head of U.S. marketing for the acne franchise.
Aimee Amann lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and spends her free time with friends, family and helping out in the community. She is also an avid knitter.
1. What do you love most about the industry you are in?
What I love most about the pharmaceutical industry is the opportunity we have to touch patients’ lives and to really make a meaningful difference for people who are living with health-related conditions.
2. What does a typical day consist of for you?
My ‘typical’ is often very different from one day to the next, and I really love that. I thrive on the fact that I have a growth mindset, and am able to constantly move from project to project. Therefore, my typical day would involve meetings that focus on different projects for marketing. Oftentimes, my day also includes meetings with sales and medical, and sometimes market research. Some days I might have two hours worth of meetings, and on some I may have eight hours worth. It’s always interesting, and it’s always different. Typically, I’m meeting with other colleagues, and we’re talking about projects. I try to bring passion behind the vision for what we’re trying to accomplish in order to help people.
3. What keeps you motivated?
I’m mostly motivated by the ability to continue to learn something new every day, the ability to help patients, and the ability to solve puzzles. I look at marketing as a way of putting together a beautiful composition. You’re taking deeper information, different research and data, the input from stakeholders, and different insights, and you’re arranging them in a way that best supports meeting patients’ needs and meeting the needs of the business. There’s a creative aspect to that that I find very interesting. It’s very motivational for me when I feel like the team that I’m leading, or the team that I’m on, has uncovered something new that is going to make a difference for patients and do things differently than may have been done before.
4. Who has been a role model to you, and why?
I’ve had many role models throughout my career. I’ve been very fortunate that way. I come from a large family, and I’m very close with them so I’ve had a lot of built in teachers and mentors. I’ve been able to learn from a very young age all different types of information by observing my family and being able to bounce ideas off of them. My parents, especially are role models for me as they’re both self-made people, and they’ve done a lot of “firsts” in their life, such as being the first in their families to go to college. They instilled a strong work ethic in me, and I’ve always looked up to them as an example.
I’ve also been lucky enough to work side-by-side and on various teams with really talented individuals that have been role models in several different ways.
5. How do you maintain a solid work-life balance?
I think that it’s challenging to maintain a work-life balance when you enjoy what you do as much as I do. There’s always a temptation to lose yourself in the work and I tend to be a very passionate and driven person. I enjoy the intensity of the pharmaceutical industry because it’s intellectually stimulating, and it’s enriched with meaning for society. However, what I try to do is balance work with my social network: my husband, my family, and my friends. I do make sure that I prioritize spending time with people that I’m close with, participating in cultural events, and making time for self care. I find exercise to be a great way of relieving stress. I also have several hobbies that I find relaxing and rewarding. I’m an avid knitter and love being able to create new pieces and learn new knitting techniques. It’s quite relaxing.
6. What traits do you possess that make a successful leader?
I genuinely like people a lot, so I’m interested in getting to know what makes people tick. I try to put myself in other people’s shoes. I try to learn what’s going to excite them. When I’m leading teams or projects, I make an effort to pay attention to not just what we’re trying to accomplish, but also what’s motivational for all of the individuals that are contributing to the process. I do try to inspire people by charting a very clear course, and by reminding people of why we’re doing what we’re doing. I think the why plays a really important role in getting people to care about their work.
7. What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?
The greatest challenge I’ve had to overcome was revitalizing the business when I worked on a product called REBIF. The brand was marketed for many years before I had taken it on and competed as somewhat of a “me too” product. There was a competitor who had strong differentiation and was dominating the market and our product didn’t have any new data to speak of. I was also working on a co-promote which had its own challenges in terms of finding ways to work with lots of different personalities. During that time, in order to be successful, I had to come up with a creative way of reinvigorating the business and stretching my soft skills. I learned a lot about how to build my personal brand and tailor my communication style based on different personalities. That skill served me well later on when I worked globally with diverse colleagues. Together, the team was able to turn REBIF into a blockbuster brand and based on the strategy we developed and launched; the brand exceeded budget. It was hard work, but provided me with tremendous growth and results that I was proud to have been part of.
8. What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
When I was considering going to school for my MBA, I was working for an individual who had graduated from West Point, and he had gone to New York University. He inspired me to follow that dream. As a West Point graduate, he was a role model for me from very early in my career, and one of the things I learned from him was to stay the course. That was his advice to me: stay the course. It was something that I took with me on that part of my professional journey. I think perfection is less important than resilience and as long as we keep learning and trying, anything is possible.
9. Where did your love for knitting come from?
It’s a really funny story. There are certain things that I’m actually really good at, such as learning languages. My brain is pretty good at pattern recognition, but one of the things I’m not good at at all is directions. I’m somebody who might walk down a hallway for months at a time and still get confused about where I’m going. So when I was driving home from the gym one night, I had just moved to a new town, and I got disoriented. I pulled off into a shopping centre, and there was a store called Why Knot Knit? I went inside and asked for directions. In that store, there was a group of charming women that were in the back of the shop. They were all knitting together and talking, and there was this great sense of camaraderie and community amongst them. That was kind of my first introduction to knitting. As someone new in town, I decided to go back during the day to try what they were doing and get to know them a little bit. They introduced me to knitting, and it was a nice way to connect with other women in the community.
10. What is your biggest personal accomplishment?
Graduating from New York University was an important day for me. I’ve never been someone who gravitated towards the maths and sciences, and I remember discussing pursuing finance as part of my graduate program. There were some people who knew me who thought that I could do it, but thought it might be easier for me to pursue something like a marketing concentration. However, I’m the kind of person where if I run into a setback, I generally challenge myself to excel in that area. So I thought it was imperative for me to take on the challenge of strengthening an area like financial acumen and expertise that I thought might’ve been a little bit weak. Therefore, for me, it was a huge accomplishment to go to what I would say was a very well recognized school and program for business, and to graduate with a finance concentration.
11. Outside of work, what defines you as a person?
I think people who have known me for most of my life would probably describe me as somebody who’s intellectually curious. I have an adventurous spirit. Family really defines me as well. I try to have a growth mindset even outside of work, where I do enjoy learning new things, such as learning about other cultures and people. I try to live out loud as much as I can by learning about the world around me and learning about how life can be beautiful.
12. Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?
In five years, I’d like to be able to look back on where I am today and where I am then, and hopefully, they won’t be the same place. I hope I’ll be able to continue to collect new professional experiences, like being a vice president or somehow taking my technical marketing expertise and experience and helping other people to develop and be successful. I certainly would want to be able to continue to contribute professionally, while also growing myself and helping other people grow and realize their potential. It’s important for me to grow and learn so hopefully both professionally and personally I’ll still be trying new and different things and finding ways to help others and society.
13. Explain the proudest day of your professional life.
One of my proudest days was quite early on, probably because it was so formative in my marketing career. As someone who had started my pharmaceutical career as a sales representative, I’ve always seen a close connection between sales and marketing. My first marketing position started one week before a managers meeting and I presented marketing pieces that had been developed prior to me taking on the role. The product, MIRCETTE, was flagging and based on the response from the managers, the new marketing pieces weren’t going to be very helpful. When I realized how unhappy the team was, I kicked off a SMART team which was a sales and marketing action response team, to build a new marketing campaign and re-launch the brand. I included field based experts who would give me their honest feedback, whether it was positive or not, and together we built an entirely new marketing campaign. It took a few months, a new photo shoot, and a lot of work with the advertising agency, but when I rolled out the new campaign 6 months later, the managers gave me a standing ovation. It was a very proud moment for me and I’ve always tried to carry forward the importance of having a customer mindset and team mentality. That campaign was launched against heavy competition that had direct to consumer campaigns and additional indications that we did not. The product became one of the top contraceptive pills and was a great introduction to the world of marketing.