The story behind Marie Little

Marie Little

Bedrock Healthcare Communications talked to MD Marie Little about her career in the medical communications industry, why she joined Bedrock, her thoughts on our culture and the advice she would give to someone starting out in the industry.  And much more…


What attracted you to the medical communications industry?

I’ve always had a passion for it, it’s one of those roles where you have an opportunity to make a difference. I started in medical communications as a medical writer and then went into the client service side. From there I moved into healthcare publishing and digital agencies. Now I’ve come full circle back to med comms at Bedrock. Healthcare for me is a fascinating area. I learn about a new therapy area every single day, and I’m 20 years in. It’s endless. This industry has always been so important as it’s about enabling healthcare professionals to make the best decisions for their patients by giving them the best information.

And what attracted you to working for Bedrock?

I met David Youds, the founder of the Resonant Group (of which Bedrock Healthcare Communications is the med comms arm), a couple of years ago when I was considering my next career move. He had an infectious passion for doing great work, for exceeding expectations and delighting clients. There’s a unique vibe at Bedrock of curiosity, creativity and passion for science and our people first ethos really resonated with me too. It felt like an instant fit.

So, what goes into being MD at Bedrock?

As managing director your role is whatever it takes. I don’t believe there could ever be a finite job description. My role is making sure the company runs efficiently and effectively, that the clients are happy that we’re doing great work, that we’re constantly evolving and growing, our culture is positive and our people are really happy and supported. A good day is when the pieces align perfectly, and you can feel that buzz. We’re virtual at the moment so I’m seeing a lot of high fiving on Teams!

What’s different about the culture at Bedrock?

The culture here really is people first – and I can say this having wide experience within the industry. It’s a fundamental need for me as a leader too. We think about how our people are doing and how we can help them grow because that ultimately will enable the business to grow. How we can give them opportunities, how we can benefit from their skill sets, and they can benefit from what we have to offer. We have a people promise within Bedrock. It’s a balance of what you give, and what you get. It’s very, very core to what we do that people are rewarded effectively, that we don’t hire people who won’t fit with the culture or who don’t share our core values and ultimate vision, and we’re very, very clear on that. I think when you talk to the people in the business, there’s a high level of positivity that comes from our teams because they are the right people, they fit. It feels right.

What are the main challenges you see in the industry at the moment?

It’s an obvious one, but Covid has had a massive impact. Now I think everybody’s come to the realisation that the new normal is here to stay. Healthcare professionals have really unique challenges on their hands now. The more we can do as an industry to meet those challenges and communicate in a way that’s useful, the better all round. If we understand our audiences even more, and what their unique challenges are today we can do better as an industry. And that’s evolving all the time. And the companies that are doing the best work are the ones that truly understand. They’ve got a finger on the pulse of what’s happening today, rather than pre-covid, or hoping it’s going to go back or trying to drive home a message that ignores the customer’s real challenges. So that’s the main challenge. Understanding how everything’s evolving, and how we keep up with it or get ahead of it.

What are your plans for the future of Bedrock?

Our goal at Bedrock is very much to be at the forefront of the med comms industry – to be the best at everything we do – and a large part of my role is to foresee and enact the ambitious growth the business needs to achieve this. We’re already seeing this in a number of ways by developing new offerings, by being more agile and innovative in how things are done, in what we produce, how we work with clients and that’s enabling us to grow in different and exciting ways. Of course we also need the best talent as the business grows and our recruitment strategy is aligned to that. I firmly believe that we stand toe to toe with larger, networked agencies. It’s a great time to join us as our work has never been so important.

Any tips for someone developing a career in the industry?

The reason I still have passion for healthcare communications – 20 years in! – is that I’m still curious. So if you’ve got that curiosity that’s what will keep it interesting for you and you can go as far as you want in this industry. You don’t need a science background necessarily, but you do need to keep questioning. Why does that happen? What are the challenges, and what could you do to overcome them? So, be interested in new developments, new drugs and technologies that are coming through. For example, the covid vaccines and mRNA technology or gene editing or CAR-T. All of these new advances that we’ve seen over the last few years they’re absolutely game-changing. They’re fascinating to me because I’m curious about them. So if you are coming into this industry, and you have that fascination, you can fly.