Co-op Employer Profile: Publicis Health Media
What are the odds of a former Drexel University co-op landing a job with that co-op employer and then working with another Drexel co-op?
At Publicis Health Media (PHM), the answer is pretty good. That’s because the Center City branch of this health media agency founded about six years ago has a history of employing Drexel students—at least 50 co-ops in the last five years.
Gabriel Evans ’19, for one, converted two co-ops into a full-time position as a senior associate in business development and marketing, starting in the fall of 2019. Now he works with Drexel co-op and marketing junior Jordan Pepchinski ’21.
“There’s a huge Drexel community here,” says Evans.
PHM’s HR coordinator, Sarah Robinson ’18, would second that. “We see it as a really awesome way to pipeline talent,” she says. “We’ve had great success with it.”
Robinson was herself a PHM HR and recruiting co-op during her junior year. Now, her duties include managing the agency’s co-op program.
“It’s nice, agile talent we can tap into throughout the year to support our business,” she says. “It’s just a great program.”
For Evans, opportunity came at the 11th hour. As a pre-junior in the LeBow College of Business, he had gone through two rounds of interviews for his second co-op—and, as he says, nothing had clicked. As he entered the third and final round, PHM posted an opening on its business development and marketing team.
“I was intrigued by the opportunity to not only perform marketing tasks but to work on a dedicated marketing team,” Evans says. “I also jumped at the opportunity to learn more about the business function firsthand.”
The experience went so well that he returned for his third co-op and then worked part-time at PHM as he finished his last year of school. Evans mastered enough frontline knowledge that he switched his major from marketing to general business, allowing for a wider range of classes, and graduated early.
“Every day is different,” he says from the 11th floor of the old Wannamaker Building. “Every day, you are being challenged to understand something you’ve never done. … I’ve never been bored—not a single day.”
Evans’ focus is to provide critical support to the Business Development & Marketing team in the pitch process of attracting new clients (pharma companies, hospitals and other health and wellness players), but he also contributes to marketing, both internal and external. Often, he gets an assist on social media projects from Pepchinski who is officially known as PHM’s business development and marketing coordinator.
“Having Gabriel on the team, he understands what it’s like as a co-op,” Pepchinski, who hails from Long Island, says. “So there’s a level of respect that I get. …At PHM, I feel like they really honor the co-op.”
The agency takes pride in making the co-op experience “mutually beneficial,” Robinson says. “We look to pair students with opportunities that will help them grow and benefit our business.… When you’re there for six months, you can take ownership of tasks and really be an integral member of the team and execute on things. Drexel students are not timid to get their hands dirty.”
Pepchinski, who started in September, has already helped develop a “wellness hack” for the agency’s Instagram feed that highlights health tips from PHM employees on surviving the winter.
“It’s a lot of creative freedom, which I love,” she says. “The best thing was seeing the end product.”
To further bolster the experience, PHM instituted two years ago a capstone project, where co-ops work as a media team on a real-world client problem and present their strategic recommendations to the brand team—often a highlight of co-op.
During his final co-op, Evans and the other co-ops worked on a strategic media plan for a new client’s brand launch. As the business development lead, Evans was responsible for guiding the team on how to create a succinct, clear storyline for the 30-minute presentation. “It’s a lot of work,” he allows. Still, the experience was one of his favorites. “It’s a really cool project.”
For Robinson, co-op was a boon. “I wouldn’t be in this role or job if I hadn’t had that experience,” she says. “It feels very full circle, and I’m thankful to try and give that same excellent experience I had as a co-op to incoming co-op students here at PHM.”