MEET THE TEAM: Rosemarie Yancosek
Manhattan is often a proving ground for young communications professionals. Meet Rosemarie Yancosek, who paid her dues in Big Apple public relations and advertising agencies before setting her sights on the pharmaceutical industry.
Born in New York City and raised in New Jersey, where she currently resides, Rosemarie is very much a Jersey girl. Her proximity to the many biopharma companies that call the Garden State home has served her well professionally. How she found her niche is a fascinating story.
Rosemarie did not originally plan to work in communications. “I was an American Studies major at Hofstra University, with the goal of working at a museum,” says Rosemarie. Despite graduating Phi Beta Kappa, her interviews at multiple New York City museums proved fruitless.
Above: Celebrating a successful
client IPO launch.
She landed a temporary summer job at Japan Airlines as an executive assistant while keeping her options open. “I was fortunate to commute with my dad, an advertising executive who was near retirement. He taught me the ins and outs of getting around the city,” says Rosemarie.
That fall, her sister Gail, who was forging a successful career in broadcast journalism, had a friend who helped Rosemarie secure a position in the newsroom of New York Telephone. Rosemarie says, “I scanned newspapers and magazines, and prepared booklets to be hand delivered to senior executives before 11 a.m. I was literally covered in newspaper ink every day and learned quickly to always wear dark clothes to work!”
From there, the husband of a contact Rosemarie had made at Japan Airlines sent her resume to the HR lead in the New York office of Hakuhodo, a global Tokyo-based advertising and integrated marketing agency where he worked. Rosemarie became an account executive, handling sports marketing and event planning. “It was one of the best jobs that a 20-something could ever have,” she says. “I got to travel all over the United States for our clients.” Hakuhodo also felt like home, because it was located in the same office building where her dad had worked until he retired and where she used to visit him as a little girl. “I thought that was good karma,” Rosemarie notes.
After several years, Rosemarie decided to try her hand at public relations, applying for a job at Manning, Selvage & Lee (MSL). On her first day, she recalls the HR director deciding on the spot that another new hire would be placed in the corporate group and Rosemarie would go to the healthcare group. “So, that’s how my healthcare journey began, and I never looked back!” she says.
While at MSL, Rosemarie supported the fast-paced Roche HIV/AIDS business when there were still so many unknowns about how to manage the disease. Rosemarie worked 12 hours each day, and then took two subways and a bus to get back to New Jersey. She continues to rank attending the 1996 International Conference on AIDS as one of her career highlights.
Above: Rosemarie cuddles with Foster (left) and Sparkle (right).
Even though Jeff Winton worked for Roche in the HIV and AIDS therapeutic area, their paths didn’t cross until 1998 when Rosemarie applied for a position at Pharmacia & Upjohn, which had just moved from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Bridgewater, New Jersey. Jeff was building a new global communications function for Pharmacia. “It was very exciting to go from working in agencies to seeing what the other side of the business offered,” she says. When Pfizer acquired Pharmacia a few years later, Rosemarie moved with Jeff when he was hired to lead the communications effort at Schering-Plough, and she worked with him again at Bayer Healthcare.
After her stint at Bayer, Rosemarie was global head of Portfolio Communications for Novartis Oncology, developing and implementing strategic global and U.S. communications programs for multiple marketed brands and late-stage pipeline assets, as well as new molecular entities to treat solid tumors, blood cancers and hematologic disorders. Another career highlight occurred in 2017 when the FDA issued a historic action making the first gene (CAR-T) therapy available in the U.S., ushering in a new approach to the treatment of cancer and other serious and life-threatening diseases. “It was so rewarding to be part of the team managing communications for this monumental approval,” Rosemarie recalls.
Rosemarie jumped at the opportunity to work with Jeff once again shortly after he co-founded Jeff Winton Associates with his partner, Jim Modica. “I wanted to try something that would use the skills I honed over the course of my career while offering flexibility to spend time with my husband and cheer on my two sons during their respective games and matches,” she says. Her JWA time also offered a “first” in her career: the opportunity to help client ACELYRIN manage its initial public offering in May 2023.
Above: Rosemarie with her husband and sons when on vacation in Maui.
In her spare time, Rosemarie loves the Jersey shore, especially Asbury Park which is an easy drive from north Jersey and is very dog friendly – important since their furry family members, Foster and Sparkle, come along on every getaway. “My ‘happy place’ is sitting on the beach with a book,” says Rosemarie. “And as a family, we enjoy movies and dining out at different restaurants. We will try anything.”
Eating at home is a treat, too, because Rosemarie’s husband is an amazing cook. Rosemarie admits to relying solely on the microwave if she has to make dinner. We think she can be given a pass, because Rosemarie excels at nearly everything else she tries!