“The Road Less Traveled” could easily describe the extraordinary career path that Ron Souza took – as a pioneer, visionary, strategic thinker and industry leader. He brought unsurpassed knowledge and a deep passion to every company, client, and colleague he encountered. His “can do” attitude was instrumental in the launch of landmark products and campaigns of the 70s and 80s while his style and client-service principles were imprinted on some of the great leaders who are forging their own unique paths.
Ron earned a BS at the College of Pharmacy, Northeastern University. Ron was a “Depression Baby,” born in New Bedford, MA into an honest, hard-working, musical and close-knit family environment that forever influenced his life.
Ron’s pharmaceutical career began in 1958 as a staff pharmacist at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, MA. He moved to Newington, CT in 1962 and became Director of Pharmacy, Central Services and Respiratory Therapy at the Newington Children’s Hospital.
Following nine years in hospital pharmacy and administration, Ron entered the pharmaceutical industry as a product manager/marketing director for three pharmaceutical companies (Intra Products, USV/Revlon Pharmaceutical, Endo Laboratories) before starting a 19-year career in healthcare marketing and communications with New York agencies, beginning with J. Walter Thompson as a Vice President, Account Group Supervisor in their medical division, Deltakos Healthcare Agency. He then joined the Rolf Werner Rosenthal (RWR), the ‘it’ agency where he was instrumental in its rapid growth, became a partner, and eventually its president and COO.
In 1985, RWR was acquired by Ogilvy & Mather Advertising (O&M), one of the world’s premiere advertising agencies, and Ron was appointed Sr. VP, member of O&M Worldwide. He attained the position of CEO for the medical division of O&M and was Snior VP member of O&M Worldwide Management Council. He left O&M after five years to become a principal and CEO of Barnum Communications, which was renamed Barnum & Souza, Inc. After three years, he left to form his own marketing consultant business, All’s Well, Inc. Through this consulting business, Ron provided marketing assistance to various pharmaceutical companies and had significant impact on the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists, where he established ASHP Advantage, a division that develops and conducts accredited continuing education programs for pharmacists. He served as its marketing director for two years before formally retiring from business.
Ron brought his strategic expertise to Burroughs Wellcome’s Septra, Sudafed and Actifed brands, and was instrumental in launching the first in its class HIV drug, AZT (Retrovir), the interferon Intron-A, and the anti-infectives Zovirax, Pipracil, and Septra; ER Squibb’s beta blocker Corgard; Connaught Laboratories line of vaccines and insulins; Wampole Laboratories’ pregnancy tests; and Marion Laboratories blockbuster calcium channel blocker, Cardizem (with the famed “hard hat” campaign).
Ron fostered a people-oriented environment of mutual respect and teamwork that supported the creative product and provided the kind of account service that not only kept clients satisfied but happy to work with them. He kept his sights on the important and valuable contributions made by the professional support groups. He was a progressive thinker who embraced diversity and equality in the workplace before it was required. He instilled pride and the pursuit of excellence in each professional he touched.
Ron’s commitment to giving back is also evidenced by his many leadership roles and contributions made to professional and civic organizations and associations. In retirement, he continues with this lifelong commitment by lending his many talents and guidance to community activities.
Ron’s talents are not limited to his career. In life he has been a professional drummer, a prolific writer and photographer (including published works on lighthouses), a jazz enthusiast, historian, board member of the New Bedford Whaling Museum and New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, and involved with tennis and golf groups.
Ron Souza dedicated his life to service within the medical marketing industry and contributed in every capacity: 9 years in hospital pharmacy and hospital administration, 6 years in pharmaceutical marketing, 23 years in medical marketing, advertising and communications. Ron is acclaimed for his progressive people skills as much as his strategic and leadership skills. He was the consummate collaborator and mentored many executives who went on to form their own agencies that further contributed to the excellence of the industry.