Country Manager, Ireland Commercial, Viatris
For a growing number of companies, engaging with the local community is an increasingly integral part of what they do and how they act — helping to give back while enabling their staff to participate in charitable activities.
Melissa Fisher, Country Manager at Viatris in Ireland, underlines the value of advancing sustainable and responsible practices, both to companies and communities, including local community engagement and support, but also recognises the challenges people may have in donating funds or skills in the current economic climate.
“Time is usually a resource we can give,” says Melissa, who is responsible for the company’s medicines in Ireland.
Viatris was formed in November 2020 through the combination of Mylan and Upjohn. They have five campuses across the country, from Galway to Cork to Dublin, covering R&D and manufacturing, coupled with a strong awareness of their role in the community. “We do not exist in our own ecosystem. We exist as a part of the communities we serve and rely on, and it is so important to give back in whatever form we can,” she says.
“As a global healthcare company, our mission is to empower people worldwide to live healthier at every stage of life. We want to foster healthy communities around the world.”
Under its volunteering programme in Ireland, they provide local employees with two paid days each year, to take part in volunteering activities to support a charity of their choice. In addition to the volunteer program, they have an employee-nominated Charities and Community Support scheme, which has seen them make donations to more than 50 charities in Ireland since 2019.
“People are incredibly generous here, whether it is a skill they can pass on or enrich someone by teaching them how to do it.”
With approximately 2,000 colleagues in the country, they support a number of charities including Rape Crisis North East (RCNE), the only not-for-profit charity specialising in sexual violence counselling. They offer a free, confidential, non-directive and non-judgemental service.
People are incredibly generous here, whether it is a skill they can pass on or enrich someone by teaching them how to do it.
An initial step was to provide access to Viatris’ marketing team who were able to use their skills and knowledge to help the charity’s centre manager and staff members transform their digital capabilities.
“To do that, it was imperative to help RCNE do things smarter and to use social media to the best advantage — not to just raise funds but also awareness of what is happening, particularly in the rural parts of our country,” adds Melissa.
In just a few months, feedback from the charity has been positive. The impact of better digital strategies on raising awareness of the charity and its services has been significant.
Improved awareness of RCNE has raised their profile as a discreet place where survivors can meet and receive much-needed support and advice.
The visibility of RCNE reached a new level when Viatris recently sponsored their fundraising paddle event called Splash Out which took place at Blessington Lakes in County Wicklow in August, helping to generate further awareness of the charity.
Through their network of connections and the continued support of their marketing and communications team, the event saw 150 canoeists supported by volunteers and the paddling community tackle a 10km course and then met on the beach for food and live music.
“Being able to introduce RCNE to a larger audience and shed light on their cause was our main objective. There was a brilliant community spirit from everyone who was there; the paddlers, the volunteers and the people who came along to spectate and support the charity event. This together with the most amazing weather made for a perfect day,” says Melissa.
Going forward, they will continue to work with RCNE, particularly through digital marketing and social media support.