Why I’ve stayed at Virgo for 18 years and counting

By Natasha Weeks, Executive Director, Virgo Health  

I can’t quite believe I joined Virgo Health almost 18 years ago. I started out at our first office in Richmond as a JAE working across a range of pharma clients. At the time I was one of around 20 people and we were on a mission to create Communications without Compromise. Perhaps it was my journalism training, but my passion was and still is storytelling – I wanted to tell health stories to consumers. 

So as Virgo Health hits its 20th milestone, apart from making me feel old 😉, I can’t help but reflect on what it is about Virgo that’s made me stay so long. 

Yet it’s simple really – because I love the people I work with and the work that we do.  

And it’s stayed that way, as the one thing that hasn’t changed in all this time is Virgo’s ethos and values. From Day 1 Virgo was a people-first agency, driven by our mission not to compromise our people or our clients. Over the years our culture has been kept alive by the old-timers and made more relevant by Virgo’s new generations. 

But of course, even the nicest place to work doesn’t mean much if you can’t find purpose in your work. I’ve been fortunate enough to find plenty, from creating ‘Emma: Work Colleague of the Future’, the most awarded health campaign of the year in 2020, to supporting parents through lockdown with Waterwipes, increasing representation during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and being part of an incredible media team that launched the world-first bivalent Covid-19 vaccine for Moderna. 

I do wonder if Virgo and I simply grew together, first as a young PR in a fledging agency it was wonderful to be part of building something new, then when we were acquired by Golin my life was also changing as I started a family. Being part of Golin also offered new challenges and opportunities, providing access to a global network and I’ve been lucky enough to spend time at Golin in Chicago and New York and work with colleagues across the world.  

A real highlight for me, as Consumer Health lead, has been working in collaboration with the Golin consumer teams to work on big consumer brands benefiting from healthcare expertise. Our hybrid working model is something that continues to set us apart and I’m hugely proud to work on Asics and Specsavers with the best creative and earned media minds in the business. 

Of course, across 18 years it wasn’t all plain sailing, moving from Richmond to Central London and being part of a network was a huge transition, and then there was lockdown-working with two young kids! But the magic has been, and hopefully will always be, Virgo’s strong sense of purpose as an agency that wants the very best for its people and its clients.  

Who knows if I’ll be writing this column again in another 20 years, but if I’m not, I imagine someone else saying something very similar. 

That’s the Purple Power. 

Celebrating Inclusive Smart Hybrid Working

By Amanda Moulson, Executive Director, Virgo Health  

As I was doing my nightly social scrolls – checking in on my faves like noodle vids and cat reels – I noted @mother_pukka taking on Lord Sugar and Jacob Rees Mogg, among others, for urging people to get back to the office full time. ‘Flexible working is inclusive working!’ she said – and I thought ‘YES!’ as I shared to my own feed, quoting her.

She’s right! Flexible working IS inclusive working – and it’s not just about opening up geography or accommodating lifestyles, like being a parent or a carer. It’s also about allowing people with disabilities to work in environments that are created for them. It makes neurodiverse people feel psychologically safe. And, despite the fact that we’re in PR and presumed to be loudmouths, it accommodates the shy, the quiet and the introverted (who can still be loudmouths – a personal example – albeit loudmouths in need of a good recharge).

One thing that really frustrates me is that in the early flush of our post-pandemic ways, we saw possibility; we spoke about re-inventing things that needed an update. On the top of the list was the future of work, so we bandied about phrases like ‘digital nomadry’ and we expounded about the role of culture in hybridised places. Sadly, a lot of those conversations began, and ended, with a vision, and since many have retreated to the same old, same old.

We had an enormous opportunity to create a new future, and my fear is that too many companies squandered it. But luckily, that’s not true of Virgo Health, where Smart Hybrid policies keep us future fit and dead flexible.

Because we’re all different, we all need different things at different times. Virgo’s Smart Hybrid policy takes all of these needs into account. While deep and heads-down work can be done at home, when we’re in the office, there are communal spaces for us to meet, create, eat and play (and let me tell you, the mini breadstick game is STRONG). And for people with in-office requirements who enjoy quieter time, we have designated areas to focus, ‘meditation spaces’ and outside space.

In agency life, our clients demand creativity. Since employee experience is the start of the client experience, I couldn’t be happier to work with a team that took the challenge to reinvent the future of work seriously.

Creativity? Find a job that lets you play with what you love

By Amanda Moulson, Executive Director, Virgo Health  

Virgo Health’s Amanda Moulson shares the secret to nurturing your creativity.

I’ve felt lucky in my career to be branded as ‘creative’ – a brand that becomes self-fulfilling when ideas are requested in various brainstorms, workshops, or in the on the fly ‘hey can I just grab your brain for a minute?’ chats. As someone with this label, I am often surprised when people say, ‘I’m not creative’, or when I read self-assessments in which my colleagues worry that they are not creative enough.


We are all creative. Because creativity is about solving problems in unique and novel ways. And we can explore all those ways when, to paraphrase psychiatrist Carl Jung, the creative mind plays with what it loves.

What do you love? It can be as ‘basic’ or intellectual as you like. Tik Tok, Emily in Paris, dogs, rugby, Proust. Any or all – and the more the better. These references are the jumping off points for ideation, so never hesitate to bring what you love to your workplace.

Me? I love words. I love reading. Once I read a book, I deeply dive into its subject matter and those ideas re-emerge in ideation (my team will not forget the ‘gaming phase’ that followed my read of the truly spectacular Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow). I also love the feeling of being astonished by a sentence that expresses a universal notion but in the most incisive possible way, and I am inspired to work my own copy to that point of precision in my daily work at Virgo.

Virgo, a healthcare communications agency, zodiacally-destined to be organised and professionally obligated to be analytical, evidence-driven and compliant. Where’s the creativity in that?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

Sure, we ‘healthcare people’ deal in the left-brained stuff. But remember, we can be creative with maths; it is about relationships. We can be creative with science because what is science if not a study of creation? We can be creative about how we communicate about data because data is the currency of the modern world. And we can be creative about healthcare because there is no space more deserving of inventive problem-solving than the one that, when fine-tuned, allows all of us to thrive in every possible way.

Thriving itself is an outcome of creativity – of imagining the new and the better possibilities for the things and the people you love (self-included). So, whether at work or at play, I beg you, find what you love. Shout about it to whoever will listen and surround yourself with people that protect and nurture those things. Trust me, it really is going to make those ‘hey can I just grab your brain for a minute’ chats that much more fun!

Earning HCP Influencers’ Attention

By Beth Whitworth, Consumer Health Director, Virgo Health  

How consumer health brands can engage HCP influencers to share campaigns organically.

You know your campaign has been successful when a healthcare professional (HCP) influencer engages with it on their own platform organically, with no paid partnership.  Why? Firstly, in consumer health, there are strict regulations prohibiting over-the-counter (OTC) medicines from running paid partnerships on social media with HCP influencers (apart from medical devices and food supplements). Secondly, you can’t underestimate the value of an organic post from a HCP influencer. Post-Covid we’ve seen a surge in virtual health and self-care, with HCPs the trusted, credible experts that people are turning to on social media more than ever for expert information and advice. 

But encouraging HCP influencers to engage in your campaigns is not easy. Regulations mean medicines can only proactively outreach to HCP influencers with brand agnostic campaigns. These campaigns must also feel relevant to the HCP and their audience. Asking them for their views in the planning phases and building a story around this will increase the likelihood of them sharing it.

Securing traditional media coverage, particularly in the nationals or lifestyle magazines, is a great place to start, as HCPs will frequently comment on media stories on their own social channels. For example, Dr Nighat Arif, a GP with 54k followers and a regular on BBC Breakfast and This Morning, shared on her channels an opinion piece we secured in i (in print and online) for our client Nurofen on the Gender Pain Gap.  She added her own personal experiences of the gender pain gap to her post, increasing its impact and relevance to her followers.

Similarly, for a breast cancer awareness campaign we did for Estée Lauder Companies (ELC), Dr Nighat created an Instagram Story sharing Kreena Dhiman’s interview in Stylist magazine.  Kreena spoke about the stigma South Asian women face when dealing with breast cancer and why she’s supporting ELC’s campaign.

To gain these kinds of campaign recognition, building relationships with HCP influencers is key. Outreach should be personalised, highlighting why the story matters to them and their followers, while the ‘ask’ should not be too prescriptive or demanding as brands do not have any control on the organic content they post.

Assets such as a video, report or statistics are often created for traditional media as part of the sell-in package, but these can also be of use to HCP influencers. Make sure they are simple and impactful and HCPs may use these to build their own content or in the perfect scenario, social videos, which generate 1200% more shares than text and image content.  As part of the Gender Pain Gap campaign, Dr Aziza Sesay shared an Instagram reel with her 20k followers highlighting new statistics showing the extent of the gap. Her post had over 500 likes and heaps of engagement, including from other HCP influencers agreeing the stats are upsetting and more needs to be done to bring change. 

As with all earned content, any product or brand mention should either be woven into the story (rather than a blatant plug), or it needs to be an authentic recommendation if coming from an HCP influencer. They are first and foremost medical professionals and protecting their integrity has never been more crucial than when it comes to social media.