I vividly remember the day I interviewed at CDM Princeton (CDMP). I took my own advice—advice that I have given to college students, based on my own experience on how to interview well. I won’t go off on a tangent, but one of the tips I recommend is to research the company you are interviewing and be prepared with questions. Seems obvious, I know. But you would be surprised at how many candidates show up at their interview thinking that their only responsibility is to answer questions about themselves. It’s rare to interview a candidate who has prepared probing questions to help them figure out if the agency they’re considering might be a good fit for them.
Getting back to my story, I did my homework. I took a look at CDMP’s social presence. I read articles. I went to the company’s website. And there it was—the first text to appear underneath the company logo. A single word: “lifechanging.” Their tagline.
As someone who spent her entire career in NYC—started in consumer and moved into healthcare; and has been regularly beaten down by regulatory not to overpromise, “lifechanging” immediately made my eyes roll. In fact, it made me think that these folks don’t get it. How could they ever live up to this idea? I was so disappointed and wondered if it was even worth my time to interview. But wow—I am so glad that I didn’t change my mind.
I’m approaching my second year at CDMP, so perhaps you are wondering what was it that got me to ultimately join the agency? The answer: Gary Scheiner and Craig Romanok.
Gary and I previously worked together at Arnold Worldwide in New York. This agency was known for their expertise in beauty and chocolate, but their leadership had a desire to build out their healthcare portfolio. So, we pitched…and pitched…and pitched some more. And then we won…and won…and won even more accounts. We grew a staggering 400%. I share this with you only to express how much I learned under Gary’s leadership. He was, and still is, my mentor. The opportunity to work with him again was very appealing. However, I wondered to myself: “Did this NJ agency really have something to offer me that I couldn’t find in the Big Apple?” Even with reservations, I trusted Gary and felt that, at the very least, I should hear him out and take a look at CDMP’s creative work. That’s what got me in their door.
But to join CDMP, I needed answers—specifically, I needed to know “What makes this agency ‘lifechanging?'” That’s what I asked Craig Romanok when I sat across from him on the day of my interview. And without hesitation, he had an answer. Not only an answer, but one that gave me chills—the type of chills you get when you hear something profound. His response not only got me excited to join CDMP, it’s the reason I’ve stayed.
Craig said that at CDMP, they don’t work on “me too” brands. He explained that CDMP’s focus is on lifechanging therapies that promise to improve the world by satisfying urgent patient needs. I immediately thought, “OK, Craig, you have my attention.” He then went on to list “the first” brand to do this and “the first” brand to accomplish that among their impressive list of current clients. Beyond the work, CDMP was the first Omnicom Health Group agency to implement work-from-home Fridays for all staff pre-COVID. They were the first to expand out from CDM New York and the first to open a West Coast office in San Francisco. This was the very proof of CDMP’s promise, and with that, I thought, “sign me up.”
I believe that an experience needs to be memorable for it to be considered “lifechanging.” There also needs to be some sort of transformation and emotion attached to that experience. Working in healthcare advertising, and more specifically at CDMP, I experienced my own lifechanging moment. As mentioned above, I can easily recall the day of my interview. I went through a transformation—one that started with me having serious doubts about the potential of an agency and ending with me championing the creative work that comes out of it. That day was emotional for me, as it truly changed my thinking—and got my heart pumping in the best way possible. I felt alive with the opportunity to truly make an impact on people’s lives.
In the words of Denis Waitley, “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist or accept the responsibility for changing them.” CDMP doesn’t just talk about being “lifechanging”—they are. They build the strategy, execute the process, and showcase the creativity to accomplish it. Emails from doctors and patients tell me that the work we’re doing is lifechanging: “She didn’t have any hope before, but she has hope now.” “I am a believer! Please don’t take this away from me.” “There are days I don’t even remember that I have epilepsy anymore.” When the stories start coming back to you and you hear “It has been a miracle,” I remind myself that lifechanging experiences are happening here—and we’re all a part of what makes this a reality at CDMP.
Do we walk the walk? The answer is, unequivocally, yes.
by Brittany Draper
Senior Vice President, Creative Director