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Spotlight on Executive-in-Residence: Gary Esterow

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) recently announced the selection of the second group of Executive-in-Residence (EIR) appointees. This group of highly-skilled life sciences professionals will mentor and advise emerging companies at EDA’s Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) in North Brunswick. The EIR Program was created in collaboration with BioNJ.

Over the next few weeks, @NJEDATech will delve into the back-stories of the five EIRs; first up, Gary Esterow of Manalapan.
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Gary Esterow, Executive-in-Residence – Strategic Communications, will help start-up and small tenant companies at CCIT establish and grow their businesses and develop relationships with key influencers.
 
Gary Esterow, EIR - Strategic Communications, brings over 30 years of global communications expertise in the consumer, pharmaceutical, medical device, non-profit, agency, and corporate arenas to his advisory role. He told @NJEDATech that he looks forward to helping the start-up and small tenant companies at CCIT establish and grow their businesses and develop relationships with key influencers.
 
During more than two decades at Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Esterow developed and executed a number of multifaceted, integrated communications strategies and programs for leading over-the-counter and prescription brands across the pharmaceutical giant’s sectors. Within each of the divisions he worked, Esterow was instrumental in building and expanding the base of company and brand advocates through the development of strategic partnerships with consumers, healthcare professionals, and other key influencers. He also worked closely with business leaders to provide strategic counsel and focused leadership during uncertain times, helping ensure organizational readiness for a number of potential and emerging U.S. and global issues. While at J&J, Esterow received numerous awards in recognition of innovation, customer focus, teamwork, diversity, and leadership.
 
In addition to mentoring tenant companies at CCIT, Esterow is currently providing counsel, writing, and executing programs on behalf of a number of healthcare clients. He can be reached directly at gesterow@gmail.com.
 
Esterow earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Alfred University.
 
@NJEDATech spoke to Esterow about the EIR Program:
 
Why did you choose to apply to the Executive-in-Residence program?
Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to lead, and collaborate with others, in driving business impact and customer engagement through effective communications and stakeholder management. I applied to the EIR program because I feel that the breadth and depth of my background and experiences can be of assistance to these start-up and small companies in helping them to establish and grow their businesses, and can help them develop relationships with key influencers. I also saw it as a wonderful opportunity to network with the other EIRs and the broader life sciences community.
 
 What do you hope to get out of this Executive-in-Residence program?
 I would like to work with as many of the CCIT tenants as possible to understand their needs and help them develop and implement impactful communications strategies that will create value for them and their key stakeholders. Additionally, I hope to expand my own network within the healthcare and life sciences community.
 
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard over the years that you hope to impart on these emerging life sciences companies?
These two pieces of advice have been at my desk side for years and have inspired me both personally and professionally:
 
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take” (Wayne Gretzky) -- CCIT tenants are already on this path, but it is a great reminder to continue to experiment and cultivate new ideas. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo and have the inner confidence to take prudent risks and learn from experience.
 
“…you must be very careful not to just go down a road because you had planned to.” (Katherine Hepburn) -- Be comfortable in understanding and recognizing that sometimes change to an agreed upon plan is necessary if it is in the best interest of the enterprise. Remain focused under ambiguous and complex circumstances and work well with others in leading and managing change when it is needed.
 
What is the next challenge you want to undertake in your career?
I am in the midst of that challenge now -- looking to find my next opportunity, whether it be in a senior leadership role with a new organization or by doing more hands-on, senior level counseling and execution work with a variety of clients.
 
Over the years, I have helped build and strengthen the role of the communications function as an essential business partner, and have developed a reputation for building strategic partnerships that have played important roles in enhancing, protecting, and preserving brand and company reputations. Having the opportunity to do these things in healthcare has given me great personal and professional satisfaction.  I hope the future will provide me with more chances to continue working with organizations and individuals who share my enthusiasm for and commitment to making a difference in the lives of patients and the healthcare professionals they depend on for care.  
 
To learn more about the EIR Program, visit http://www.njeda.com/eir and follow @NJEDATech on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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