Amy O'Connor: 40 Under 40 2014

Senior director, digital and social media communications - corporate affairs, Eli Lilly and Company
Age: 33

At 33, Amy O’Connor became one of the youngest senior directors in the history of pharma giant Eli Lilly. Her rapid rise is testament to her exceptional work, which has fundamentally changed the way the company – and the entire industry – communicates with the world.

In her current role, she is responsible for bringing together Eli Lilly’s digital and social media efforts for corporate affairs, as well as leading the creation of the brand’s overarching digital and social media strategy.

For example, with her digital expertise, O’Connor has developed and expanded the company’s involvement in public policy and championed key programs that have helped ensure people can access new and life-changing medicines.

She also masterminded and launched the groundbreaking LillyPad blog, which has one of the largest social media presences in the pharmaceutical industry. O’Connor went on to oversee launches of LillyPad
in Canada, Mexico, and Europe.

She also helped create the first global oncology digital policy initiative via Lilly’s Patient Access to Cancer Care Excellence network, which leads change through digital engagement and partnerships in targeted markets throughout US and Europe.

O’Connor has shaped the way PhRMA, the pharmaceutical trade association, and the whole industry operates with the innovative use of social media channels and integrated campaigns. As part of this work, she has convened industry meetings to boost the political and digital capabilities of the industry and its partners.

She has also driven work to change perceptions in the US of the industry’s wide public policy goals, from Medicare to intellectual property and access restrictions.

Michael Panetta, partner at Beekeeper Group, who worked with O’Connor on LillyPad and several other projects, praises her ability to look and plan ahead.

"Her approach to any engagement is focused with a transformation in mind," he explains. "I have seen her lead her team with a mindset that encourages innovation and collaboration while always keeping an eye on the future. That is the mark of a true visionary leader."


• O’Connor is generous with her time and helps nonprofits develop their overall media and digital strategies

• She also mentors emerging women leaders and other young professionals on how to lead and engage across generational differences within large companies and organizations

• In her spare time, O’Connor can be found watching Notre Dame football, attending a Nationals game, or exploring Washington, DC, with her dog Rockne

• A sought-after speaker, she has delivered speeches to organizations including the NAACP, the Public Affairs Council, and the National Council of La Raza

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