GSW, powered by Syneos Health: 2023


GSW, powered by Syneos Health

500 Olde Worthington Rd, Columbus, OH, 43082  

614-848-4848 •

Quick Facts


  • Account wins: 43
  • Active business clients: 31

Services mix

  • HCP: 70%
  • DTC: 30%

Client roster (partial list)

  • Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
  • Astellas Pharma US 
  • AstraZeneca Limited Partnership
  • Aurinia
  • Bausch & Lomb
  • Bavarian Nordic 
  • Dompe
  • Gilead Sciences 
  • Janssen
  • Eli Lilly 
  • Loxo Oncology 
  • Quest Diagnostics
  • St. Elizabeth Healthcare
  • Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA 


Experience is everything, according to the leaders at GSW.   “Experience is at the heart of every successful venture,” they say. “Whether it’s our employees, our product, our clients – experience matters across the board.” 

My Binge Is

Awareness of binge eating disorder (BED) is low, even among those who have the disorder. GSW’s task: raise the profile of BED, help those suffering from BED to recognize and understand their condition, and how to find help.

Recent accomplishments

The leadership team points to employees’ experience, noting it’s the people throughout the agency who make the difference. 

“Our goal is to continue to create an environment that makes delivering and producing great work as easy as possible,” executives say. “How do we continue to give employees a sense of purpose and place so that their experience with us as a partner and as an individual is exceptional?” 

GSW welcomed 70 new hires and celebrated 40 internal promotions in 2022, managers say. “And with a constant eye toward career growth, GSW launched its second annual agency-wide Development Day for employees to dedicate to personal development, hearing from guest speakers and learning about our new mentorship program. Our continuous training resource, Syneos Communications Academy of Learning & Education (SCALE) Core Competencies, ensures a cadence of programs and offerings targeted for colleagues within our business. “ 

 The employee-created and led initiative RISE (Realizing Inclusivity and Success through Equality) saw continued growth, according to executives. “What began with just a few founding members now counts dozens of active teams cultivating a sense of belonging for all colleagues across the Syneos Health network. Importantly, RISE continues ongoing contributions within the creative briefing process, ensuring every program includes a diverse perspective in its strategy, research design or crafting of a campaign.” 

 According to the leadership team, experience also greatly matters in the work GSW produces, adding that the agency secured more than 40 account wins with significant additions in the rare disease, cardiovascular, ophthalmology, and metabolic spaces in 2022.  

“2022 was another remarkable year for turning insights into outcomes,” agency leaders say. “From spending valuable time listening to families in the achondroplasia community to create a book celebrating their children and explaining the condition to changing how HCPs perceived the value of their patient’s bones to bringing attention to the often-taboo subject of Binge Eating Disorder – GSW remains steadfast in its commitment to big creative ideas that go beyond advertising to create personalized brand experiences. 

 “Increasingly, creative must be experiential and must be delivered in the proper context. The integration of creative concepting coupled with creative expression is key for brand experience.” 

 In March 2022, GSW welcomed healthcare and consumer creative lead Lacey Jae to spearhead agency-wide initiatives that drive strategic creativity for GSW West Coast operations. 

Leaders point out that throughout the year, GSW creative leaders were tapped for several prestigious domestic and international awards juries. Todd Henwood was selected for CLIO Health jury; Astrid Defries-Lansing served on the NY Festivals jury; and  Jae was named to both the NY Festivals and the One Show juries. 

 “Recognition for our groundbreaking creativity was plenty in 2022, including a Pharma Exec Apex Award; six American Advertising Awards; three Med Ad News Manny Awards nominations, including Most Creative Agency; One Show and New York Festivals shortlists; MM&M award finalist; PM360 Trailblazer Award; and two Creative Floor Awards,” executives say. 

“In addition to further enhancing creative capabilities, GSW continued to double down on clients’ experience ensuring they’re getting the most out of not only GSW, but all that’s Syneos Health.

“By having Syneos Health behind us, we’re not only adept at successful brand building, which the agency has a fantastic legacy, but we’re also intimate with the challenges and complexities of our clients’ businesses. So, we’re not just brand builders, we’re business builders and business partners with our clients.”

According to the leadership team, a clear differentiator for GSW’s clients was the introduction of the Mindset Engine, which managers describe as a cutting-edge intelligence platform delivering insights into how doctors make choices, delivering access to deeper, smarter, more specific information to crystallize a story supported by data and rooted in human behavior. 

“By pairing behavioral profiling with a diverse look at personal and professional preferences, this proprietary tool enables us to form a holistic understanding of what drives HCP choices and behaviors – showing the nuanced realities of the human behind the white coat.” 

As digital innovation and customer experience (CX) continue to develop rapidly in the healthcare space, managers say a common thread is GSW’s devotion to big creative ideas and technology as evident in every client brand experience. 

“We expanded our CX and MarTech strategic skill set to enable brands to meet and exceed the expectations of modern healthcare consumers. For example, we advanced our digital out-of-home offering with the latest AR and XR ‘hands-free’ technologies, such as RepConnect (the social-distancing approved rep communication tool).”

In addition, executives say GSW took measured steps to boost media capabilities by offering deployment solutions for SEO, paid search, social, programmatic, display and OOH. “This full stack offering is evident in every output by the agency. We welcomed key hire Oliver Nelson to lead this multidisciplinary effort within the agency, pulling together processes and experts to streamline and improve the delivery of media for complex global media programs for organizations around the world.”

The market access business Spherico, a division of GSW, continued to grow by leaps and bounds, agency leaders state.  “A trusted partner and thought leader connecting insights, data, and trends to motivate behaviors of population-based decision makers, Spherico optimizes access for providers and patients. In the past year, this meant the creation of an exclusive patient services (HUB) offering designed to deliver end-to-end patient services using technology to improve speed, patient enrollment and engagement while delivering a best-in-class modern experience that customers demand. 

“The team also launched its third annual survey among payers sharing new data and insights on how their behaviors have changed and how manufacturers need to adjust communications with them. And, also took an in-depth look at key issues including cost management, RWE and legislation impact, and health equity.” 

Structure and services

Leaders describe GSW as a full-service communications agency that goes beyond advertising to create personalized brand experiences with a focus in health and wellness. “Our services include advertising, digital and closed-loop marketing, strategic insight, branding, communications planning, predictive modeling, market access strategies, media, and market research.

 “It’s a different model and construct from the other big global networks. They’re predominantly in the advertising space, with health care as a category in the mix. Here, you have more than 29,000 people entirely focused in the health and wellness arena; the entire workforce is skilled and pedigreed in health.” 

GSW has offices in Columbus, Ohio; New York City; Los Angeles, and Toronto and “is led by a team of best-in-class marketers who have experience with a variety of stakeholders such as healthcare professionals, patients, caregivers, payers, and consumers.”

Future plans

To make the world a healthier place, one award-winning idea at a time has long been our mission,” executives say. “This mission has not changed; it’s only grown in importance.  

“The past few years have reminded many of us why we entered healthcare communications and the sense of purpose and fulfillment it provides. We continue to stick together, emphasizing our colleagues’ and clients’ total health and wellness while remaining confident in the way we show up for the communities we all serve. Our colleagues, our product and our clients are foundational to all we do. People depend on GSW, which is an awe-inspiring responsibility and opportunity. Together, with these stakeholders, we are up for the challenge.”


Compassion runs deep in our veins at GSW,” managers say. “In 2022 we continued our Passion Project initiative that enables employees to champion causes they believe could benefit from our support. In 2022 philanthropy meant work for the Memorial PGA Golf Tournament, benefiting Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Mental Health of America and Rebecca Homestead. GSW-NY was proud to partner with Rebecca Homestead to help create awareness around the nonprofit’s mission to create an inclusive and sustainable community for differently-abled adults.

“Whether it’s volunteering at a local food bank, holiday toy drives, or biking dozens of miles to end cancer, philanthropy is a huge part of who we are. This attitude continues to be a hallmark of GSW and its people.” 


(top row left to right) JD Cassidy, president, advertising, Syneos Health; Dan Smith, general manager, advertising; Jen Oleski, general manager, GSW Columbus
(middle row left to right) Mark Jazvac, president, GSW Canada; Scott Page, group managing director, West Coast Communications; Astrid Defries-Lansing, executive VP, executive creative director, GSW NY
(bottom row left to right) Lacey Jae, executive VP, executive creative director, West Coast Communications; Mark Lineveldt, executive, VP executive creative director, GSW Columbus; Todd Henwood, executive VP, executive creative director, GSW Canada