The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Victoria Ifan PAM ’12, grew up in a home that prized hard work, making the most of opportunities and giving back to the community. Ifan credits these values and the experiences of her parents with making her the driven, passionate and collaborative leader she is today.
In her new position as Vice President in Edelman’s health division, Ifan is the day-to-day lead on her accounts, working with pharmaceutical companies to develop plans for their products, advance discussions around key policies, and create campaigns to connect with relevant patient communities and advocacy groups.
“The pharmaceutical companies I’ve worked with are more and more interested in having direct conversations with patients,” Ifan explained. “So, their strategies have become less about using TV ads and more about creating resources and the space for patients to have conversations about their health.”
Ifan is currently overseeing public relations (PR) activities for a drug developed to treat late-stage kidney disease and another for the treatment of opioid use disorder. She described PR work, particularly for pharmaceutical companies, as being “behind the curtain.”
“As a consumer, I can empathize with patients and all the emotions they might be feeling around their diagnosis and treatment journey,” she said. “I also get to see the work these companies are doing to help patients, including learning the ten-to-thirteen years of research and development that goes into creating a drug and speaking with the scientists who are working day-in-and-day-out to solve such complex problems, like cancer.”
Ifan said people are often surprised to learn that her degree was not in communications or journalism, but she feels that studying policy analysis and management with a focus on healthcare better prepared her to understand the healthcare landscape and the nuances of how it operates.
“I developed foundational analytical and critical thinking skills while at Cornell, which I use daily,” she said.
Last year Ifan’s family started a nonprofit organization, Adopt A Village Foundation, in support of her late father’s birth village Ikyumbur, Mbatiav in Benue State, Nigeria, continuing the work he had long been doing to uplift his hometown.
“My dad was my number one fan and cheerleader, always encouraging me to be my best self. He was such a big proponent for working hard, giving back to the community and loving those around you. Those passions have become a big part of who I am and how I view life.”
Although the organization is still in its infancy, Ifan and her family have already been able to fund building a well in the village and are raising funds toward building a new bridge for better access to resources and hope to one day build a school.