Oral Histories

Ray Jordan

Interview Segments on Topic: PR Education/Training

Ray Jordan Biography

Ray Jordan is senior vice president of corporate affairs at Amgen, the world’s largest independent biotech firm. A pharma veteran, he previously was vice president of communications and information at Johnson & Johnson, and brought 27 years of experience in global health care to his position at Amgen, having spent 17 years at Pfizer before joining J&J.


INTERVIEWER: What education or previous professional experience best prepares a person for the rigors of ethical decision making in the communications field?

JORDAN: In that regard, I would put the emphasis on having been involved deeply in business decisions through your career. Having helped business leaders wrestle with those decisions, and then implement based on them. You can get there in different ways, the skill sets that we bring in the corporate communication area; you can get to them through journalism, through liberal arts, through business training, through agency work. I’m less concerned about what has built the capability of the skills—initial capabilities—and more concerned about what kinds of engagements have you had that have put you with a business leader or as a business leader, in a firing line of making business decisions. Somebody who may have run their own company for a while, or may have been part of an agency business model would have had those kinds of experience. An attorney who may have helped counsel a business leader may have had those experiences, certainly just as much as an agency person or a PR person coming up through the junior ranks may have had. So it’s that engagement with business, with sort of difficult business decisions where you have to wrestle with different parties with tradeoffs. That to me is a core skill set, and that’s something I believe you develop on the job, and it can be at different jobs.