Alumnae Tracy Doyle ’87 and Angela Fiordilino ’87 walked away from Montclair State University with what most students dream to achieve. The two psychology majors met during the spring of their junior year and became study partners for an experimental psychology class. As commuter students, they’d meet on Valley Road and walk up the long staircase that leads to campus. In the years to come, they’d continue walking alongside one another until together, they made it to the top of their field.
Both have extensive backgrounds in working with pharmaceutical manufacturers, and in 2002 they co-founded Phoenix Marketing Solutions, LLC. Phoenix is a full-service medical communications and integration partner to the life sciences industry. They provide integrated marketing solutions and customized tactics to help life sciences companies educate healthcare professionals about the advances in science and the appropriate use of new products. One might ask how the two psychology majors found their way to the pharmaceutical world, but they each have their own stories.
Doyle, president and CEO, minored in counseling while at Montclair State. Her love for communications brought her to join the Human Relations Organization, a student organization that honed her active listening skills and gave her a new appreciation for working with others.
“Listening is a skill that has to be developed,” she says. “The Human Relations Organization taught me how to be an active listener and become fully engaged in what people say and to identify needs.”
Fiordilino serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer and thinks very fondly of her time spent at Montclair State.
“I came to Montclair State knowing that I was going to be majoring in psychology. I had taken some psychology classes in high school and was interested from the beginning. I was drawn to understanding human behavior and what motivates people. When I took organizational psychology I really developed a curiosity in how organizations operate and how management and leadership are critically important in driving behavior. Since then, I’ve continually brought this awareness to my work and from early on was selected for management positions.”
Immediately after graduation, the two entered the social services and mental health fields and each pursued their own paths within the pharmaceutical industry.
Doyle began her career in the pharmaceutical industry as a sales representative working for Fisons Corporation and Bristol-Myers Squibb. She then went on to medical communications where her pioneering style led to a loyal client following.
Today, as the visionary of Phoenix Marketing Solutions, she identifies problems in the market and creates solutions to pioneer new services. In 2005, she was awarded by the professional services firm Ernst and Young LLP the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
In the early ’90s Fiordilino worked as a social worker in Bergen County managing a program for the mentally ill and then pursued a career in the pharmaceutical industry. She was quickly identified as a leader and served in various management positions. As executive vice president and chief operating officer of Phoenix, she ensures the organizational aspects of the company by guiding, directing and leading a highly skilled operations team.
“Coupled with Tracy’s passion for communications, we each bring pieces of our educational experience to the work we do today,” she says. “Montclair State taught us how to engage with others in a meaningful way.”
Fiordilino received the NJBIZ “Forty Under 40” award for her operational leadership and accomplishments in a complex pharmaceutical landscape.
The two have remained connected with the University by working with the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship. This past fall, Doyle participated in the center’s Women Entrepreneurship Week Conference and spoke on a panel that featured alumnae Kathy Martone Duva ’75, Wamwari Waichungo ’90 and former classmate Elena Kuksa Kilpatrick ’87. Together they are also planning to speak to students in an introductory entrepreneurship course.
“Angela and I both come from similar backgrounds,” says Doyle. “We paid our own way through college and as a result understand the importance of making sound business decisions.”
Through the years, this has proven true as they’ve climbed from the staircase on Valley Road and landed at top leadership positions within the medical communications industry.