Location: New York, NY
Industry: Healthcare advertising and medical communications
Susan Miller Viray
When Susan Miller Viray and her husband, Rico Viray, launched The Bloc, their goal was to stand out in an industry where they had more than 60 competitors, and no clients. From the company’s name (which was originally The CementWorks), to its motto (“Great brands aren’t born, they’re built”), Viray’s goal was to be memorable in the healthcare advertising space. “We knew we had to be bold and entrepreneurial, and deliver thinking and solutions that would help our clients break with convention,” she says.
Fun Fact: The Bloc holds a holiday event each year where employees auction off their talents to other staff members, including home-cooked Indian meals and ukulele lessons.
This strategy paid off, and during The Bloc’s first nine years, it experienced rapid growth. Unfortunately, during the Great Recession, the company hit a major roadblock and was forced to lay off 12 percent of its staff. Viray says this blow was both personally and professionally devastating, but The Bloc pushed on. “If we lost our spirit, if we suddenly became conservative and risk-averse, we would lose our company’s soul,” says Viray. “So, even as we trimmed our staff, we began formulating where and how we would invest in new services and new technologies.”
Working in the healthcare industry has given Viray a sense of the plight of patients and caregivers, so she makes it a priority to give back. In addition to offering pro-bono services to many advocacy groups and getting involved with organizations like Get Your Guts in Gear to benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, The Bloc matches all employee contributions to any charity or event.