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Humility and adaptability. Those are the two traits that James Woodland values most in a leader, and he works to emulate those in his role as president and CEO of Compas, Inc.

“To me, the greatest leaders are the ones that serve those around them,” he said. “It’s a humble style of leadership that focuses on the needs of those they lead more than anything else, and to create the environment for your people to do their best work. What’s important about this, however, is that those needs can often change, and the most important lesson I’ve learned is to be adaptable in times of change.”

For over 30 years, Compas has collaborated with the pharmaceutical industry’s leading media providers, positioning them for success with healthcare clients and agencies. Compas is certified by the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council as a minorityowned- and-operated business. Compas has been recognized as one of the industry’s best places to work, offering industry-leading development and retention. “As stewards of its clients’ media investments, Compas is committed to enforcing the highest standards of buying execution, effectiveness, transparency and accountability while leveraging its clients’ collective buying power through a consortium that unlocks incremental savings,” the company said.

Woodland held roles in the finance industry until the mid-2000s, when he was tasked with developing a digital media planning and buying practice for Compas and its sister company, CMI. The agencies had experience in traditional media, but the landscape was changing and they needed to expand their digital capabilities quickly.

Woodland led the development of the firm’s marketing materials, staff training programs and, ultimately, client pitches to expand the agency’s business in these new growth areas. Within the first year of launch, the agency won two large digital requests for proposals. Woodland continues to oversee digital services growth and in 2011 was named chief operations officer for both Compas and CMI. Woodland led the eventual sale of CMI, and in 2021 he was named CEO of Compas. Since he became COO, the companies have grown more than sevenfold, and the headcount is on track to exceed 1,000 by 2023.

“Compas has been in the family for over 30 years,” Woodland said. “It has grown to be a well-respected player in the pharmaceutical marketing landscape and is a legacy we are all very proud of. We’ve never been an organization to rest on our laurels, however. We must continue to push the boundaries of what is possible for the industry and for our staff.”

Woodland has an MBA from New York University. He was named one of 40 Under 40 by the Philadelphia Business Journal in 2011 and was on the PharmaVoice 100 Most Inspiring People list in 2013.

Woodland contributes to the mission of the Cobbs Creek Foundation — a Philadelphia nonprofit working to restore the Cobbs Creek Golf Course while also building an education center to provide opportunities for the children of West Philadelphia. Woodland chairs the Foundation’s Education Committee


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