Faculty – 13th Public Relations & Communications Summit


Lucy Abreu
Director of Corporate Communications, OTSUKA AMERICA PHARMACEUTICAL, INC.

view speaker profile

Over the last two decades, Lucy Abreu’s professional experience has spanned digital and social media marketing, corporate communications, broadcast, print and web journalism. Abreu has contributed creatively and strategically to some of the world’s top-tier corporations within several industries including media – CNN, New Jersey Network, CBS, Gannett Newspapers; financial services – BlackRock and Merrill Lynch Investment Managers; and healthcare – Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.,  and Johnson and Johnson.

As the director of corporate communications at Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., (OAPI) an industry-leader in mental health, Abreu heads the public and media relations, executive and internal communications, sales communications and multi-media productions teams. Abreu’s leadership supports four Otsuka companies in the U.S. and partners closely with global headquarters, based in Japan. Previously, Abreu managed the talent acquisition team at OAPI focused on hiring and retaining top talent, developing a cross-company internal mobility program, and launching an employee value proposition campaign.

Prior to joining Otsuka, Abreu spent eight years as a part of an award-winning team at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management company, serving as Vice President and Digital Marketing Content Manager. During her time at BlackRock, Abreu defined digital editorial best practices in alignment with business objectives to increase brand awareness, content engagement and user experiences. She managed the US Retail & Global Corporate Digital Content Management strategy including web, mobile, video, eMails and SEO. Furthermore, as a part of BlackRock’s leadership team, Abreu actively participated in BlackRock’s Women’s Initiative Network, MultiCultural Network’s Leadership Committee, and BlackRock Speaks (ToastMasters).

Abreu’s professional accolades include being named a 2012 Council of Urban Professionals Fellow as well as a speaker for Leadership and Empowerment.

She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University in broadcast journalism, and a Master’s degree from Syracuse University with a focus in print journalism.

Abreu, a proud Girl Scout Troop Leader, mentors an inspiring group of 6th and 7th graders. She is passionate about community and education; serving on the Board of Directors for the Plainfield Police Activity League (PAL) –focused on at-risk kids—and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, a public service sorority.

Abreu attributes her success to her family; her husband, Ramon and two children, Ava and Ramon. For leisure, Abreu enjoys traveling, reading and playing board games with her family.


Robert Allen
Lead, Digital Operations, BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB

view speaker profile

Robert Allen is a marketing professional with a track record for strategic planning and developing innovative digital marketing initiatives for brands in pharmaceuticals, CPG, finance, durable goods and the communications/entertainment industries.

Prior to joining Bristol-Myers Squibb in July of 2016, he led AstraZeneca’s Digital Innovation Group (DIG) in the UK. Robert developed new solutions and collaborations with partners to deliver innovative approaches to making pharmaceutical products and information more relevant and accessible to patients and physicians.

Prior to AstraZeneca, Robert was a Group Vice President at Digitas Health, where he led market strategy for various J&J McNeil and P&G OTC brands, as well as for a number of pharmaceutical companies such as Daiichi Sankyo and Celgene across their cardiovascular and oncology portfolios.

Robert was recognized by DTC Perspectives as one of the pharmaceutical industry’s Top 25 Marketers in 2012. He is also a member of a number of industry-leading marketing organizations, such as MMA (Mobile Marketing Association), CMO Council and the Digital Health Coalition. Robert holds a B.A. in advertising and a minor in business from Penn State University.


Mark J. Alles
Chief Executive Officer, CELGENE CORPORATION

view speaker profile

Mr. Alles serves as Celgene’s Chief Executive Officer. He assumed the role on March 1, 2016. Previously, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Alles served as Executive Vice President and Global Head of Hematology and Oncology from December 2012 until July 2014, following his promotion to Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer in February 2012. Mr. Alles joined Celgene in April 2004 and served as Vice President, Global Hematology Marketing until March 2009 when he became President of the Americas Region. Responsibility for commercial operations in Japan and the Asia-Pacific Region was added in July 2011. Mr. Alles previously served as Vice President for the U.S. Oncology Business Unit of Aventis Pharmaceuticals and in other commercial sales and marketing management roles over an 11-year period with Aventis. After earning his B.S. degree from the Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and serving as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, Mr. Alles began his 30-year career in the pharmaceutical industry at Bayer and worked at Centocor before its acquisition by Johnson & Johnson. Mr. Alles is a member of the Celgene Board of Directors, the Trustees of the Healthcare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ), the Board of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), and the Board of Gilda’s Club NYC, a not-for-profit organization helping the families of people living with cancer.


Sarah Alspach
VP, US Pharma and Corporate Communications, GLAXOSMITHKLINE

view speaker profile

Sarah Alspach was appointed Vice President, US Communications in June 2015. She is responsible for a team that manages media relations, internal communications, digital communications and social media, GSK’s philanthropic giving, and community partnerships across the US. Sarah previously served as Head of US External Communications, and was responsible for media relations and communications related to GSK’s US products and corporate news, with a specific focus on how GSK has transformed its business in light of the changing US healthcare environment.

Prior to joining GSK in 2007, Sarah held a range of roles with healthcare communications and global public relations agencies based in New York and Philadelphia.

Sarah holds a BS in Public Relations from the University of Texas at Austin. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and three children.


Mark Baldry
Vice President of Global Marketing, AMICUS THERAPEUTICS

view speaker profile

Mark Baldry currently serves as Vice President, Global Marketing at Amicus Therapeutics Inc. He is an experienced biopharmaceutical brand strategist with more than 25 years working in various Marketing, Sales and Public Affairs roles across Europe, Canada and the US. Mark is recognized for his ability to align functions across geographies in order to build high performing teams, lead change and drive results throughout the product lifecycle.

At Amicus Therapeutics, Mark is leading the development and execution of product launch strategies that encompass disease awareness, product information and patient support services, He is also helping to build an innovative pipeline by incorporating customer insights into early stage product development and pre-launch commercialization plans to ensure that future therapies could fulfill unmet needs and positively impact on the lives of people living with rare diseases.

He earned an MBA from Concordia University (Canada) and holds a BSc in Genetics from York University (UK).


Jack Barrette
CEO, WEGO HEALTH

view speaker profile

Jack is CEO of WEGO Health, the first online community to empower Health Activists — consumer social media opinion leaders — to help others through the health social web. Previously, he was Category Development Officer for Health at Yahoo! Jack is a frequent public speaker and author who tweets @healthyjack.


Suzanne Barston
Content Producer, Storylab, ABBVIE

view speaker profile

Suzanne Barston is a content producer at AbbVie’s StoryLab, where she is responsible for creating stories around corporate responsibility, global health, and patient outcomes as well as championing the company’s unique “storytelling voice” for all written and visual content.  Prior to joining AbbVie, she was a social media strategist and freelance content producer specializing in science and healthcare. She is the author of Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood, and Why It Shouldn’t (University of California Press, 2012) and the founder of the internationally acclaimed website, FearlessFormulaFeeder.com. Her writing has been featured in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, SheKnows.com, Babble.com, Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine, Parenting, Babytalk, OhBaby!, Fit Pregnancy, The Observer, Yahoo Shine!, Australia’s Good Weekend magazine, and on a variety of television and radio programs including The Today Show, KPCC’s “Take Two”, numerous NPR affiliates and more.


João Nuno Belo
Senior Director, Global Therapeutic Area Public Affairs, ABBVIE

view speaker profile

João started his career as a reporter, while finishing his degree in Political Sciences from Universidade Lusófona in Lisbon. As a reporter, João worked in radio, print and TV for about 7 yrs, his most significant milestone reporting during the war in ex-Yugoslavia from Sarajevo.

In 97, Joao joined Vodafone as head of corporate communications and media relations, later moving to Vodafone’s dot.com business as Chief Editor. In 2004, Joao was appointed partner of a leading PR agency in Portugal, which he eventually bought through a Management Buy Out operation and later merged with a another player to form the largest PR agency in the country.

At AbbVie since 2010, Joao was head of External Affairs in Portugal, until moving to Paris to join EEMEA regional headquarters as Head of Public Affairs, in November 2011, for Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, The Middle East and Africa. In March 2015, Joao assumed his most recent position as Senior Director, Global Therapeutic Area Public Affairs, leading global brand communications for both pipeline and on-market medicines, including HUMIRA, the most successful brand ever. Joao also has global responsibility for patient advocacy.

Education / Languages / Capabilities/ Recognition

Master in Political Sciences by Universidade Lusofona, Lisbon

  • Fluent in Portuguese (Mother Language)
  • Fluent in English
  • Fluent in French
  • Fluent in Spanish

Executive Education

  • 2016 – Northwestern | Kellogg: Leadership Development Program
  • 2015 – Northwestern | Kellogg: Integrated Marketing
  • 2015 – Columbia University NY: Driving Strategic Impact

External Recognition

  • 2011 – Winner, FEIEA Grand Prix, by the Federation of European Business Communicators Associations
  • 2011 – Winner, Excellence in Communication, category “Corporate Communication”, by the Portuguese Association of Corporate Communication

Abbott/ AbbVie Internal Recognition

  • 2011 – WE&C Vice President Award
  • 2011 – WE&C Vice President Award
  • 2013 – President Award
  • 2014 – Best in Class Award
  • 2014 – President Award
  • 2016 – Significant Achievement Award

Cathy Cantone
Senior Director, Public Relations, Immunology and Inflammation, CELGENE CORPORATION

view speaker profile

Catherine Cantone has a diverse PR and advocacy background having started her PR career in fashion public relations and advertising then moving along to patient advocacy communications followed by a diverse list pharmaceutical corporate, product and advocacy responsibilities. Catherine lead public relations at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society from 1994-1998 then moved to the pharmaceutical industry in 1998. From oncology and specialty campaigns to high visibility consumer campaigns, Catherine has worked at Pharmacia, followed by Pfizer, Schering-Plough, Merck and now as the senior director of I&I public relations at Celgene. She has worked on over a dozen brands including CAMPTOSAR, SUTENT, LYRICA, CELEBREX, TEMODAR,FOSAMAX and OTEZLA, including the close integration of advocacy, policy and corporate communications.

Catherine has a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University and a certificate of advertising and PR management from Parson’s School of Design. She lives in Clark, NJ with her two children.


Christian Clymer
Vice President of Public Affairs, PHRMA

view speaker profile

Christian Clymer is the Vice President for Public Affairs at PhRMA. His team is rewriting the book on how organizations use communications for advocacy.  At PhRMA, Christian has built an award-winning social advocacy campaign that has been recognized as one of the top in Washington.  Christian regularly works with other organizations to improve their advocacy capabilities, discuss emerging media and compare best practices.


Dan Cohen, Chair, ABUSE DETERRENT COALITION

Dan Cohen
Chair, ABUSE DETERRENT COALITION

Executive Vice President, Government and Public Relations, KEMPHARM, INC.

view speaker profile

Mr. Cohen is the Executive Vice President, Government and Public Relations with KemPharm, Inc., a biopharmaceutical “Prodrug” company which develops and commercializes technology to create a diverse pipeline of therapeutics that target market opportunities in pain, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other central nervous system indications. He also serves as the Forum Chair of the U.S. Abuse Deterrent Coalition, a “talk group” of over 30 Abuse Deterrence Formulations (ADF) “innovator” manufacturers, patient advocates and related organizations seeking to expand access to ADF technologies.

He is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for the MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital Network, a 129-bed, $120m annual revenue specialty hospital and is a member of the Quality, Safety, and Patient Affairs subcommittee of the MedStar Hospital Network Board of Directors. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Keystone Policy Center, where his focus is healthcare public policy.

Previously, as the Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Health Policy with EnteroMedics, an early-stage medical device company, he was part of the senior management team that led the successful 2015 FDA approval of the first new obesity medical device for consumers since 2001.

As the Consulting Head of North American Government Relations, he was responsible for public policy and governmental regulatory relations in Washington, D.C., and Canada for Grünenthal USA, a biopharmaceutical company which develops and commercializes ADF for opioid analgesics.

Formerly, as Managing Director/Global Government Relations for The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, he was responsible for leading government relation functions, including formulating the overall strategy, representing the DTCC before the U.S. Congress, European Parliament, Asian governments and their respective regulatory bodies.

Cohen has served in Washington, D.C. since 1979 and has experience in various senior-level government relations positions. Prior to his current roles, Cohen served as a senior executive with several medical device and healthcare corporations, including US Oncology/McKesson, the largest U.S. national oncology physician provider network, and Inamed/Allergan, a medical device/aesthetics company. In those positions, he established Washington, D.C. and global government relations functions, led the companies’ legislative policy and governmental regulatory relations program and was also responsible for managing public policy, investor relations, and political functions at the state, national and global levels.

Cohen was a principal at Loeffler, Jonas & Tuggey, LLP, where he managed several clients in healthcare including Purdue Pharma and Inamed, as well as the financial services industry including Citibank and the Economic and Trade Office of Hong Kong. Earlier in his career, Cohen was the senior legislative liaison for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an Alternate Delegate of the United States to the United Nations, U.S. Chairman of an international NGO and earlier served as Legislative Director for two Congressmen on Capitol Hill and in various campaign positions at the Presidential, Congressional, State and local levels.

Additional Boards of Directors or Committees include recent tenures with the U.S. Congress chartered “Congressional Award Foundation,” the Business-Government Relations Council, the Ocean Reef Club and as Chair of the College of William & Mary Parent & Family Council.

Cohen earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Willamette University and awarded a Master of Arts/Liberal Studies degree in International Affairs from Georgetown University.


Ron Cohen, M.D.
Founder, Chief Executive Officer and President, ACORDA THERAPEUTICS

view speaker profile

Ron Cohen, M.D. is President, CEO and founder of Acorda Therapeutics, Inc., a public biotechnology company developing therapies for disorders of the nervous system, including multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Cohen previously was a principal in the startup and an officer of Advanced Tissue Sciences, Inc. He is Chair of the Board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and a Director on the Board of Directors of VBL Therapeutics. He also previously served as Chair of the Emerging Companies Section of the BIO Board and is a former Director and Chair of the New York Biotechnology Association (NYBA). Dr. Cohen is a member the Columbia-Presbyterian Health Sciences Advisory Council and was awarded Columbia University’s Alumni Medal for Distinguished Service.

Acorda Therapeutics has been recognized as one of the Best Companies to Work for in New York State 7 years in a row (2011-2017) and among the Fortune 100 Best Workplaces for Women in the U.S.

Dr. Cohen received his B.A. degree with honors in Psychology from Princeton University, and his M.D. from the Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia Medical Center, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine.


Valerie Delva
Senior Vice President, Health Strategy North America, KETCHUM


Anthony Farina
Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Chief Communications Officer, CSL BEHRING

view speaker profile

Anthony is widely recognized as an innovative and results-oriented strategic global communications leader with an established record of developing and leading creative, high-performance teams that deliver against business objectives. He has held a range of progressive leadership roles during his 25-year communications career in both the private and public sectors, including serving as executive communications director for the governor of Delaware.

As the first Chief Communications Officer for 101-year-old global biotechnology leader CSL Limited, Anthony leads strategic communications, brand management and corporate affairs for the multinational company which conducts business in more than 60 countries with 18,000+ employees.

Under Anthony’s global Public Affairs & Communications leadership for 6 years, DuPont progressively advanced in several leading global reputation indicators, including FORTUNE’s Top 50 “Most Admired Companies” list – named to the list for an unprecedented five consecutive years. DuPont was also increasingly recognized by industry experts and peers for its Public Relations excellence, including receiving the 2013 Best of Silver Anvil Award and 2 additional Silver Anvil Awards by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA.)

Anthony is an active leader in the Arthur Page Society and other industry associations. He has been featured in several leading communications publications, including PRSA’s “The Strategist,” profiled as a “Trendsetter” by The Internationalist, and in the internationally-recognized “Holmes Report.” In 2017, Anthony was named among the world’s top 25 communications/marketing leaders as “Internationalist of the Year” by industry association The Internationalist for championing innovative communications strategies and advocating responsible brand-building.


Kim Fox
Communications Leader, Office of the Chief Medical Officer (OCMO) Strategic Platforms & Enterprise Scientific Policy, JOHNSON & JOHNSON

view speaker profile

Kim Fox is a senior healthcare communications executive with a proven record of leading global and U.S. initiatives at media, pharmaceutical, and public relations companies. She has a strong breadth of experience that includes corporate, product, disease awareness, employee and issues management communications, leading and coaching teams, and creative idea generation and problem-solving abilities. As Communications Leader for the Office of the Chief Medical Officer (OCMO) Strategic Platforms & Enterprise Scientific Policy, Kim develops and executes comprehensive communications strategies and identifies new opportunities with the goal of furthering Johnson & Johnson’s position as a leader in innovation. Previously, Kim’s career in healthcare communications included leading her own consulting company, Kim Fox Communications, as well as serving as a senior communications advisor while working at Everyday Health, Sanofi, Novartis, and Fleishman-Hillard. Kim serves as President of Education & Programs for the NJ/NJ region of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and is an active member of her local community where she enjoys volunteering and coaching children’s athletics.


Mary Halliwell
Senior Director, Content and Channel Management, North America Communications, SANOFI US

view speaker profile

Mary Halliwell is the Head of Content and Channel Management and a member of the North America Communications leadership team at Sanofi US.

Based in Sanofi’s US headquarters in Bridgewater, NJ, Mary is responsible for developing and coordinating internal communications and news flow strategy and activities, including executive and leadership communications and employee engagement communications, all in support of the company’s business goals, overall strategy, and reputation and image.

Mary’s career within healthcare spans more than 28 years. Prior to her role at Sanofi, she was with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. During her 16 years there, she held several positions — most recently as Executive Director/Head of Communications for the Primary Care & Established Medicines Business Unit. Mary was grateful to be recognized with the 2005 Tribute to Women in Industry (TWIN) Award from the NJ YWCA and the 2008 Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Rising Star.


Kasia Hein-Peters
Vaxelis Head of Marketing, SANOFI PASTEUR

view speaker profile

Trained as medical doctor, innovation consultant and executive coach, Kasia Hein-Peters, MD has more than 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical industry, in both developed and emerging markets. She specializes in launching new medicines and vaccines, managing product life-cycle, and developing integrated stakeholder engagement campaigns. Through mentoring and coaching, Kasia builds highly performing, diverse teams. She likes speaking on global brand management, multicultural marketing and human-centric approach in pharma marketing. Currently, Kasia is preparing launch of a new hexavalent vaccine as a Marketing Head of MCM Vaccine, a joint-venture between Sanofi Pasteur and Merck & Co., Inc./MSD.


Lance Hill, Chief Executive Officer, WITHIN 3

Lance Hill
Chief Executive Officer, WITHIN3

view speaker profile

Lance Hill has been Within3’s Chief Executive Officer since 2007. Mr. Hill is a technology industry veteran with 16 years of worldwide technology experience. He is a recognized leader in the online healthcare industry, and has been a featured speaker at major industry conferences, including Health 2.0 in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Immediately prior to joining Within3, Mr. Hill served as Vice President and General Manager of the worldwide Service Oriented Architecture business unit for webMethods Corporation. Based in Fairfax, Virginia, webMethods was a global player in enterprise software with total annual revenues exceeding $200 million. It was sold to German giant Software AG in 2007 for $545 million.

He began his career at IBM, where he led the design and implementation of global telecommunication networks for Fortune 500 clients as well as consulted and spoke on overall global technology strategy issues. Internally to IBM, he developed training, methodology and best practices for Global Services consultants. After IBM he joined a top 10 U.S. financial services firm, where he served as the Vice President of Enterprise Engineering and later founded its Fusion Technology Group dedicated to accelerating the corporate adoption of new technologies and banking systems. Mr. Hill studied Computer Engineering at the University of Toledo.


Stefani Klaskow
Head of Industry, Healthcare, GOOGLE

view speaker profile

Stefani Klaskow leads Google’s healthcare advertising sales team to provide digital advertising solutions for the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. Being part of the group for over a decade she has been instrumental in leading pharmaceutical organizations in thinking through their digital strategies and developing their digital footprints. Stefani came to Google from Crain Communications, where she was a Regional Sales Manager for the Modern Healthcare and Modern Physician properties responsible for creating large-scale cross-platform advertising programs. Prior to her work at Crain, Stefani was a Senior Account Executive at Clear Channel Communications where she sold and managed advertising programs across six of New York City’s top radio stations. Stefani is a graduate of Union College and holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.


Wendy Lund
Chief Executive Officer, GCI HEALTH

view speaker profile

Wendy Lund joined GCI Health as Chief Executive Officer in 2010 and is responsible for setting and carrying out a vision for the agency. With over almost 30 years of healthcare communications and marketing experience, she has worked with a diverse group of pharmaceutical, biotech, consumer/OTC and medical technology companies globally and in the U.S. across a variety of disease categories from the most serious and rare diseases to those affecting millions of consumers, such as diabetes and arthritis. Specializing in patient-centered communications, advocacy, and disease awareness issues, Wendy guides GCI Health’s specific focus on empowering consumers about their health options. Wendy spent the first 13 years of her career in the non-profit industry, first as vice president of marketing at Planned Parenthood Federation and later vice president of marketing at the National League for Nursing.

Wendy was recently named one of the top 50 Health Influencers by MM&M/PRWeek, 2016 PRWeek’s True Women Champion of PR, PRNews Professional of the Year, PRNews Top Women in PR in 2016 and 2017 and was named a finalist for the 2016 PRWeek’s Agency Professional of the Year. Wendy also serves as a member of PRSA’s Health Academy’s Executive Committee and serves as a Chair of the American Diabetes Association’s Greater NYC Community Leadership Board.


Debra Mayo, PharmD, MHA
Vice President, Global Scientific Communications, TEVA

view speaker profile

Debra holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from Temple University and a Master of Science degree, with a concentration in Health Care Administration and Health Care Education, from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. She completed her Pharm D at the University of Florida.

In her current role as Vice – President of Global Scientific Communications at Teva, Debra leads the medical communications and knowledge management groups. She oversees the strategic planning and execution of the Scientific Communications Plans and guides the management of a Global Knowledge Management System. Last year the scope of internal and external communications was expanded in the Sci Comm group to bridge identified information gaps through the use of digital communication channels. Patient centric activities, managed through Medical Affairs became a profound responsibility also.  Debra has held a variety of other roles in Medical Affairs over the years, including a very well-rounded experience working for a medical communication agency.


Lauren McCurdy
Lead Medical Producer, MULTIVU, A DIVISION OF PR NEWSWIRE

view speaker profile

Lauren McCurdy is the lead medical producer for MultiVu, specializing in healthcare and pharmaceutical video production.  She has been with the company for several years, having previously worked for CNN’s Anderson Cooper.   During her time at MultiVu, her experience and expertise has spoken to FDA approvals, patient testimonials, medical device videos, and new advances in medical therapies and technologies. Her utmost priority is meeting client needs in regards to the regulations mandated by the FDA.  She is passionate in learning new advances in medicine and working with the MultiVu team to break the news of new therapies to the affected patient population in a targeted effort.


Ambre Morley
Senior Director, Product Communications and Patient Relations, NOVO NORDISK

view speaker profile

Ambre Brown Morley is the Senior Director of Product Communications & Patient Relations at Novo Nordisk Inc., in Plainsboro, N.J. Since her arrival in August 2008, she has grown the function into a strategic business lever responsible for public relations and issues management for all in-line and pipeline diabetes, obesity and biopharmaceutical products in the U.S. In addition to the brand PR, her also drives the company strategy for patient ambassadors, national sponsorships and the US Changing Diabetes platform.

In 2011, she led a global communications role for the submission of the company’s largest product filing ever, splitting her time between Copenhagen, Denmark and the U.S. In 2015 she was named a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and attended the prestigious “Greenhouse Programme” for top talent within Novo Nordisk. She has been recognized as one of the top 40 under 40 public relations professionals in the U.S. by PR Week magazine and Brand Communications Marketer of the Year by PR News-PR People Awards. Ambre was promoted to a supervisory role in October 2010, to Director in April 2012 and to Senior Director in May 2015.

Ambre is originally from Alabama and a proud graduate of Tennessee State University, where she majored in Speech Communications & Theater. Prior to Novo Nordisk, she worked in communications at Johnson & Johnson and was a reporter for Bloomberg News and The Philadelphia Inquirer. She serves on the leadership team for all Novo Nordisk employee resource groups and is a founding member of African Americans in Novo Nordisk. She volunteers as a mentor professionally and personally and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and Women of Color in Pharma.


Agatha Newman
Associate Director, Medical and Development Communications, ASTELLAS

view speaker profile

Agatha is passionate storyteller able to digest complex information into actionable strategies that reach and influence behavior change in multiple stakeholders including policy makers, government offices, NGOs, patient advocacy groups, media and employees. With nearly 15 years of experience in global corporate, healthcare and consumer communications, Agatha is a believer in integrated, channel-agnostic solutions that engage audiences, create conversations and build communities.

Agatha currently works at Astellas, a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company, within Medical & Development Communications leading employee and executive leadership communication.

Prior to Astellas, Agatha worked at AbbVie in various positions, including Global Communications and Healthcare where she was responsible for overseeing the international strategies for pre-launch and on-market therapies in immunology, virology and neuroscience. Agatha also worked in Corporate Communications at AbbVie as part of the StoryLab team where she was responsible for the patient and disease state content strategy.

Agatha’s experience spans a variety of industries, from pharmaceuticals, healthcare and technology to consumer packaged goods, retail, manufacturing and financial services. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies including P&G, Hanesbrands, Kraft Foods, CKE Restaurants, ExxonMobil, Newell Brands, MillerCoors and MasterCard in a variety of capacities, including event/celebrity sponsorship, issues/crisis management, media relations, influencer engagement and executive communication. She’s served leadership roles in agencies including Weber Shandwick and O’Malley Hansen and also worked at Anheuser Busch on the innovation and trademark team.

Agatha graduated magna cum laude from St. Louis University with a double major in communication and marketing from the Olin School of Business. A native St. Louisan, Agatha currently lives in Chicago with her husband, son and four-legged daughter Liberty (a sweet golden retriever).

Follow me on Twitter @agathac24


John Nosta
President, NOSTALAB


Rebekah Pajak
Content Producer, StoryLab, ABBVIE

view speaker profile

Rebekah Pajak is a content producer at AbbVie covering stories that focus on patient perspectives, disease education and science and research. Prior to joining AbbVie in 2016, Rebekah was the lead health care writer at Golin Chicago, creating content for companies in the pharmaceutical, medical device and insurance industries.  With 10+ years of health care experience, Rebekah is passionate about understanding the ever-changing health care environment and translating complex topics into easy-to-understand communications that can educate those facing health challenges.


Joshua Palau
Senior Director Global Partnerships, JOHNSON & JOHNSON

view speaker profile

Joshua is the Sr. Director of Global Partnerships for Johnson & Johnson’s Global Marketing Solutions group. In this role he leads the global partnerships with Google, facebook, and creative agencies to ensure brands are effectively leveraging these platforms and deliver the best experiences. Prior to J&J, Joshua spent 4 years as the VP of Marketing and e-commerce for Comcast and 6 years at Razorfish as the VP of Search Marketing.

In his spare time, he’s an adjunct professor at Temple University, serves as an advisor for the AdCouncil and volunteers for The St. Baldrick’s Foundation whose focus is funding research for childhood cancers.

Joshua grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and now lives in the sleepy little town of New Hope, PA with his wife, two daughters…one of whom is named after his favorite comic book character, and their two dogs Jeter and Oliver.


Gregg Pane, Medical Director, National Medical Policy and Operations, AETNA

Gregg Pane, M.D., MPA
Senior Director, Health Care Affairs, ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN MEDICAL COLLEGES

view speaker profile

Dr. Pane currently serves as Senior Director, Health Care Affairs at AAMC, focusing on health innovation and quality. He previously was Medical Director for Aetna National Medical Policy and Operations.

He has a broad background in academia, public health, government and the private sector including service as Chief Policy and Planning Officer for the Veterans Health Administration; VP for Quality at Henry Ford Health System; Director of the DC Department of Health; Director of Hospital Preparedness for HHS/ASPR; and as Medicaid Director for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In addition, he was the founding Emergency Medicine residency director at the University of California, Irvine, and was VP/CMO at Unisys Health Information Management where he served as Louisiana Medicaid Medical Director.

Dr. Pane serves on the Admissions Committee at the University of Michigan Medical School and on the Public Health Advisory Committee at UM-Flint. He has also served on various national committees and task forces including with NAPA, NQF, NAM, NHPF, ASTHO, ACPE, NAMD and NACCHO.


Chad Parizman
Head of Social Media and Digital Communications, PFIZER INC.

view speaker profile

As the Head of Social Media and Digital Communications Chad provides leadership on digital trends and strategies for the Communications and Corporate Affairs team at Pfizer, as well as social media guidance to the company’s top senior executives. Prior to his current role, he served as Director, Convergent Media at Scripps Networks Interactive where he focused on the intersection of television and social media working with the digital, ad sales, marketing and on-air teams. 

Utilizing innovations Chad has made throughout my career in information technology and online analytics, he trained Scripps employees on disruptive innovation principles, and researched new interactive opportunities for the company in both the Food and Lifestyle categories. He began at Scripps in 2005 as Director of Online Analytics after leaving Healthology, Inc. as the IT Director.


Sara Pellegrino
Senior Director, Investor Relations, AMICUS THERAPEUTICS

view speaker profile

Sara Pellegrino currently serves as Senior Director, Investor Relations at Amicus Therapeutics, Inc. She has 13 years of investor relations and strategic communications experience in the biotechnology and specialty pharmaceuticals industries, both agency and in-house. Her areas of expertise include investor relations, internal and external corporate communications, and media relations.

At Amicus Therapeutics, Sara leads the Investor Relations and Corporate Communications functions to effectively highlight the value proposition for a rapidly growing, global company with a first product launch underway and several programs in development. She has also led the launch of the Company’s social media platforms. She coordinates closely with her colleagues in Patient Advocacy, Marketing, Medical Affairs, Finance, and Business Development, to help frame development of external corporate messages and ensure consistency across key stakeholder audiences.

Prior to joining Amicus Therapeutics, Sara led the biotechnology team as a Senior Vice President at The Ruth Group, a strategic communications firm focused on healthcare. She received her B.S. from Tulane University.


Jamie Ring
Head of Patient Advocacy, SPARK THERAPEUTICS, INC.

view speaker profile

Jamie Ring is the Head of Patient Advocacy at Spark Therapeutics, a leader in the field of gene therapy. In her role, Jamie is responsible for patient advocacy activities related to Spark’s disease areas of interest, particularly the Inherited Retinal Disease space.  Prior to joining Spark, Jamie spent 10 years at Genzyme, a Sanofi company where she most recently served as the Vice President of Patient Advocacy and Humanitarian Programs – Rare Diseases.  In that role, Jamie provided strategic oversight of all advocacy programming and managed external partnerships related to Genzyme’s global humanitarian programs which provide free therapy to hundreds of patients around the globe.  Prior to Genzyme, Jamie worked at Biogen supporting patient programs for both the Multiple Sclerosis and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma disease communities.  Additionally, Jamie worked at the ALS Therapy Development Institute as the Associate Director of Programs, responsible for ALS disease awareness initiatives and fundraising campaigns.  In 2013, Jamie was voted by PharmaVoice magazine as one of the 100 most inspiring leaders in the pharmaceutical industry.
Jamie holds a B.A. in Sociology from Union College, Schenectady, NY and a M.P.H. in Social & Behavioral Sciences from Boston University.


Tierney Saccavino
Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications, ACORDA THERAPEUTICS

view speaker profile

Tierney Saccavino has been the Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications at Acorda Therapeutics since January 2015. She is responsible for the company’s corporate communications, media relations, corporate website and social media programs, as well as its philanthropic giving, community outreach and consumer/advocacy relations. She has held various roles of increasing seniority in the Corporate Communications department since 1998.

Before joining Acorda, Ms. Saccavino had more than 15 years of experience in public relations, marketing and corporate communications. She was the Manager of Corporate Relations at Adventis, a Boston-based management consulting firm focusing on the media, communications and telecom industries. In that capacity, she was responsible for public relations, corporate promotions and executive education programs. She also worked for nine years in a variety of positions at Fidelity Investments. Ms. Saccavino attended the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut.


Jennifer Saputo
Associate Director, Employee Communications, ASTELLAS

view speaker profile

Jennifer Saputo is a seasoned communication strategist with more than twenty years of experience helping complex, global organizations engage effectively with their employees.  She specializes in culture and change communications with extensive experience in HR issues, executive leadership communication, employer branding and creative strategy.

Jennifer is currently Associate Director, Employee Communications for Astellas Pharma, headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois. With a hand in everything from culture, to town halls, to intranet redesigns and leadership blogs, Jennifer uses creative, authentic and compelling internal messages to turn employees into brand ambassadors.

Jennifer began working in the biopharma industry in 2006 and has held global internal communication roles at organizations including Takeda, Abbott and AbbVie. She holds a BA in journalism and an MA in organizational communications, and earned accreditation from the International Association of Business Communicators in 2007.


Buddy Scalera
Senior Director of Content Strategy, THE MEDICINES COMPANY

view speaker profile

Buddy Scalera is the Senior Director of Content Strategy at The Medicines Company in Parsippany, NJ. He’s the author of six books on visual storytelling and a popular blog about emarketing and technology. He is an internationally recognized speaker focusing on pharmaceutical content strategy, healthcare social media and digital health topics. He is a contributor to Content Marketing Institute and is a featured speaker at industry conferences, including Content Marketing World, Intelligent Content Conference, and corporate events including LinkedIn and several pharmaceutical manufacturers. He is a sought-after thought leader who has collaborated with IBM, Oracle, Cisco and other technology leaders. He tweets at @BuddyScalera. He blogs at: WordsPicturesWeb.com. His official website is BuddyScalera.com.


Madeleine Shin
Vice President, Media, DNA COMMUNICATIONS

view speaker profile

Madeleine Shin has a diverse 8-year background in healthcare communications and media relations, during which she has managed messaging and crisis response for powerful healthcare brands, professional associations and federal policymakers.

As a media specialist, Madeleine provides expert counsel and support to a broad portfolio of healthcare clients at dna Communications, including Celgene, Foundation Medicine, Purdue Pharma and Exelixis. Last year alone, Madeleine garnered influential media interviews and placements for clients in Bloomberg, Dow Jones, Today, Reuters, Forbes, Fast Company and STAT. Her equally strong media ties with pharmaceutical and medical trade publications have delivered dozens of stories for clients in Medscape, MedPage Today, MedCityNews, Pink Sheet, SCRIP and Pharma Times.

Prior to joining dna, Madeleine was Vice President at TogoRun, where she oversaw strategic planning and message development for Lilly Oncology. As the account lead for Lilly Oncology’s market access initiative, P.A.C.E., Madeleine provided expert issues management counsel during Lilly’s oncology product milestones and market activity surrounding the ongoing oncology value debate. Madeleine also served as the account lead for Ethicon and Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, developing corporate positioning and executing major brand announcements.

Outside of the pharmaceutical space, Madeleine led earned media and executive visibility initiatives in communications roles at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. She also served as Press Secretary for a pro-healthcare reform member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the highly politicized 2009/10 healthcare reform debate.

Madeleine graduated Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a Bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics.


Karen Tilstra, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, FLORIDA HOSPITAL INNOVATION LAB

Founder, ORLANDO MAGIC INNOVATION LAB

view speaker profile

Karen wants to live in a world where work is fast, people are free, and chocolate is devoid of calories; but in the meantime she has co-founder the award winning FHIL, Florida Hospital Innovation Lab. One year later she launched the Orlando Magic Innovation Lab, and co- designed the nation’s first undergraduate degree in sustainable Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship.

Last year, Karen, co-created San Diego State University’s Design Thinking lab and is currently helping Santa Clara University become a Design Thinking campus.

Karen holds a PhD in Innovation, Leadership and Change, and EdS in Educational Psychology, and a MA in Counseling Psychology. She has taught in high education in both the USA and Asia, and is currently a visiting professor at Rollins College.

Currently Karen lives in Orlando with her artist husband, and are enjoying watching their 3 sons make their mark on the world. She also owns the worlds wackiest dog who resembles a cross between a raccoon, weasel and opossum.


Gloria Vanderham
Global Head, Social and Digital Media, NOVARTIS ONCOLOGY


Julissa Viana, Senior Director, Corporate Communications / Global Social Media, Celgene

Julissa Viana
Senior Director, Corporate Communications and Global Social Media, CELGENE CORPORATION

view speaker profile

Julissa Viana is a seasoned global healthcare and corporate communications professional with 20 years of experience building corporate, brand and nonprofit organization awareness and reputation.  Julissa is skilled in creating integrated marketing communications programs, public health partnerships and disease awareness campaigns for pharmaceutical products in various stages of their life cycles and in different therapeutic areas, such as cancer (breast, lung and pancreatic), mental illness (depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder) and metabolic and cardiovascular diseases (diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol).  Early in her career Julissa served as a spokesperson for the American Red Cross in Greater New York and on national disasters.  She has also served as a board member for various mental health nonprofit organizations, including NAMI NYC.

Currently, Julissa is a Senior Director, Corporate Communications/Global Social Media at Celgene Corporation.  In this newly created role, Julissa is responsible for the development and strategic management of global social media at Celgene.  Previously at Celgene Julissa held the position of Director, Public Relations, where she oversaw global public relations activities for Celgene’s oncology franchise, including the development of traditional branded and disease public relations programs for patients/caregivers.

Prior to joining Celgene, Julissa held corporate communications positions at Archimedes Pharma, Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma/Sunovion, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi-Aventis.  Julissa has also held positions of increasing responsibility at public relations agencies in New York City, including GCI Group and Ketchum.  Julissa received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Long Island University, C.W. Post campus.


Lisa Wolfe
Global Client Service Leader, GREEN ROOM COMMUNICATIONS

view speaker profile

Lisa Wolfe is Global Relationship Manager with Green Room Communications, responsible for leading Corporate and Internal Communications strategy and execution for pharmaceutical clients, often working with Communications, R&D, Human Resources, Commercial and other key client functions. During her career, she has worked as an agency partner, as well as a client, while working in-house in corporate communications for Eisai, Inc.


Paul Wynn
Oncology & Rare Disease Public Relations, BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM