Faculty – 15th PR & Communications Summit


Gaetan Akinrolabu
Associate Director Paid Media and Social Media Strategy Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations, BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB

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With more than 10 years executing high value digital marketing campaigns for campaigns inside and outside the pharmaceutical space, Gaetan has created a track record of using digital strategy, content marketing and in-depth knowledge of how paid media works to drive platform growth, conversion upon objective to over-exceed ROI and meet business objectives/goals with insight from analytics. Currently serving as Associate Director of paid media and social media strategy at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gaetan oversees all social media/digital execution on all flagship corporate channels, constantly developing new ideation on digital campaigns that stimulate target audiences and using custom created digital analytics dashboards to continuously optimize tactics to yield budget efficiency and upticks in quality engagement. Having both in-house and agency experience, Gaetan is a self-starter with an entrepreneurial mindset, who truly understands the importance of staying on the pulse of the constant evolution of digital platforms in order to stay relevant and impactful.


Meg Alexander
Head, Reputation and Risk Management Practice, SYNEOS HEALTH COMMUNICATIONS

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For nearly a decade and a half, Meg Alexander has been helping Fortune 500 companies successfully navigate some of the most challenging issues facing their industries. In her role leading Syneos Health Public Relations Reputation and Risk Management Practice, she has created award-winning corporate reputation programs and issues management strategies for the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

Meg is passionate about enhancing and protecting the reputation of businesses and their leaders in a complex, evolving world. She has created strategies for iconic healthcare brands including: Pfizer, Novartis, Amgen, Janssen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Lilly, BioMarin, and many others. Through her experiences, she has honed deep disease category experience in chronic and rare diseases.

Meg has expertise in media strategy and has placed CEOs, Chairmen and other C-Suite executives in the world’s most influential media outlets. She also has extensive experience helping business leaders with effective story telling – helping them showcase value to stakeholders.

In addition to her work enhancing corporate reputation, Meg has helped companies diffuse nearly any and every form of issue including recalls, compassionate use campaigns, lawsuits, pricing debates, contaminants, activist attacks and many more.

Meg’s perspectives have been presented and published at a number of leading industry forums, including BIO International, PRSA International Conference, the Healthcare Business Women’s Association Annual Meeting, Pharmaceutical Executive and O’Dwyers. She was recognized by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association as a 2014 ‘Rising Star’ and by PM 360 as an industry “Disruptor.”

Campaigns Meg created for clients have been recognized by the top awards in the industry including: the Gold Sabre Executive Leadership award, the Big Apple Best of the Best, Gold Sabre and Silver Anvils for Financial Communications, Silver Anvils Investor Relations and others.


Steve Alperin
CEO, SURVIVORNET


Jenifer Antonacci
Director, U.S Public Affairs, INCYTE

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Jenifer Antonacci is an award-winning communications and public relations expert with accomplishments in corporate and product communications, internal and external communications, media relations, strategic alliance development, community relations, special events and corporate and executive visibility initiatives. At Incyte, Jenifer leads U.S. Public Affairs, including brand and disease education communications and patient advocacy.

 

Jenifer joined Incyte in March 2017 from Pfizer, where she led a team responsible for comprehensive communication to support brand and corporate initiatives in rare disease, inflammation and immunology and vaccines and has also led media strategy and engagement for the oncology and consumer (over-the-counter) businesses. Prior to joining Pfizer, Jenifer led PR strategy and tactical implementation at Cephalon Inc. and at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Jenifer earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism at the University of Colorado and a Master’s in Business Administration at Villanova University.


Amy Atwood
Head of Vaccine Communications, TAKEDA

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Amy Tull Atwood is a communications leader with more than 20 years of experience in all facets of corporate communications.

As the Head of Communications for Takeda’s Vaccine Business Unit, Amy develops, oversees and executes communication strategies and operations for Takeda’s vaccine business, responsible for all external and internal communications, including media relations, crisis communications, issues management and vaccine candidate communications. Prior to joining Takeda Vaccines, Amy was Director of Global Oncology Public Relations for Takeda responsible for all aspects of external communications for the oncology business. Amy aspires to bring the patient voice into all aspects of Takeda’s communication initiatives. She especially enjoys developing her team and helping them grow in their communications careers.

In addition to her external communications expertise, Amy spent many years focused on executive and employee communications, digital/social media, measurement, employee engagement, change management, investor communications, mergers/acquisitions and integration communications, patient engagement, community relations and special events. She’s held communications roles with Sanofi Oncology, Genzyme and National Grid. Amy is currently a member of PRSA and Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, as well as Vice Chair of Takeda’s Boston Women’s Inclusion Network. She is also on the Board of Directors of the West End House Boys and Girls Club and on the Council of Champions for Life Science Cares.


Jillian Breslin
Senior Producer, MULTIVU CREATIVE

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Jillian Breslin is the Senior Producer on the creative team at MultiVu. She maintains a large client base and ideates, consults, strategizes, scripts, coordinates and produces videos best suited for their needs, goals and brand. She has travelled worldwide to produce and direct live action and animation-style videos for numerous clients including L’Oreal Paris, Jelly Belly Candy Company, Novo Nordisk and Cantor Fitzgerald.

Recently, Jillian Directed a large-scale project that required numerous shoot days, live streaming events, and a crew of over 12 people both in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. She also leads the team’s ideation sessions and workflow strategies. She has received a dozen video production and storytelling awards including AVA Digital Awards, Bulldog, PR Daily, Content Marketing and Hermes awards. In the past she has also worked at oxygen Network, Bravo Network, and the Marcomm Group PR agency. Her work has been distributed in both broadcast and online outlets including a write-up in the New York Times for efforts to help promote safety amongst ride-share programs.


Christian Clymer
Vice President of Public Affairs, PHRMA

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Christian Clymer is the vice president of public affairs at PhRMA. In his 19 years with the organization, Christian has led a national conversation on health care costs, helped underserved patients access medicines, and built award-winning paid creative campaigns that communicate the value of biopharmaceutical innovation. His leadership of PhRMA’s creative, measurement and digital/social media teams has earned awards for its effectiveness, innovation, and reach.

Christian is currently leading the multimedia GOBOLDLY campaign, which showcases the latest innovations in medicine and their importance to patients. Additionally, as a leader of the “Let’s Talk About Cost” campaign, Christian encouraged a national conversation on the real drivers of health care costs and provide real-world solutions.

To date, Christian’s work in developing and promoting the Partnership for Prescription Assistance and Medicine Assistance Tool (MAT.org) has paired more than 10 million patients with programs to reduce the cost of their medicines. In addition, Christian regularly speaks on biopharmaceutical issues and works with other advocacy organizations to improve their communications capabilities.

A graduate of High Point University in North Carolina, Christian began his career working in political campaigns and on Capitol Hill.


Gail Cohen
Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications, ACORDA THERAPEUTICS

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Gail Cohen is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Acorda working closely with cross-functional teams to build and lead a cohesive communications narrative for Acorda. Gail joins Acorda after a short stint consulting for Novartis where she was the business communications lead for the Gilenya business unit. Bringing 25 years of experience to this position, Gail has pioneered some of the communication industry’s most successful pharmaceutical campaigns and has led numerous award-winning programs. She is a recognized expert in pharmaceutical marketing and issues management. Prior to joining the corporate world, Gail was on the executive leadership teams of multiple full-service marketing communications agencies including W2O, Burson-Marsteller/WPP, Chandler Chicco Companies/Inventiv Health and was responsible for driving new business initiatives and organic client growth, global coordination and management of offices and affiliate relationships and creating unique branding platforms. Gail graduated from the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Communications.


Bryan Cohen
Digital Platform Lead – Promotional Operations, Sales, and Marketing, Worldwide Innovation Fellow, PFIZER, INC.

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Bryan Cohen is an Innovation Fellow and Digital Platform Lead for North America?Promo Ops?at Pfizer Inc, working to implement capabilities for Pfizer digital marketing teams. Bryan joined Pfizer in Oct 2012. Previously, he worked for GlaxoSmithKline in Digital Marketing and Media and for Deloitte as a Senior Manager, Knowledge Management. Bryan’s background is in Graphic Design and Digital Asset Management, and he cut his teeth as a Director of Publishing Technology for McGraw-Hill and as an Art Director for the Wall Street Journal, where he led the development of a global digital management system and was part of the launch of WSJ.com.

Bryan was a former Public Affairs Officer for the US Air Force and has bachelor degrees in graphic design, business administration, and liberal arts and?master degrees in design/graphic information technology from Arizona State University?and Harvard University. In his spare time he is a frustrated chef and struggles with learning the proper temperature to ferment a good Czech pilsner.


Gary Cohen
Executive Vice President, Global Health, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Co.) and President, BD FOUNDATION, BECTON DICKINSON

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Gary Cohen is the Executive Vice President, Global Health and President of the BD Foundation at BD (Becton, Dickinson and Co). Mr. Cohen is also a board director of the CDC Foundation, UNICEF USA, Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and Federal Drug Agents Foundation, board co-chair of GBCHealth, and board chair and founder of Together for Girls. He previously served on the UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities for Women and Children, and presently serves as chair of the CDC/Corporate Roundtable on Global Health Threats and on the Scientific Advisory Board of Grand Challenges Canada.

Mr. Cohen holds B.A. and an M.B.A. degrees from Rutgers University and previously served on the university’s board of trustees. In 2016, he was named a Rutgers 250 Fellow in association with the university’s 250th anniversary. In 2018, Rutgers Business School announced its collaboration with Mr. Cohen as the founder of the new Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation.


Sarah Connors
Senior Director, Product Communications, AMAG PHARMACEUTICALS

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Sarah Connors is an experienced communications professional who joined AMAG Pharmaceuticals in July 2017 to lead product communications. Prior to AMAG, Ms. Connors spent a decade at Sanofi Genzyme in various roles of increasing responsibility with her last position as the Global Head of Immunology and Oncology Communications. Earlier in her career, Ms. Connors provided communications counsel and support to biotechnology, device and technology clients at a public relations agency. Ms. Connors holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of the Holy Cross and a Master of Business Administration with a Health Sector Concentration from the Questrom School of Business, Boston University.


Geoffrey M. Curtis
Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Chief Communications Officer, HORIZON PHARMACEUTICALS

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Geoff joined Horizon in 2015 and has more than two decades of global healthcare communications experience.

Prior to joining Horizon, Geoff served as senior vice president at Edelman Public Relations and as part of its National Health Media Team he led media strategy and execution for a large portfolio of pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device clients. He was responsible for developing and maintaining media relationships, as well as implementing media strategies to support regulatory and product milestones, data publication and global medical meetings.

Previously, Geoff was group director of the media practice at WCG, a W20 Group company, where he provided product and corporate communications counsel and handled ongoing media relations for a broad range of healthcare clients. Before WCG, he held a similar role at GCI Group.
Prior to joining GCI, Geoff served as a public affairs manager in the Pharmaceutical Products Division at Abbott (now AbbVie), where he led internal and external communications programs for the immunology, neuroscience and oncology franchises.

Geoff received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Ill. He serves as chair of the board of directors of the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition (ISTC), is on the board of directors of the Child Restoration Outreach and Support Organization (CROSO) and is a member of the Lake Forest College board of trustees.


Eloiza Domingo-Synder
Executive Director, Diversity and Inclusion, ASTELLAS AMERICAS

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Eloiza Domingo-Snyder is the Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Astellas Pharmaceuticals in the Americas. She assumed this role in 2018 with responsibility for developing and implementing a sustainable Diversity and Inclusion strategy that reflects and enhances Astellas’ culture and work environment.

In her previous role as Senior Director and Deputy Chief Diversity Officer at Johns Hopkins Medicine and The Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation, Eloiza led diversity leadership programs across all of the health system’s medical facilities and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In this role, she led Johns Hopkins Medicine to Forbes Top 100 Places to Work list as well as earning a Diversity Innovation award for the inception of the Center for Transgender Care, a comprehensive health center for transgender patients. Formerly, she was a consultant and department lead for diversity and inclusion at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Eloiza has been recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World by the Filipina Women’s Network, received the 2017 Senior Executive award from the National Association of Healthcare Executives, and was featured on the Maryland Daily Record’s Very Important Professionals Success by 40 list.

Eloiza holds an M.S. in Higher Education and Student Affairs with a minor in Counseling and concentration in Diversity Education, and a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology with a minor in Spanish from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.


Rum Ekhtiar
Founder and Partner, RUM&CO (FORMERLY PER SE PARTNERS)

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Rum brings 20+ years of brand and agency leadership experiences with him and a take no prisoners approach to finding meaningful strategies, creative solutions, and winning new business.

Whether it’s launching a lifesaving vaccine, leading a legacy CPG player into the 21st century with influencer marketing, or repositioning a stodgy insurance company as a (sexy) tech firm, Rum has a track record for helping some of the largest brands and agencies transform and communicate effectively.
Armed with Gucci sneakers and a witty sense of humor, Rum turns the stresses and roadblocks of steering brand strategy and pitching business into high octane progress, and therapy sessions. The result? Intricate, yet creative strategies, positioning and ideas that translate into easy to understand concepts that yield actual outcomes.Brand strategies that actually work, ideas that are creative, pitches that win, teams that work towards a common goal.

Aside from leading animated discussions and workshops, Rum is just as content discovering new French house music, shopping for designer sneakers (size 13 US, 48 EU) and recovering from a bruised ego and sore knees after spin class.


Debbie Etchison
Head of Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, MITSUBISHI TANABE PHARMA AMERICA

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Debbie is a strategic communications professional with more than 20 years of experience directing public relations campaigns, product launch announcements, national media outreach, advocacy organization relationship building and employee engagement initiatives for a diverse spectrum of health care, biotech and corporate brands. She is experienced in developing communications strategies for pharmaceutical and health care technology companies with expertise in rare disease, emerging pharma and risk mitigation efforts, helping companies navigate the continuous change and issues in today’s health marketplace.

Currently, Debbie is responsible for leading all Public Affairs and Corporate Communications activities for Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Inc. (MTPA), where she oversees product public relations, scientific communications, corporate reputation and issues management for the company. She also oversees multichannel communications across the MTPA digital platforms, including corporate websites and social media channels. Her responsibilities also include leading federal and state government affairs, and corporate social responsibility programs.

Prior to joining MTPA, Debbie was Senior Vice President, Syneos Health /Chamberlain PR in New York, where she led strategic global communications and advocacy programs for biotech and pharmaceutical clients with a focus on biotech initial brand launches in the U.S. and corporate communications. Prior to joining CHPR, she also was a Vice President at two top global PR agencies, Hill and Knowlton Strategies and Weber Shandwick.

Over the course of her career, Debbie has worked with a variety of health care and technology clients, including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Adaptive Biotechnologies, Bayer, Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, Hemisphere Technologies, Eisai, Belkin and Sony Electronics.

In addition, Debbie is a documentary filmmaker, whose feature-length documentary entitled “War & Truth,” received international broadcast distribution and U.S. DVD distribution.


Gwen Fisher
Head of Portfolio Communications, SHIRE

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Gwen Fisher is a seasoned communications business leader with more than 25 years’ experience in corporate, employee, financial, merger and acquisition, advocacy, and marketing communications as well as media relations and issues management. She has a particular expertise in developing story narratives and messages as well as coaching senior corporate executives on how best to tell their stories, good or bad, to a variety of audiences, including employees and journalists. Gwen is also adept at developing and implementing effective, strategic communications plans in complex organizations undergoing major change and transformation.

Gwen joined Shire, the leading global biotechnology company focused in rare diseases, in January 2012. She currently heads Global Portfolio Communications. In this position, she leads the communications team responsible for developing and driving strategic internal and external communications/public relations programming to help optimize the growth of Shire’s marketed product portfolio and articulate the value of the Company’s pipeline portfolio. She also serves as a member of both the U.S. Commercial and the Communications & Public Affairs senior leadership teams.

Before joining Shire, Gwen worked at Pfizer, where she served as a company spokesperson in the global media relations department. In that position, one of her key accomplishments was repositioning the reputation of Pfizer’s business development efforts. Gwen joined Pfizer through its acquisition of Wyeth, where she served as Assistant Vice President, Global Public Relations, overseeing brand communications and issues management for the pharma business unit. While in that role, Gwen was instrumental in creating the award-winning “Depression is Real” campaign and coalition. She also served as a trusted counselor and advisor to the head of that business. Gwen began her pharmaceutical industry career at Merck & Co., Inc. She has also worked in other industries, including at Tyco, Transamerica Life Companies, ARCO (oil and gas), Childrens Hospital – Los Angeles, and Westinghouse Hanford Company.

Gwen holds a B.A. in Communications from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University and an MBA from the Anderson School at the University of California, Los Angeles.


Deborah Fowler
Managing Partner, GREEN ROOM COMMUNICATIONS

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Deborah Nettune Fowler’s expertise in media stems from more than 10 years of experience in the field as an award-winning television reporter and news anchor in major markets across the country, as well as working in TV production. She produced newscasts and acted as a videographer, field producer, editor, writer and associate producer for ABC and FOX News affiliates in Long Island, NY; Burlington, VT; and Chattanooga, TN. Most recently, she served as a general assignment reporter and associate producer at KDFW, the FOX affiliate in Dallas, TX. Her PR experience started at DWJ Television, where she served as Media Director and headed up a team of eight Media Placement Specialists. In 2003, Deborah launched Original Media Concepts, a media relations firm specializing in media strategy and placement. In 2008, she brought her media prowess to Green Room Communications. As Green Room PR’s partner focused on media strategy, Deborah brings her expertise to the early stages of PR strategic planning to ensure that key messages are timely and relevant.

Deborah is also the President and Founder of Soft Bones: The U.S. Hypophosphatasia Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises awareness for the rare bone disease.

In addition to organizing the patient community around this orphan disease, she has conducted Congressional Briefings and lobbied on Capitol Hill to raise awareness of rare diseases, and currently works with the National Institutes of Health and the Social Security Administration to support research efforts and to ensure that patients are entitled to government benefits.

Deborah is currently an active member in Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) and serves on the Regional Programming Board for the New York/New Jersey Region. She was awarded the HBA’s highest award for Leadership Excellence and Dedication in 2017.

She has been recognized as a Leading Woman Entrepreneur in New Jersey and, in 2014, she was among the top 25 in the state. In 2014, she was also recognized by the Boy Scouts of America as Woman of the Year. In 2016, she was awarded Brava’s SmartCEO award and the Women’s Venture Fund Highest Leaf Award.


Anna Frable
Vice President, U.S. Communications, NOVO NORDISK

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Anna M. Frable is Vice President, Communications at Novo Nordisk Inc. (NNI) responsible for strategic oversight of communications to support the company’s business priorities and reputation management in the US, leading a team of 20 professionals. She joined Novo Nordisk in April 2016 and has over 25 years of strategic healthcare communications experience.

Prior to joining Novo Nordisk, Anna had a nearly 20-year career at Novartis most recently serving as Vice President of Communications for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NPC) & US Country Head of Communications. In this role, she led a team of over 10 communication professionals and was responsible for both internal and external communications for the pharmaceuticals business. As US Country Communication Head, Anna was charged with promoting and protecting the Novartis brand and reputation as well as communication of significant company initiatives across the different Novartis divisions in the US. She served on the NPC General Medicines Executive Committee as well as the Novartis US Pharma, Compliance and Country Executive Committees.

Earlier roles at Novartis included Executive Director, Public Relations for the cardiovascular portfolio and a special assignment in the company’s global headquarters in Switzerland to enhance the global pharmaceuticals communications function. She later became Vice President, Corporate Communications for CIBA Vision worldwide and then head of communications for the Specialty Medicines Operating Unit in the US.

Prior to her corporate communication positions at Novo Nordisk and Novartis, Anna spent 10 years on the agency side of the business and held senior leadership positions in global public relations firms, including Burson-Marstellar and Cohn & Wolfe which has since merged to form Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW).

In 2012, Anna was named among the Healthcare Businesswomen Association’s Rising Stars.

She received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Miami.


Susan Neath Francis
Director, R&D Communications, BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB

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Susan Neath Francis has more than 18 years of experience focused on healthcare communications. She spent 15 years working at various public relations agencies including Porter Novelli, W2O Group and Spectrum Science Communications primarily focusing on supporting corporate and product communications for biotech companies and corporate reputation programs for R&D organizations of large pharmaceutical companies. In 2016, Ms. Francis joined BMS as Director, R&D Communications responsible for raising visibility of the company’s R&D organization and supporting the communications of the company’s Chief Scientific Officer.

??Ms. Neath obtained a M.B.A. from the University of San Diego and a B.A. in communication from the University of Scranton.


Jayne C. Gershkowitz
Amicus Chief Patient Advocate, AMICUS THERAPEUTICS

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Jayne is a long-time patient advocacy professional with expertise on issues affecting individuals with rare diseases and the partnership between the patient community and industry in orphan drug development.

She joined Amicus in 2006, with increasing operational and leadership responsibilities for the company’s highly regarded Patient Advocacy function. Jayne currently leads relationship management strategy and execution with patient and healthcare professional key opinion leaders. Founder of the Patient Advisory Boards program, she guides Amicus’ patient focus and gives voice to patient concerns regarding disease management, unmet medical need, the communication of clinical trial results and access. Through Public Policy activities, she helps Amicus as an agent for safe, expedited change of public policies to satisfy unmet need among those living with rare diseases. She also directs Amicus’ Grants & Charitable Contributions Program.

Jayne serves on industry and association boards and committees and is co-founding board member of the newly established Professional Patient Advocates in Life Sciences, a nonprofit organization.


Madeline Gooding
Associate Director, Corporate Communications, PACIRA PHARMACEUTICALS

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Madeline Gooding is the Associate Director of Corporate Communications for Pacira BioSciences, Inc., a leading provider of non-opioid pain management and regenerative health solutions dedicated to advancing and improving outcomes for health care practitioners and their patients. At Pacira, she is responsible for leading communication strategies and tactics that effectively communicate the Pacira mission and the value of its product portfolio to customers, patients, and key stakeholders. Mrs. Gooding also supports internal communications and public affairs efforts for the company. Prior to joining Pacira, she oversaw social media and public relations initiatives at Vidyo and Empire Mock Trial.

Mrs. Gooding earned a B.A. in Political Science and Communication Studies from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a M.S. in Communications with a Public Relations specialization from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.


Karen Hagens
Corporate Communications Senior Director, GSK

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Karen Townsend Hagens is a senior communications executive. She spent 15 years at GSK, a leading, multinational global pharmaceutical company. She oversaw internal and external communication efforts for US Pharma, setting a unified strategy and working with senior executives to build the company’s profile and drive value across its portfolio. With more than 20 years of experience, including 5 years as a broadcast journalist, Karen has a unique understanding of how to develop dynamic and meaningful communication campaigns regarding complex topics that will interest a range of audiences.

Karen joined GSK in 2004 as a sales representative, which gave her insights into the company’s products, as well as the needs of healthcare providers and patients. She quickly advanced into communications and operations roles, where she leveraged her broadcast background. She eventually stepped into communications director roles, spearheading both internal and external education activities, before being named the head of US Pharma Communications, overseeing all efforts for the Respiratory and Speciality divisions.

Prior to joining GSK, Karen worked as a sales representative for Bayer Healthcare, and was Marketing director for Broadscape.com, a software application company. Karen started her career as a reporter and assignment editor for WGNO, an ABC affiliate in New Orleans, La., where she generated and developed daily story ideas, and reported live on air as a reporter and anchor. She also established a weekly segment called “Children First,” which focused on children’s health issues in conjunction with Children’s Hospital of New Orleans.

Karen received her bachelor of arts degree in communications/broadcast journalism from Loyola University, where she graduated cum laude.


Tracy Hart
CEO, OSTEOGENESIS IMPERFECTA FOUNDATION


Richard Hope
VP of Healthcare, CRISP


Donna Huang
Head of Corporate Affairs, Cardiovascular, Metabolic Diseases and Mature Brands, ASTRAZENECA

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Donna Huang is Head of Corporate Affairs, Cardiovascular, Metabolic Diseases & Mature Brands for AstraZeneca. In this role, Donna is responsible for leading the strategy, planning and delivery of Corporate Affairs activities to advance the CVMD and mature brands portfolio, including brand communications, advocacy and alliances as well as driving performance from other corporate affairs functions such as corporate communications, Government Affairs, and Policy, among others.

Donna has been with AstraZeneca for nearly 13 years and has worked in a number of roles within both US and Global Corporate Affairs and across multiple therapeutic areas including cardiovascular, metabolic diseases, oncology, infection, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, respiratory, women’s health, and inflammation therapeutic areas. Donna has worked exclusively in healthcare and her experience includes work both in the agency and non-profit public affairs setting.

Donna graduated Summa cum Laude with a degree in Communications and Political Science from Boston University. She lives in New Jersey with her husband Kevin and their three children: Emma (8) and Colin (6), and Dillon (1).


Julia Jackson
Practice Leader, U.S. Public Relations and Marketing Communications, HEALTH UNLIMITED


Miriam Kalnicki
Reputation and Risk Management Practice, SYNEOS HEALTH COMMUNICATIONS

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Miriam Kalnicki joined the Reputation and Risk Management Practice with nearly 15 years of experience in healthcare, consulting and client management. At Syneos Health Communications, Miriam helps healthcare clients in the pharmaceutical and consumer health sectors develop communications strategies to address complex business challenges including pricing & access, public health, safety and regulatory issues.

Miriam came to Syneos Health from SocialWellth, a healthcare technology startup where she was responsible for hospital and payer clients, program development, and product innovation. Prior to SocialWellth, Miriam worked for the Greater New York Hospital Association Ventures arm, where she helped launch Happtique, a prescriptive digital health and patient engagement platform.

As a strategic consultant, Miriam focused on a market and operations strategy for consumer products, and spearheaded initiatives to change business operations based on changing consumer perceptions and purchasing habits. She spent 5 years focusing in international government relations, where her responsibilities included program management for pharmaceutical companies doing business in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Miriam has a BA from Barnard College and an MBA from Georgetown University.


Blandine Lacroix
Corporate Vice President of the Obesity Business Unit, NOVO NORDISK

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Blandine Lacroix is Corporate Vice President, Obesity, at Novo Nordisk Inc. since October 2, 2017, and joined the US Executive Team in April 2019. She is responsible for leading the obesity business and transforming how the world sees, prevents and treats the disease.

Ms. Lacroix is a proven global commercial leader who brings over 20 years of experience in marketing and commercial leadership within the pharmaceutical industry. She joined Novo Nordisk in 2002 in the company’s Australia affiliate. Since that time, she has progressed through roles of escalating responsibility leading global marketing teams, at the company’s headquarters in Denmark and within the US affiliate, across both diabetes and obesity therapeutic areas. Ms. Lacroix led the establishment of the company’s US obesity business as Vice President, Obesity Marketing, in 2013.

Before joining Novo Nordisk, Ms. Lacroix managed marketing projects and teams for several international companies across diverse industries such as technology, health, manufacturing, and education.

Ms. Lacroix was awarded the Princeton YMCA Centennial Award for Healthy Living, which recognizes leaders in environmental wellbeing and sustainability, in 2017.

Ms. Lacroix studied business as an undergraduate at the MBA Institute in Paris, France, and has a Master of International Business from the University of South Carolina.


Wendy Lund
CEO, GCI HEALTH

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Wendy joined GCI Health as Chief Executive Officer in 2010 and is responsible for setting and carrying out a vision for the agency. Seven years later, GCI Health was recently named North American Healthcare Agency of the Year for the 3rd time, Global Healthcare Agency of the Year for the 2nd time and also won the distinction of being awarded Best of Best Place to Work in May 2017 from The Holmes Report. Wendy has dedicated her entire career to healthcare communications and marketing. With almost 30 years of healthcare communications and marketing experience, she puts patients at the center of everything she does.

She has worked with a diverse group of pharmaceutical, biotech, medical technology companies globally and in the U.S.; on a corporate level and across a variety of disease categories from the most serious and rare diseases to those affecting millions of consumers (like heart disease, cancer and diabetes). She thrives on partnering with clients to solve the most difficult communications challenges they face.

Wendy spent the first 13 years of her career in the non-profit industry as VP of marketing at Planned Parenthood Federation and VP of marketing at the National League for Nursing and has worked with a variety of health network and programs targeting professionals. Wendy was named one of MM&M/PRWeek’s top 50 Health Influencers in 2016 and 2017, PRWeek’s True Women Champions of PR, was inducted into the 2016 and 2017 PR News Class of Top Women in PR and was named a finalist for the 2016 PRWeek’s Agency Professional of the Year.

Wendy has a Master’s degree in history from New York University and studied abroad in London.


Reni Mitchell
Divisional Vice President, MULTIVU

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Reni Mitchell has been with MultiVu since its inception – with a keen focus and expertise in the healthcare space. She brings more than 20 years of experience which began in television news, and evolved to a medical producer, and now provides strategic counsel to some of the largest pharmaceutical companies, and their agencies. She has an in-depth knowledge of the regulations that govern the pharmaceutical industry, and is well-versed in branded and unbranded tactics – and most importantly what is going to work, and how do we get there.


Amanda Mitchell
Founder, OUR CORPORATE LIFE LLC

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In her role as Corporate Navigator, Amanda works with senior executives and their teams to mitigate the business impact of disruptive drama. She and her team provide one-on-one executive coaching, conduct conflict interventions, and facilitate change management initiatives.

As a former advertising executive responsible for the overall management and profitability of several Manhattan agencies, she has experienced first-hand the challenges executives face.

She has written for Bloomberg Businessweek and been quoted in Fast Company, US News and World Report, CNBC.com, and other national media outlets and is an established thought leader on Twitter https://twitter.com/OurCorpLife

She holds the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential through the International Coach Federation and is certified in Conventional Intelligence, a framework that helps leaders create effective, powerful conversations to improve business results.

She has a BA from Michigan State University and lives in New Jersey with her family.


Agatha Newman
Director, Medical and Development Communications, ASTELLAS PHARMA

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Agatha is passionate storyteller able to digest complex information into actionable strategies to accelerate new growth and innovation. Curious, collaborative and a constant learner, Agatha has more than 15 years of experience driving change management and leading strategic communications to help companies meet their vision through employee engagement programs, therapeutic and brand support, patient engagement programs and strategic partnerships.

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 executive leadership communication and employee engagement.

Prior to Astellas, Agatha worked at AbbVie in various positions, including Global and Corporate Communications where she was responsible for overseeing the international strategies for pre-launch and on-market therapies in immunology, virology and neuroscience.

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, two sons and four-legged daughter Liberty (a sweet golden retriever).


Sonali Patel
Lead Designer, MULTIVU CREATIVE

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A graduate of The Art Institute of Philadelphia with a BS in Graphic Design, Sonali Patel serves as MultiVu Creative’s lead designer. She brings nearly a decade of experience to MultiVu’s in-house design team who she oversees. Sonali collaborates with MultiVu’s producers, editors and other designers to ensure the production of high quality, original content. She’s experienced in diverse areas of design including mood boards, style frames, concept boards, storyboards, asset creation for animation, company branding, collateral, social content, infographics, and print work. Her designs have garnered MultiVu Creative with several industry awards.


Sara Pellegrino
Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications, AMICUS THERAPEUTICS

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Sara Pellegrino currently serves as Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications at Amicus Therapeutics, Inc. She has 15 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, corporate communications, and media relations.

At Amicus Therapeutics, Sara leads the Investor Relations and Corporate Communications functions to effectively highlight the value proposition and raise visibility for a rapidly growing, patient-dedicated global company with a first product launch underway and several programs in development for rare diseases. She also led the launch of the Company’s social media platforms. She coordinates closely with her colleagues in Patient Advocacy, Marketing, Program Management, Medical Affairs, Finance, and Business Development to ensure internal alignment and consistent messaging 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.


Elizabeth Presson
Digital Media and Community Experience, OTICON MEDICAL

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Liz Presson works at the intersection of patient engagement, innovation, and digital strategy with pharmaceutical and medical device companies. She’s led innovation initiatives for Fortune 500 Pharma organizations, built advocacy programs for medical device companies that doubled the bottom line, and has helped transform influential healthcare organizations into digital leaders. Liz takes the stage at conferences like Stanford’s Medicine X, Technori, World Maker Faire, Internet Summit, and others. She contributes articles on company culture, entrepreneurship, and technology to publications like Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., and Mashable.


Stefanie Prodouz
Director, M&D Communications, ASTELLAS

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Stefanie Prodouz is a leading corporate communications professional with more than 15 years of healthcare and pharma experience. She is currently a communications director at Astellas, leading internal and external communications strategies for the Research and Development organizations globally, including leadership and executive communications, pipeline communications, investor relations support, scientific storytelling, media relations and executive visibility programs.

Stefanie has demonstrated expertise in communicating complex data in insightful and strategic ways to drive engagement in a company’s story where the business and science intersect.

Prior to Astellas, Stefanie held positions in investor relations and public affairs at AbbVie. In the latter role, she helped launch a high profile treatment option for hepatitis C in a very tough regulatory and pricing environment. Stefanie started her corporate communications career at Eli Lilly and Company, where she managed all internal and external global communications strategies for Lilly’s Alzheimer’s disease platform – one of the most highly material and visible pieces of business at the company.

Prior to her corporate roles, Stefanie worked across multiple industries supporting various clients in her vast agency experience, at Borshoff, a boutique PR firm in Indianapolis, and Porter Novelli in Chicago.

Stefanie is a graduate of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, in Communications with a minor in Business and Organizational Leadership. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband and son, enjoying all things college football, traveling and reading.


Erica Puntel
Lead, U.S. Communications – Digital, UCB

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Erica Puntel is a member of UCB’s Corporate Communications team in the U.S. In her role, she is tasked with growing UCB’s digital footprint to increase corporate brand awareness and influence. She has also reimagined the strategy for UCB’s nonbranded, disease state properties to establish value both for UCB and for patients. Erica is a leader within the organization, and her strategic guidance related to digital advertising, event communications, media relations, and analytics reporting has helped establish the communications team as a center of excellence within UCB.

Prior to joining UCB, Erica spent 11 years at CNN providing strategic leadership for the overall publicity of CNN Digital, including business ventures, product launches, editorial coverage, and industry differentiators. She also drove consumer and tech coverage of CNN’s product strategy (for products like CNNgo, Snapchat Discover, Apple News) through traditional media and social channels. Earlier in her career, Erica worked as a Legislative Aide in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Erica holds a bachelor’s degree from Hope College and a Master’s Degree from the Ohio State University. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons.


Allen Reha
Vice President, Program Management, AMICUS THERAPEUTICS

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Allen Reha currently serves as Vice President – Head of R&D Program Management at Amicus Therapeutics and operated in the role of Program Leader for the SD-101 program in epidermolysis bullosa. Mr. Reha previously served as Vice President and Head of Program Management and Clinical Operations at PTC Therapeutics. At PTC, Mr. Reha served in a leadership capacity in the clinical development, regulatory approval, commercialization of Translarna™ (ataluren) for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Prior to working at PTC, Mr. Reha was with Novartis, where he served in various roles of clinical research and data management. While at Novartis, he was involved in the clinical development and commercialization of Gleevec® (a treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia and other diseases) as well as the clinical development of compounds for other orphan diseases including acromegaly, Cushing’s disease, and gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.   Prior to Novartis, Mr. Reha worked in clinical development at Hoffmann-La Roche. Collectively, Mr. Reha brings ~20 years of industry experience in drug development and commercialization, focusing in orphan disease and pediatric indications. Mr. Reha received a B.A. in Biological Sciences from Rutgers College and a M.S. in Management Science from the Wesley J. Howe School of Business, Stevens Institute of Technology


Mary Richardson
Communications Leader, R&D Innovation, JOHNSON & JOHNSON MEDICAL DEVICES

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Mary Richardson is the Communications Leader, for the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies R&D and External Innovation teams.

Mary’s career with Johnson & Johnson spans more than 25 years in diverse roles, including those in public relations, organizational and marketing communications, sales, marketing and technical support. She began her career with Johnson & Johnson in 1990 joining Ortho Clinical Diagnostics (OCD) as a technical support representative and assumed roles with increasing responsibility in account management and marketing. In 2001, she joined the communications team as Director of Public Relations for the OCD franchise and then in 2009 moved to Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc. where she was responsible for the company’s communications strategy and organizational communications.

Mary’s most recent communication roles have been in J&J Supply Chain, where she planned, developed and implemented strategic communication plans. Most recently, Mary led the communication team for Consumer Supply Chain. While in this role, Mary partnered with EHS&S to deploy a comprehensive safety program for manufacturing sites and created and launched a global employee recognition program.

Mary has a B.S. in Biology from Bethany College. An avid runner and cyclist, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their three children.


Tierney Saccavino
Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications, ACORDA THERAPEUTICS

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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
Director of Communications, Culture and Patient Focus, ASTELLAS PHARMACEUTICALS

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Jennifer Saputo is director of communications for Astellas Pharmaceuticals U.S., an affiliate of a leading Tokyo-based pharmaceutical company. She joined Astellas in 2015 with responsibility for leading executive and employee communications across Astellas’ highest performing market. In her current role, she also oversees Astellas’ US digital channels and diversity & inclusion communications.

In her previous roles at AbbVie, Abbott, Takeda and TAP Pharmaceuticals, Jennifer focused on building high performance cultures driven by purpose-driven strategy and authentic leadership dialogue. Her roles have included leading employee communications through major corporate transformations, building employee value propositions and employer brands, and creating award-winning employee engagement programs.

Jennifer holds a BA in journalism and an MA in organizational communications from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.


Kathy Steinberg
Senior Consultant, PR Research, HARRIS INSIGHTS & ANALYTICS

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Kathy Steinberg began her research career at Harris Interactive (now Harris Insights & Analytics) in 2004 as a Research Assistant for the Public Relations Research Practice and today serves as Senior Consultant for PR Research. Kathy has worked on domestic and international projects in a variety of industries and on topics as diverse as computer and online security, gaps and unmet needs in patient-physician communication, and personal financial literacy and planning. She is an expert in the design and analysis of public opinion polls, recently served as Managing Editor of The Harris Poll, and is responsible for high-level management and client service of large-scale custom studies designed for public release and thought leadership platforms.

Kathy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development from Cornell University and is based in New York City.


Helen Tarleton
Lead, Internal Communications, UCB

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Helen Tarleton is a member of UCB’s Corporate Communications team in the U.S. In her role, she is responsible for employee, change and culture communications. She also provides a full range of communications support including digital communications strategy, employee recruitment communications, executive communications, and patient communications. Helen is also a leader in embedding UCB’s Patient Value Strategy throughout the organization.

Prior to joining UCB, Helen spent 9 years at The Coca-Cola Company leading internal and external communications efforts in support of Coca-Cola’s corporate social responsibility efforts as well as leading work to build partnerships with health professionals. Helen also spent a year in technology communications with the Intercontinental Hotels Group. Earlier in her career, Helen held pharmaceutical communications and account management roles with agencies in New York City and Atlanta.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Miami University. She is currently the VP of Programming for the Atlanta Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators. She is a past board member of the Flannery O’Connor/Andalusia Foundation.

Helen is married to James Eshleman, a construction industry executive, and lives in Atlanta, GA


Christina Trank
Director, Public Affairs, R&D, BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB

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Chrissy Trank has 20 years of experience in healthcare communications. She spent the first years of her career with Deborah Heart and Lung Center, working in internal, external and marketing communications for the specialty hospital and its supporting foundation. In 2008, she joined Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Corporate Affairs team, and has since led communications for brands in cardiology and immuno-oncology. She is now Director, R&D Communications, responsible for communications strategy in support of the company’s Innovative Medicines pipeline. She also leads a group dedicated to professional development for the company’s Corporate Affairs team.

Chrissy earned her BA in English and Professional Writing from Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA, and her MBA from the LEAD program at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, Philadelphia, PA.


Karl Uhlendorf
Senior Director, Policy and Government Communication, ASTELLAS PHARMACEUTICALS

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Karl Uhlendorf is Senior Director of Policy and Government Communications at Astellas Pharma US, Inc. With a 20-year track record of leading diverse public affairs and editorial teams, he currently oversees Astellas’ government communications and stakeholder engagement program.

Prior to joining Astellas in 2014, Uhlendorf was Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), responsible for communications strategy and execution in support of the association’s federal and state advocacy priorities. During his eight years at PhRMA, he assumed roles of increasing responsibility and scope.

Before joining PhRMA, Uhlendorf was Editorial Director at FDC Reports/Elsevier Business Intelligence, publisher of “The Pink Sheet” and other leading trade publications dedicated to FDA-regulated sectors. He began his 13-year editorial career as a reporter covering biomedical research and health policy.

Uhlendorf is actively engaged with a wide array of health-related organizations, including PhRMA, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the National Pharmaceutical Council, the National Consumers League, HealthyWomen, WomenHeart, Research!America and Caregivers Action Network. A graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, he currently resides in Washington, DC with his wife and three children.