George Alafoginis is a client partner for global marketing solutions at Facebook, where he focuses on healthcare advertisers. Prior to his role on the healthcare team, Alafoginis worked as client partner across energy/oil & gas and government affairs. He previously worked as a public affairs and communication strategist for Meredith Xcelrated Marketing and as a policy advisor at the Department of Energy. Alafoginis holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Dickinson College.
Musab Balbale is the vice president of health, core beauty and personal care for Jet.com and Walmart.com. He has more than 15 years of experience in consumer and retail. He joined Jet in 2016 as vice president, general manager of the pet business. Prior to that he was vice president of international and business development at the Vitamin Shoppe. In that role, he led Vitamin Shoppe’s corporate-owned and franchise international stores and was responsible for the merchandising and operations of those stores. Balbale began his career in strategy and investing roles at The Boston Consulting Group, Charles Schwab, and Summit Partners. Balbale has his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his master of business administration from Harvard Business School.
Mike Benecky joined GSK in October 2011 as senior director, global regulatory affairs in precision and digital medicine. His recent projects include the commercial launch of the MyAsthma mobile medical app in the E.U. and inclusion of digital sensors and mobile apps within GSK clinical development programs. He gained expertise in the preparation of FDA IDE and PMA submissions for lasers used for vision correction surgery at Bio-Reg Associates. At QIAGEN (formerly Digene), he led the Regulatory /Clinical Affairs Group that prepared PMAS submissions for the first FDA-approved HPV DNA test that enabled expansion of the IVD test’s intended use population and its automation. Benecky received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and his doctorate in biophysical chemistry from Princeton University. Benecky continued his academic research career as a post-doctoral fellow at Northwestern University and as an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin Medical School-Milwaukee Clinical Campus.
Anita Brikman joined CHPA in 2016 and is responsible for leading the association’s communications and public affairs functions, as well as leading the CHPA Educational Foundation. She leads all external and internal association communications and public affairs campaigns. In addition, she directs the CHPA Educational Foundation, including working with its board of directors to establish priorities, achieve financial independence and growth, and ensure successful execution of the foundation’s consumer education campaigns. Prior to joining CHPA, Brikman served as senior vice president, communications and outreach at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization where she led communications and marketing for the association and its affiliates, including the National Hospice Foundation. For more than two decades prior to her association work, Brikman worked as a news anchor and health reporter in the major television markets of Philadelphia, Penn., (WPVI 6ABC) and Washington, D.C., (WUSA 9), where she served as chief medical correspondent directing coverage on a wide range of healthcare issues. Brikman has a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Linda Thomas Brooks was named president and chief executive officer of The Association of Magazine Media (MPA) in January 2016. Before joining MPA, Thomas Brooks was co-founder and president of GearDigital, a data-driven integrated agency and a subsidiary of Wilson RMS. Prior to GearDigital, she was president of Ingenuity Media at The Martin Agency, and executive director of Media & Marketing at Trilogy, a privately held business technology company. Thomas Brooks also served as senior vice president for GM MediaWorks, a stand-alone agency dedicated to serving General Motors. During her decade-long tenure with General Motors, she created a new media operation, developed strategy, and created infrastructure for increasing focus on digital and emerging media. Thomas Brooks developed media and marketing strategies for many well-known brands and companies, including General Motors, GEICO, The American Cancer Society, Johnson & Johnson, Kaiser Permanente, and Experian. She has served on a variety of industry boards including the American Advertising Federation, Institute for Advertising Ethics, the Audit Bureau of Circulation, and currently the Alliance for Audited Media. Thomas Brooks has also received numerous industry honors, including Advertising Age Women to Watch Award, Advertising Women of New York Impact Award for mentoring, and 100 Leading Women in North American Automotive Industry.
Piyush Chaudhari is IRI’s president of the Americas and Global Strategy. He is a 20-year veteran of client service, operations, and technology and has a proven history in driving technology and overall corporate strategies. As president of the Americas, he has responsibility for client insights, client service, and pre-sales. He focuses on bringing IRI’s strategy to life with clients in North America as well as with select multi-national, global clients. Chaudhari joined IRI in 2012 as executive vice president of strategy, working with IRI’s leadership teams and colleagues across the country. Before joining IRI, Chaudhari was a member of Aon Hewitt's Executive Committee, involved in setting the firm's direction and areas of priority. He held many different roles, including management of different regional businesses, such as Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He also held global roles, such as guiding Aon Hewitt's global consulting businesses and thought leaders, and acting as chief operating officer for the consulting organization. Prior to Aon Hewitt, Chaudhari was with McKinsey and Company, where he focused on technology and technology strategy. He is an engineer with multiple U.S. patents and worked for many years at Motorola and IBM in product development. Chaudhari earned a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is a board member of Metropolitan Family Services and Chicago Media Board and a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Meera Deepak is an account director at Tribal Worldwide, leading the Pfizer Consumer Healthcare (PCH) business. Since 2011, Deepak has partnered with PCH to develop and implement digital strategies and integrated creative campaigns for brands like Advil, Robitussin, and Centrum. Prior to her work at Tribal, Deepak worked with the socially-driven co-working start-up, Hub Ltd to expand U.K. operations to Asia. Deepak holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia.
Josh Earnest was selected by President Obama to assume the most visible job in American politics as White House press secretary in 2014. Earnest distinguished himself with a keen ability to marshal facts and construct persuasive arguments that earned him the respect of Washington insiders in both parties. Earnest stood before the White House press corps each day for the last two and a half years of Obama’s tenure prepared to discuss the most complex and consequential issues in the world. Whether reacting to a legislative setback, a diplomatic breakthrough, or a terror attack, Earnest earned a reputation for uncommon poise under an intense spotlight where there is no margin for error. In addition to defending the president in front of the cameras, Earnest played a leading role behind the scenes to help develop and implement an innovative communications strategy that took the president to unconventional venues like ESPN to talk about Cuba policy and “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” to talk about climate change. This pioneering approach was paired with a fully-integrated digital media presence that put the world’s most powerful man at the forefront of an evolving media landscape. In eight years, Earnest traveled across the country and around the world – three dozen countries – with Obama and participated in multilateral summits including the G-20, G-7, NATO, the UN General Assembly, ASEAN, and APEC. Earnest started at the White House in January 2009 as deputy press secretary, managing the White House press office and filling in for the press secretary on Air Force One and at the podium. He first joined Obama’s team in March 2007 helping steer the president to an historic victory in the Iowa caucuses that catapulted him to the White House. Earnest’s two-decade career in politics has taken him from Capitol Hill to some of the largest states and most competitive races in the country, including four presidential campaigns, statewide races in Texas and Florida, and Mike Bloomberg’s first campaign for Mayor of New York City. Earnest attended Rice University, where he majored in political science and policy studies.
Mark Gelbert is a highly skilled executive leader in consumer products, pharmaceutical driven innovation, and brand development. He has successfully demonstrated the ability to structure, lead, and drive a multi-faceted global research and development organization that develops and launches consumer drugs, cosmetics, nutritional supplements, and personal and skin care products. Gelbert has led the development and implementation of new innovation cultures in both the consumer products and healthcare environment, and has grown innovation leaders in multiple company cultures. Gelbert has been responsible for the launch of hundreds of new consumer pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, dietary supplements, and personal care products over his career. Gelbert was most recently senior vice president of global research and development and switch for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, and a member of Pfizer’s Senior Leadership Council and the PCH Global Leadership Team. In this role, Gelbert led all aspects of the Consumer Division's Global Research and Development organization. Before joining Pfizer, Gelbert was vice president of global research and development for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health Care. Gelbert has also held senior research and development positions with Proctor and Gamble (P&G), Schering-Plough Healthcare, and Novartis Consumer Healthcare. Gelbert began his career in product development in Procter & Gamble’s Health Care Division. While at P&G, Gelbert completed his law degree and focused his efforts in drug regulatory affairs. In addition to his law degree, Gelbert has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Rutgers College, and a master’s degree and doctorate’s degree in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Lynn Graham is the founder and president of BeeKeeper Marketing. Graham has more than 15 years’ experience in marketing with high-profile high-tech companies like Amazon and Apple, as well as with CPG companies large and small. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford and an master of business administration from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
Emma Howe is the marketing director healthcare of RB. Howe is passionate about exploring unique business approaches to drive growth. She is a global consumer healthcare business leader with international marketing and general management experience spanning six countries including emerging markets such as China, developed markets such as U.S.A, U.K., Australia, and Belgium as well as global strategic roles.
Michael Hufford is the vice president for regulatory affairs, behavioral science, and innovation at Pinney Associates. Hufford brings more than 20 years of experience in clinical research, drug and medical device development, and behavioral science across a wide range of therapeutic areas to their clients. Hufford’s drug development experience includes serving as Cypress Bioscience’s vice president of corporate and clinical development, where he had responsibility for development of the drug and medical device portfolio for multiple CNS assets, including the Food and Drug Administration approval of Savella (milnacipran) for fibromyalgia. Before joining Cypress, he worked at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, leading drug development teams focused on orphan drug development for rare metabolic diseases, combination peptide, and protein therapies for obesity. Hufford has also consulted extensively with the pharmaceutical industry, including serving as vice president of scientific affairs at Invivodata, where he was responsible for scientific consulting on patient-reported outcome claim construction for more than 50 drug development programs. He also served as chief operating officer for NeuroCog Trials, which specializes in providing clinical and neurocognitive assessment, experimental design, and data analysis services for clinical trials. An entrepreneur, Hufford co-founded multiple pharmaceutical, device, and mobile health companies including NQ Oncology, e-Nicotine, and MindApps. Hufford is a graduate of Purdue University. Hufford earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.
Andrew Mandzy leads Nielsen’s Health and Wellness, Growth and Strategy Team, which focuses on understanding and answering the most critical health and wellness related questions across Nielsen’s vast portfolio of clients in retail, food, OTC, pharma, and healthcare. He’s been on several stages including NACDS, the Path to Purchase Expo, the Global Food Forums Protein Summit, the Organic Produce Summit, and ECRM’s Efficient Planning Session. Mandzy has been featured in “Bloomberg”, “Chain Drug Review”, “Progressive Grocer”, “Grocery Headquarters”, “Food Business News”, “Food Navigator”, “Fortune” and “Convenience Store Decisions”. Andrew has been with Nielsen for ten years, and is based in New York City. Mandzy is a dual graduate of Rutgers University in New Jersey. He has both a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master of business administration in marketing. Mandzy’s expertise in consumer insights has led to opportunities to work on several advisory boards, including the Rutgers University MBA Market Research board, and for Ground Signal, an innovative geolocation consumer analytics company.
Scott Melville is the president and chief executive officer of CHPA and leads the organization’s efforts to empower consumer self-care by preserving and expanding choice and availability of consumer healthcare products. Prior to joining CHPA, Melville served as senior vice president of government affairs and general counsel for the Healthcare Distribution Management Association, representing pharmaceutical wholesale distributors. Before joining HDMA, Melville served in various public affairs and legal roles for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies Sterling-Winthrop, Hoffmann-LaRoche, and Cephalon. Melville began his professional career as a legislative assistant and appropriations committee associate on the staff of retired U.S. Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.). He earned his bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University, and his juris doctorate from George Mason University School of Law. He serves on the boards of the World Self-Medication Industry, the CHPA Educational Foundation, and the Food & Drug Law Institute.
Jeff Needham is the executive vice president and general manager of U.S.consumer healthcare at Perrigo Company. Prior to his current position, Needham was senior vice president of Perrigo’s commercial business development from 2005 to 2009. Prior to that, he was managing director of Perrigo’s U.K. business from 2002 to 2005. Prior to his U.K. role, Needham was named vice president, marketing in 1993. In his present position, Needham has commercial responsibility for Perrigo’s U.S. consumer healthcare business. Needham’s particular focus is in the development and long-term strategic direction of the commercial aspects of the business, including marketing, sales, new product pipeline development, and business development ventures. Needham has a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Michigan State University. He came to Perrigo from Amway Corporation where he held positions in international marketing from 1980 to 1984. He serves as a chair on the CHPA Board of Directors, is chairman of CHPA’s finance committee, and is also a member of CHPA’s Educational Foundation Board of Directors.
Bob Sanders is the executive vice president and practice leader of IRI. Sanders brings more than 30 years of experience to the marketplace and is responsible for cultivating and building global partnerships with IRI’s clients. In his role, Sanders sets the strategic initiatives for the home and healthcare practice by identifying business opportunities, delivering insights, and making actionable recommendations critical for winning in market. He leads teams of seasoned insights and consulting professionals with extensive expertise in consumer packaged goods/health and beauty aid, nutritionals, and home related categories. Sanders is a senior executive with a strong general management and consultative background. Before joining IRI in 2008, he held executive positions with Wyeth/Pfizer, Whitehall-Robins, and Lederle Consumer Health in sales, marketing and general management capacities. As the senior vice president of sales at Wyeth, he managed direct, broker, and medical sales teams. As senior vice president/general manager for nine years he focused on developing global brand strategies. Sanders and his team drove sales, share, and profitability growth year over year. Sanders graduated from William Paterson University and holds a certificate from Columbia Executive Program. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Alex Sheen is the founder of Because I Said I Would – a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to bettering humanity through promises made and kept. A three-time TEDx speaker, Sheen’s work has made headlines on ABC News, CNN, NPR, The TODAY Show and The Los Angeles Times. He encourages people to make commitments on “promise cards” which his organization will send to anyone anywhere in the world at no cost. Over three million have been dispatched to more than 153 countries around the world. Stories of Sheen’s own commitment to promises have often gone viral on social media.
Dr. Eric Trepanier is WebMD’s group vice president for marketing sciences, a position he’s held since March 2014. Trepanier is responsible for leading a team of market research scientists and analysts who use various data to surface valuable insights that are used to inform, shape, and optimize business decision-making and customer campaigns. Trepanier first joined WebMD in May 2012 as vice president of business development with responsibility for identifying and evaluating potential corporate partners. From 2006 to 2012, Trepanier was a portfolio manager and analyst for three different funds – OSS Capital Management, PioneerPath Capital, and BlackRock – where he led the identification, analysis, modeling, and investment decisions for equities in the pharma, biotechnology, and other healthcare subsectors. Earlier in his career, Trepanier worked as a sell-side analyst at Citi Investment Research and UBS, where he covered large cap pharma and biotechnology equities. Trepanier also founded and managed a healthcare consulting firm called Global Health Consulting, which provided science and data driven consulting services to brand managers, government agencies, and executives in the pharma industry. Trepanier earned his master’s degree specializing in healthcare from the Wharton School, a doctor of pharmacy degree, and a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Toronto. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst Charter holder.
Nicolle Wallace is a political analyst for MSNBC, a top GOP strategist and was the former special assistant to the president and director of communications at the White House under President George W. Bush. She was a co-host of The View talk show and is a frequent contributor and guest host on MSNBC's Morning Joe and a contributor on NBC's Today Show. Wallace served as the communications chief for George W. Bush’s re-election campaign as well as senior campaign advisor for the McCain-Palin campaign in 2008. Before her time in the White House, Wallace was a press secretary for Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Wallace also finds time to write best-selling political fiction. Her novels include Madam President, Eighteen Acres, It’s Classified, and Day in the Life.