Past Employee Champions

Each year, employees who have gone outside their job description as advocates for the biopharmaceutical industry are recognized as Champions. All Champions who come from a variety of disciplines. They not only excel in their everyday roles, but also as advocates for our industry. Learn more about these remarkable Champions below:

Astellas WWFH Champion Keya Pitts

Keya Pitts

Executive Director, Pharmacovigilance and Clinical Quality Assurance
Astellas Pharma US

Over the past several years, Keya has been a passionate volunteer in iBio Institute's Stellar Girls program. As part of these efforts, she has mentored and coached girls (grades 3-8) in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, helping to diversify the STEM talent pipeline. Keya also has inspired young women and minorities to pursue their professional leadership goals through her participation in such activities as the Astellas Executive Women's Day.

2018 WWFH Astellas Champion - Dan Hoeppner

Daniel Hoeppner

Associate Director of Neuroscience
Astellas Research Institute of America

Daniel’s peers recognize his knack for translating the complexity of today’s science to patients, colleagues and lawmakers. Over the past year, he has educated federal and state policymakers on the innovative ways that Astellas is advancing neuroscience. He’s participated in researcher “fly-ins” in DC and Sacramento and organized facility visits for legislative staff in San Diego.

2018 Biogen WWFH Champion - Jen Norton

Jen Norton

Vice President, Market Access & Reimbursement
Biogen

Jen has volunteered her time to help educate federal legislators on Biogen's public policy goals. She has traveled to DC several times to meet with Biogen’s Government Affairs team and members of Congress. She has a unique talent for explaining the complexities of drug pricing and value-based contracting so that members of Congress and their staff understand them.

2018 BI WWFH Champion - Brendan Bertsch

Brendan Bertsch

Executive Director, Contracts and Pricing
Boehringer Ingelheim

Brendan actively engages with external stakeholders to support our industry and demonstrate the value of our medicines to policymakers. He has educated state legislators on the drug supply chain and value-based insurance designs so that legislators have the knowledge to make informed decisions about legislation seeking to ensure patient access to affordable medicines.

BMS Veterans Community Network (VCN)


Bristol-Myers Squibb

VCN raises awareness and provides a sense of community across the company around military service members, veterans and their family members and nonmilitary employees who just want to help. VCN works with veteran organizations and actively provides mentoring opportunities for former service members to assist in their transition to a career outside the military. Bristol-Myers Squibb is proud to be an employer of choice for veterans where they may build a career and successful life outside the military.

Celgene WWFH Champion - Jennifer Jorgenson

Jennifer Jorgenson

Senior Hematology/Oncology Consultant
Celgene

Jennifer created and launched an "Ambassador Captain" program, identifying and partnering with a colleague in each of 40 sales districts throughout the country. These captains work directly with Jennifer, and in coordination with the Government Relations team, to facilitate grassroots outreach among their teams to elected officials on key policy issues at the state and federal level.

2018 BMS WWFH Champion - Kristie Fischer

Kristie Fischer

Executive Associate
Bristol-Myers Squibb

Outside of Kristie’s role at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), she is a Helping Hands Volunteer Program Administrator, coordinating employee engagement for service hours to charities. In 2017, more than 1,400 volunteers gave over 6,200 volunteer hours and participated in 65 events. Kristie also leads employee community outreach with the Salvation Army Backpack Drive, Bentley Community Services, Thanksgiving Food Drive and the United Way Adopt-A-Family program. And last year, she and the BMS Organization for Latino Achievement collaborated to create an innovative new Adopt-A-Family program to help families affected by the hurricanes in Puerto Rico.

GSK WWFH Champion - Brian Johns

Brian Johns

Vice President, DPU Head HIV, R&D Infectious Disease
GlaxoSmithKline

Brian leads a team at GSK that is collaborating in research with UNC-Chapel Hill HIV Cure Center with the focus of finding a cure for HIV instead of just treating the disease. In addition to his WWFH Champion Award, Brian was also honored as “Tar Heel of the Week” in October 2016 by the Raleigh News & Observer.

2018 Celgene WWFH Champion - Gregg Lanez

Gregg Lanez

Senior Patient Support Specialist
Celgene

In his day-to-day role, Gregg helps patients navigate their insurance benefits, understand their options for assistance, and ultimately ensure that they get the medicines they need. Gregg sees firsthand the impact that public policy can have on a patient’s ability to access life-changing and life-saving medicines. He is a regular attendee at Celgene's Annual Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C., and he has represented the company at countless events in New Jersey with federal, state and local elected officials.

WWFH Eli Lilly & Company Champion - Tony Major

Tony Major

Senior Software Engineer
Eli Lilly and Company

Tony has been a key figure in educating public policymakers on the process of innovation, the cost of R&D and the lost opportunities when not making investments in these areas. To translate this arduous work, he has helped develop an augmented reality program and sample presentations for policymakers. The presentation includes 3-D goggles that show how we can manipulate molecules in the lab and demonstrates how augmented reality helps us better understand these modifications before we bring those changes to human testing. His presentations leave a strong impression on visiting policymakers.

J&J WWFH Champion - Caroline Pavis

Caroline Pavis

Director, Strategic Communications
Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

Caroline has created and launched an industry-leading, first- and only-of-its-kind program for increasingly influential online patient health advocates. HealtheVoices, now in its third year, brings together online patient advocates for a weekend of learning, growing and mutual support.

2018 GSK WWFH Champion - Dr. Leonard Friedland

Dr. Leonard Friedland

Vice President, Director Scientific Affairs and Public Health, Vaccines North America
GlaxoSmithKline

Dr. Friedland is a licensed pediatrician in Pennsylvania. Prior to joining GSK, he conducted his residency in pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and his fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, also in Philadelphia. He helps develop vaccines for children, adolescents, adults, the elderly, and during pregnancy. These include vaccines for preventing the flu, meningitis and more. Outside of this work, he is GSK’s medical and public health representative and spokesperson for U.S. vaccine topics at the CDC, public health venues, Congress and media outlets.

Regina Holzbauer - WWFH Champion - Merck

Regina Holzbauer

Executive Director of Operations
Merck

Regina has played an instrumental role in helping Merck organize site visits at its Animal Health facility in Millsboro for federal and state legislators, the USDA Deputy Secretary and local high school students with an interest in science and agriculture. She is an incredibly collaborative partner who brings a high level of focus and rigor to all aspects of her responsibilities to enhance the reputation of the company and the biopharmaceutical industry.

Bob Abraham Pfizer

Robert Abraham

Sr. Vice President & Group Head, Oncology R&D
Pfizer

Based at Pfizer's La Jolla (CA) site, Bob understands the importance of community and patient engagement. Under Bob's leadership, he has hosted patient advocacy groups at the site and speaks to organizations like the San Diego Komen for the Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference and other charitable related events.

2018 J&J WWFH Champion - Pedro Costa

Pedro Costa

Senior Director, Government Affairs/SC
Johnson and Johnson

Pedro works in Public Affairs for Johnson & Johnson and had quite the year in 2017. In his role, he has helped create a more favorable climate for companies to invest and create jobs in Puerto Rico. Following the devastating effects of hurricane Maria, Pedro worked to ensure that patients could access critical medications and medical supplies. Pedro also tirelessly worked to keep J&J and key supplier facilities up and running, while helping distribute necessary relief supplies to those who needed them most. He even filled his own car with relief supplies and personal belongings to reach communities in the middle of the island.

2018 Merck WWFH Champion - Frank Stone

Frank Stone

Director, U.S. Managed Markets Finance
Merck

Frank has played an instrumental role in helping Merck conduct extensive modeling of the economic and market impact of a wide variety of legislative and regulatory proposals. He has a passion for using data to explain the underlying business environment and has done that for Merck since 2006. This work helps Merck and the industry present effective policy and advocacy to leaders and policymakers.

Robert Betzig

Site Leader, Pfizer Global Supply, Kalamazoo Site
Pfizer

Bob is an effective and accessible voice in highlighting the value of the pharmaceutical industry for policymakers and thought leaders. He has engaged federal, state and local officials at the site to help them better understand the challenges and opportunities of our industry. Bob is also involved and supportive of Pfizer's Michigan Legislative Leaders program, which pairs Pfizer colleagues with their state legislators and trains the colleague on how to best represent and advocate for Pfizer policy positions.

Jason Brandt Sanofi

Jason Brandt

Head, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Sales, West Division
Sanofi US

Jason Brandt is highly committed to civic action both personally and professionally. Through his role on the Sanofi US PAC Board, Jason advocates tirelessly for issues related to the healthcare industry. His passion for civic action is also clearly apparent in his leadership role as a Vice President of Sales in our Diabetes and Cardiovascular, West division. He proactively communicates this commitment with his division and encourages his peers to do the same.

2018 Pfizer WWFH Champion - Marie Claire Peakman

Marie-Claire Peakman

Head Primary Pharmacology, Medicine Design, Worldwide Research & Development
Pfizer, Inc

Dr. Peakman proactively educates policymakers on the importance of the industry’s work. She represented Pfizer at the 2018 Connecticut Pharmaceutical Researchers’ Day at the Capitol and worked with the Pfizer Legislative Team to advocate before the Rhode Island legislature. Dr. Peakman serves on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut and she is a member of the United Way SECT Impact Council, which identifies key areas for community impact efforts. In her spare time, she chairs the Parish Council for St. Bernard’s Parish in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. And from 2009 to 2012, she was on the Board of Directors of the Friends of Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.

PAST WWFH CHAMPIONS

The “We” in We Work For Health comprises biopharmaceutical company employees, vendors, suppliers, and other business, academic and community leaders. Every day, we work to lead in the research and development of new cures, foster an environment for increased economic development, and invest in our communities to build a healthier America. Meet some of our past Champions.

John-Banaszak
John Banaszak
As assistant director of marketing operations in Northbrook, Illinois, John invests considerable time and energy encouraging employee participation in initiatives focused on constructive public policies that help foster medical innovation and ensure patient access to needed medicines. John helped create Astellas' civic engagement program that enables colleagues to voluntarily reach out to elected officials on priority legislation.
Joseph-Latella-Astellas
Joseph Latella
(Astellas) Joseph (Joe) is a passionate PAC Ambassador and an active student of health care policy. He is a member of the St. Elizabeth's Hospital Foundation Board and brings a trusted perspective on the implications of evolving policies on physicians, patients and the hospital.
Travis-Gregory-Biogen
Travis Gregory
Travis was instrumental in creating Biogen’s new employee engagement platform, Biogen Political. It was no small task – it required modifying multiple IT, HR, compliance, legal and other processes to build a website accessible to employees. Thanks to the site and Travis’ hard work, Biogen’s voice to members of Congress and state and local officials can be heard. In addition to Travis’ support of Biogen’s public policy and government affairs team, he was nominated to serve on the Biogen PAC Board to help advise and grow the Biogen PAC.