Conversation conducted by Diego del Alcázar Benjumea, Executive Vice President of IE, with Maya Helbaoui, Director of Communications and Patient Advocacy of Roche and Chris Gomes, Chief Marketing officer at Alavida, a start up about 3 years old that has raised millions of dollars
Calle de Serrano, 105, 28006 Madrid, Spain
Diego del Alcázar Benjumea
IE Business School & IE University
In late 2014, Diego joined the board of FT|IE Corporate Learning Alliance (FT|IE CLA), a joint venture created by IE Business School and the Financial Times Group to design and implement customized education for companies.
He is also the co-founder and member of the board of The South Summit, one of Europe’s leading startup and innovation conferences. He has also previous experience as consultant at Bain & Company and he co-founded Step Up Capital, a vehicle to identify, invest, and manage business opportunities.
In 2017 he was awarded with the David Rockefeller Fellowship granting his participation in the Trilateral Commission in plenary and regional meetings for a term of three years (www.trilateral.org).
Diego holds an MBA from INSEAD Business School and a double degree in Law and Business Administration from Madrid’s Complutense University.
His areas of expertise are Business Education, Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, Digital Transformation, Advanced Technologies, Government of Change and Energy Efficiency, among others.
Chief Marketing Officer
Christine Gomes, known simply as Chris, is a business and marketing leader with over 15 years experience in product development, brand building and customer understanding. Innovation-centric, she led linear and cross functional teams in companies such as Kraft Foods, where she was awarded the Kraft International Achievement Award for Club Social's outstanding results. She served as South and Central America Marketing Manager at Pepsico, where she managed Lays innovation projects and communication campaigns for 16 countries.
Despite having a solid career in the FMCG industry, her time at IE helped her realize her passion for entrepreneurship. Chris helped deliver the dream of flight in Brazil, with the launch of iFLY indoor Skydiving. She co-Founded VSpot, which gave her the 2014 IE Venture Lab Award. She is currently an Angel Investor, and CMO at Alavida Health, the virtual care for heavy drinking company growing from the IE alumni kinship and in the midst of a Series A raise.
At Alavida Health, Chris works passionately to deliver the tools that empower her team to deliver non-judgemental, lighthearted support that helps educate North-Americans and touch on a heavy subject: alcohol addiction. Despite being the third leading risk factor for death and disability, barriers to treatment for alcohol lead to less than 5% of people seeking help. She plays a key role in translating the company's mission of delivering treatment that is aligned to the modern lifestyle. Since launching in Vancouver in 2016, Alavida has expanded throughout most of Canada, and is currently expanding in the USA.
In addition to two Bachelor's degrees, in Social Communication and Business Administration, she is an International MBA alumni from the IE Business School class of 2014.
Public Affairs Lead, Middle East
Maya Helbaoui, from Lebanon, works in the Public Affairs, Healthcare field. Maya holds a Doctorate in Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D). Her work has always been centered on Healthcare & Media specifically, policy, advocacy and public affairs, so doing the IE International MBA immersed her into the business side.
At Roche, Maya’s main work is around building valuable partnerships with different stakeholders in the Middle East like the healthcare authorities, policy makers, patient groups, and media by adopting new creative and nontraditional approaches in order to shape the healthcare environment and health systems and help as many patients have access to quality healthcare.
Maya works closely with the Ministry of Health in pursuing collaborative solutions and diagnosing main gaps in disease awareness and management. She has shaped the direction of the national breast cancer awareness campaigns by introducing new creative themes targeting nontraditional audience and this led to an increase in screening in remote areas by more than 20%. The national campaigns received international awards.
Maya also works with Patient Advocacy Groups (non-governmental organizations focused on patient support) and Media agents - she launched the first accredited Capacity Building Program in the Middle East with the American University of Beirut - built the individual, organizational and policy capacities of Patient Advocacy Groups and Media to help them lead an advocate role and promote for patient-outcomes-focused Healthcare systems.
“Even in the corporate world, if you want to make a difference, you need to have an entrepreneurial way of thinking. It helps you bring new ideas to the table and always suggest creative approaches and target non-conventional customers and stakeholders to solve traditional problems.”
Maya received the AACSB award - chosen among the first 100 AACSB Influential Leaders who are making an impact in the world through their business acumen, leadership and entrepreneurial success.