You’re on a mission to solve some of the greatest health challenges of our time. We’re driven to make sure your mission becomes a reality. As an entirely life science-focused communications agency, we’ve embraced the concept of going a mile-deep instead of a mile-wide.
Backed by decades of experience working with hundreds of biotech, digital health and pharma companies, we know the ins and outs of the industry like no one else. Our wide-ranging knowledge helps us pivot quickly and resolve problems effectively, regardless of your disease focus.
Sure, we’re communicators. But we’re also artists, scientists, big thinkers,
storytellers and patient advocates. Above all else, we’re your partners:
launching you to wherever you need to go.
Heidi Chokeir, Ph.D.
In addition to serving as a senior strategy lead, Heidi is CanaleComm’s unofficial chief scientific officer—always ready to “get her geek on” as she dives deep into the science that makes each client unique.
Since joining CanaleComm in 2011, Heidi has put to use her background in science, innate storytelling skills and strategic thinking for clients ranging from the smallest of venture-backed biotech startups to the largest healthcare company in the world. She’s passionate about simplifying scientifically complex stories into messages that are compelling for audiences important to life science companies, including investors, potential partners and patients.
“The best part of my job is being able to dig into some of the coolest science in the world without having to come home with Coomassie blue stains on my clothes.”
Heidi has planned and implemented award-winning public relations campaigns resulting in media coverage by outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, IN VIVO, BioCentury, BioWorld Today and Biotech Nation. Prior to CanaleComm, Heidi served as account supervisor at Russo Partners, working primarily with early-stage biotech companies and research institutions.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry with a minor in mathematics from Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in macromolecular and cellular structure and chemistry from The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego.
When not hosting elaborate dinner parties, Heidi likes to relax with a glass of cabernet while playing her antique piano.
Jason mixes a background in science with more than 15 years of experience in life science business communications.
His experience covers corporate communications, investor relations and public relations for early stage private startups, as well as for commercial-phase publicly held companies. He has led corporate brand communications, investor communications, M&A communications and crisis communications programs, and has spearheaded successful campaigns around FDA approvals and product launches. Due to his work developing award-winning investor and public relations programs, clients have received widespread recognition through top-tier placements in print, broadcast and online media.
Prior to joining CanaleComm in 2010, Jason was a vice president in the life sciences division of Porter Novelli’s health care practice. Jason was one of the original employees at Atkins + Associates, a life science communications agency that was later acquired by Porter Novelli.
Previously, he served as a regional marketing representative for the Varsity Group, an agency deploying strategic marketing campaigns for organizations such as Ben & Jerry’s and Habitat for Humanity.
Jason currently serves as the president of the San Diego chapter of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI). He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego, where he earned a major in biology and a minor in economics.
Since joining CanaleComm in 2013, Ian has provided leadership and strategic direction to numerous client accounts, with an emphasis on media relations and investor-facing communications. He has created and implemented strategic communications platforms for life science companies at virtually every stage of development, with projects that range from launching an initial corporate identity, to announcing venture rounds and clinical data, and supporting IPOs, commercial product launches and company acquisitions. Ian’s work has led to client news coverage in media outlets that reach key audiences, including industry, investor, medical and mainstream publications.
“It’s a privilege to focus my career and apply my talents to support companies whose advances in healthcare will create a better world for my children.”
Prior to joining CanaleComm in 2013, Ian served as an assistant vice president and led a San Diego office for New York-based Russo Partners. Earlier in his career, he supported communications in oncology and other disease areas for Pfizer’s La Jolla Research and Development campus. Ian received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of California, San Diego. Outside of work, he can often be found hiking or visiting theme parks with his wife and three children.
Senior Vice President
Steve has a distinguished reputation for establishing and building investment relations programs, cultivating relationships with Wall Street analysts, and consistently increasing companies’ exposure with the investment community. He has been a leader on teams that have raised over $750 million in capital, while also working closely with senior management and public company boards to drive strategic business and financial decisions. He is a versatile finance and communications executive that has worked with companies from early development stage to established commercial organizations, primarily in the technology and life science sectors. Steve is a strong and accountable leader with demonstrated excellence and measurable results in challenging environments.
Most recently, Steve was Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications at Organovo, Inc. (NASDAQ:ONVO), where he created and executed the first investor relations and corporate communications program for this developmental stage biotechnology company. He was a strategic partner and counsel to the senior executive team and board of directors in supporting critical business decisions and multiple capital markets transactions. He built consensus on key messages and created and delivered all stakeholder content. He grew relationships with industry analysts, nearly doubled the firm’s institutional investor ownership and helped execute over $45 million in capital raising activity.
Steve was previously Executive Director, Finance and Investor Relations at Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM), where he established and executed the first investor relations program for this $525 million revenue satellite communications and technology leader. He was a strategic partner and counsel to the senior executive team and board of directors. He created and delivered all press releases, executive presentations, quarterly earnings scripts and annual reports. Steve also developed relationships with industry analysts, designed and implemented a proprietary investor targeting program, and collaboratively planned and executed over $300 million in capital raising activity.
As Executive Director, Finance and Investor Relations at Centennial Communications Corp (NASDAQ:CYCL; purchased by AT&T), Steve developed and executed the first investor and financial media relations program for this $1 billion revenue telecommunications services leader. Prior to that, he was an Investor Relations Director at AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), where he designed and implemented a comprehensive shareholder outreach strategy. Earlier in his career, Steve was Manager, Capital Markets Intelligence at NASDAQ OMX (formerly Thomson Financial), where he advised Fortune 500 clients in several industries on investor relations program development.
Steve served for eight years as a First Lieutenant, Troop Executive Officer and Platoon Leader for the 1/104th Cavalry Squadron, U.S. Army. He currently serves as a San Diego Chapter board member for the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI). Steve holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Delaware, with a dual major in Finance and Management. He is also fluent in Hungarian.
With over 15 years of biotechnology industry experience, both in and out of the lab, Vice President Carolyn Hawley is a valued client contact and strategic lead for a range of life science companies in both public and investor relations.
Carolyn has deep experience serving clients across the industry spectrum, including therapeutic development, venture capital, research tools, diagnostics and hospitals. With a background in science, Carolyn is noted for her strength in understanding technical concepts and translating them into accessible communications that educate investors, journalists and the public.
Carolyn has long-standing relationships with key members of the life science and general business media and is adept at helping to shape influential press coverage. Her media relations efforts have secured placements for clients in top tier publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Reuters and TIME Magazine, and she regularly nets hits in well respected trade publications such as Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, BioWorld Today, BioCentury and Xconomy. She has worked with several clients to implement social media influencer mapping projects and social media monitoring.
Prior to joining CanaleComm, Carolyn served as a senior account executive at Porter Novelli Life Sciences. Before that, she held sales and marketing positions for life sciences tools companies Stratagene (now owned by Agilent) and Applied Biosystems (part of ThermoFisher Scientific). She started her career in manufacturing for Chiron Diagnostics (now Novartis).
Carolyn holds a bachelor of science in cell and developmental biology from University of California, Santa Barbara.
When she’s not thinking about science, science and science, she is exercising the right part of her brain with creative outlets such as whipping up the famous lemon cheesecake for the annual CanaleComm holiday potluck or trying to finish the baby quilt for her four-year old son.
Vice President, Creative Director
Ben oversees the growing creative department at CanaleComm, providing strategic and tactical direction to visual communications projects of all shapes and sizes.
From planning and directing photo shoots to developing logos and custom scientific illustrations, Ben is adept at differentiating life science brands through inspiring artwork and visual style.
Ben has worked with a wide range of companies throughout his career, with a specialty in the biotech and healthcare industries.
Previously, as brand manager at Millennium Health, he played a strategic role in creative design, direction and implementation for internal and external branding, collateral, advertising and media campaigns. Ben also has worked with leading branding and advertising firms, including Russell Branding and Arnold Worldwide.
Ben hails from Boston and attended Salem State University in Massachusetts, where he earned a degree in art and design and web design.
Chief Executive Officer
Carin Canale-Theakston is CEO of Canale Communications Inc., where she also serves as the chief culture officer, principal strategist and resident sommelier.
Carin is involved at some level with every client, providing communications insights to life science executives and contributing to strategic planning. She founded CanaleComm in 2010 after serving as president of the life sciences division of international public relations firm Porter Novelli—and before that, as managing partner of boutique life sciences firm Atkins + Associates.
Given her prominence in Southern California’s biotech industry, few people realize Carin’s public relations career began in the technology world, working with companies making faster phones and first-generation tablets. But more than two decades ago, as the tech market was crashing, Carin leapt into the biotech sector, defining her role in an even more exciting innovation industry.
“During my tenure in the biotech industry, I have seen practically every possible biotech victory or crisis play out—so I can provide a level of insight that’s uncanny in the communications agency landscape.”
Carin has supported companies of all types, sizes and stages, ranging from tiny biotech startups and venture capital firms, to the world’s largest healthcare company and everything in between and is viewed as a trusted resource for strategic direction for their companies. It is this approach to her business that led to Carin being awarded an E&Y 2019 Entrepreneur of The Year in the San Diego region.
A sought-after speaker and moderator, Carin serves as vice chair of the board of directors for San Diego-based Biocom, the largest regional life science association in the world, and co-chairs the Biocom Capital Development Committee. She is also a director of the San Diego Venture Group, where her efforts help bring additional investor capital to San Diego’s early-stage life science companies.
Under her leadership, CanaleComm received the Best Places to Work Award from the San Diego Business Journal, and has won dozens of Edward L. Bernays Awards, granted by the Public Relations Society of America’s San Diego chapter. Carin, an active member of the Mission Hills Town Council, also was named “Woman of the Year” in 2016 by California Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins and has been named to the “San Diego 500” list of influential business leaders in the life sciences for the past four years.
Carin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, with a minor in Marketing, from the University of Tulsa. Email her at [email protected] or connect on LinkedIn.
A few of our musings, updates and life science communications tips.