Ten Rising Stars: Caroline Van Hove

Director of corporate communications, Allergan

Director of corporate communications, Allergan

In an appearance-obsessed culture, a storyline like Botox Cosmetics was too good to be ignored. Despite the fact that the drug Botox is over 15 years old and has over 100 uses, the product is now most widely known for its recent use as a cosmetic drug that celebrities and others use to eliminate wrinkles. Like an unintended viral campaign run amok, the cosmetic application has become the butt of many late-night comedians' jokes, generating reams of earned media, but often obscuring its other uses.

"When Botox Cosmetics launched in 2004, people thought it was the first application of the brand," says Caroline Van Hove, director of corporate communications at Allergan, the maker of Botox.

Van Hove, 26, is responsible for balancing Botox's cosmetic success with informing the public about its long-standing therapeutic uses. Van Hove began her career as an intern in the healthcare department at Burson-Marsteller. At that time, she had only recently moved to the US from Belgium, where she was born and was previously studying modern linguistics and German at the University of Antwerp. At that time she did not even know what the acronym FDA stood for.

That start in healthcare was what set her on the course of becoming the younger communications director in Allergan history. Despite her indirect beginnings, Van Hove has no plans to leave the industry.

"It's an industry like no other; healthcare is one of the cornerstone of the economic world," Van Hove says. "It's a highly-stimulating, satisfying industry." Van Hove previously worked at Chandler Chicco Agency, Allergan's agency of record, but joined Allergan in 2004 to gain experience on the corporate side.

"The reason why I changed from CCA to Allergan was that I wanted to get the experience of the commercial standpoint," Van Hove says. "It's an invaluable experience to work with the legal, regulatory, R&D, marketing, and clinical departments."

Gianfranco Chicco, co-founder and principal, Chandler Chicco Agency, says that Van Hove's success stems from her dynamic personality, energy, and determination to speak her mind. "She started contributing to our business from day one above and beyond some people who had been here longer," Chicco says. "It never really occurred to her that something couldn't be done."

Van Hove is not daunted by the challenge ahead, and the company has launched a number of programs to highlight its therapeutic leanings.

Some of those lesser-known uses are for children with cerebral palsy who need the drug to walk, and adults with intense migraines and spasms.

"We've launched some aggressive programs, teaming up with advocacy groups to support them in their goals," Van Hove says. "Your challenge is the halo between therapeutic and consumer arenas, but it's highly gratifying to work with a brand that touches some many people's lives."

  • In this web-exclusive feature, PRWeek.com presents ten profiles of young communications professionals under thirty in a variety of industries, focuses, and roles.

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