Donna Huang: 40 Under 40 2015

Head of corporate affairs, cardiovascular, respiratory, and mature brands, AstraZeneca

In eight years with AstraZeneca, Donna Huang has proven herself a skilled leader, disciplined communicator, and the person everyone wants on their team whether responding to a crisis or launching a product.

"Donna is the best communications lead of the many I have worked with," says Paul Spittle, VP of cardiovascular and respiratory at AstraZeneca. "For me, she’s the one person I always go to for a second opinion. She also delivers outside of her role, as a key member of my leadership team. Donna is highly respected, despite being the youngest in the department by some distance."

As a leader in the pharmaceutical company’s corporate affairs division, Huang expertly maps out strategy to advance the group’s portfolio, including brand communications, government affairs and policy, and advocacy and alliance work. She’s also worked in AstraZeneca’s US marketing organization and as the global brand communications senior director and global PR lead for the antiplatelet medication Brilinta.

Her expertise spans multiple therapeutic areas, including neuromuscular, women’s health, infections, sleep disorders, oncology, urology, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal. The versatile Huang also spent time on the agency side, working for Dorland Global Health Communications and in the nonprofit sector at the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

AstraZeneca recognized her smooth handling of a global crisis during a "highly visible inquiry into a company product" with both a US and Global Corporate Affairs Award and a CEO Award.

Her mantel may be getting crowded as she won more than 10 PR industry and
communications awards in 2009 alone for a groundbreaking atherosclerosis disease education program.

Another Huang-led PR campaign resulted in 1,000-plus events, a 129% increase in awareness, 50% conversion to treatment, and a 35,000-patient database.

"She anticipates trends, thinks strategically, and executes with precision," says Paul Hudson, AstraZeneca’s US president and EVP of North America. "Just as meaningfully as helping leaders lead, Donna has helped me in immeasurable ways. She’s developed a reputation as a great manager who cultivates the next generation of talent."

- Huang tallied up 11 promotions over a 13-year period of her professional career

- She graduated summa cum laude from Boston University, where she was a student athlete in field hockey and earned the Gerald Powers PR Award among other honors

- The active mom of two toddlers takes adult tap and works as an independent Beachbody Consultant to help busy people get healthy and stay off chronic medication

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