LaVoieHealthScience Blog

Back to BIO In Person: An Interview with Donna LaVoie, President & CEO

by Gemma Bakx, SVP, Investor Relations and ESG

GB: Donna, you have been presenting How to Tell Your Company Story in 15 Slides at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization International Convention for many years.  What is your history with BIO, and what are the reasons behind your connection to it?

DL: My first presentation was in 2008 in San Diego.  The team at BIO is committed to training and educating executives on how best to present their story to partners and strategic audiences.  BIO is well known for its ability to provide forums for connections and deal-making. It was in this spirit that the training was launched.  The methodology was born at LaVoieHealthScience and is a trademarked methodology.

GB: How do you explain the sustained success of The LHS 15 Slide Presentation®, and why is it perfectly suited for innovative health and science companies?

DL: As an integrated communications agency serving the biotech, pharmaceutical, and affiliated health and science industry for over 20 years, we developed specific guidance for clients on how to develop and deliver highly effective corporate presentations.  We distilled these recommendations into a proprietary framework that lays out both the content and structure for 15 essential slides that will maximize the impact and value of corporate presentations.  

In the current virtual climate still necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, you will not always be able to take advantage of the inherent persuasiveness and nuance that come from in-person presentations; this means that it is more important than ever to ensure the presentation’s content is clear, well organized, and forceful.  

Many companies in our space are young, understaffed, and really appreciate the tools our methodology provides to put together a succinct and effective presentation.  It helps connect the management team with the company’s story.   This approach will be sure to jump start the efforts in effectively raising the company’s profile. 

GB: LaVoieHealthScience has always focused on and been committed to integrated communications in the biotech and health sciences arena.  How do you explain the increased interest in LHS and in integrated communications in the current turbulent market?

DL: As the market is going through a major correction, our sector has been particularly singled out.  Clients are seeking integrated solutions across the disciplines of PR, social media, IR, and brand.  We have successfully provided our solutions for many companies in our sector since we coordinate the functions, giving them their time back to focus on their companies and development.

GB: You just came back from San Diego. What were the major takeaways from this year’s BIO International Convention?

DL: Despite the rocky market conditions, company representatives came in droves.  The partnering area was packed with people — all focused on getting deals done.   In addition, the mood was high.  People were excited to be back together, enjoying networking with their colleagues.  Deals are about technology and need, but more than that, deals are about people who want to work and innovate together.   I have never seen people so excited and happy.  There is something to be said for giving a hug to a colleague that you have not seen in 2-3 years.

GB: Stocks had their worst week since the beginning of the pandemic, with the S&P 500 dropping 5.8 percent as fears of runaway inflation persist.  What would your key message to health and science companies be right now?

DL: One of the biggest issues for companies is the lack of differentiation and market dominance. With so many companies created in the last several years, it’s hard to keep up.  There’s only enough mindshare for the winners with the best stories, management teams, and products.  It is about the survival of the fittest.   Work on your differentiated positioning — why your company?  We have another trademarked methodology called LHS Immersion® which helps us define a company’s messaging and positioning.  We’ve seen an uptick in demand for this service as well as our integrated communications programs to increase visibility based on the differentiated positioning and storytelling.

Want to discuss your conference and investor relations strategy with our expert team? Connect with Gemma Bakx to get started today at

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