PM360 2018 Trailblazer Awards Women’s Health Brand Champion Tonya Conklin

Tonya Conklin, Associate Director, Marketing, AbbVie

Endometriosis does not get the attention it deserves, even though an estimated 1 in 10 women are thought to have it. And women rarely bring it up because of the intimate nature of the disease. Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that is similar to the lining of a woman’s uterus begins to grow elsewhere outside the uterus, which creates lesions that can cause debilitating symptoms, such as excruciating pain and heavy bleeding.

Even worse, those who do speak up may be told that they are “overreacting” or that their pain is “all in their heads.” So, it should come as no surprise that even receiving a diagnosis takes up to 6 to 10 years on average. Tonya Conklin was tasked with helping to change these dynamics.

In response, she spearheaded a multichannel disease-awareness campaign called SpeakENDO. Using her years of experience working in women’s health, Tonya honed in on the communication gaps leveraging significant amounts of patient research and helped create compelling campaign messaging. In the end, it focused on each patient’s inner voice and her deep-held knowledge that something was wrong—despite what others told her. By boldly depicting that internal struggle, the campaign provided women with a template for overcoming their hesitation and speaking out on their own behalf.

The launch of the SpeakENDO campaign in January 2018 created a groundswell among endometriosis patients. Women who had endured years of chronic pain and skepticism about their symptoms took up the cry of #SpeakENDO on social media. What’s more, patients quickly began engaging with the tools on, with millions of website visits and hundreds of personal endometriosis stories submitted by real patients.


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