Maya Helbaoui

Maya Helbaoui | 2015 AACSB Influential Leader

Maya  Helbaoui

Communication Manager, Roche Lebanon

Honoree Year: 2015

Alma Mater:

IE Business School


Area of Impact:

Healthcare or Wellness

In her role as communication head at Roche Lebanon, Maya Helbaoui works passionately and diligently to design, direct, and execute disease awareness campaigns that positively impact the people of Lebanon through education initiatives and access to information.

Helbaoui played a key role in developing a breast cancer awareness campaign in Lebanon, which received several international awards, including the annual Valuable Innovation & Vision Awards for Excellence in Communications (VIVA) in 2014 and both the Diamond Sabre for Research and Planning for Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign and the Gold Sabre for Best Public Education Campaign in 2015.

Helbaoui took on the exciting challenge to deliver a campaign that aimed to tackle the findings of a 2013 study conducted by Roche. After 12 years of successful campaigns, the findings showed that the messages surrounding breast cancer awareness, although highly successful with middle- and upper-class women, did not reach the rural class, who also have a high need for awareness and education. Breast cancer awareness campaigns have traditionally targeted women, but Helbaoui challenged this approach and decided to explore the non-market, men. Thanks to her business insights, creativity, and successful delivery of her idea to the Ministry of Health, she obtained the buy-in of Roche and its key stakeholders to develop a 360 campaign that would encourage men to remind the women in their lives to get periodic check-ups. Helbaoui ´s work succeeded in engaging rural men in the discourse of breast cancer, a segment of the population that campaigns did not address in the past.

Helbaoui built an educational element into the campaign that strongly complemented the multichannel strategy of TV, radio, social media, and print. These initiatives included brochure distribution to all hospitals, pharmacies, healthcare centers, and NGOs, and lectures that were delivered across the country, especially in rural areas. The most important part of the campaign was the collaboration with public and private hospitals and medical centers that allowed for free and reduced-price mammography, increasing access to testing. The outcome of the media efforts combined with the education component resulted in a 20 percent increase in mammography screenings compared to the previous year.

The most important and distinguishing factor of the campaign is the outstanding feedback it received and the great reach among the Lebanese population from all sociodemographics; it created a positive vibe and word-of-mouth awareness. We are extremely proud of Helbaoui’s contributions to society via the campaigns she creates in her role at Roche and the ways she puts the business and humanities knowledge she learned at IE into practice every day.

Helbaoui proved her ability to turn an idea into reality. She identified an opportunity to reframe a traditional message and took risks in the implementation. Her utilization of her business background and her drive to impact society in a positive way ultimately led to the potential for saving many lives.