Selena

Dhanak

Associate Director, Global Communication

Organon

Built her career working in London agencies with some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies such as Roche, GSK, Takeda, Gilead Sciences, Allergan, and Novo Nordisk

Selena is an experienced healthcare communicator and has built her career working in London agencies with some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies such as Roche, GSK, Takeda, Gilead Sciences, Allergan, and Novo Nordisk.

She began her career in broadcast media before specialising in healthcare communications. Selena has led disease-specific communications programs in areas such as dermatology, hepatitis C, plasma medicines, ophthalmology, chronic migraine and pain relief, as well as running patient advocacy and health policy campaigns.

In 2021, Selena joined the Global Communications team at Organon, a new company with a mission to create a better and healthier every day for every woman.

Outside of work, Selena is passionate about supporting diversity within the PR and communications industry and was selected to be a mentor in the BME PR Pros Mentoring Scheme 2020. In her spare time, you’ll find Selena plugged into a podcast, absorbed in a book, and trying her hand at baking!

Selena graduated with a 2:1 BA Hons in English and Related Literature from the University of York.

Favourite campaign of 2021 and why?

The public conversation and outrage around sexual violence against women was heightened this year, with the tragic murders of Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa and countless other women. Trust in the government and the police institutions is at an all-time low, as women feel unprotected and their safety is being ignored. At fraught times like this, what public institutions say and how they say it matters.

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see the Police Scotland’s That Guy campaign that unapologetically calls out young men and challenges them to take responsibility for ending sexual violence by changing their attitudes and behaviours towards women. The campaign puts the cause of sexual offending where it belongs – with men.

A quote from the campaign video sums up the issue and faces it head on: “Most guys don’t look in the mirror and see a problem. But it’s staring us in the face. Sexual violence begins long before you think it does.”

What I like about this campaign is that it forces the issue of male culpability, rather than shifting the responsibility onto women. It also links to a hub of information that encourages men to continue the conversation and think twice about their behaviour.

Coming from the police, the message is powerful and relatable – and is in stark contrast to the Metropolitan police force’s patronising recommendation for women to ‘flag down a bus’ in response to a dangerous situation.

Who is your communicator of the year?

My communicator(s) of the year is the grassroots political activist group Led By Donkeys. I like that their campaigns take a bold stance on political issues and the guerrilla-style execution is great – often taking the form of tweets plastered on billboards or videos revealing scandals projected onto buildings. It works as an OOH experience and translates brilliantly on social media.

Person of the year?

It’s a bit left field, but I would choose the author Lisa Taddeo as my person of the year. Her novels Three Women and Animal are among the best books I’ve read this year. She brings the subjects of female desire, rage and trauma to life in a way that is compelling and shocking; it’s something we don’t see enough of in mainstream culture. We rarely see women portrayed as multi-faceted when it comes to broaching difficult subjects, so I love that in Animal the anti-heroine is someone we dislike but also sympathise with.

Favourite comfort food?

Cake (any type!)

Film you have watched more times than any other?

Pretty Woman

Song you can’t resist dancing to?

Hey Ya by Outkast

Event you are most looking forward to in the next 12 months?

I would have to say our destination wedding! My partner and I are getting married next September in Spain.