Those are words that are often used to characterize Charlene Prounis. Throughout her career, Charlene has been in the business of doing things that help clients, brands, patients, employees, and our industry. She helped found two award-winning agencies, Flashpoint Medica and Accel Healthcare. Both were brand leaders — generating strong business results for clients with award-winning creative, and helping physicians and patients achieve better health outcomes.
What truly stands out is Charlene’s commitment to developing people, believing in the advancement of women, and helping today’s millennials learn the advertising business. This is reflected in her focus on training within her own agencies and her work with the HBA and MAHF.
Her first agency was Accel Healthcare, started in 1999, which grew in 5 years to become a $20M company. In 2004, the company was sold to Omnicom and merged with Corbett, becoming Corbett Accel Healthcare Group, itself one of the top 10 agencies in the industry at the time.
Charlene helped launch her next agency, Flashpoint Medica, in 2005. Flashpoint grew rapidly, was awarded “Agency of the Year” honors in 2010, and was a finalist in 2104 and 2016. The agency won more than 60 creative awards, and counted many blue-chip companies as its clients, including Amgen, Genentech, Celgene, Gilead, Novartis, and Pfizer. During her time at Flashpoint, Charlene was also recognized in 2014 as MedAdNews’ “Medical Advertising Person of the Year.”
Charlene graduated in 1976 from Queensborough Community College with a degree in Nursing, and then went on to get her BSN, magna cum laude, from Adelphi University, as well as an MBA, from St. John’s University. She began her career as a Professional Sales Representative for Searle (which later merged into Pharmacia and then Pfizer). Her first job in pharmaceutical advertising was in 1986 at the Grey Healthcare Group (GHG). Charlene cut her professional teeth at GHG and quickly grew as a leader, rising through the ranks to SVP, Director of Client Services and then SVP, Director of Business Development. In 1999, after 12 years at GHG, Charlene started Accel Healthcare.
Charlene has been deeply committed to diversity and inclusion in the healthcare industry. She has been very active in the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA). She served as the organization’s President two times, and helped transform the HBA from skill building evening meetings to a cutting-edge organization. Charlene continued to be involved with the HBA for a number of years as a board member, chapter mentor and now on the “Past President/Chair Emeritus” committee.
In recognition of her exemplary service, Charlene was twice recognized with the prestigious HBA STAR (Strategic Transformation Achievement Recognition) award, the only person to ever receive it two times from the HBA.
Charlene took an active role in the MAHF (Medical Advertising Hall of Fame) as she believed in the biopharma industry and wanted to continue to give back. While on the board, Charlene transformed the MAHF to include an educational focus for the millennials to learn our business.
She created the Young Executives’ Night Out educational seminar, which quickly became an annual event with 150 attendees and top CEOs/executives teaching the classes, the “Future Famers” (in collaboration with Sharon Callahan, CEO of TBWA Worldhealth), the “View from the Top” CEO Panel, where again, industry CEOs would talk about the business, their career and facilitate a roundtable discussion, and the “Mentoring Breakfast” where the MAHF inductees would talk to the “Future Famers.”
Charlene also serves as the Vice Chair of the CUNY Queensborough CC (City University of New York) Fund Board, Board Member for The Floating Hospital, a healthcare provider to the underserved and homeless in NYC, Past President of the Healthcare Women’s Business Association, and now currently on the Past Presidents’ Task Force and plays a contributing role in Spectrum Designs – a 501c organization that creates meaningful work for young adults with autism.
Charlene is currently “retired,” which means she’s still working passionately on a variety of things. She serves on the corporate board of W20, a large communications company in the healthcare space. She is also lending her marketing expertise in helping her daughter launch a fine jewelry business.
Charlene’s many achievements can be summed up in saying that, in the perception of many, she has been the backbone of the medical advertising industry. She was always at the forefront in terms of entrepreneurship, innovation, excellence, and empowerment. In her smarts, passion, caring, and determination, she represented us at our very best. And, for that, she’s earned a place in the MAHF.