In 1996, when Tierney Saccavino-Payne joined Acorda Therapeutics, the Ardsley firm was a far cry from the 600-person biotech powerhouse it is now. New to the region, the public-relations pro had gone to a temp agency in New York City looking for work and ended up assisting Acorda’s founder and CEO, Ron Cohen, MD, in launching the company.
“He was renting a supply closet from a headhunting firm and crammed two desks into it,” says Saccavino-Payne, then 38 years old. “I realized after a few weeks I was sitting in this supply closet, very excited about going to work every day.”
Fast-forward to today, and Acorda has built a reputation for developing innovative drugs to treat neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. As executive vice president of corporate communications, Saccavino-Payne has shaped its brand and messaging and is known for developing communication strategies that bring key stakeholders, such as researchers and the local community, together.
Saccavino-Payne has also championed Acorda’s Scientific Excellence Award, which encourages STEM education in Westchester, Putnam, and Fairfield, with the hope of attracting new talent to the field.
“Our passion for improving the lives of patients is the only definition of success that matters here,” she says.