Charles “Robin” Hogen, vice president for Communications at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, brings over 30 years of experience in corporate communications, foundation leadership, academic public affairs, and issues management to the Foundation. He has a career-long record of developing powerful, cohesive communications strategies for leading brands, including Merck, United Technologies, Purdue Pharma, and Yale University. Hogen, who joined the Foundation in May 2012, sees his role as “building on RWJF’s reputation for excellence and doing more to advance the Foundation’s influence as the nation’s leading philanthropy developed solely to issues involving the health of all Americans.
In describing his vision for communications, Hogen praises the work of Frank Karel, RWJF’s first vice president for Communications, who elevated philanthropic communications, once an afterthought, to the forefront of funding efforts. As Hogen puts it: “Since Karel, RWJF has always been in the vanguard of strategic communications. My objective is to ensure that communications continue to place a pivotal role in improving the health of our nation.”
Previously, Hogen served as director of strategic communications at Yale University, where he led the university’s efforts to burnish its reputation as a center of excellence in science, engineering, medicine, and the arts. His communications initiatives helped to tell the stories of Yale through videos, podcasts, feature articles, and partnerships with leading media.
Hogen also served as vice president, public affairs, for Purdue Pharma; vice president, external affairs, for the scientific equipment manufacturer Fisher Scientific International Inc.; vice president, communications and public affairs, for the biotech company Hybridon Inc.; executive director, public affairs, for Merck & Co Inc.; and director, corporate contributions and community affairs, for United Technologies Corporation.
While at Merck, Hogen was president of the Merck Company Foundation, re-energizing the philanthropic efforts of the pharmaceutical company and doubling the foundation’s budget. Among his achievements, he conceived and launched the Merck Institute for Science Education, a $20 million initiative to improve the quality of science teaching in elementary schools. He also championed support for Teach for America and the Children’s Health Fund—expanding it internationally to St. Petersburg, Russia. During his tenure at Merck, the company was awarded the Lawrence A. Wien Prize for Social Responsibility.
Hogen earned his BA from Yale University. His past board affiliations include Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE); SoundWaters; the International African Education Foundation; the Phelps Association of Yale University (president); the New England Council; the Conference Board’s Contributions Council (chairman); the New Jersey Business Roundtable’s Education Reform Initiative (founding chair); and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. He is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society.
A self-described “sports nut,” Hogen, who was raised in Chappaqua, N.Y., enjoys skiing, windsurfing, biking, and sailing in Long Island Sound with his wife, who skippers their board “Seaquel” on which they were married.