Get to Know Our CCO – Christine Cassiano
April 9, 2020
Chief Communications Officer
What was your first job?
I started working at 13 at a bookstore, the precursor to Barnes and Noble, before they had the internet to check your actual age. First at the information desk using microfiche, then at the register. I’d work there after school, on weekends, and full-time during summers. I learned to love books from my mom. We were book worms.
From the time I was in second grade, I knew I wanted to do something that would be broadcast from that massive piece of television furniture we had in the living room. I loved watching the evening news with my dad so I thought my destiny was to be a newscaster. Age cured that but not the general desire. My first corporate job at Sony Pictures learning about public relations made me realize I had chosen the right career track but the wrong industry. I didn’t have the right temperament for the entertainment business. When I found biotech, I found home.
Why did you join Allogene?
I was only at Kite for a short period of time, but I fell in love with what we were doing. I joined Allogene to continue working in cell therapy.
What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?
Day 1. It was this new beginning, filled with the excitement of creating something new. It was filled with all the hope of what’s possible and people who believed in the future.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I’m most proud that I’ve found opportunities to push through the norm or the accepted to create something original and completely different. The highlights of my career are the moments when I’ve been able to breakthrough barriers or the questions from people who asked “why?” and instead make opportunities with like-minded people who embrace the “why not?”
Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?
My parents. My dad was brilliant at finding loopholes, and he taught me from the time I was little how to do the same. He was always positive, didn’t take “no” for an answer, and found creative solutions. His voice in my ear has been instrumental throughout my career. My mom was so strong and wise beyond her years. She came down with cancer at a young age and battled it for a long time before passing away. Her strength and her journey motivate me in my work every day.
What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?
My hope is that one day, what happened to my mom and her early death from cancer is only a story to be told or read about, not re-lived. That we as a society must remind ourselves through storytelling of a time in history when diseases like cancer “used” to happen.