Robin Koval is CEO and President of Truth Initiative®, the national public health organization dedicated to achieving a culture where all young people reject smoking, vaping, and nicotine.
Since joining Truth Initiative in 2013, Koval has transformed the national award-winning truth® youth tobacco prevention campaign and grown the organization’s world-class research, youth activism, and digital cessation programs. Under her leadership, truth has prevented millions of young people from becoming smokers and helped drive the youth smoking rate to a historic low of less than 2%. As youth e-cigarette use skyrocketed, Koval expanded the organization’s reach to be a leader in the fight against the youth e-cigarette crisis and all forms of youth nicotine addiction. Research now shows that truth campaign awareness is significantly associated with lower likelihood of vaping among young people 15-24. She has led the expansion of the truth brand to include innovative quitting tools and resources designed to protect and empower young people to live nicotine-free lives, including the first-of-its kind, text message quit vaping program for teens and young adults, This is Quitting, which has enrolled over 570,000 since launch and a national youth e-cigarette prevention curriculum Vaping: Know the truth, now reaching almost 6,000 schools across the country.
Koval has also led Truth Initiative’s efforts to translate its expertise to address our nation’s opioid crisis. The Emmy® Award-winning The Truth About Opioids campaign has been proven to increase knowledge of the risks of opioid misuse among youth and young adults and decrease attitudes around stigma. Truth Initiative is continuing to contribute expertise to this crisis by launching a peer-to-peer opioid misuse prevention digital curriculum modeled after the success of Vaping: Know the truth.
During her tenure, truth has been voted one of the most influential campaigns of the 21st century and named the most effective brand of the year by the American Marketing Association. Fast Company has recognized Truth Initiative as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies and a top ten non-profit organization in 2022.
Prior to joining Truth Initiative, Koval, a highly acclaimed leader in the advertising and marketing world, was co-founder and CEO of the Kaplan Thaler Group, which she grew from a fledgling start-up in 1997 to a billion-dollar agency working with leading brands such as Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, Wendy’s, and Aflac. She was named CEO when her agency merged with Publicis to become Publicis Kaplan Thaler and led the 700-person agency to become the fifth largest in New York City. In addition, Koval is a New York Times best-selling author. She and co-author Linda Kaplan Thaler have written several books, including Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary, The Power of Nice, and The Power of Small.