Communicator of the Year 2018



Congratulations to our 2018 Communicator of the Year – Margie Newman!


Margie Newman

Margie Newman, founding partner and managing director of Intesa Communications Group, has been named IABC/San Diego’s 2018 Communicator of the Year (COTY). The COTY Award recognizes one greater San Diego area-based leader who demonstrates strategic excellence in communication.

“Margie is a trusted communications advisor for business executives, elected officials and nonprofit leaders in San Diego, and across the country,” said IABC/San Diego President Kate Griffin, ABC. “In addition to her many professional accomplishments, she is highly engaged in the betterment of our city through her meaningful civic and volunteer service. We are thrilled to present her with our most prestigious annual award.”

Newman is founding partner and managing director of Intesa Communications Group, a San Diego-based communications and government relations firm serving clients nationwide. She is known for her methodical planning, thoughtful work approach and contagious enthusiasm. Working closely with senior management and stakeholders at all levels, Newman is adept at building consensus, aligning an organization around a strategic vision, and preparing it to message it effectively.

“Throughout my career—thanks to many supportive mentors, family and friends— I have had the opportunity to do my best work to advance issues, causes, and client goals that I believe in,” Newman said. “To have a committee of my talented peers recognize this work is an honor, and a validation that one can be successful in business AND leave the community better than you found it.”

Before launching Intesa in 2012, Newman served as media relations and social media manager for The Pew Center on the States, a division of The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C. Before that, she was a principal at Tennessee-based public affairs firm Hall Strategies. Newman began her career in 2002 as a press aide to Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen.

A graduate of Auburn University and proud mother of two young children, Margie was named in 2008 among PR News’ “Top 15 to Watch,” a national award recognizing 15 of the country’s most outstanding public relations professionals. She is a member of the YMCA of San Diego County board of directors, the LEAD San Diego board of directors (IMPACT ’15 & INFLUENCE ’17), and is member of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Public Policy committee. In 2016, Margie was recognized as one of San Diego’s “40 under 40” by SDMETRO Magazine. Most recently, she was named among the San Diego Business Journal’s 2017 “Business Women of the Year.”

Nominations for 2019 Communicator of the Year Opening Later this Year

Do you know a fellow IABC member in the Greater San Diego Area who is a leader in the communication profession? How about a young communication professional who is already doing amazing work? If so, we’d like to hear more. Nominations  for our sixth annual Communicator of the Year (COTY) awards will open later this year.

The COTY and Junior COTY (less than five years of experience in the communication industry), awards recognize two greater San Diego area-based leaders each year who demonstrate strategic excellence in communication. The COTY winners serve as outstanding examples to others through their quality of work and contributions to the communication profession.

The nomination process is easy. Just send a short summary statement on why the nominee is deserving, touching on the necessary criteria, to Entries are evaluated according to the following criteria with equal weight given to each area.

Junior COTY Criteria:

The Junior COTY recognizes a young communication professional who is already displaying exemplary leadership and making their mark on the industry. Junior COTY Criteria is the same as the traditional COTY Criteria (listed below) with one minor difference: The Junior COTY must have less than five years of experience in the communication profession.

COTY Criteria:

Demonstrates strong leadership, management and communication skills
The COTY recognizes the significance of the communication function and includes key communicators in the development of the organization’s strategic plan in order to demonstrate a commitment to engaging key stakeholders. In addition, the COTY embraces a leading role in the delivery of the communication program to entrench a position as the definitive leader of the organization and all that it represents.
The COTY encourages a defined process to measure the impact and effectiveness of the organization’s communication programs.

Develops communication strategies that contribute to the ongoing success of the organization

The COTY has encouraged and endorsed the development of a strategic communication plan identifying core values, key messages, delivery channels, key milestones, and measurements of success.

Uses effective internal and external communications

The COTY has endorsed a formal and informal detailed strategic plan to communicate to all internal and external stakeholders in both traditional and non-traditional formats the vision, objectives and priorities of the organization.

The COTY views communications as a tool to gain greater understanding (and support) among key stakeholders of the challenges and successes of the organization. On an on-going basis the COTY encourages and participates in evolving new and innovative methods of communication.
Communicates to diverse audiences

The COTY takes an active role in multi-faceted, multi-stakeholder communication demonstrating openness and encouraging support for the achievement of the organization’s objectives. The COTY will encourage programs to measure the impact of these efforts and adapt accordingly to achieve the desired communications results.

Exemplifies the role of leader in communication

The COTY will have a demonstrated track record and commitment to both corporate and community citizenship.


  • The organization must be Greater San Diego Area-based.
  • The nominee must have at least one year tenure in their current position as of Jan. 5, 2018
  • The nominee must be an IABC member

Nomination information:

The call for nominations is designed to create dialogue in the Greater San Diego Area communication community. Members and non-members may submit a nomination. Nominations do not have to be for a leader within your own organization – nomination of communication excellence wherever it might be is encouraged. To nominate someone, submit a short rationale (two pages maximum) about the individual, touching on the criteria listed.

Please note:

  • Nominations do not have to be from your own organization
  • IABC members and non-members may nominate; however, the nominee must be an IABC member
  • You may submit more than one nomination
  • Information provided in the nomination will be kept confidential.

Nominations must include:

  • Name of the nominator
  • Contact phone number
  • E-mail address
  • Name of nominee
  • Title and affiliation
  • Written biography with complete career history
  • A complete and concise description of achievements in the above criteria. Entries are evaluated according to the above criteria with equal weight given to each area.

Email nominations to: Any questions should be directed to the IABC/San Diego, Past-President, Sarah Bilyeu at

Learn More about Past IABC/San Diego COTY Winners