Communicator of the Year



Kate Griffin, ABC, Named IABC/San Diego’s 2020 Communicator of the Year

We are thrilled to announce that Kate Griffin, Director of Employee Communications at Qualcomm, is the recipient of IABC/San Diego’s 2020 Communicator of the Year (COTY) Award.

Kate is an IABC-accredited business communicator with more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing communications strategies that enable companies to inform, engage and motivate global audiences and targeted groups.

The IABC/San Diego COTY Award recognizes one greater San Diego area-based leader who demonstrates strategic excellence in communication and serves as an outstanding example to others though the quality of his or her work and contributions to the communications profession.

“As an award-winning and IABC-accredited business communicator, Kate is the consummate professional leveraging her extensive knowledge and skills to effectively execute employee communications strategies. We value her contributions to the communications field, at work and with IABC, and are thrilled to recognize her with the 2020 IABC/San Diego COTY Award,” said Jan McGinn, president of IABC/San Diego.”

During her 13 years at Qualcomm, Kate has held a variety of different roles. She is currently the Employee Communications lead for Qualcomm’s corporate functions, and its Automotive and Internet of Things business units. She also has oversight of Qualcomm’s news intranet and strategic leadership communication initiatives. Since January, Kate has served as the communications lead for Qualcomm’s Emergency Operations Team as it navigates the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kate has also devoted a significant amount of her time to supporting the communication community and helping to further the profession. She served eight terms on the IABC/San Diego board, two as chapter President. She also served on the board for IABC’s Pacific Plains Region. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including two IABC Gold Quill and two IABC Silver Quill awards. In 2013, she was named to San Diego Metro’s 40 under 40.

“I’m grateful to IABC for this recognition and for the professional and personal development opportunities I’ve enjoyed as a member of this organization,” said Griffin. “I feel fortunate to have had a career full of diverse, challenging and interesting work that has allowed me to continue to grow as a business communicator. To have my contributions recognized by a committee of peers in such a talented field is an honor.”

IABC/San Diego recognized Kate Griffin as our 2020 COTY on June 24. Kate is an award-winning, IABC-accredited business communicator with more than 20 years of experience driving effective internal communications strategies. 

Watch a recording of our fireside chat with Kate, using password: 9G=88?@L.


Call for Nominations: 2021 Communicator of the 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 in January 11, 2021. The deadline to submit a nomination is March 12, 2020.

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.

To nominate a candidate for the COTY or Junior COTY, please send a short summary statement on why the nominee is deserving, touching on the necessary criteria, to Full COTY awards criteria, eligibility and nomination information can be found below. 

The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 12, 2021. The winner will be named as the 2020 COTY and 2020 Junior COTY during a special event in May 2020.

Nominations will be kept confidential and will not be made public at any time; however, a judge from the panel of IABC/San Diego current, past, and future presidents may follow up to ask additional questions about your nomination. Nominators do not necessarily need to be affiliated with the nominee.

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. 4, 2020
  • 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:

If you have additional questions about the COTY, please email Liz Neely, IABC/San Diego Director or Recognition, at

Learn More about Past IABC/San Diego COTY Winners