Communicator of the Year


Communicator of the Year Award

The annual Communicator of the Year (COTY) award recognizes one greater San Diego area-based leader who demonstrates strategic excellence in communication. The COTY award winners serve as outstanding examples to others through their quality of work and contributions to the communication profession.

Nominations are reviewed and evaluated by a panel of judges. Winners are named during the annual awards event in May.

Nomination and Awards Timeline

January: Nomination Period Opens
March: Nomination Period Closes
May: Annual Awards Event

2021 Communicator of the Year Nominations – Now Closed

If you know a fellow IABC member in the Greater San Diego Area who is a leader in the communication profession, nominate them for the COTY award. Please read the nomination criteria below.  

The nomination period opens on January 12, 2021 and closes on March 19, 2021. To nominate someone, submit a short rationale (two pages maximum) about the individual, touching on the criteria listed. Send nominations to:

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. 

Please note: Nominations do not have to be from your own organization, but the nominee must be an IABC member. You may submit more than one nomination. Information in nominations will be key confidential. 

Communicator of the Year Criteria

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Uses effective internal and/or 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  • Must have more than 5 years of communications work expereince. 
  • The nominee must have at least one year tenure in their current position as of Jan. 4, 2021
  • The nominee must be a member of IABC,

Junior Communicator of the Year

Do you know someone with less than five years of experience but meets the requirements? Nominate them for a Junior COTY Award. 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 with one minor difference – the Junior COTY must have less than five years of experience in the communication profession.

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

Learn More about Past IABC/San Diego COTY Winners