Recognition through IABC

Fostering excellence in the communication profession. IABC/San Diego and IABC International offers awards to recognize the hard work of you, your team and your peers for their contributions to your organization(s) and communication industry.

San Diego Awards

IABC San Diego offers awards to local communicators who excel in their profession and inside their community. In 2023, San Diego Metro teamed up with IABC San Diego to bring SoCal the Communicator of the Year Award.

IABC/San Diego Communicator of the Year Award (COTY). SD Metro logo.

Communicator of the Year (COTY)

IABC/San Diego's annual Communicator of the Year (COTY) award, launched in partnership with SDMetro, recognizes one greater San Diego area-based leader who demonstrates strategic excellence in communication and the Junior Communicator of the Year (less than seven years of experience in the communication industry) recognizes a young communication professional who is already doing amazing work. 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.

Nomination and award timeline

If you know a leader in the communication profession in the Greater San Diego area, nominate them for the COTY award by submitting a short rationale (two pages maximum) about the individual, touching on the criteria listed below. Please note: nominations do not have to be from your own organization. You may submit more than one nomination. All nominations and information contained within is kept confidential.

2023 COTY Awards are closed. 2024 awards will open in February with the award ceremony in April.

COTY 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 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.
  2. 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/or external communication.
  3. The COTY has endorsed a formal and informal detailed strategic plan to communicate to all internal and/or external stakeholders in both traditional and non-traditional formats, including the vision, objectives, and priorities of the organization.
  4. The COTY views communication as a tool to gain greater understanding (and support) among key stakeholders of the challenges and successes of the organization. On an ongoing 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 communication results. Exemplifies the role of leader in communication.
  5. The COTY will have a demonstrated track record and commitment to both corporate and community citizenship.


  • The nominee must work for an organization that is Greater SanDiego Area-based.
  • The nominee must have at least six months tenure in their current position.

Nominations must include

  • Name of nominator
  • Contact phone number
  • Email address
  • Name of nominee
  • Link to LinkedIn profile
  • Complete and concise description of achievements to the above criteria.

Entries are evaluated according to the above criteria with equal weight given to each area. Email nominations to:

Past Junior COTY Winners

(Less than seven years in the communication industry)

International Awards

IABC International offers a premier program to recognize and foster excellence in the field of business communication. For more than 40 years, IABC’s Gold Quill Awards have recognized and awarded excellence in strategic communication worldwide.

Gold Quill Awards

Distinguish yourself and the work of your team by becoming part of the international best practices the IABC Gold Quill Awards represent. This global competition bestows the highest level of professional acknowledgment within business communication.

The Gold Quill Awards are open to members and non-members of IABC. Join strategists; managers; practitioners; corporate, government, and nonprofit communicators; agency executives; photographers; graphic artists; creative conceptualists; tacticians and students as we find the best examples of thought leadership, strategic management, creativity, resourcefulness, and successful solutions across the globe.

IABC/San Diego has Gold Quill award-winning members. Learn about Gold Quill Awards.

Silver Quill Awards

As part of the IABC Pacific Plains region, IABC/San Diego members and non-members have the opportunity to submit their work against the best in the area. Pacific Plains embraces 20 chapters in 19 states from Illinois to Hawaii, from Arizona to North Dakota, including scores of members at-large who live outside local chapter boundaries. The geographic sweep gives members a wide network of colleagues for sharing ideas, asking advice and celebrating successes.

The Silver Quill Awards recognize excellence in business communication and programs that boost revenue, save cost, rally employees, or otherwise contribute to the success of an organization.

IABC San/Diego has Silver Quill award-winning members. Learn about Silver Quill Awards.

Fellow Award

Becoming an IABC Fellow denotes a body of achievement by a communicator who has had a significant impact not only on their organization and IABC, but also on the communication profession at large. Just over 100 of the world’s top communication leaders have earned this superlative designation. It is considered by IABC to be a career achievement designation for the industry. Learn about Fellow Award.

Rae Hamlin Award

Rae Hamlin, ABC, was instrumental in the development and success of IABC’s long-standing accreditation program, a mark of excellence in strategic communication management for over 40 years. In her 25 years with IABC, Hamlin managed and inspired volunteers worldwide to promote this standard, including a stint as an accreditation coordinator on staff at IABC headquarters in San Francisco. She passed away in 2009. This award is bestowed at the IABC World Conference annually in her honor, continuing to recognize exemplary service in advocating the new Global Standard of the Communication Profession. Learn about Rae Hamlin Award.

Chair's Award

The Chair’s Award is conferred annually upon volunteer IABC members whose efforts, which include positively enhancing the organization’s reputation and image, have gone above and beyond that of what volunteers may usually undertake. Selected by the international executive board (IEB) Chair, any current IABC member active for the previous five years may be nominated for the award. The Chair’s Award is presented annually at IABC’s World Conference. Learn about Chair's Award.