The IABC Fellow Designation

The highest honor IABC bestows on our members

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. Fewer than 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.

Adrian CropleyAdrian Cropley, OAM, FRSA, SCMP, ABC

Adrian Cropley has a boundless passion for the communication profession, accomplishing continuously noteworthy contributions for three decades. Throughout his career, he has been one of the most visible supporters and proponents of development and advocacy for the communication profession, serving as a role model and a seasoned mentor to those exploring their own career path. He has a notable list of contributions as an author and speaker. In addition, he has participated in leadership at every level of IABC and consistently used his strong home base to contribute to national and regional/international development of IABC. Adrian is a global champion for IABC and our profession.

Diane Gayeski, Ph.D.

A global influencer and thought leader in the communication profession, Diane Gayeski’s work as an educator and consultant has represented the global profession and the application of communication excellence on an international level. A driving force behind the conversation about leading trends and about challenging the status quo of our profession, Diane has been active in publishing and presenting at conferences that span academia and industry—bringing insights and research from academia to the profession and vice-versa. Her contributions to IABC are equally prolific—having held multiple IABC roles at the local, regional and international levels. Through her teaching, scholarship and leadership activities, Diane is working to build greater understanding of the applications and opportunities for professional communication and a pathway for future professionals.

Barbara Gibson, Ph.D., ABC

Barbara Gibson’s career has spanned the full spectrum of business communication, including public relations, corporate communication, public affairs, marketing, employee communication, and community relations.  Her contributions to the field of communications extend beyond traditional roles in organizations to academic and political pursuits, as well. Her global contributions as an author, lecturer and presenter have spanned many topics, including intercultural communications, public relations campaign strategy and management, public speaking, management communication, and leadership/teambuilding.

Barbara has not only served as an IABC leader throughout her career but has also been a mentor to dozens of individual members and chapter boards, as well as a highly sought-after speaker.

Rajeev Kumar, Ph.D., ABC

In a career spanning roles as a colonel in the Army, a Ph.D. in organizational communication (Fulbright Fellow) and professor in a business school, a communication consultant, teacher and trainer, Rajeev Kumar is an author and recognized speaker with a significant profile regionally, across many cultures and languages. Rajeev has a strong commitment to the profession and IABC, demonstrated through local and regional and international leadership roles. Rajeev’s work and references reinforce his commitment to the IABC values and he is a brand ambassador for the association in all aspects of his professional life.

Nerissa (Ritzi) Villarico Ronquillo, APR

In a career spanning almost four decades, Ritzi Villarico Ronquillo has become not just an influencer but a catalyst for advancing the profession and elevating the standard of professionalism in practice within her native Philippines. Ritzi moves the profession forward as a coach, trainer, strategic adviser, awards judge, and leader. Ritzi’s continued advocacy for excellence in business communication and public relations is noted especially for authenticity and good governance as being necessary to having communication excellence. Ritzi has an impressive list of articles and presentations and is a respected international voice for the communication profession. Her path of involvement in IABC is inspiring—with mentorship leading to volunteer growth with advancement to leadership roles locally, regionally and internationally.

The Fellows Selection Committee accepts nominations through an online application form from early September through the end of October. 

To maintain the prestige of the Fellow Designation, IABC will bestow the designation on no more than five people in any one year. 

Eligibility criteria for nominees:

  • Only members of IABC in good standing* are eligible to be nominated to be IABC Fellows.
  • It’s preferred, but not mandatory, that the nominee has been a member of IABC for at least five years. (The years of membership do not have to be consecutive.)
  • Current members of the executive board and anyone who has served as IABC Chair in the past three years are not eligible.

*Nominee has not been found in violation of IABCs Code of Ethics for Professional Communication

Evaluation criteria: 

All eligible nominee applications will be scored by the members of the IABC Fellows Committee using an executive-board–approved, objective rubric, as well as committee discussion. The evaluators consider the following areas:

  • Contribution to, and leadership in, organizational communication
  • Career achievement
  • Authorship, speaking and lecturing
  • Contributions to IABC
  • Demonstrated alignment with IABC’s shared values and brand

In line with IABC’s Diversity and Inclusion policy, the Fellows program is committed to increasing the diversity of the applicant pool in the Fellows open call by actively seeking candidates in under-represented markets, and to actively consider diversity factors in the selection process.

For more details on the program and how to nominate someone, see the Fellow nomination briefing packet.

Questions? Reach out to us at 

2020: Adrian Cropley, OAM, FRSA, SCMP, ABC

2020: Diane Gayeski, Ph.D.

2020: Barbara Gibson, Ph.D., ABC

2020: Rajeev Kumar, Ph.D., ABC

2020: Nerissa (Ritzi) Villarico Ronquillo, APR

2019: Martha Muzychka, ABC, MC

2019:  Neil Griffiths, ABC

2018: John Finney

2018: Stacy Wilson, ABC

2018: Todd Hattori, ABC

2017: Cindy Schmeig, ABC, SCMP

2017: Brenda Siler

2017: Lee Hornick

2016: Priya Bates, ABC, MC, SCMP

20:16: Alice Brink, ABC

2016: Mary Hills, ABC

2016: Ned Lundquist, ABC

2016: Bish Mukherjee, ABC

2015: Kellie Garrett, MC

2015: John Gerstner, ABC

2015: Amanda Hamilton-Atwell, ABC

2015: Jim Lukaszewski, ABC

2015: Anna Marie Willey, ABC, MC

2014: George McGrath

2014: John Deveney, ABC

2014: Jennifer Wah, ABC, MC

2014: Tamara Gillis, ABC

2014: Mark Schumann, ABC

2013: Lorraine Lennon, ABC

2013: Suzanne Salvo

2013: Elpi Cuna

2013: Mary Ann McCauley, ABC

2012: John Clemons, ABC,

2012: Barbara Puffer, ABC

2011: Paul Sanchez, ABC, APR

2010: Annette Martell, ABC, MC

2010: William Briggs, Ed.D.

2009: Joe Williams

2009: Pixie Malherbe Emslie, ABC

2008: Angela Sinickas, ABC

2007: Connie Eckard, ABC, Ph.D.

2007: Sheri Rosen, ABC

2006: Leticia Narvaez, ABC

2005: Shel Holtz, ABC

2005: Roberta (Bobbie) Resnick, ABC, APR, MC

2004: Tudor Williams, ABC

2003: Anne Forrest

2002: Don Ranly, Ph.D.

2001: Robert Dilenschneider

2000: Ian Hawkins, ABC

1999: Jim Shaffer

1998: Norman Leaper, ABC

1998: Ron E. Martin, ABC

1997: Lester R. Potter, ABC

1996: Brad Whitworth, ABC, SCMP

1995: Sharon Paul, ABC

1994: Jean Cormier, APR

1993: Frederic Halperin, ABC

1992: Christopher Bunting, ABC

1992: Robert Berzok, ABC

1991: David Orman

1991: Albert Wann, ABC, APR

1990: Thomas Ruddell, ABC

1989: Rae Leaper, ABC

1989: Donn Silvis, ABC

1988: Wilma Mathews, ABC

1988: Jerome Blackstone

1987: No award given

1986: Richard Wilmot, APR

1986: Alvie L Smith, APR

1985: Louis C. Williams Jr., ABC, APR

1985: Lynda Stewart, ABC

1984: Roy G. Foltz, ABC, APR

1984: John N Bailey ABC, CAE

1984: Kay M Staib, ABC

1983: No award given

1982: John Aspery, ABC

1980: Dorothy J. Hobbs, ABC

1979: Walter G Anderson, ABC

1978: Roger D’Aprix, ABC

1977: Wally Court, ABC, APR, MC

1977: Downs Matthews, ABC

1976: Lawrence Ragan, ABC

1976: Robert Russman, ABC

1975: Myron Emanuel, ABC

1974: Henry Bachrach, ABC

1973: Patricia Walker O’Neil, ABC

1973: Jacob Wittmer, ABC

1972: James R. Douglas, ABC

1972: Mort Legget, ABC

1971: DeWitt Reddick, ABC

1970: Walter Beach, ABC

1970: Robert Newcomb, ABC