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.

Selection criteria 

A recipient is chosen based on:

  • Commitment to advocating the principles of the Global Standard of the Communications Profession in practice, locally and globally.
  • Impact at the grass-roots level for driving engagement in the GCCC certification program in their chapter, region or workplace.
  • Service in a leadership position toward advancing IABC’s mission to share best global communication practices, ideas, and experiences that will enable the development of highly ethical and effective performance standards for our profession.


2019: Adrian Cropley, OAM, FRSA, SCMP

Adrian CropleyOver the past 30 years, Adrian has led communication departments and consulted to organizations worldwide. Since 2004 he has run Cropley Communication, an award-winning agency and founded the Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence in 2016, where a global faculty of senior communication professionals deliver research, insight, training and development across five continents.

In leadership roles within IABC including Chair in 2011-2012, he spearheaded the development of the IABC Career Road Map, developing the strategy and building a team of professionals to deliver the Global Standard for the communication profession which saw the creation of the GCCC and CMP, SCMP certifications, a revamped and aligned Gold Quill Award evaluation process and the implementation of the IABC Academy.

See the press release

2018: Nancy Helledie

Nancy Helledie is a senior strategic business communication professional with international experience from working in the field in over twenty countries. She both embodies and advocates the uniqueness and value of a global standard in the communication profession. In a career spanning more than 25 years, including vice president roles at two market-leading companies while based in Europe—Tetra Pak and Borealis/Borouge—and now as senior advisor at Suncor in Calgary, Nancy has retained her IABC membership. She has served as director of professional standards on the IABC Calgary Chapter Board for the past three years.

Click the button below to view the 2018 Chair’s Award press release.

Press Release


2017: Terry Cerisoles, CMP

Terry Cerisoles is Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications for the American Cancer Society, the largest nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer. A member of executive management and reporting to the CEO, she leads teams in public and media relations, issue management, multimedia, executive and internal comms and strategic planning. Her long history as an IABC member includes serving on the International Board of Directors as Treasurer for two terms, Chairing the Investment Committee and serving on the Audit, Finance and Gold Quill program committees. She is also Vice President of Membership for her home chapter in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her CMP in the inaugural class of 2015.

2016: Sue Heuman, ABC

Sue Heuman, ABC, was accredited in in 1995 and has spent 35 years in corporate communication and consulting. She is a long-time IABC volunteer at the local and international levels and has been a member of IABC for more than 30 years. Among her volunteer terms with IABC, Heuman has served on the board of her local chapter, acted as World Conference track chair and co-chair, led the chapter relations task force, and has volunteered with both the accreditation and certification programs. Heuman is currently the chair of the Global Communication Certification Council, and is the coowner of Focus Communications in Edmonton, Alberta, a communication and marketing agency serving all sectors.

2016: Janet McCormick, Ph.D.

Janet McCormick, Ph.D., a professor at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), has been educating students on the nuances of effective communication for nearly 30 years. She joined MTSU in 2002 and has since been an integral contributor to their rapidly growing Organizational Communication (ORCO) major and minor. McCormick began the student chapters of IABC at Spalding University in 1994 and MTSU in 2004, serving as faculty advisor. As a great believer in the significance of degrees and certifications as representative of expertise on a global stage, McCormick was thrilled to be selected as the inaugural chair of the Global Communication Certification Council. She had the opportunity to lead a tremendous team of communication experts in the development and launching of the first level of certification—the CMP.

2015: Neil Griffiths, ABC

Neil Griffiths is Internal Communications Manager at Environmental Resources Management. Neil has worked in communication management for 10+ years in public, private and non-profit organisations. Neil graduated with degrees in French & German (Sheffield, UK) and Public Relations Management (McGill, Canada). Neil has served on several global committees within IABC, most recently as part of the inaugural Global Communications Certification Council. Neil is a Past Chair of IABC’s EMENA region and in 2013 was IABC’s Regional Leader of the Year. In 2015, Neil received the Rae Hamlin Award for services to professional certification. Neil has co-authored two studies on the current and future state of the communication profession and has spoken on the topic at several conferences.

2014: Shawna Cass, ABC

Shawna Cass, ABC, is a freelance communications consultant with almost 20 years of experience in government, non-profit and agency environments. Shawna has been an active IABC member since 1995 and was initially actively involved with the IABC Edmonton chapter, where she served on the local board and has since volunteered in many other ways, including for the national Silver Leaf and Gold Quill Awards programs. She’s now based in Clemson, South Carolina.

After achieving her ABC in 2007, Shawna focused her efforts on helping candidates make their way through the most feared part of the accreditation process – the examination – in any way she could. She started by grading exams and creating a new sample examination for candidates before serving as Director of Examiners twice – from July 2010 to December 2011, and as a co-director with Mary Ann McCauley, ABC, to help close out the program in 2013. She focused on making sure members received the coaching and support they needed to successfully navigate their way through this final step towards achieving their ABC, and to approach it as a valuable part of their accreditation journey.

Shawna is a talented writer and problem solver and has a great ability to connect with people at all levels. She has been part of teams that won IABC Capital Awards (coordinated through the Edmonton Chapter), a Silver Leaf Award (Canada’s national awards program) and a Gold Quill. She also led communications projects and teams that won awards for innovation and service excellence through the Government of Alberta.

2013: Lana Collins, ABC, and Mark Estes, ABC

Lana Collins, ABC, from Newfoundland, Canada, is the director of project communications for the Workplace Health, Safety & Compensation Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador, an employer-funded no fault insurance system serving more than 19,000 employers in Newfoundland and Labrador. She volunteers for the Festival 500 and Bannerman Park Foundation’s communication committee in St. Johns, NL. Lana also served as the chair of the IABC Canada East Regional Board from 2010-2011.

Mark Estes, ABC, from Phoenix, Arizona, is a senior corporate communications strategist for the Salt River Project, a public utility providing power and water to two million central Arizona citizens. He’s served as the chairman of the IABC Ethics Committee since 2010, volunteered on the Global Accreditation Council for more than five years, and has been a member of IABC since 1983.

2012: Mary Ann McCauley, ABC

Mary Ann McCauley, ABC, IABC Fellow, is president of Catalyst Communications located in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She provides communication counsel to businesses and nonprofits and specializes in media relations, crisis management and planning at all levels.

A 500 Club member of IABC, Mary Ann has served on the international executive board, the Pacific Plains Region board and the IABC St. Louis and Minnesota chapter boards. She chaired the Accreditation Council, Gold Quill and the former U.S. District Four. She has received the U.S. D-4 Communicator of the Year, IABC Chairman’s Award and the Rae Hamlin Award for volunteer service to accreditation. In addition to IABC, Mary Ann has chaired the boards of Opportunity Partners, Glacier Lakes Chapter of the Audi Club of North America, Minnesota Literacy Council and Cricket Theatre.

2011: Helene Bradley-Ritt, ABC

Helene Bradley-Ritt, ABC, was Unilever’s internal communications director for Asia, Africa, Middle East and Turkey. Her 17-year international career spans broadcasting, management consulting and in-house corporate communications. At Unilever, Bradley-Ritt provided business partnership support to Unilever’s leadership teams by using communication to create employee engagement.

2010: Joanne Kitsos, ABC

Joanne served as a senior consultant for Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Chicago for 15 years until January 2013. She was the associate director of communications for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1991 through 1998 where she managed corporate communication, crisis communication, events, speech writing, marketing and advertising.

She co-authored articles in IABC’s Communication World magazine in 2008 on the value of accreditation and the IABC chapter tool kit to communicate its findings.