Leadership Awards

Kudos, Cheers, Bravo!

Leadership Awards

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Rising Star | 2022

Lauren Blalock is an account supervisor at Pierpont Communications in Houston, Texas. She works in media relations, thought leadership and crisis communications for clients in the retail, oil and gas, healthcare, energy, finance and professional services industries. Lauren serves as the immediate past president the Houston chapter of IABC.

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Communicator of the Year | 2022

Kareen DiGiovanni is a Senior Vice President at The Northern Trust Company headquartered in Chicago. Currently located in Tempe, Arizona, her role is a Sr. Change Management Consultant where she is committed to creating engagement strategies that are nimble, curated and results driven.

Currently she is consulting, planning and executing change programs for large-scale, global projects in Human Resources, Information Technology and Corporate Real Estate. Working with senior executives and leadership, she leverages her relationships and more than 24 years with the firm to ensure alignment with corporate strategy, business vision and best practices.

In addition to strategic change and communications, she has held a variety of roles in process improvement, project management, benefits administration, and learning and development. She is a Prosci Change Management Certified Practitioner and a member of the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP).

Kareen received a BS degree in Biology and a BA degree in English from Loyola University, and an MS degree...

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Hall of Fame | 2022

Mary Hills, MA, IABC Fellow, ABC, Six Sigma, serves as a Professional/Scholar in Residence in Loyola University Chicago’s MS Global Strategic Communication program and as Professional and Organizational Development Faculty for the Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence. She is co-founder of HeimannHills Marketing Group, Chicago and Phoenix, a strategic marketing and communication firm dedicated to serving large, complex organizations in their drive for excellence and sustainability in a dynamic marketplace.

Mary’s professional career includes serving large corporations such as First Wisconsin National Bank – Milwaukee, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Whiteco Advertising, NiSource, Northern Trust, Unilever and Zebra Technologies. As a member of senior management, her work included research, risk analysis and strategic planning for product launches, market expansion, and change and crisis management.

A believer in life-long learning blended with practical experience, Mary serves academia and organizations in her educational career. She holds certifications...

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Rising Star | 2021

A South Carolina native, Bailey W. Crafton joined the IABC South Carolina board for the first time in 2017. She served as secretary in 2017 and 2018, president-elect in 2019, and president in 2020. Her presidency required tackling COVID-19 and keeping the IABC South Carolina chapter active by holding virtual board meetings and chapter meetings.

While on the board, she has created graphics for the monthly meetings, the June mini-conference, and the fall conference to promote the upcoming events through social media and email campaigns to members. Her design skills help set the IABC/South Carolina communications apart from other related professional development groups in South Carolina. Crafton has also helped develop ways to recognize new members and recent renewals on the chapter’s social media platforms.

During her daily job, Crafton supervises the creative and branding team for Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, an 800+ attorney law firm headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina. Her experience includes work with design, illustration, professional...

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Communicator of the Year | 2021

Carol Poore is president of Poore and Associates Strategic Planning and author of Strategic Impact: A Leader’s Three-Step Framework for the Customized Vital Strategic Plan, published by Fast Company Press in January 2021.

Poore provides strategic planning expertise for corporate, nonprofit, and social sector executive teams, expanding organizational capacity and strategic impact. Her vital strategic planning framework has assisted client organizations with innovative growth and turnaround, strategic fundraising, venture capital development, storytelling, branding, identity building, and civic engagement.

A faculty member at Arizona State University since 2011, Poore teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in leadership for change, public policy, and community development, based in ASU’s School of Public Affairs.

Poore received her Ph.D. in public administration, her MBA, and a Bachelor of Science in journalism and broadcasting from Arizona State University. Her research focuses on social capital and its connection to vibrant community development and...

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Hall of Fame | 2021

Phil Douglis was born in Chicago where he graduated from Highland Park High School and went to the University of Michigan to earn a journalism degree. He spent the early years of his journalism career in New York City working on corporate publications at CIT Financial Corporation and Equitable Life. Then, Douglis moved to Philadelphia to manage communications at Smith, Kline, and French Labs, and later at The Franklin Mint.

Douglis began his IABC journey in 1960 with the New York City chapter of the International Council of Industrial Editors (ICIE), a predecessor of IABC. He founded the IABC Philadelphia chapter in 1967. In 1972, he was in the first group accredited by IABC, and Douglis was named an IABC Fellow in 1981.

He wrote a column on corporate photojournalism for ICIE Reporting Magazine, which became IABC News and later IABC’s Communication World magazine. That column lasted for a half-century: 1964 to 2015.

In 1971, Douglis started a new career by founding The Douglis Visual Workshops, a training service in...

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Rising Star | 2020

An ambassador for the profession, Charnita Mack, has served in various roles from a newspaper designer and reporter to a public relations and social media coordinator to an associate digital director.

Since graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2016, Mack has excelled at keeping up with social media trends and staying ahead of the curve whether she is helping a school with its communications during her daily job or the IABC/South Carolina chapter where she serves as the vice president of communications and webmaster.

Mack continually exhibits a commitment to the profession and the IABC organization.

Connect with Charnita on LinkedIn.


Communicator of the Year | 2020

A conduit for change, Robin McCasland, helped her employees align to the shifting environment, structures, and strategies as a change leader for her organization. She did this by embracing the IABC Global Standard and executing around data and management to bring value to the organization that moved the bottom line. McCasland is one to offer value and make an influence no matter what role she is filling.

In her new role, McCasland was charged with making employee communication channels more effective, responsive, and strategic. She set very challenging goals and her team trusted McCasland, which made them very successful. McCasland’s team can now show how they add value to the business and how they engage employees. Strategic communication professionals, like McCasland, can not only change the corners of their world but can change the entire world.

McCasland has served numerous roles within IABC including past chairman of the International Executive Board, past chairman of the Research Foundation, chapter services director and treasurer of the Southern Region Board of...


Hall of Fame | 2020

Throughout his 45 years with the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center (the Center), David Jones was eager to learn and to innovate the Center’s communications programs, which he leads. By focusing on all six of the IABC Global Standard principles (ethics, strategy, analysis, context, engagement, and consistency), Jones is able to lead his organization to the highest level of excellence. This is evident by the numerous Quill awards of all levels displayed in the Center’s trophy case.

As IABC celebrates its 50th Anniversary, it is important to know Jones was a member before it was IABC. He was a member of the International Council of Industrial Editors (ICIE) that merged with the American Association of Industrial Editors (AAIE) to form IABC in 1970. In addition, he served as a dedicated volunteer at the chapter level for many years. In fact, he was present at the founding of the Brazos Valley IABC chapter in 1981. He was also a member of the IABC Dallas chapter, which named him Editor of the Year. In 1974, Jones was one of the first IABC members to achieve the...


Let's celebrate excellence.

  • Consider nominating a deserving Southern Region member for a Leadership Award. Nominations open July 1, 2023.

Contact Bailey Crafton, VP