2014 Volunteer of the Year Nominees

Back to Blogs By Lisa Wellbourn, IABC/BC VP, Volunteer Services Posted: May 29, 2014

Congratulations to all of the nominees for this year’s President’s Award for Volunteer of the Year! This award is presented to a volunteer who has made a significant impact on our chapter through their exemplary volunteer work.

2014 Volunteer of the Year – Winner

Linda Ong

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Linda, Director, Career Development, is nominated for an IABC/BC Volunteer of the Year Award. Linda has been deeply involved in the Career Development portfolio for the past two years, demonstrating great initiative in her role including growing the popularity of SIGs, leading Gift of Communications, and developing many processes to support the ongoing work of the project teams.

At the University of British Columbia (UBC), Linda leads the communications and marketing team at the UBC Library, providing communications services to 15 branches. As for the reason she enjoys the field of communications, Linda points to the “Man in the Arena” [LINK TO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-JXOnFOXQk] speech from Brene Brown. “I like creating something that hasn’t been developed yet. I enjoy being the ‘first,’ in taking creative risks, being valued for being a problem solver and having the unique perspective of being both a strategist and a tactician.”

An IABC/BC member for 15 years, Linda is currently finishing her two-year term as the Director, Career Development, and is preparing to move into the role as Vice President, Career Development. She has volunteered with IABC/BC in a number of roles since 2002, including serving as an awards adjudicator, conference volunteer, and supporting Membership Services.

Linda advises IABC/BC members who are considering volunteering to treat the role as a second job. “That’s not meant to scare anyone away,” Linda clarifies. “Rather, it’s to say that you need to bring a level of professionalism to your volunteer role. Be upfront on what you can commit to, and then go ahead and do it.”

2014 Volunteer of the Year – Nominees

2014VolunteerOfTheYear_CarmenZukewichCarmen Zukewich

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Vice President, Networking Events, Carmen has been nominated for a Volunteer of the Year award for her work in leading the teams that bring together IABC members and potential members to provide them with fun and interactive networking opportunities. By creating a space for her team to succeed, Carmen makes sure that all the large and small details are taken care of in order to create polished and memorable events.

As an IABC/BC volunteer since 2011, Carmen focuses on fostering relationships and communications between different committees in her portfolio. As a result, Carmen has created an environment where the volunteer teams are able to incorporate the viewpoints and suggestions of many different people into the event planning process.

Carmen works as a Business Analyst with Chevron. “Since I don’t work directly in the [communications] profession, it seems that everything is brand new again every time I reconnect,” Carmen says about the connection between her work life and volunteering with IABC/BC. “There’s always a new social media platform that’s just popped up, or something new to learn in order to be effective in the world of communications. I find it challenging at times, but exciting.”

For Carmen, the best part about volunteering is the opportunity to connect with her fellow volunteers. “My committee volunteers, fellow board members and everyone I’ve had the opportunity to meet through this experience, are all amazing,” says Carmen. “I’ve learned so much about myself and where I see myself taking my career by making these contacts. If you have the capacity, desire and drive to get involved, do it. The contacts and experience I’ve gained since my first volunteer role are beyond anything I could have expected.”

2014VolunteerOfTheYear_ErinDriscollErin Driscoll (ABC)


Erin is nominated for a Volunteer of the Year award for her work with the Bronze Quill program. As co-chair of the Bronze Quill program, Erin has recruited a top-notch team of volunteers to coordinate and conduct the evaluations of the chapter’s award submissions.

Last year, Erin led the IABC/BC chapter Mentorship program, and acted as a resource this year for the new coordinator of the program. She was also co-leader of the final Accreditation Completion Program over a two-year period. An IABC member since 1995, she is a past IABC/BC president, and has held numerous national and international roles.

For many years, IABC/BC members have enjoyed ample opportunities for professional development because of Erin’s work, including mentoring, being mentored, completing their accreditation, and learning from other members by evaluating award entries.

Erin is currently vice president at a public relations firm that focuses on the resource sector. She has a degree in communications, and is an IABC Accredited Business Communicator (ABC). She highlights strategic planning as her favourite communications activity, as one focuses on gaining a clear understanding of the real issue at play, then defining the activities that will make a difference and making sure their impacts can be measured.

Erin suggests that IABC/BC members who are considering volunteering should focus on working in areas they are unfamiliar with, as there is so much to be learned in the volunteer setting. “Consider who you will be working with as much as what you will be working on. You’ll learn lots from being part of a mixed group: senior communicators, junior communicators, people from various job types and industries/ backgrounds.”

2014VolunteerOfTheYear_JenKnightJen Knight


Jen is a volunteer with this year’s IABC/BC Gift of Communications team, in the Career Development portfolio. In her time at IABC/BC, Jen has worn many volunteer hats. In addition to volunteering with the Gift of Communications program, she has been the Vice-President Administration on the IABC/BC Board since February. In previous years, Jen has participated as Vice-President Membership, a mentor, Social Media Manager, Webmaster, and newsletter writer.

“This is my second year working on the Gift of Communications program,” Jen says. “I previously worked on the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run in 2012. I really enjoy it because it not only gives me the opportunity to hone my skills and learn from some great veteran communicators, but I really love the community aspect – that we’re able to use our expertise to provide local organizations with something that they might not normally have access to.”

She is the Communications Manager of IKEA Coquitlam, where her favourite aspect of her role is running the store’s donation/giving program. She has also worked with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Beginning as a student member, Jen has been an IABC/BC member since 2008, to focus on the networking and volunteering aspects of membership to add to her communications skills.

“Do not underestimate the power of networking! Having been an independent communicator in a few of my work roles, my contacts at IABC/BC have provided support and advice on some of my projects,” explains Jen. “Also, it’s made a huge difference when job searching – most of the interviews that I’ve had over the past several years have been a direct result of an IABC/BC connection. Not to mention that the skills I’ve gained from volunteering look pretty great on my resume!”

Joyce Wu

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Joyce Wu joined IABC as a student member in 2007, and returned in 2011, volunteering with the Professional Development & Events Committee. When the portfolio changed to Networking Events Committee, she took on the role of Event Planner, which speaks to her interest in helping to keep IABC/BC members engaged and informed through networking and speaker events.

It was due in large part to Joyce that this year’s “Switch Up” event was such a success. When the team was looking for a venue for the event, Joyce suggested the CBC’s Studio 700, as the venue offered space to accommodate the presentation and networking parts of the event. She took the lead on the venue and coordinated all the details and day of logistics.

Joyce’s love of communications guided her to study Communications at Simon Fraser University, adding to her academic experience with a Publishing Minor and Applied Human Nutrition Certificate on the side. Her current role is at CBC as an Executive Assistant in Communications Marketing & Brand, Centres supporting the strategy and promotional plans across the country in promoting Canadian content on TV, Radio and Digital platforms.

For Joyce, the best part about volunteering with IABC/BC is the opportunity to connect with talented professionals from a range of industries, all of whom share similar interest and passion in communications. Volunteering with IABC/BC also gives Joyce the chance to explore her skills and interests, and to work with a friendly and supportive team.

When asked if she has any suggestions for those interested in volunteering, Joyce says, “If there’s an opportunity to volunteer in any committees, say yes without a hesitation. Taking the opportunity to volunteer in any of the portfolios would be a great opportunity to learn and gain skills that would be beneficial to your professional development and or personal achievements.”

2014VolunteerOfTheYear_JuliaWhiteJulia White

Julia has been volunteering with the IABC for seven years.

“I have volunteered on the Professional Development Committee and hosted some professional development events on behalf of IABC/BC. I worked on the Bronze Quill Gala organizing committee and have been a judge for Bronze Quill and Gold Quill. I’m currently working on the Gift of Communication project and will be joining the Career Development Committee as a Director.”

Julia says volunteering has been thoroughly rewarding, both professionally and personally.

“Through volunteering I have met really wonderful people who are passionate about a cause or supporting their profession. I’m proud to work with some of these individuals in my field while others have opened my eyes or caused me to change the way I look at life and the world we live in.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to work with highly skilled people who are passionate about communications and marketing. I’m always fascinated by stories they have to tell and thoroughly enjoy networking with them.

Julia works as the Manager, Communications for Genome British Columbia, managing the communications portfolio including branding, PR, social media and events.

You can follow her work on Twitter at @genomebc.

2014VolunteerOfTheYear_KealyDoyleKealy Doyle


All IABC/BC members have seen the impact of Kealy Doyle’s volunteer work with IABC/BC in their inboxes. In her second year working on the Connect email newsletter, Kealy has shown herself as a leader on the newsletter team. As Connect Manager in the Internal Communication portfolio, Kealy guides the production of Connect newsletter, which is sent to current and prospective members. In the words of the nominator, Kealy deserves the credit for ensuring Connect comes out on time, ensuring that IABC/BC members receive consistent, timely information about chapter activities and initiatives.

Outside of IABC/BC, Kealy is the pharmacy program coordinator at Pharmasave head office, helping stores to market their pharmacy services and programs. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature & History from the University of York, in England, and a professional writing diploma from the Print Futures program at Douglas College. In her free time, she can be found playing some kind of hockey and trying new things; her current hobby is learning to play the viola.

When asked about her favourite aspects of communication, Kealy says, “Probably like a lot of people in this profession, I get a real kick out of the challenge of communicating to a goal: your audience understanding your message completely and/or doing what you want them to do. It’s a craft I’m excited to work at.”

Kealy joined IABC/BC as a student member in 2012, and this is her second year volunteering with the chapter. She recommending volunteering for all members, pointing to the new skills and perspectives she has gained. “Just do it. I wish I’d done it earlier. It doesn’t have to be a full-time commitment; there’s a role out there to suit everyone.”

Additional Nominees:

  • Jennifer Wah
    Nominated for Volunteer of the Year
  • Lisa Yap
    Nominated for Volunteer of the Year


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