Jennifer Wah, 2023 Long Beach Award Winner

Back to Blogs By Mona Lee Posted: March 15, 2024

The Long Beach Award recognizes a communicator with a long history as an IABC/BC volunteer with 5+ years of significant, creative contributions to the chapter. The winner of the 2023 award was Jennifer Wah, SCMP, Master Communicator and IABC Fellow. 

With a volunteer track record spanning three decades, she exemplifies the pinnacle of commitment, passion, authenticity, and teamwork. Jennifer has held most leadership positions at all IABC levels, from chapter president, chapter board member, region chair, international executive board member, member or chair of most of IABC’s international committees, and current past chair of the Global Ethics Committee. 

“I just keep looking for the next opportunity to learn and contribute,” she said. “I keep learning and getting a lot out of the experience.” 

Jennifer is the founder of Forwords Communication Inc. and an Adjunct Professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, where she teaches business writing and communications strategy. She also served as Associate Faculty at Royal Roads University and was involved in the development and delivery of an executive accreditation program there. She is inspired by teaching, coaching and mentoring students in business communications. Winner of more than two dozen local, national and international awards, including 12 Gold Quill Awards, Jennifer has also been a sought-after speaker on storytelling.

When asked what the Long Beach Award means to her, Jennifer said, “It’s nice to be recognized. The fact that the chapter continues to recognize the foundational work of long-term members and volunteers gives me hope for the way that we can build going forward. The chapter is saying to the world that we plan to be around for a while. It makes me proud to be a part of the larger community. I’ve been lucky to be recognized over the years, but this means something different because it feels like renewing the foundation on a house. While I know it’s an individual award, no one of us put all the pieces in place. I see myself as part of a collective of people over the years who have helped build the chapter and a community in Vancouver around professional communication. It’s only when you look back and realize that little something [that you did] helped.” 

“The power of community, especially post-COVID, is amplified even more by connecting in person,” she reflected. “Within IABC, I have built, and benefited from, those connections made over the years of attending events and conferences, working at volunteer tables and board tables. When you step up and do those things, life gets richer.”

Jennifer illuminated me with her extensive knowledge of the award programs. “Historically, the IABC has three levels of awards that recognize professional work: the international Gold Quill Awards, the national Silver Leaf Awards, and chapter-level awards,” she explained. From 1995 to 2010, the BC chapter’s awards program was called the Blue Wave Awards, a local-level opportunity to recognize one’s work. In theory, you entered, got some feedback, and were potentially positioned to enter the Silver Leaf and Gold Quill Awards. Interest in these local awards waned, with people choosing to jump right to the national or international awards program. After a few years, the chapter re-branded the Blue Wave Awards as the Bronze Quill Awards (2010-2014), following a request from IABC headquarters for these to be the first stepping stone to its Gold Quill Awards, a move that did not increase interest at the time. “For a few years,” said Jennifer, “we had no awards at the local level.”

In 2015, Jennifer played an instrumental role in launching the current iteration of the Wave Awards. 

“Gail Pickard and I came up with the idea of recognizing individual communications professionals at various stages of their careers and for different aspects of their career,” Jennifer said. “Honestly, it fell into place quite naturally. We knew there’d be a student award, an inspirational award, and a long-service award. We followed the chapter’s nautical theme and developed these categories: the SAIL Award, Lighthouse Award, Long Beach Award, New Navigator Award, and Making Waves Award.” We put the idea to the chapter board and then formed a committee to implement it.” 

The 2024 Wave Awards are accepting nominations until March 15, 2024. Nominees and winners will be announced this spring and celebrated at our Summer Social.

Learn more at

Comments are closed.