Joanne Kitsos, ABC, First Recipient of Karen Utterback Award for Volunteerism

Jun 29, 2012, 08:45 ET from IABC/Chicago

CHICAGO, June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2011-2012 IABC/Chicago Board of Directors has selected Joanne Kitsos as the first recipient of the newly created Karen Utterback Award for Volunteerism. Kitsos received the award at the recent IABC/Chicago Bronze Quill Award dinner reception.

The IABC/Chicago Board created the award to recognize volunteers who year after year have volunteered their commitment, time and energy to helping the Chicago chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) reach its goals in providing educational and networking opportunities that help people and organizations achieve excellence in public relations, employee communication, marketing communication, public affairs and other business-related communications.

"The Board is proud that Joanne is the first to receive the Karen Utterback Award because she exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism, serving both on the board in leadership positions and as a mentor in helping young professionals begin their careers in business communication and earn accreditation as an Accredited Business Communicator (ABC)," said Ken Groh, IABC/Chicago president. "Joanne has helped pave a path for all members who want to experience the personal reward of volunteering for a professional organization," Groh added.

As a member of IABC and active contributor to the Chicago chapter, Joanne has served in various roles, including Director of Accreditation and Director of Member Retention, and she served on the Awards Programs, Educational Relations and Public Relations committees. Joanne is senior consultant, Strategic Communications for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University and co-author of IABC's 2007-2008 Value of Accreditation Study, which clearly links IABC accreditation to strategic communication value to organizations, and to the enhancement of the communication profession. She was also the first recipient of IABC's Rae Hamlin Award for volunteer service to accreditation program development.

The Karen Utterback volunteerism award is named after former IABC/Chicago president, Karen Utterback, ABC, a long-time dedicated IABC/Chicago member and leader who helped build the chapter to its present status as the premier networking and educational organization for professional business communicators in the Chicago area. Utterback died of natural causes in 2009 while serving as chapter president. The award honors her memory and tremendous contributions to IABC/Chicago.

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is a global network of communication professionals committed to improving organizational effectiveness through strategic communication. Established in 1970, IABC serves more than 16,000 members in 70 countries with a multi-disciplinary approach to corporate communication, public relations, employee communication, marketing communication, media relations, community relations, public affairs, financial communications and government relations. IABC/Chicago ( is the oldest – and the second largest – IABC chapter in the U.S., the sixth largest in the world, with more than 400 members in the Chicago area.