And our IABC/Toronto (Honorary) Communicator of the Year is…
Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health!
IABC/Toronto is thrilled to award Dr. de Villa the prestigious 2021 Communicator of the Year (COTY) Award for her role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through excellent leadership and crisis communication. Over the duration of the pandemic, Dr. de Villa has worked tirelessly to ensure Torontonians have the information they need to keep themselves and those around them safe. She has been a trusted, reliable voice, delivering updates about the COVID-19 virus through regular appearances on local media, including a standing weekly segment on CP24 and via Twitter to her 38,600 followers. She has addressed concerns and complex discussions about mandatory masking, vaccine confidence and hesitancy and public health safety guidelines in a thoughtful, non-judgmental and easy-to-understand way that connects with Toronto’s diverse communities.
With the help of her leadership, as of December 9 at 8 a.m. ET, 85.9 per cent of Toronto residents aged 12 and older have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and 88.7 per cent have initiated their vaccinations series by getting one dose. The City of Toronto has also initiated a “get out the vaccine” campaign called “VaxTO”. This innovative program leveraged text messages and auto-calling to promote vaccination uptake. Toronto Public Health and its Team Toronto partners hosted what was believed to be a new world record on June 27, 2021, for the most one-day COVID-19 vaccines given at a single clinic worldwide. The “Our Winning Shot” clinic at Scotiabank Arena saw 26,771 Torontonians roll up their sleeves on that day to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
As the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto, Dr. de Villa leads Toronto Public Health, Canada’s largest local public health agency, which provides public health programs and services to more than 2.9 million residents.
Dr. de Villa holds a Doctor of Medicine and Master of Health Science (MHSc) (Health Promotion) from the University of Toronto and holds a Master of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business. Dr. de Villa is also an Adjunct Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Health at the University of Toronto. She has authored, published and presented research on issues including public health considerations for city planning and emergency preparedness, communicable and infectious disease control, and public health policy development.
Dr. de Villa will formally receive her award at the Communicator of the Year event on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, where she will share key learnings and takeaways from almost two years of pandemic communication, including a Q&A from the audience.
And, we’re excited to let you know that we’ll be kicking off the event with a power panel of health communicators who will share their experiences and key learnings navigating the ongoing pandemic:
Craig DuHamel, Vice President Communications, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Craig is a proud member of Sunnybrook’s award-winning communications team. Since announcing the first COVID patient in Canada in January 2020, the team has been busy sharing information with staff and the community and working with media and other stakeholders to help keep everyone informed and educated about COVID-19.
Craig has been with the hospital for more than 20 years. In addition, he teaches part time at Ryerson University’s Chang School in the Communications Department. He is a graduate of University of Stirling in Scotland where he received his Masters and PhD in communications.
Marie-Lauren Gregoire Drummond, SCMP®, BJ, BA (Hons), Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations at Alliance for Healthier Communities
Marie-Lauren Gregoire Drummond is a certified Strategic Communications Management Professional (SCMP®), spoken word poet and published author. Marie-Lauren has provided strategic communications support to organizations in healthcare, education, community and social services including the Alliance for Healthier Communities, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, South Riverdale Community Health Centre, Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, Ontario Government – Minister of Education Office, Canadian Hearing Services, Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies and Peel Children’s Aid. Marie-Lauren holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from Western University and a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University.
Jennifer Gillard, Senior Director, Patient Experience, Public Affairs and Strategic Partnerships
Jennifer Gillard is responsible for the planning, organization and coordination of the Northumberland Hills Hospital’s communications and community engagement activities, and for establishing and sustaining strong collaborative working relationships among internal and external stakeholders. Co-founder and co-facilitator of the hospital’s Patient and Family Advisory Council, Jennifer also serves on the Collaboration Council of the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland supporting communication and community engagement activities including co-facilitation of the Team’s patient and family partnership table, the Experience Partner Council.
Jennifer is an Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) and a former Ontario Hospital Association Communicator of the Year. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English from Carleton University and a Master’s in Canadian Heritage and Development Studies from Trent University (1996). She is a longstanding member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2).
Cyrus Mavalwala, ABC, MC, Founding Partner, Advantis Communications
Cyrus Mavalwala, ABC, MC is a sought-after digital communication strategist, trainer and keynote speaker who helps organizations achieve business results. He has international accreditation as an IABC Accredited Business Communicator and is one of approximately 60 people in Canada who has been awarded IABC Canada’s highest honour and lifetime achievement designation, Master Communicator.
After years at global PR agencies, Cyrus founded Advantis Communications in 2002 where he leads a team dedicated to building digital communication and marketing capacity for clients in Canada and the US.
$20: IABC member rate ($22.60 with HST)
$30: Non-member rate ($33.90 with HST)
Note: This is a virtual event. A link to access the event will be provided to all registrants closer to the event date.
Doctors. We lead you to better health
The Ontario Medical Association is proud to sponsor this year’s IABC Toronto Communicator of the Year award. The recipient, Dr. Eileen de Villa, exemplifies the dedication and commitment of Ontario’s public health physicians. The OMA congratulates Dr. de Villa and thanks all Ontario’s doctors for their unwavering leadership to keep Ontarians safe.
About the OMA
The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) represents the political, clinical and economic interests of the province’s 43,000 physicians and medical students. Founded in 1880 as a voluntary association of the province’s physicians, the OMA has, from its beginning, played a vital role in the development of health-care services across Ontario.
In addition to delivering front-line services to patients, Ontario’s doctors help shape health-care policy. Most recently, the OMA has released its Prescription for Ontario: Doctors’ 5-Point Plan for Delivering Better Health Care
About Communicator of the Year (COTY)
IABC/Toronto’s Communicator of the Year Award recognizes a Greater Toronto Area executive whose demonstrated leadership and communications skills drive business results, or have had a substantially positive influence on the community.
The Communicator of the Year exemplifies excellence in communications and demonstrates a strong commitment to communication in their professional work.
The honoree must:
- Work in the Greater Toronto Area
- Have a demonstrated ability to communicate successfully
- Have had a positive influence with key stakeholder and the community
- Demonstrates a strong code of ethics
Only one person may be recognized as the Communicator of the Year each year. The winner will receive the award at an event held in their honour where they make an address.
Past COTY Recipients:
Wes Hall, Founder and Chairman of the BlackNorth Initiative and Founder and Executive Chairman of Kingsdale Advisors (2020)
Jodi Kovitz, CEO and Founder of #movethedial (2019)
Maayan Ziv, Founder and CEO of AccessNow (2018)
Masai Ujiri, President, Toronto Raptors (2017)
Andy Byford, CEO, Toronto Transit Commission (2016)
Stefan Sjöstrand, President, IKEA Canada (2015)
- Alan Middleton, Executive Director, Schulich Executive Education Centre (SEEC) and Assistant Professor of Marketing, Schulich Business School at York University (2014)
- Ted Garrard, President and CEO, SickKids Foundation (2013)
- Jim Grieve, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Education (2012)
- Catherine Zahn, President and CEO of CAMH (2011)
- Peter Aceto, President and Chief Executive Officer of ING Direct (2010)
- Rob Devitt, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto East General Hospital (2009)
- Philip Blake, President and CEO of Bayer Inc. (2008)
- Annette Verschuren, President of Home Depot Canada (2007)
- Mayor Hazel McCallion, City of Mississauga (2006)
- Malcolm Heins of Law Society of Upper Canada (2005)
- Wayne Fyffe of Credit Valley Hospital (2004)
- Edward Marra of Nestlé Canada (2003)
- David Booth of Compaq Canada Corp. (2002)
- Paul Tsaparis of Hewlett-Packard Canada (2001)
- Marguerite Jackson of the Toronto District School Board (2000)
- Rudy Riedl of Enbridge Consumers Gas (1999)
- Jeff Lozon of St. Michael’s Hospital (1998)
- Paul Lucas of Glaxo Wellcome Inc. (1997)