Awards of Distinction

Each May at IABC Edmonton’s Capital Awards Gala, we take the time to honour three special individuals for their contributions to IABC Edmonton and the local communications field.


The IABC Edmonton Inspired Leader of the Year is the best boss a communicator ever had. A senior leader in their organization in Northern Alberta who understands the value of communication and what the communications profession brings to the organization’s success. The Inspired Leader of the Year is nominated by an IABC member, but is not a member themselves. All nominations are evaluated by a panel of three IABC Edmonton past presidents.

The 2018 Inspired Leader of the Year award winner is Ryan Kelly, Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Don Iveson.


Since joining Mayor Iveson’s office, Ryan has been a key strategic advisor on a number of transformative files including building Edmonton’s innovation economy, re-shaping the way Edmonton grows and moves, and the new Health City initiative. He is also responsible for overseeing a small but mighty communications group within the Mayor’s Office and working to ensure the Mayor’s vision is executed on during his term in office.

Ryan was the Campaign Manager for Mayor Iveson’s re-election campaign in 2017, a campaign that saw the Mayor secure 72% of the vote and the trust of 141,182 Edmontonians - a new record for the city. Ryan began his career as an advertising copywriter at Calder Bateman Communications, growing his skill to become a Creative Director at several agencies in Edmonton and Calgary - winning several ‘Best in Show’ advertising awards for his work along the way. In 2014, Ryan had the honour of receiving the Advertising Club of Edmonton’s Fellowship Award for his work in mentoring young advertising professionals and helping to grow the strength and reputation of the industry in the city. He holds a degree in Political Science from Queen’s University and a diploma in Public Relations from MacEwan University. Ryan is the proud father of two growing kids and husband to his amazing wife Kirby.

“Ryan set up our communications team to build what I believe was the most unifying, inspiring, and innovative election campaign that Edmonton has ever seen. He was at times the source of our best ideas, at times our best critic, and at times our biggest cheerleader when it came to selling our strategy and ideas to Don and the campaign executive team. I’m a better communicator and a better citizen for having worked with him, and for that I am so grateful.” - Puneeta Sandhu McBryan, Communications Manager - Re-Elect Don Iveson Campaign

“Ryan led a small but powerful team to rally people to #VoteForYeg. When it was all said and done, we captured 72.47% of the vote. Ryan delivered the campaign that Edmonton needed. This achievement allows my office to move forward confidently, knowing we have a strong mandate and a clear, shared vision.” - Mayor Don Iveson


The IABC Edmonton Inspired Communicator of the Year is one of the best communicators around. A communications professional in Northern Alberta who has executed communications strategies and tactics throughout his/her career and in the current/past year. They are experienced, trusted and always contributing to a positive reputation of communications professionals within our community. They are a member of IABC Edmonton. All nominations are evaluated by a panel of three IABC Edmonton (past) presidents.

The 2018 Inspired Communicator of the Year is Gillian Adams, Senior Manager, Corporate Marketing, EPCOR.


Gillian joined EPCOR in 2011 and brings over 15 years of marketing, advertising and event planning experience to the team. She currently leads EPCOR's Corporate Marketing team in delivering brand and reputation marketing programs, community investment strategies and more. Gillian led the client/agency team to develop and execute a campaign to get Edmontonians out to enjoy the North Saskatchewan River. EPCOR Riverfest gave EPCOR an ideal platform to deliver messages around the role the river plays in supplying water to Edmontonians, and EPCOR’s role in that water’s purification treatment.Through creativity, compelling key messaging, and memorable experiences, all 600 rafts were spoken for within five days of the online event registration going live. On September 16, EPCOR hosted more than 1,500 people to the North Saskatchewan River, where many fell in love with the river experience.

Prior to joining EPCOR, Gillian held the position of Marketing Manager for Edmonton International Airport for more than eight years. During that time, the airport experienced significant passenger growth and Gillian led the marketing that accompanied this growth through the development and execution of new route marketing programs, brand campaigns, JetSet Parking lot opening, and new retail/restaurant development and openings. During her tenure, Edmonton International Airport won the Peggy G. Hereford Award of Excellence in Marketing & Communications from Airport Council International - North America for three consecutive years.

“Gillian lives and breathes her brand. In every project, she leads her team in painting a picture of the desired end state, then deliberately reaffirms her vision every step of the way. Once a project is pushed live, she champions the work and reminds you why it was exactly what was needed.” - Martha Jamieson, SVP Strategic Services, DDB Canada

“It’s her diligent work and her ability to see the bigger picture that helps the overall Public & Government Affairs team be seen as strategic advisors that help drive business results. While Gillian is often not seen or heard publicly, the work she does and the contributions she makes to EPCOR and the broader marketing/communications industry is substantial and absolutely worth recognizing.” - Amanda Leneve, Manager, Corporate Communications, EPCOR


The IABC Edmonton Inspired Member of the Year is the kind of volunteer or member who is the heart and soul of the IABC Edmonton chapter. They have contributed to the success of the chapter in the current/past year through volunteering, attending events and always having a positive attitude and willingness to help. They are a member of IABC Edmonton. All nominations are evaluated by a panel of three IABC Edmonton (past) presidents.

The 2018 Inspired Member of the Year is Suzanne Pescod, Marking & Communications Director, Ronald McDonald House Edmonton + Senior Director, Programming, IABC Edmonton.


Suzanne Pescod is the marketing and communications director with the Ronald McDonald House in Edmonton. Her previous experience in marketing and communications has included working for the construction and oil and gas sectors,as well as a couple of years working in the world of professional sports.

Suzanne is currently a member of the IABC board and organized the Capital Awards for three years. She is currently the Senior Director of Programming, where she oversees a team devoted to providing quality programs to our city, including professional development, mentorship, networking events, Capital Awards and certification.

You can also find her speaking at various events about the awesome world of marketing and communications. Suzanne is an active advocate for all things related to #YEG - as she loves this city and can’t wait to see what it can do now and in the future!

“Under her leadership, IABC Edmonton’s Capital Awards program soared to new heights, breaking records and earning a Chapter Management Award of Excellence for Event Management. She has supported her team to deliver successful programming events, acted as an incredible ambassador for our organization at speaking engagements and on social media, and has been a thoughtful contributor at IABC Edmonton executive board meetings.” - Amanda Leneve, Manager, Corporate Communications, EPCOR, Vice President, IABC Edmonton