President and CEO of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Named
 2011 IABC/Toronto Communicator of the Year

TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - The Toronto Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is thrilled to announce that this year's IABC/Toronto Communicator of the Year is Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

The Communicator of the Year (COTY) Award is awarded by the chapter annually to a leader in the GTA who demonstrates a strong commitment to strategic communication.

Dr. Zahn has used her talents and skills in leadership and communication to transform CAMH and to substantially raise awareness of mental health issues throughout Canada. Her exceptional leadership, management and communication skills have helped catapult CAMH to the forefront of the battle against mental illness and addictions.

"Dr. Zahn has become an iconic communicator on mental health in our society to an incredibly diverse audience of Canadians," explains Robin Rowe, the Director of Public Affairs at CAMH in her nomination letter.

Dr. Zahn's strengths as a communicator make her much sought after by the media. Her interviews on CBC Radio's Metro Morning and her letters to the national newspapers have continued to stimulate important public debate. Her personal communications on such sensitive topics as the banning of smoking in her hospital have won her accolades for communications skills on the international stage.

Within CAMH she has made herself universally visible and approachable. The nameplate on her desk simply says "Catherine" and her weekly blog, "Call Me Catherine", has informed, challenged and engaged the 3,000 staff members at all levels. Her blog posts on CAMH's Facebook page have been equally well received. She initiated Town Hall meetings that have become standing-room-only events, and meets regularly with board members, donors, executives, administrative leaders, clinical staff, patient advocates, and family members to ensure a clear channel of communication.

In his letter of support for the nomination, Chair of the CAMH Board of Trustees, Daniel Burns, says "in reviewing her performance at CAMH, in public forums and as our representative in the media - both traditional and social media - it is safe to say that Catherine is far and away the most talented communicator I have had the pleasure of working with."

"Dr. Zahn is a true leader in communication - consistently educating and advocating with both external and internal audiences," says Trell Huether, IABC/Toronto President. "Mental health is a complex topic, but she is successful in drilling it down to a simple call to action: discover, discuss and demand."

Dr. Zahn will formally receive the IABC/Toronto Communicator of the Year Award on March 20, 2012, at a special recognition and networking event. For more information, visit http://toronto.iabc.com/.

About the Communicator of the Year Selection Process
Communications professionals from across the GTA were asked to submit nominations for an industry leader who they believed deserved to be recognized for his or her communication excellence. From there, a panel of four past IABC/Toronto presidents reviewed all of the nominations in detail. After close review, nominees who met certain criteria of the award were researched further through interviews between panel members and the nominee's communications team. The panel then discussed the interviews and selected a winner. This year, the panel agreed that Dr. Catherine Zahn earned the prestigious designation of the 2011 IABC/Toronto Communicator of the Year.

About IABC/Toronto
With more than 1,750 members, IABC/Toronto is the largest IABC chapter in the world. The organization provides these members with multidisciplinary resources and a global network of close to 14,000 communicators in 80 countries, working in diverse industries and disciplines to identify, share and apply the world's most effective communications practices. For more information, please visit http://toronto.iabc.com.

About CAMH
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy and health promotion to transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. Its central facilities are located in Toronto, Ontario, with nine offices across the province to provide support to the mental health system.

For further information:

Ashley Weinhandl, VP Marketing Communications
IABC/Toronto
toronto-marketing@iabc.com
416-660-7984