2020 Virtuoso Awards celebrate the best in business communications and public relations

Categories: News

On Thursday, September 17, IABC London recognized the region’s top business communications and public relations professionals at the annual Virtuoso Awards Celebration. The night’s highest honours – the Communications Champion Award and Outstanding Communicator Award – were presented to two leaders at Bluewater Health in Sarnia.

Mike Lapaine, President and CEO at Bluewater Health, received the Communications Champion Award for his recognition of the value of communications to his organization and for his exceptional leadership communication, both in ordinary times and during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This pandemic has really taught us all the value of communications. When you’re in a crisis situation like this one, communication is the most effective tool we have,” says Lapaine. “We have a great Communications team and we are very proud of what they’ve achieved. I’m honoured to receive this award and extremely pleased that I’m viewed this way by the team.”

Julia Oosterman, Chief, Communications and Public Affairs at Bluewater Health, was also recognized with the Outstanding Communicator Award. Oosterman was awarded for consistently achieving business results through excellent communication strategies and campaigns. By employing communications as a force for good in her community, implementing an ethical framework at Bluewater Health and inspiring a high level of transparency during the pandemic, Oosterman’s work has exemplified the high standards of IABC.

“Outstanding communications to me is when the true spirit of the organization comes through regardless of the format and audience. It’s about the ‘why’ and tying strategies back to business results,” explains Oosterman. “I love communications and have been practicing it for close to 28 years. This award is a huge honour.”

An additional 30 Virtuoso Awards were presented, recognizing business communications and public relations projects that exceed the global standards of the profession. Awards were presented in a variety of areas including media relations, internal communication, diversity and inclusion, event planning, videography and more. Receiving this year’s two Best of the Best Awards were Lashbrook Marketing and Public Relations for their non-profit campaign titled “New Canvas of Life” and Bluewater Health for their video titled “Cheyenne’s Story.”

Four corporate communications, public relations and graphic design students were also recognized through programs at Fanshawe College and Western University. 

“The value and importance of excellent communications is being demonstrated in organizations across our community. IABC London’s Virtuoso Awards recognize local marketing and communications talent for outstanding work, not compared to one another, but against a global benchmark for excellence,” says Marek Kubow, Past-President, IABC London. “Congratulations to this year’s award winners, as well as Mike and Julia at Bluewater Health.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s program took place online as a virtual celebration for the first time in the program’s 25-year history. It was made possible through generous sponsorship from Northern Commerce, TMD (The Marketing Department), Nothers The Award Store, Fanshawe College and Western University. 

For a full list of the 2020 Virtuoso Awards recipients, please visit the Virtuoso Awards website at

Watch the 2020 Virtual Virtuoso Awards Celebration:

Leave a Reply