Chris Coulson Communicator of the Year Award

The Chris Coulson Communicator of the Year Award was created in honor and memory of Chris Coulson, a founding member of NC3C. The Communicator of the Year Award may be presented to one individual who demonstrates a passion for making a difference in the profession and in the lives of citizens. The Communicator of the Year would be a person whose character, career and service represent the highest standards and who excels in the practice of local government communications and/or has accomplished an outstanding one-time achievement.

Nomination Details

The nomination deadline is Wednesday, March 31, 2021. The nomination should include three parts: a nomination form (worth five points), a nomination letter (worth 95 points), and the nominator's information. The form, letter, and nominator information should meet the criteria outlined below. Nominees must be employed as a local government communicator in North Carolina and must be a member of NC3C. Self nominations are encouraged and accepted.

A member is only eligible to receive the award once. Members can be re-nominated if they have not received the award in the past.

The nomination packet should include:

1. Nominee Information ( 5 points)

  • Name
  • Title
  • Organization
  • Population of community served
  • Length of service in this position
  • Work history
  • Brief description of current job duties (250 words max)
  • Education
  • Awards/Accomplishments
  • Professional associations and memberships
  • Volunteer work as it relates to the profession


2. Nomination Letter (95 points) (maximum 1,000 words)

The nomination letter should detail the nominee’s accomplishments. As part of the nomination letter, the following criteria should be addressed:

  • Demonstration of exceptional leadership as it pertains to government communications and marketing. (15 points)
  • Efforts that contribute to the success of NC3C. (10 points)
  • Consistent use of communication strategies that demonstrate creativity and innovation in contributing to the success of the city/county/agency organization. (10 points)
  • Commitment to the communication programs for all of the city/county/agencies audiences—both internal and external. (10 points)
  • Understanding and utilization of the latest communications tools and devices in carrying out the mission of the organization. (10 points)
  • Commitment to the highest ethical and professional standards. (10 points)
  • Three specific examples of the nominee’s work over the past 18 months. (30 points)


3. Nominator’s contact information and relationship to the nominee.

  • Name
  • Title
  • Organization
  • Relationship to nominee
  • How long have you known the nominee


How to Submit Nomination

E-mail the nomination as a PDF to [email protected] Nominations will be accepted through Friday, March 13, 2020.

Previous Winners

Several members have been honored with the Chris Coulson Communicator of the Year Award. Previous winners inlcude:

  • 2018 Steve Hawley and Carolyn Justice-Hinson
  • 2017 David Baxter
  • 2015 Mandy (Pitts) Hildebrand
  • 2012 Annette Privette-Keller
  • 2011 Dave Hardin
  • 2010 Glenn Hargett
  • 2009 Alice Freeman



About Chris Coulson

Chris Coulson dedicated 10 years of service to Henderson County Government, beginning her career as the first Public Information Officer in June 1997. Chris was received numerous awards for her work including the Excellence in Communications Award from the North Carolina Association of Government Information Officers and 2002 and 2005 Meritorious Awards from the National Association of County Information Officers. She was a member of many organizations, local and national. Chris was dedicated to the citizens of Henderson County and it showed well with her performance and accomplishments she made for the County.

Chris was instrumental in recruiting our first members and helping organize the initial founding meeting of NC3C in 2007. Unfortunately, later that year, Chris passed away due to cancer. Below is her obituary.

NC3C will be forever grateful for her early support of our organization, for her dedication to the residents of Henderson County, and for the example she set for her peers.

Chris Coulson Obituary

Christina Salerno Coulson, 44, daughter of Cynthia Parker Salerno and the late John Thomas Salerno of East Flat Rock died on Monday, May 28, 2007.

She was born in West Palm Beach, Florida and spent her early childhood growing up in Port Salerno, Florida before moving with her parents to Henderson County when she was 12. She attended Immaculata Catholic School and graduated from Hendersonville High School in 1980. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from North Carolina State University in 1984 and became the Director of Communication for the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. She developed an interest in and a love for covering the news and began a career as a news reporter for television stations in Florence/Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; and WLOS-TV in Asheville, North Carolina.

Following her career in television news, Chris became the Director of Marketing and Communication for the United Way of Henderson County where she won numerous awards and accolades for her work. For the past 10 years she has continued her award winning work as the Public Information Officer for Henderson County Government. She was the host of “Access” on HCTV Channel 11, Henderson County Government’s cable access channel. She was also responsible for programming the channel and videotaping meetings of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners among her other duties.

In addition to her professional life, Chris was also active in community and professional organizations and sat on the boards of Helping Hand, Smart Start, NACIO, NATOA, NC3C, PRAWNC, 3CMA, and the North Carolina Association of Government Information Officers. Chris met her husband, Lee Coulson, while working at WLOS-TV. They were married in 1994 and have two children, Dylan, 8, and Brenna, 4. Her family, especially her children, were the joy and light of her life. She was a member of St. James Episcopal Church in Hendersonville.

Chris passed on to a better place after a valiant, yearlong fight against cancer.