During Member Month and throughout the year, we celebrate and support the members who make us a thriving and diverse organization and resource for Bay Area communicators. 

This October, we’re catching up with our SF chapter’s Social Media Events Manager, Lowell Sarmiento. Born and raised in San Francisco, he now calls the Central Valley home, supporting the CSAA Insurance Group as a communications specialist. 

When did you join IABC as a member and volunteer?
I joined IABC in September 2020 and began volunteering with the San Francisco chapter board in July 2021. 

“I’ve learned how important social media is in Communications today. It’s a powerful tool and platform that garners deep engagement. When drafting and posting, we’re all ‘influencers.’ “

What’s your primary area of professional focus? 

I’m a communications specialist in the marketing department at CSAA Insurance Group. My team supports internal product partners in creating external communications to our frontline clubs and agents through direct email or our company’s web-based insurance agent portal. 

Where do you relax and have fun when you’re not serving on the SF IABC board?
The beach! Whether it’s at Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, San Diego or my annual go-to, Kauai, that’s where you’ll catch me — toes in the sand and listening to my favorite music, Island Reggae. I truly appreciate and embrace the “Aloha” spirit. 

How have you grown as a communicator since joining IABC?
I’ve learned how important social media is in Communications today. It’s a powerful tool and platform that garners deep engagement. When drafting and posting, we’re all “influencers.” Promoting our SF IABC events through social media has expanded my communications experience and given me a new sense of accomplishment. 

How can communicators make a meaningful, positive impact in their organizations?
We provide support and guidance within our organizations to stretched and stressed colleagues. As a communicator, I’ve taken full advantage of my platform and offer appreciation and sometimes a little fun and laughter. I use this approach with the content I feature and publish in a weekly newsletter for our insurance product organization.

In the newsletter, I always lead with a personal message titled “Lowell’s Food for Thought” to uplift my colleagues. I include stories of inspiration and encouragement. Making a positive difference each week motivates me to be the best communicator I can be. 

You grew up in San Francisco and now live in the Central Valley. What are some of your favorite Bay Area restaurants or hot spots?
Yes – SF born and raised! I’m a “foodie,” and my favorite spots are pizza and burger joints!

My number one place to eat is Giorgio’s Pizzeria on 2nd and Clement in San Francisco. Every time I go to the city, I like to head there. Other great pizza places in The City include Pasquale’s in the Sunset and Golden Boy in North Beach. And if you’re in the Peninsula, an absolute must is Toto’s Pizza in San Bruno!

I’ve always loved a burger and baguette combo, and the one place that does it for me is the Balboa Cafe! Another great SF burger spot that I’ve enjoyed since childhood is Barney’s Burgers! You can find both restaurants in The Marina District.

Since I moved to the Central Valley, the best place I’ve found for good pizza is Amici’s in Dublin. When I need a burger fix, I go to Barney’s Burgers in Piedmont. As a passionate foodie, I relish traveling far and wide to find the Bay Area’s best dishes! 

Iolanthe Denman is a writer and content strategist based in San Francisco. She currently serves as Membership Director on SF IABC’s board and has an enduring passion for crisp, tight copy, live music and hot sauce on everything.