Presidential Address


ABC 84th Annual International Conference

Detroit, Michigan

October 23 to 26, 2019


It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as your 2019 President. I have had a fantastic year of working with the wonderfully talented and dedicated people of ABC.


Thank you to our tireless ABC leaders. Our Executive Director, Jim, and Office Manager, Marilyn, work so much behind-the-scenes. I did not even have an inkling as to what they do and how much they do until I started turning to them at every corner. They always know the answer, follow the proper procedure, and save the day! Thank you, Marilyn and Jim.


ABC’s Executive Committee is the most professional of which I have ever had the opportunity to work. Geert, as your incoming President for 2020 has been a workhorse in the First Vice President role, communicating frequently with Committee and SIG Chairs and following through with action requests. Geert also brings Belgian Chocolates to our EC meetings!


Joel has kept his nose to the grindstone as your Second Vice President this year, scrutinizing every Operational Guideline and Bylaw and wordsmithing new OG’s. He keeps us laughing most of the time with his wittiness. Joel is ready to move into the First VP role running at a fast speed.


Laurie has already jumped in headfirst, swimming along nicely. She has already participated in a few EC meetings, asking brilliant questions and taking many notes as she prepares to enter the Second Vice President role in January. I am already so impressed with her ideas and initiative.


Finally, Lisa! Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. ABC’s Immediate Past President who will be outgoing at the end of December. My mentor, my colleague, my friend. I have followed her in several leadership roles across different professional associations. She is the best person to follow. While her footsteps are huge, she leaves everything so well organized and detailed. She has guided me on the EC over these past few years as I succeeded her in each officer role. We met at minimum once a month over Zoom Conference Call and a few times a year at conferences in-person. She has brought a lot of history, commitment, and experience to the table. The EC has dubbed Lisa ABC’s “Formatting Queen,” a role that she says she will keep forever (it is even in the Minutes)!

More of the ABC Staff who keep things running smoothly include our Technology Coordinators (Stephanie Smith and Andy Cavanaugh); Journal and Proceedings Editors (Jackie and Milton Mayfield, Melinda Knight, and Leigh Ann Whittle); Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator (Jacqui Lowman); Newsletter Editor and Historian (Sky Marsen); and Conference Coordinators (Clive Muir, Dirk Remley, Susan Schanne, Dee Fuchs, and Ashley Nelson).

Additionally, ABC’s Regional Vice Presidents (Yunxia Zhu, Valerie Creelman, Sandra Sepulveda, Judith Ainsworth, Erika Darics, Kathryn Rybka, Kris Pickering, Debbie DuFrene, Jolanta Aritz) and Board of Directors-at-Large (Abram Anders, Marsha Bayless, Sam DeKay, Janis Forman, Paula Lentz, Amy Newman, Barbara Shwom, Christopher Toth, Jennifer Veltsos) are vital to ABC’s initiatives, conference events, decisions, and policies. Thank you, Board Members.

ABC is also fortunate to have the Committee and Special Interest Group Chairs, who are indispensable. They each take their respective roles very seriously and work effortlessly to make ABC activities, awards, and processes the best they can be. Thank you to all of the ABC Committee and SIG Chairs for all of your leadership! You and your committee members are the heartbeat of the organization.

A special welcome to all of our ABC Conference First-Time Attendees and a special congratulations to all of our ABC Award Winners. We applaud you and appreciate you. ABC is all about Accessibility, Belonging, and Collaborating. Our members bring forth positive Attitudes, Break down barriers, and enjoy Collegiality across the globe. ABC is definitely a place where each one of our members has a home. We want you to feel welcome and to have a place where you feel wanted and needed. Please, all ABC members, be actively involved in your Association for Business Communication. Ask any of the ABC staff or leaders where you might contribute. Find your interest area and thrive with ABC.

Something new at this year’s conference is ABC Connect. We have a special room hosted by ABC leaders and seasoned members for you to stop by and visit. ABC Connect is open to all ABC Conference attendees and allows for mentoring, collaborating, making new friends, renewing old acquaintances, and relaxing. Please come say hello and take advantage of this outreach!


Thank you for a tremendous year, ABC Members! Please let us continue to Act on Building relationships and Celebrating our discipline.




Marcel (Marci)


Marcel Robles
Eastern Kentucky University