Directors at Large

Jennifer Veltsos
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Term: 2015-2019

color head and shoulders photo of Caucasian woman Jennifer Veltsos

Dr. Jennifer Veltsos is the Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is also an Associate Professor and Director of the Technical Communication Program in the Department of English. Her research interests include data visualization, visual rhetoric, and organizational rhetoric. She regularly teaches courses in business communication, visual communication, research methods, instructional design, and proposals. She has also taught professional communication for the M.B.A. program and special topics courses in marketing communication and organizational rhetoric. Jennifer has extensive experience teaching online in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. She earned her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Professional Communication from Iowa State University, a M.A. in Technical Communication from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and an M.B.A. and a B.S. in Marketing from University of Louisiana Lafayette.

In addition to teaching, Jennifer freelances as a marketing and technical writer. Prior to her career in higher education, she was the community relations manager at Barnes and Noble Bookstore Mankato and a communications specialist for the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism.

A member of the Association for Business Communication since 2006, Jennifer is a member of the Research Committee and the Rhetoric Special Interest Group. She was the program co-chair of the 2013 Association for Business Communication International Conference and the 2014 ABC-Midwest U.S. Regional Conference in Minneapolis, and she formerly served on the Convention Procedures Committee. Being a member of ABC has given Jennifer a sense of community, expanded her professional network, and exposed her to new ideas and pedagogies through the journals and the annual conferences. She is delighted to have the opportunity to serve the organization as a member of its Board of Directors.


Marsha Bayless
Stephen F. Austin State University
Term: 2016-2020

color head and shoulders photo of Caucasian woman Marsha BaylessMarsha L. Bayless is a Professor in the Department of Business Communication and Legal Studies in the Nelson Rusche College of Business at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.  She was on the ABC Board from 1998 to 2007 and served as the Vice President for the Southwestern United States and held officer roles including ABC President.  She was president at the conference held in San Antonio (2006).

Marsha is interested In returning to the ABC Board at this time to continue to support the association, to offer ideas for the future, and to provide an additional voice for business communication faculty in Colleges of Business.

Marsha’s research focuses on pedagogical issues such as online teaching, team interaction, and use of technology.  She has presented at all ABC conferences since 1990 (except for the first one in Hawaii!).  Her regional involvement has been with the Association for Business Communication Southwestern United States where she served as program chair and president.  She has won the Outstanding Scholar Award for the region and the Outstanding Educator Award.

Marsha has received a number of ABC awards including the Meada Gibbs Outstanding Teaching Award, The Fellow of ABC, the Francis W. Weeks Award of Merit, and the Distinguished Member Award. 


Sam DeKay
BNY Mellon Corporation, NYC
Term: 2016-2020

color head and shoulders photo of Caucasian male Sam DeKayI have been a member of ABC since 2005. That year, I attended my first conference—the Southeastern Conference in Greensboro, NC—and then, in October, the Annual Convention in Irvine, CA.  Any qualms that I may have had about the organization—I am a bizcom practitioner, rather than a teacher—were fully put to rest. The research being presented seemed relevant to practitioners, and the members were warmly accepting of newcomers.

I have served as Chair of the Business Practices Committee since 2008. In that capacity, I have attempted to provide a voice for ABC members who have had, or continue to have, experience within non-academic workplaces.  The Committee’s Focus on Business Practices themed sections in Business and Professional Communication Quarterly continue to serve as a means of informing all ABC members concerning the communicative goings-on of those workplaces where our students will soon be employed. According to Sage, these are well-read articles.

At the 2015 Annual Conference in Philadelphia, I was recipient of the Francis W. Weeks Award of Merit.

As a candidate for at-large member of the ABC Board of Directors, I strongly feel that we need more two-way conversation between practitioners in the workplace and teachers in bizcom classrooms. The members of ABC have useful research to convey to communications professionals; conversely, those professionals have much of value for teachers concerning communicative practices outside the classroom. The Focus on Business Practices themed section can contribute to this conversation, but, truthfully, it is not enough. We are, it seems, in need of specific methods to narrow the gap between academic and non-academic perspectives on business communication. I hope to assist with narrowing that gap.

Abram Anders
University of Minnesota Duluth
Term 2018-2021 

color head and shoulders photo of Caucasian male Abram AndersDr. Abram Anders is an associate professor of business communication at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He is a scholar of business and professional communication and technology-enhanced learning. Supporting research interests include media, social collaboration, rhetoric, and theory. His work has appeared in the International Journal of Business Communication, Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, Disability Studies Quarterly, and theInternational Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning.

In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in business and professional communication, he has led workshops and training sessions on communication skills, interpersonal skills, digital literacies, and teaching with technology for diverse audiences of academics and professionals. He has served as a Faculty Fellow for Online and Technology-Enhanced Learning at the University of Minnesota Duluth and as an Office of Information Technology Faculty Fellow in the University of Minnesota system.

Dr. Anders has been recognized by the Association for Business Communication as a recipient of the Rising Star Award (2016) and the Pearson Award for Innovation in Teaching with Technology (2014). He has served ABC as a member of the Technology and Undergraduate Studies committees and as reviewer for Business and Professional Communication Quarterly. See more at

Laurie Bott
Utah Valley University
Term 2018-2021

color head and shoulders photo of Caucasian woman Laurie BottLaurie Stokes Bott is Director of Business Communication at Utah Valley University (UVU). In addition to teaching, she manages the Business Communication program, the Woodbury School of Business (WSB) Writing Initiative, and the Writing Tutoring Lab. Under her guidance, the Business Communication classes have increased by 35% in each of the past two years to 150 sections and the department has grown from 2 to 11 faculty. She manages course development and scheduling, student issues, staffs, trains, and supports new staff and mentors all instructors. With her oversight, courses have increased in number, quality and demand. 

Laurie is academically and professionally experienced in various leadership roles. Prior to joining the WSB she served as Corporate Affairs Manager for Intel and Micron where she directed international corporate affairs and strategic business communications.  She has enjoyed a professional career in marketing and corporate communications and has served as Director of Marketing Communications for Sundance, Bonneville International Media Corporation, and has consulted for many regional profit and non-profit organizations. 

She has been a visiting professor at Shanghai Normal University since 2015, and directs the UVU student international experience. Her global experience gives her additional wisdom and insight when teaching about intercultural communication. 

Laurie has been an ABC member since 2013. She currently serves on the ABC Conference Procedures Committee and directed the ABC Western Region Conference at UVU in 2017. Under her direction, the business communication staff will welcome ABC members, host academic and professional presentations, and involve students in four business communication competitions. 

Originally from Washington State, she currently lives in Orem, Utah and has travelled extensively around the world. 

Janis Forman
University of California, Los Angeles
Term: 2017-2021

color head and shoulders photo of Caucasian woman Janis FormanDr. Forman is founder/Director, UCLA Anderson’s Management Communication Program in which she teaches communication strategy and practices and train a staff of TAs; Founding Faculty, UCLA’s award-winning Global Access Program, focused on development of business plans and presentations, on strategy and storytelling. She is founder and Director, Advanced Strategic Management Program for European-based corporate communication professionals. Visiting Professor, Dartmouth’s Tuck School, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the University of Lugano, and UC San Diego’s Rady School of Business. She is author of multiple publications on collaborative writing, translation, corporate communication and storytelling, including several for IJBC and BPCQ. Member of the editorial boards, IJBC and BPCQ. ABC Researcher-of-the-Year and Distinguished Publication awards. Newly published book: Storytelling in Business: The Authentic and Fluent Organization (Stanford UP).

Paula Lentz
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

color headshot of Caucasian woman Paula LentzDr. Lentz is an associate professor of business communication in the Business Communication Department at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s AACSB-accredited College of Business. As the academic program coordinator for business communication, she ensures that students meet the College’s business communication requirement, staffs courses, administers the Advanced Business Communication Certificate, manages the operations of the Business Writing and Presentations Studio, and teaches several courses at the undergraduate and MBA level. She also directs the UW-Eau Claire College of Business’s Student Professional Development Program.

Her research interests include rhetoric, discourse analysis, and genre theory. She has published in The Journal of Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, and the Journal of Health Administration Education. In addition, she is co-author of several textbooks, including Lesikar’s Business Communication: Connecting in a Digital World, M: Business Communication, Business Communication: A Problem-Solving Approach, and Rhetorical Theory and Praxis in the Business Communication Classroom.

A member of ABC, she currently chairs the ABC’s Academic Environment Committee, which advocates for business communication faculty, the importance of business communication curricula, and the increased visibility of business communication as an academic discipline. She has also chaired the ABC’s Rhetoric Special Interest Group.

Amy Newman
Cornell University
Term: 2014-2022

Amy NewmanAmy Newman is a senior lecturer of management communication at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. She teaches core classes on business writing and persuasive communication skills and a corporate communication elective that focuses on crisis communication and communication technologies. Amy is the author of the textbook Business Communication: In Person, In Print, Online (Cengage, 9e). Amy has won grants to develop technology-based learning solutions and awards for teaching excellence and student advising.

As an active member of ABC, Amy presents annually at ABC conferences, has presented at ABC Europe, and was the lunchtime guest speaker at the ABC Southwestern conference in 2012. Amy also serves on the Teaching with Technology SIG and delivered part of a panel presentation in 2012.

Prior to joining Cornell, Amy held corporate positions in Fortune 1000 companies, most recently as the director of employee development for Reuters North and South America and, as an external consultant, director of training and development for Scholastic Inc. She earned a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.S. from Milano, The New School for Management and Urban Policy in New York City. Amy maintains a blog, BizCom in the News (, and has chronicled more than 500 news stories related to business communication.

Barbara Shwom
Northwestern University
Term: 2014-2022

color head and shoulders photo of Caucasian woman Barbara ShwomDr. Barbara Shwom, Northwestern University, holds joint appointments in the Kellogg School of Management, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. For more than 30 years, she has designed and taught a wide variety of communication courses at Northwestern, including Writing in Organizations (Kellogg), Communicating Complex Data (McCormick), and Professional Business Communication (Weinberg). She also serves as a communication coach for graduate and undergraduate project teams in McCormick’s Segal Design Institute, where she helps students prepare design presentations for both corporate and entrepreneurial clients. Professor Shwom’s teaching at Northwestern has been recognized by both an outstanding teacher award and an appointment as a fellow of Northwestern’s Searle Center for Teaching Excellence.

Dr. Shwom is also managing principal of Communication Partners and has consulted for organizations from a range of industries, including biotechnology, high tech research and development, pharmaceuticals, management consulting, market research, financial services, and engineering, and IT. Companies include Amgen, Eli Lilly, Bristol Myers Squibb, Medtronic, Kronos, Price Waterhouse, ZS Associates, Thomson Reuters, HSBC, and Viacom. In her work with these companies, she has focused on helping managers and executives communicate strategically; make strong, data-based business arguments; visually communicate complex data; and design effective presentations.

Dr. Shwom has served as president for both the Association for Business Communication and the Association of Professional Communication Consultants. In addition, she has co-authored two textbooks on managerial and business communication: Graphics and Visual Communication for Managers (2009), published by Cengage and Business Communication: Polishing Your Professional Presence (2011 and 2013) published by Pearson.

Christopher Toth
Grand Valley State University

color head and shoulders photo of Caucasian male Christopher TothChristopher Toth, PhD, is the Department Chair and an Associate Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University, in Allendale, Michigan, USA. He teaches courses in business communication, professional writing, multimodal composing, and visual rhetoric.

He has been an active member of the Association for Business Communication for over ten years, where he routinely presents his scholarship at the annual conference. He is a member of the Rhetoric Special Interest Group. In addition, he also served on the Technology Board, where he created and maintained the organization’s twitter handle @A4_BC from 2011-2015.

Christopher earned his doctorate in Rhetoric & Professional Communication from Iowa State University. His research interests revolve around the intersections of visual rhetoric and professional communication, specifically the emerging use of infographics in business and professional documents. His scholarship has been published in Business Communication Quarterly, the Journal of Business Communication, and in other edited collections on information literacy. He was a contributor for multiple editions of the Kitty Locker and Donna Kienzler best-selling textbook, Business and Administrative Communication, and created teaching guides, instructor and student slideshows, and other ancillary textbook materials. Christopher is also on the Editorial Review Board for Business and Professional Communication Quarterly.