Executive Committee

Geert Jacobs, President
Ghent University

color head and shoulders photo of Caucasian male Geert JacobsDr. Geert Jacobs is a Professor of English Business Communication in the Department of Linguistics at Ghent University, Belgium.

Geert has been a long-standing member of ABC, promoting the internationalization of the association and working together with the Executive Committee to introduce differential membership fees in 2013. From 2008 to 2016, Geert served two terms as ABC’s Regional Vice-President for the Europe, Africa and Middle East region.  From 2011 to 2015 he headed ABC’s C. R. Anderson Research Fund Committee, overseeing financial support by the C.R. Anderson Foundation to innovative research projects in the field of business communication. In the same period, he served as Associate Editor for the Journal of Business Communication (now International Journal of Business Communication).

In 2015, Geert was awarded the Bernardine P. Branchaw Spirit of ABC Award. In addition, he won the award for Outstanding Article of the Year in Business Communication Quarterly in 2005 (with Liesbeth Opdenacker and Luuk Van Waes) as well as the award for Distinguished Publication on Business Communication in 2016 (with Glen Alessi).

Geert’s main research interests are in organizational communication, media discourse, news production, institutional discourse and linguistic pragmatics. He is the co-founder and head of the international NewsTalk&Text research group, which brings together scholars from across the globe in the field of media discourse studies. He is currently teaching Business Communication and English for Specific Purposes in various Bachelor’s and post-graduate programmes at Ghent University.

D. Joel Whalen
, First Vice President
DePaul University

color head and shoulders photo of Caucasian male Joel WhalenABC service: Board of Directors Member, Teaching Committee Chair, and Business & Professional Communication Quarterly Section Editor and Editorial Board Member. You may have seen Joel chair My Favorite Assignment sessions. Hundreds of ABC members have shared their Favorite Assignments and published their teaching innovations in BPCQ. He also curates the authors’ My Favorite Assignment teaching collateral for ABC’s webpage.

University affiliation: Marketing professor at DePaul’s Driehaus College of Business and Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, and Curriculum Director, Center for Sales Leadership. Joel leads a team of 15 instructors who teach the required communication class that he designed for the College of Commerce’s 4,600 undergraduate students, as well as the required graduate-level class.

Scholarship: Published over 200 journal articles, conference proceedings, and papers. Joel writes for Business & Professional Communication Quarterly, Marketing Education Review, and Journal of Marketing Education, among others. He has authored two business communication books by Sage Publications: I See What You Mean, and The Professional Communications Toolkit, and published the e-book: 4-Second PowerPoint Slide Toolkit 2014. Joel’s Hit-Play.net website offers over 70 videos designed to grow learners’ communication skills by applying the latest psychology and neurobiology discoveries.

Teaching honors: Received the DePaul University Teaching Award, in addition to the college’s graduate and undergraduate teaching award multiple times. Joel is also the recipient of numerous business and professional awards.
ABC initiatives and issues: Joel supports strengthening global reach through international membership and conferences outside the U.S., advancing ABC’s diversity & inclusion, offering members practice-based scholarship with useful learning tools transferable to their classrooms, prioritizing the mission of basic scholarship and graduate education through high-level scholarship, and enhancing business communication professors’ reputation and prestige among
university administrators (provosts, deans, & chairs).

Laurie Stokes, Second Vice President
Utah Valley University

color head and shoulders photo of Caucasian woman Laurie BottLaurie Stokes 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 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.

Marcel Robles, Immediate Past President
Eastern Kentucky University

color head and shoulders photo of Caucasian female Marcel Robles

Marcel Robles, Ph.D., is a Professor of Corporate Communication in the College of Business and Technology at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in Richmond, Kentucky. She has been an active member of the Association for Business Communication since 2002. She regularly attends the national, southwest, and southeast conferences; and she has attended ABC international conferences in South Africa, Ireland, and Spain.

Robles served as President, Vice President/Program Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer for the Association for Business Communication-Southwestern United States (ABC-SWUS) for four years as an ABC-SWUS board member. She has also been the Program Chair for the Association for Business Communication-Southeast (ABC-SE) Region Conference and served on the ABC Board of Directors for three years before becoming Second Vice President in 2017. Additionally, she served on the ABC Teaching Committee for eight years and chaired the ABC Ad Hoc Finance Committee. Dr. Robles received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the ABC-SW US region in 2004, the Spirit of ABC Award at the international conference in 2011, and the Business Communication Impact Award at the Miami conference in 2018. 

Dr. Robles teaches managerial report writing, professional communication, introduction to business, and MBA business research and managerial communication. Additionally, she conducts seminars in organizational communication for Kentucky State Law Enforcement Executives and for Middle Managers from companies such as Tokico, Hitachi, Sherwin-Williams, and NACCO Materials Handling Group.

James Dubinsky
, Executive Director
Virginia Tech

color head and shoulders photo of Caucasian male James DubinskyJames M. Dubinsky is an associate professor of Rhetoric and Writing at Virginia Tech, and the Chair of the newly formed Virginia Tech Veterans Caucus. From 1998 until 2007, he was the founding director of the Professional Writing Program in the Department of English. Under his leadership, the program grew to 11 courses with over 210 students. In 2008 he became the founding director of the Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships (CSECP). From 2008-2010, Jim served as chair of the board of directors for the YMCA at Virginia Tech and from 2008-2009 as president of the Association for Business Communication. He has received college-level awards for both teaching and outreach and the first university award for the scholarship of teaching and learning. Jim is the author/editor of Teaching Technical Communication: Critical Issues for the Classroom and has contributed articles to journals ranging from Technical Communication Quarterly to the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning. His research focuses on the scholarship of teaching, combining historical, rhetorical, and qualitative methods to study the connections of experiential learning and reflective practice. Jim also served as the faculty advisor for the Sustainable Food Corps (five years) and for WUVT-FM (http://www.wuvt.vt.edu), the campus radio station, for 10 years. He hosted a radio show—the New River Sampler every Friday morning between 7 and 9 a.m., for 12 years, featuring folk, folk-rock, bluegrass, and blues. He and his wife Robyn live in Roanoke, VA and have five children, ages 18-27.