Vice President Southwestern
Stephen F. Austin State University
Debbie DuFrene is Professor of Business Communication and Chair of the Department of General Business at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, where she also serves as Assistant Dean for Assessment. She holds the bachelors and masters degrees from Nicholls State
Vice President Caribbean, Mexico, Central
University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
Dr. Sandra Sepúlveda is a specialist in Latin-American and Puertorican Literature. Professor of Business Communication and Literature for
Vice President Europe, Africa
Dr. Erika Darics is an Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics at Aston University, Birmingham, UK, and a consultant for organizations on internal and external communication issues.
She is an interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersection of applied linguistics, business communication
Erika is very passionate about business communication, specifically how linguistics intersects with business communication and professional discourse. Her recent edited volume on Digital Business Discourse (Palgrave) and her monograph Writing Online: A guide to effective digital communication at work (Business Expert Press) make an articulated effort to demonstrate the usefulness of combining applied linguistics with business communication research and education. She is currently writing a textbook for undergraduates entitled Language and Business.
Apart from her keen interest in how linguistics can be used in the teaching and research of business communication, she is also committed to
Kristin “Kris” Pickering
Vice President Southeastern United States
Tennessee Technological University
Kristin Pickering is
Kristin’s research interests focus on disciplinary communication, genre theory, and activity theory; these
An active member of ABC since 1999, Kristin continues to serve on ABC’s Student Competition Committee as well as the MLA Liaison Committee.
University of Queensland
Yunxia Zhu, Ph.D., Associate Professor in
Dr. Zhu currently serves as Chair of the Publications Board of the Association for Business Communication. At the University of Queensland Business School, she coordinates the MBA program in cross-cultural and international management. She also has extensive consulting experience with corporations, private education providers and government agencies in Australia, New Zealand, and China.
Her communication training and experience in the cross-cultural field, as well as her international research networks, have paved her way to do interdisciplinary research with international business and management. Her leadership, in both research and consulting, has pointed to a promising direction for the Association for Business Communication.
Vice President Eastern United States
Judith is an Assistant Professor of business communication at the Fox School of Business at Temple University. She teaches Business Communications in the BBA program for the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management and Professional Skills Development for the Master of Science in Accounting Program.
Previously, she taught Business Writing, Business Communication and Business Communication for Accountants for specialized master programs, as well as Business Writing for the Professional MBA program at the Warrington College of Business, University of Florida. She has also held pedagogical appointments with Canada’s McGill University, University of Montreal, and
Judith received her
Her current research focuses on business pedagogy, team-based learning, and student regulation in student-managed project teams. In 2016, she received a grant from the Team-Based Learning Collaborative for a study entitled “Team-Based Learning in Communication Courses for Accounting Graduates: Investigating Student Engagement, Accountability, and Satisfaction,” and published an article in the Journal of Management Education entitled "Student-led Project Teams: significance of regulation strategies in high- and low-performing teams."
Vice President Canada
Saint Mary's University
An ABC member since 2007 and a regular presenter at our annual conferences, Valerie recently served on the ABC Board of Directors as a Director at Large. In 2015, she volunteered to co-chair ABC’s 80th annual conference in Seattle, Washington. A member of the Rhetoric Special Interest Group and the ABC Research Committee, she has served on the adjudication committees for the Kitty O. Locker Outstanding Researcher Award and the Outstanding Dissertation Award. At the 2017 annual conference in Dublin, Ireland, she received ABC’s Rising Star Award in recognition of her dedicated service to ABC and her research and teaching contributions to the discipline.
In 2015, Valerie received the Full-time Professor of the Year Award for Teaching Excellence from the Sobey School of Business Commerce Society. In 2013, Saint Mary’s awarded her the Dr. Geraldine Thomas Educational Leadership Award. To date, she has taught a variety of communications courses and developed modules for executive education and management training programs, including those for Nunavut Tunngavik, Inc. (NTI) and the Government of Nunavut.
A graduate of the University of Waterloo’s
Committed to growing ABC’s Canadian membership, forging ABC alliances with Canadian associations, and making ABC’s conferences a destination for the innovative research of Canadian graduate students and established scholars alike, Valerie welcomes the opportunity to serve our Canadian members’ interests as their regional representative in the years ahead.
Vice President Midwestern United States
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Dr. Kathryn Rybka was the recipient of the 2016 Bernadine P. Branchaw Spirit of ABC Award. Her engagement with the ABC community includes serving as chair of the 2018 ABC Midwest/Southeast Regional Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio; chair for the 2016 ABC Midwest/Southeast Regional Conference in St. Louis, Missouri; co-chair for the 2013 ABC Midwest/Southeast Regional Conference in Louisville, Kentucky; peer proposal reviewer for ABC conferences; and she has been Book Review Editor for the International Journal of Business Communication since 2010. Kathryn has been an active presenter at many ABC Conferences including the 2018 Miami, 2017 Dublin, 2016 Albuquerque, 2015 Seattle, 2014 Philadelphia, 2013 New Orleans, 2011 Montreal, 2012 ABC Europe and 2010 ABC Europe+GABC.
Kathryn was a faculty member in the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) from 2005-2017 where she taught management communication in the College’s professional master’s programs and also taught an undergraduate class in human resource management. She then transitioned to a new role and affiliation with the
She has 20 years of extensive professional management communication experience in both corporate and higher education settings. Kathryn holds a B.A. in Advertising from Michigan State University, a Master’s in Mass Communication from the University of South Carolina, and received her Ph.D. in Educational Organization and Leadership in Higher Education Administration from UIUC. She has also taught at the University of South Carolina, South Dakota State University, University of North Dakota, and in the College of Communications (now Media) at UIUC. Her research interests include the role communication and storytelling play in strategic business planning, organizational change
Vice President Western United States
University of Southern California
Prof. Jolanta Aritz specializes in intercultural business communication, small-group decision-making, and virtual communication. She teaches business communication courses at graduate and undergraduate levels at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. Jolanta is a former Fulbright scholar and is passionate about engaging students in global educational experiences. She has led USC Marshall Learning about International Commerce student trips to Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai, and most recently to Stockholm and Helsinki. She is a founding member (together with her colleagues at USC) of the Virtual Business Professional (VBP) project that each semester brings together over 600 students from over a dozen universities in different countries to work and collaborate on corporate reputation management projects.
Professor Aritz is a co-author of the book “Leadership Talk: A Discourse Approach to Leader Emergence” and co-editor of the “Discourse Perspectives on Organizational Communication” book which received the Distinguished Publication on Business Communication award. She is a recipient of the C.R. Anderson Research Foundation for Innovative Research in Business Communication Award and the Award of Merit from the Association for Business Communication for her contributions to the discipline of business communication. Her articles have been published in IJBC, BPCQ, and JICR journals.In her role as a regional vice president, Jolanta seeks to contribute to the growth and identity development of the Western ABC region. She sees collaboration as central to professional success and hopes to build a strong network of teaching and research partnerships between faculty and schools in the Western region.