Regional Vice Presidents

Debbie DuFrene
Vice President Southwestern United States
Stephen F. Austin State University
Term: 2015-2019

Debbie DuFreneDebbie 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 University, and the doctorate from University of Houston. Debbie has been a member of ABC since 1985 and has served as president, vice-president/program chair, and secretary-treasurer for the ABC Southwest U.S. region. She is a regular presenter at ABC conferences and has published several articles in BCQ, along with a host of other publications. She is coauthor of Business Communication (Cengage, 2008) and Building High Performance Teams (Cengage, 2008) and co-sponsor of the Meada Gibbs Outstanding Teaching Award for ABC.


Sandra Sepúlveda
Vice President Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America
University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
Term: 2012-2020


Sandra SepulvedaDr. Sandra Sepúlveda is a specialist in Latin-American and Puertorican Literature. Professor of Business Communication and Literature for twenty four years at the University of Puerto Rico, she also teaches Writing. In the last five years, she has participated in various research conferences and congresses in the United States, Argentine, Chile, Costa Rica, Canada and Puerto Rico presenting papers on the communication processes, culture, globalization and communication, and new technologies and classroom. In October 2006 she participated in the 71st Annual International Convention of the Association for Business Communication celebrated in San Antonio, Texas, with the paper titled Intercultural and Global Business Communication in Puerto Rico. Recently besides her research and teaching responsibilities, she has worked as Vice President of Academic Affairs in National University College, Academic Dean in "Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico", Associate Academic Dean in "Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe", and Associate Academic Dean in the School of Business Administration of the University of Puerto Rico. She is developing an electronic journal and the first issue will be published in 2012.

Erika Darics
Vice President Europe, Africa and Middle East
Aston University
Term: 2016-2020


Darics.pngDr. 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 and computer-mediated discourse analysis. Her published work has appeared in scientific journals including the Journal of Politeness Research and the IJBC, where her article on Instant Messaging in virtual work was nominated for Outstanding article in 2015. 

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 make the discipline better known and wider acknowledged in Europe. Driven by this commitment, she is leading a new interdisciplinary joint honors program BSc Business management and English Language at Aston University, contributes to the work of the editorial board of Discourse, Context and Media, and leads the project that aims to establish a European network of professional and business communication scholars. She is particularly passionate about raising greater awareness of the importance of soft skills and communication in business contexts, and believes that the Vice Presidency of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East region will allow her to achieve this noble goal, through the promotion of the association, its work, and its supportive community. 


Kristin “Kris” Pickering
Vice President Southeastern United States
Tennessee Technological University
Term: 2015-2019

Pickering.jpgKristin Pickering is professor of English at Tennessee Technological University (TTU), where she directs the Professional Communication Program. As part of this Program, she also manages a general education, oral communication course, “Communicating in the Professions,” which she designed with a focused team-presentation approach. Kristin teaches core Professional Communication courses in the Program, including courses in Business Ethics and Technical Writing, some of which are taught online. At TTU, Kristin also directs internships in Professional Communication and Web Design, fostering connections between industry and students. She also participates in the processes of regional accreditation for the University and self studies/assessment for the English Department.

Kristin’s research interests focus on disciplinary communication, genre theory, and activity theory; these focuses emerged from her dissertation research, which was based on communication in engineering. Another research interest is identity construction within workplace settings and the process of emotion management within those settings; consulting within industry has prompted this interest. She has published refereed articles in a variety of journals, including BPCQ, as well as conference proceedings, book chapters, and other scholarly/academic publications.

An active member of ABC since 1999, Kristin continues to serve on ABC’s Student Competition Committee as well as the MLA Liaison Committee.

Vice President Asia and the Pacific
University of Queensland
Term: 2014-2018

Yunxia ZhuYunxia Zhu, Ph.D., Associate Professor in strategy of University of Queensland Business School, is an award-winning researcher and educator. Her research interests focus on cross-cultural management, and communication and organizational discourse. She has published extensively in these areas and her work has appeared in books, book chapters and prestigious international journals such as the Journal of Business Ethics, Academy of Management Learning and Education, Management International Review, Journal of Management Inquiry, Discourse & Communication, Discourse Studies, Discourse & Society, Text, and Journal of Business and Technical Communication, to name a few.  In 2013, her paper was a  finalist for the best paper award in the Academy of Management Learning and Education division.  

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.

Judith Ainsworth
Vice President Eastern United States
Temple University
Term 2018-2021

Ainsworth.jpgJudith 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 University of Quebec in Montreal. 

Judith received her PhD in Education and Applied Linguistics from the University of Montreal after receiving a Diplôme d’Études Approfondies in linguistics from France’s University of Provence, and her Master of Arts degree in linguistics and translation from Canada’s University of New Brunswick.

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."

Carolyn Meyer
Vice President Canada
Ryerson University
Term: 2014-2018

Carolyn MeyerCarolyn Meyer, Ph.D., is a tenured Assistant Professor in the School of Professional Communication and a Member of the School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada). Since joining the faculty at Ryerson in 2005, she has taught courses in business communication, technical communication, communication and law, and a graduate course in risk communication in the Master of Health Sciences in Nutrition Communication program. She has received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Ryerson Internal Grant to conduct research into forms of computer-mediated communication and discourse and the impact of new media on language change. She is the author of The Reader: Contemporary Essays and Writing Strategies (Prentice Hall Canada, 2001) and Communicating for Results: A Canadian Student's Guide, 2nd ed., (Oxford University Press, 2010), a professional writing textbook first published in 2007 and now used at over 20 colleges and universities across Canada.


Teresa Taylor Sekine
Vice President Midwestern United States
Purdue University
Term: 2014-2018

Teresa Taylor SekineTeresa Taylor Sekine, Ph.D., is a Clinical Associate Professor at Purdue University in the Krannert School of Management; additionally, she is the Area Head for Managerial Communication. She co-chaired the Midwest-Southeast ABC conference held in Louisville in March 2013. She was on the planning committee for the 2014 Midwest conference in Minneapolis. She serves on the International Issues Committee, the National Communication Association Convention Committee, the Proceedings Editorial Review Board, and the Convention Procedures Committee for ABC.
Dr. Sekine taught English and Political Science for five years in Japan. She also taught classes for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as well as consulting for several major companies. Upon returning to the states, she completed her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from The University of Alabama. Her dissertation study on emerging characteristics of female administrators piqued her interest in gender studies and leadership development. In 1995, she joined the Krannert team after a brief stint in Purdue University’s English Department. 
Having lived in a foreign country herself for almost six years, Teresa values and stresses cross-cultural communication and the global business environment in her classroom. She has received Krannert’s MBA Core Distinguished Teaching award many times. Teresa’s research interests include cross-cultural communication, corporate storytelling, and gender studies. She is advisor to Purdue chapters of Toastmasters International and MBA Women International.  


Marilyn Dyrud
Vice President Western United States
Oregon Institute of Technology
Term: 2014-2018

Marilyn DyrudMarilyn Dyrud, a full professor in the Communication Department at Oregon Institute of Technology, has taught business and technical writing for more than 30 years. She also regularly teaches classes in professional ethics, communication ethics, rhetoric, public speaking, and a special course, "Engineering, Business, and the Holocaust," as well as being part of the faculty team for the civil engineering integrated senior project. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University, has given more than 125 conference presentations/workshops, and has published nearly 100 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings. In addition, she reviews for seven professional journals and several publishing houses. She has been the manuscript editor for two engineering-related books: Stories from a Heated Earth: Our Geothermal Heritage, a 600-page collection of papers from all over the world detailing the cultural associations with geothermal heat (for the International Geothermal Association and the Geothermal Resources Council) and Engineering Technology: An ASEE History (for the centennial celebration of the American Society for Engineering Education).