The Association of Business Communication (ABC) held its 87th Annual International Conference in October. The virtual conference ran October 3-4 and the in-person events ran October 5-8 in Tampa, Florida. This was the conference’s first year to launch a hybrid program that featured both in-person and virtual events. Dr. Leslie Seawright, an associate professor in the technical and professional writing program, provided professional leadership as newly appointed co-chair.
In this role, Seawright was responsible for coordinating and scheduling presentations for on-site workshops as well as Zoom-led programs.
“It was basically like running two separate conferences,” Seawright explained. “There were a lot of details to sort out.”
For this year’s conference, her committee reviewed over 300 proposals, all centered around the theme of Reconnecting and Reengaging Our Research, Teaching, and Networks. She will continue as co-chair for next year as well.
When she first started attending the ABC conference in 2016, she felt a strong sense of support and collaboration. This is what kept her coming back.
“I’ve written articles with people I met at ABC. I’ve done virtual exchanges. In this last conference, I met new people I want to work with.” —Dr. Leslie Seawright
These experiences influenced her own style of leadership. As co-chair, she’s also in charge of selecting the annual theme.
“Next year’s theme will emphasize partnership and community,” Seawright said.
Prior to teaching at Missouri State University (MSU), Seawright worked overseas at Texas A&M University at Qatar. She’s spent her career focusing on technical and professional writing with an emphasis in cultural competence.
Seawright credits Reynolds College of Arts and Letters (RCOAL) and MSU’s public affairs mission for encouraging her to seek out leadership opportunities within her field. The three broad pillars of MSU’s public affairs mission are ethical leadership, cultural competence, and community engagement.
“When I saw the call for the position, I felt confident not only because it was in my wheelhouse, but also because it aligned with the mission of RCOAL and the cultural competence aspect of the public affairs mission,” Seawright said. “I’m in a very supportive department and college that encourages me to do the kinds of things that are important to me.”