2017 English Judges
Holly Anderson is a Boise-based journalist who has worked as a copy editor and features team leader at the Idaho Statesman newspaper for more than 25 years.
When she’s not wrangling her two sons or diverting her snowboarding husband from the slopes, she enjoys reading about health-care issues, drinking pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.
She’s also to known to launch into frequent rants about difficult-to-decipher tax forms, insurance papers, court rulings, government documents and banking agreements. It should come as no surprise that Holly is a big fan of the plain-language movement.
Jennifer Ashman is a marketing professional with a passion for improving the customer experience. She held several positions at Ford Motor Company, where she worked on many customer satisfaction projects. This included consulting with over 100 dealerships to drive change. She took her skills to the classroom and taught several marketing courses at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Jennifer is focused on helping employees use plain language and simpler processes to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Jennifer has an undergraduate degree in Marketing and Master of Science degree in Business Administration, both completed at Penn State University.
Maryellen has over 15 years of experience in a legal and contract management role developing and negotiating commercial contracts across a wide variety of industries. Her continual exposure to legalese and unnecessary word complexity has made her an advocate of Plain English contract terms and information usability. Maryellen has also developed other business documentation and tools such as proposals, policies, resource guides and user forms as well as content for corporate Intranet portals.
Her work with global customers and colleagues has provided her with a special sensitivity for ensuring that all writing, particularly contractual in nature, is created to enable effective translation into multiple languages as well as comprehension by non-native English speakers.
Katney Bair is the principal consultant at Pretty Plain, a communications company specializing in public information. Pretty Plain’s communication services combine copywriting, graphic design and project management. Clients include government agencies, medical centers, health insurance companies, corporations, small businesses, public schools, universities, and non-profit organizations. Katney’s deep experience in all areas of marketing and communications, along with her Plain Writing expertise, help her craft clear messaging that effectively reaches different groups across different platforms. www.prettyplain.org.
Geri Lynn Baumblatt, M.A., is the Executive Director of Patient Engagement at Emmi where she’s worked with a team of writers, medical animators, decision scientists, behavior change experts, patients, and clinicians to create multimedia patient engagement, shared decision making, and behavior change programs that engage patients, reduce anxiety and create real outcomes. Geri is on the board of the Journal of Patient Experience, contributes to the Association for Patient Experience, and hosts an annual Health Literacy Month blog series. She speaks at health literacy, shared decision making, patient experience and patient engagement conferences and panels, such as the PEMAT (Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool) with AHRQ.
Ben Beach is a writer and editor who has worked for Time Magazine, USA Today, a Michigan congressman, The Wilderness Society, the Alliance to Save Energy, and, most recently, the State Department. His responsibilities have included media outreach and serving as editor-in-chief of magazines, newsletters, and annual reports. His work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, The Washington Post, The New Republic, STATE Magazine, and elsewhere.
A graduate of Harvard (BA, economics) and Catholic University (JD), Beach has edited reports by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce and the Natural Resources Defense Council, among others.
Frank Boland retired in 2013 after more than 35 years as an attorney at the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, DC. In that position, he was the principal author of numerous tax regulations and other IRS rulings and notices. He also reviewed many tax forms and publications for clarity and technical accuracy. During his last 10 years at the IRS, he was a branch chief and initial reviewer for many regulations and other public guidance. He also developed and conducted training classes to other IRS attorneys on plain language writing and the intricacies of writing regulations.
Frank had previously served in the US Army and later as a research assistant for a member of Congress. Frank holds a BA degree from Texas Christian University and a JD degree from Southern Methodist University; he is a member of the Texas Bar.
Lee Carter is President of maslansky+partners. A member of the executive leadership team, Lee oversees a diverse range of language strategy work for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits in the U.S. and abroad. To do this, Lee has conducted, overseen, and analyzed countless instant response sessions, traditional focus groups, brainstorming and strategy sessions and surveys in more than 15 countries. She has worked with clients in a wide range of industries including financial services, energy, automotive, sustainability, hospitality services, food and beverage, technology, and consumer products. And, she has worked extensively in public affairs, public policy, and issue advocacy.
Anne-Marie is Deputy Chief Executive at Write Limited and has held a range of roles at Write from technical (as a plain language specialist) to management, leading Write’s consultant team and now deputy chief executive. Part of the New Zealand-based Write family for 13 years, she’s helped the company grow into the largest plain language consultancy in the world. She and her team specialise in helping organisations experience all the benefits of clear communication. Using the Rewrite for Change™ Model, a framework for change management, she works with organisations to build plain language culture.
Anne-Marie believes in clarity in government and business so that people of all literacy levels can make important financial, health, and legal decisions. She was involved in developing the WriteMark document quality mark. She continues to help business owners understand why achieving the WriteMark supports fair customer relationships.
Mark Cooney is a Professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, where he chairs the Research & Writing Department. He is editor in chief of The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing and has served as a plain-language consultant on the Michigan Supreme Court’s Model Criminal Jury Instructions Committee and the State Bar’s Standard Criminal Jury Instructions Committee. Professor Cooney’s book,Sketches on Legal Style, collects his “Plain Language” columns from the Michigan Bar Journal. His articles on legal writing have also appeared in The Scribes Journal, Student Lawyer, and TRIAL magazine. Before teaching, Professor Cooney spent ten years in private practice and chaired the State Bar’s Appellate Practice Section.
2017 Spanish Judges
Javier is a user experience (UX) & usability consultant based in Barcelona working for the university, US Government, healthcare research and Latino markets. He is a native of Barcelona with 17 years of work experience in the USA including 7 years as UX & usability lead for Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. He is a passionate observer of humans using things with a commitment to create plain language services by transforming complex tasks, and end user requirements into simple usable solutions.
Javier looks to create meaningful engagement by using UX research methods, to understand user behavior, what users need to perform well, and why they are motivated. Javier holds and MBA from Escuela Administracion Empresas (EAE), Barcelona and is a Certified Usability Analyst by Human Factors International. He is a father of two who enjoys outdoors sports, and dreams about space exploration.
Dr. Guido Lara earned a Doctorate in Information Science from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) in the program, “Theory of Communication and Methods of Social Research.”
Dr. Lara studied in the Department of Sociology IV, an academic body that shares lines of research and faculty from two schools: The School of Political Science and Sociology and The School of Information Science (dedicated to the study of communication, marketing and journalism, not to be confused with IT – Information Technology Studies.)
To earn his doctorate, he had to present and defend a doctoral thesis, which had to be an original work on a subject matter related to the lines of research included in the Official Postgraduate Program. Dr. Lara’s thesis, “Dissertations of young Mexicans on Salinas’s Modernization: A Concrete Application of the Discussion Group,” was granted the summa cum laude distinction by unanimous decision.
In his thesis, he developed the foundations of the methodology and technique of Discussion Groups (now knows as Open Groups, in contrast to the well-known Focus Groups, another qualitative methodology widely used in market research and public opinion studies).
As indicated on the website of the Department of Sociology IV of the Complutense University of Madrid, this “has been being developed over the last few years in a doctoral program called “Methodology of Research in Sociology, Communication and Culture,” which has focused on the teaching of this methodology. This postgraduate program in Methodology of Research in Social Sciences, which includes a Master’s degree, offers graduates in Sociology, Political Science, Law and Administration Science, Social Work, Social Anthropology, Social Psychology, Economics, Human Geography, Pedagogy, Information Science and other similar disciplines, knowledge, methodologies and techniques that will enable them to further their education in basic and/or applied research.”
“Its area of concentration begins with epistemological reflection, addressing the fundamental problems that most directly affect social research, and delves into methodological reflection, emphasizing the problems related to the application of different research techniques.”
Departamento de Sociología IV – Facultad de Ciencias de la Información – Avenida Complutense, s/n. 28040 Madrid, Spain – Tel.: (34) 91.394.21.42/43/44. Fax: (34) 91.394.21.45