2016 English Judges

Lee Clark Johns Head Judge

Lee Johns, Head Judge

As president of Strategic Communication Inc., Tulsa, Oklahoma, Lee Clark Johns has built a 38-year communication consulting and training practice with more than 50 client organizations, including major organizations such as Occidental Petroleum, Amoco, TV Guide, Dollar Thrifty, IBM, Williams, ONEOK, CITGO, and others. She has presented business and technical writing and presentation skills seminars throughout the United States and internationally. She also helps clients solve other communication challenges. She earned her B.A. from Duke University and an M.A. from the University of Kansas.

Lee is the past president of the Association of Professional Communication Consultants (APCC) and former treasurer of the Center for Plain Language. She received the 2013 Saidie Adwon Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tulsa Chapter of Association of Women in Communication. Her book, The Writing Coach, received APCC’s 2004 award for Excellence in Writing. This is Lee’s second year as head judge of the ClearMark Awards.

Holly Anderson

Holly Anderson

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

Jennifer Ashman

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 Authier

Maryellen Authier, Lead Judge

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.

Carolyn Boccella Bagin

Carolyn Boccella Bagin

For the last 35 years, clear communication has been the foundation of Bagin’s work. Combining clear language with functional design, she has conducted some of the most high-profile, plain-language projects in the U.S., devising practical, innovative solutions to clients’ problems. Her achievements include revamping the Social Security Statement, Explanation of Medicare Benefits, federal system of bankruptcy forms, and IRS business forms and instructions.
As President of the Center for Clear Communication, Inc., since 1992, and working for both corporate and government clients, Bagin has worked on hundreds of documents for the NCAA, American Express, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, The Home Depot, Chrysler, NOAA, American Bar Association, and others. Carolyn has received numerous awards and is the author of How to Create Forms that Get the Job Done, communication briefings: Blackwood, NJ, 1993.

Katney Bair

Katney Bair

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

Geri Lynn Baumblatt

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.

Cynthia Baur

Cynthia Baur, Lead Judge

Cynthia Baur, Ph.D., is the Senior Advisor for Health Literacy and the senior official for the Plain Writing Act, Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She chairs the CDC Health Literacy Council and manages the CDC health literacy web site and blog. She is one of the co-developers of CDC’s Clear Communication Index and online health literacy training for health professionals. She is a co-chair of the HHS Health Literacy Workgroup and co-chair of the Healthy People 2020 Health Communication and Health Information Technology Workgroup.

Dr. Baur has received several health literacy awards, including the Institute for Healthcare Advancement 2015 Health Literacy Hero; the 2013 Cecilia and Leonard Doak Health Literacy Champion Award from Health Literacy Missouri; and the American Medical Writers Association 2013 McGovern Award for leadership in health communication, health literacy, and risk communication. Dr. Baur holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of California, San Diego.

Ben Beach

Ben Beach

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.

Amy Behrens

Amy Behrens

Amy Behrens, M.S., is a health communication professional and an ardent plain language advocate. With over 12 years of experience, she is well versed in public health messaging, writing for behavior change, and program and message evaluation. Amy specializes in communication with underserved populations. As Senior Editor at CommunicateHealth, she incorporates best practices in health education, user-centered design, health literacy, and plain language into every aspect of her work with federal, state, local, and non-profit agencies. She holds a B.S. in Health Studies from Georgetown University and an M.S. in Health Communication from Tufts University.

2016 Spanish Judges

Andres Echeverri

Andres Echeverri, Head Judge

Andres is the President of ACSI Translations (ACSI). Under his leadership, ACSI, which provides translation, interpretation, foreign language desktop publishing, and localization services in over 80 languages, has grown from a $20,000 initial investment in 2010 to a full blown operation offering technical translation, interpretation, and localization services with offices in Washington DC. He is originally from Colombia, South America, and recently became an American Citizen.

Andres brings 25 years of Inter-American business and finance experience to ACSI Translations. Andres’ experience includes serving as Chief Financial Officer for a $35 million Private Equity Group, owned by South American Principals and based in Rockville, Maryland. He was responsible for the financial, planning, as well as being a member of the executive and acquisition committee. Other experience includes a top 20 fortune 500 National Bank in retail and wholesale banking for Wells Fargo. Andres was instrumental in developing relationships, between bank and Latino non- profit organizations, to financially support areas of Education, Health, Entrepreneurship and Vocational Training.

Andres, has served in the board of the Spanish Catholic Center and is the fundraising chair of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and is currently spearheading the 2015 “Spanish Clear Mark Awards” for the Center for Plain Language.

Andres, holds an MBA in Global Emerging Markets from American University in the Kogod School of Business. Andres lives in North Bethesda, MD with his wife Elsa and beloved children Bruno and Luciano.

Carlos Arango

Carlos Arango

As Senior Small Business Lending Officer, Carlos works closely with small businesses owners in the DC metropolitan area. An industrial engineer with a M.A in Economics from John Hopkins University, Carlos joined LEDC in Fall 2009; he enjoys working with people from diverse backgrounds. Carlos understands the challenges of being an entrepreneur/small business owner and feels proud to work in a place that open doors of opportunity for all immigrant and underserved communities. In his free time, Carlos enjoys vegetarian cooking, ultimate frisbee, hiking, and taking long walks in the city. Carlos’ favorite reading subject is history.

Maria F Borja

Maria F. Borja

Maria Fernanda has been with the Latino Student Fund since 2004 and in 2009 she transitioned into the role of Executive Director. Maria Fernanda holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of San Francisco de Quito. She is a graduate of the Capacity Building Program for Executive Directors, sponsored by the Government of the District of Columbia. She also participated in the Smart Start Program offered by the Center for Nonprofit Advancement for new executive leaders. Maria Fernanda is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Greater Washington and also serves on the Board of Directors for Passion for Learning.

javier broch

Javier Broch, Lead Judge

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.

Helena Caycedo

Helena Caycedo

Helena Caycedo has and undergraduate degree in Speech Pathology and a master’s degree in Clinical Audiology from San Jose State University. She was born in Colombia and has lived in several Spanish speaking countries, a background that helps her understanding the diversity of Hispanics in the U.S.

She is currently a Senior Project Manager at ACSI Translations and in her role is in charge of managing the projects full life cycle, from initial requirements through final delivery. She coordinates the activities of linguists, editors, contractors, and other professionals engaged in the process. Helena also works closely with her clients as a subject matter expert, to resolve linguistic issues and to adapt translations to its final audience.

Rosa Margarita Galan

Rosa Margarita Galán Vélez, Lead Judge

-Ph.D in Education, Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature and a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature.
-Since 1998, head of the Academic Department of Languages and full-time professor at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).
-Was president and co-founder of the Plain Language Network Group in Mexico.
-Frequent participant in plain language congresses, promoting the theme of plain language in Mexico.
-Organizer, together with Clarity and the Ministry of Public Service, of the 2008 International Conference Legal Language: transparent and efficient in Mexico.
-Promoter and administrator of plain language courses at ITAM’s Law School.
-Coordinator and co-author of Herramientas para escribir (bien): nociones básicas, written in plain language (México: ITAM, 2014).
-Pioneer in the design, implementation and administration of multimedia classrooms to teach writing in Mexico.
-Participant in several technical committees for the design and evaluation of exams for different institutions, including the College Board.

Elsa V. Gomez

Elsa V. Gomez

Elsa V. Gomez has a bachelors in International Business and Relations and is currently working for the IMF while pursuing her Masters in Applied Economics.

She edits and proofreads all the Board documents her office publishes. She is knowledgeable on how to write succinct and clear papers. And she enjoys reading classic literature, popular modern and economics working papers.

Laura Granada

Laura Granada Valencia, JD Spanish Interpreter/Translator

Ms. Laura Granada Valencia was born and raised in Colombia. She arrived in the U.S. in late 2001, and was awarded U.S. citizenship in March, 2011. Ms. Granada Valencia had a fondness for the study of jurisprudence even in her formative years and academically pursued this passion to her completion of post graduate studies. She graduated from Rosario University in Bogota, Colombia in 2000 with a degree in Law, and subsequently attained a specialization in Administrative Law from the same institution.

Ms. Granada Valencia is a professional and credentialed interpreter of the Spanish language with over seven years of industry experience. In 2011, she attained her state certification with the State of Maryland. In the three years since being certified, she has amassed a rich portfolio of clients in the public and private sector, as well as international governments.

Guido Lara

Guido Lara

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.”

Source: http://pendientedemigracion.ucm.es/info/socivmyt/paginas/doctorado/teoriaymetodologia/docmetodos.htm

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

Pamela Nieto

Pamela Nieto

Pamela Nieto joined the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in September 2012 as the Director of Marketing and Communications. Since her tenure at the Chamber, Ms. Nieto has elevated the organization’s visibility through the development of a targeted marketing strategy. She coordinates and manages production of over 50 events a year including five major fundraising events which attracts more than 3,000 guests. Additionally, she manages all media outreach, branding, conceptualization of media advisories and press releases, and is responsible for maintaining and building relationships with the members of the Chamber and connecting them with other businesses.

Before joining the Chamber, Ms Nieto worked as an Account Executive for TMNcorp where she managed and assisted with the communications, digital media, marketing and advertising for several accounts who targeted a multicultural audience, including Sistema Universitario Ana G. Méndez (SUAGM), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS), Centers for Medicaid and Medicare.

Furthermore, Ms. Nieto is a founder-member and communications consultant for Festicinekids Foundation, a non-governmental organization which teaches under privileged kids about cinematography in Colombia through an annual film festival and a film school. She is also a board member of the DC Hispanic PR Association and Milagros Initiative at the Children’s National Hospital.

Ms. Nieto is a graduate of the Art Institute of Washington, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising. She was born and raised in Colombia and has lived in the United States since 2002.