Barbra Kingsley, Ph.D., Head Judge
Barbra Kingsley, Ph.D. is a Partner with the Kleimann Communication Group in Washington, DC. Dr. Kingsley has over 20 years of experience as an award-winning information designer. She has developed plain language documents for such government agencies as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Her work has won awards from the Society for Technical Communication, the Center for Plain Language, and the National Association of Government Communicators. In addition, Dr. Kingsley has extensive experience field-testing documents with end users. This testing assesses how well typical people can understand, navigate, and use information for the desired outcomes. She also creates hands-on training that conveys how to use the principles of plain language in everyday projects. She has served as a judge for several plain language competitions around the world, including the distinguished WriteMark New Zealand Plain English Awards and the Center for Plain Language’s ClearMark Awards.
Holly Anderson, Lead Judge
Holly Anderson is a Boise-based editor who works in the communications department at a nonprofit health-care system in Idaho. She previously worked as a copy editor, features/local team leader and magazines editor at the Idaho Statesman media organization 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, procrastinating her life away on Twitter and drinking pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.
She’s also to known 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.
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.
Cynthia Macleay Campbell, EdD, is the principal consultant for Gold Apple Services, LLC (www.GoldAppleServices.com) in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. Along with many years of experience as an educator and editor, Cynthia also holds a Doctor of Education degree from Biola University.
She especially enjoys making medical information, education information, and social science evaluation results more clear and useful. She views the use of plain language as an equity issue.
Cynthia’s projects have included parent surveys, prekindergarten and kindergarten curriculum overview for parents, quitting smoking materials, curricula, research consent forms, and grant application materials. Her plain language clients have included the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Family League of Baltimore, Fund for Educational Excellence, Research Allies for Lifelong Learning, and Johns Hopkins University.
Anne-Marie Chisnall, Lead Judge
Anne-Marie is Deputy Chief Executive at Write Limited, a world-leading plain language consultancy based in New Zealand. She has held a range of roles at Write from technical (as a plain language specialist) to executive. With Write’s team of consultants, she guides large-scale projects that help organisations experience the strategic, financial, and ethical benefits of clear communication.
Anne-Marie helped develop the WriteMark and WriteMark Plus document quality marks. She continues to help business owners understand why achieving the WriteMark supports better customer relationships.
Mark Cooney, Lead Judge
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.
Charlotte Crowder is a medical writer and accredited editor by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, with a master’s degree in public health. She writes and edits both patient information materials and regulatory documents for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. With a background in the ethical premises of informed consent, she believes passionately in the need for straightforward informed consent documents for people considering participation in clinical trials. Her publications include Electronic informed consent: a new industry standard (with McNair and Costello; WIRB-Copernicus Group, 2014); Telling it like it is: informed consent in plain language, a Pocket Training Mini Tutorial (American Medical Writers Association, 2011); the book, Sex Education: A Young Person’s Guide (Need2Know Books, UK, 2012), in print and Kindle versions; multiple entries in the 2008 Salem Health: Cancer encyclopedia; and numerous brochures on obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics, including a comprehensive booklet, Caring for your Newborn Baby.
Jayne is an experienced educator and trainer with a broad background in communication, journalism, public relations, linguistics, and psychology. She’s spent many years as a plain language expert, assessing documents and advising writers how to communicate complex topics clearly and precisely.
Jayne’s world of words hasn’t always been in plain English. Jayne was raised in England, Kenya, Singapore and New Zealand, and has worked in Russia, Germany, Thailand, Samoa, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
Jayne’s love of language and other cultures drivers her desire for all of us to understand and be understood. She has a deep interest in cross-cultural communication.
Beth Gaston is the chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and teaches writing and leadership courses for the agency. She has been promoting plain writing throughout USDA and co-developed the department’s online “Introduction to Plain Writing” course. She also teaches federal-wide for the Plain Language Action and Information Network. Beth considers clear communication essential for any program or project to be productive. She believes plain writing leads to more effective government programs because it results in better collaboration with other government agencies, industry, nongovernmental organizations and private citizens.
Mary Hanson is a former journalist, media director for a federal agency, communications director for the White House Office of Science, and Navy public affairs officer (Captain/O-6). As Media Director for the National Science Foundation, she created and led a nationwide network of public information advisors dedicated to clear communication, created and led a “Science Café” to bring science to the public, and earned the “Webby Award” for overhauling her agency’s website. As a military public affairs officer for 30 years, she linked the military with the taxpayer through clear language, advised admirals and generals on the principles and practices of free speech, and trained officers from many countries on communication techniques. She earned her BA and MA in Mass Communication. She is a former judge of science writing awards and a former board member of the DC Science Writers’ Association and the U.S. Navy Public Affairs Alumni Association, among others.
Geraldine E. Hynes, Ph.D.
Dr. Hynes is a communication consultant, executive coach, and contract trainer for business, government, and not-for-profit organizations in the U.S. She retired in 2017 from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, where she was a professor in the College of Business Administration, teaching business and managerial communication courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Hynes is the author of Managerial Communication: Strategies and Applications, 7th edition, with Jennifer Veltsos (SAGE Publications, 2019) and Get Along, Get It Done, Get Ahead: Interpersonal Communication in the Diverse Workplace (Business Expert Press, 2015). Her award-winning research has been published in scholarly journals and books in several countries and languages. Memberships include the Association of Professional Communication Consultants (Board of Directors for six years) and the Association for Business Communication (Board member, officer, and past-president).
Lee Clark Johns, Lead Judge
Lee Clark Johns, president of Strategic Communication, Inc., has taught professional writing and presentation skills seminars since 1978. She has worked with employees at all levels in business and industry, particularly major energy and service companies such as Amoco, Occidental Petroleum, CITGO, IBM, Bank of Oklahoma and Dollar-Thrifty Automotive Group.
As the past president of the Association of Professional Communication Consultants (APCC), Lee is well known in her professional community. She is former treasurer of the Center for Plain Language (CPL) and contributed content from the private sector to www.plainlanguage.gov. As head judge for CPL’s 2015 and 2016 ClearMark Awards, she coordinated teams of 40 international judges. Her book, The Writing Coach, published by CENGAGE Learning, won the 2004 APCC Award for Excellence in Writing.
Wendy A. Jordan is an award-winning writer and editor with decades of experience covering residential remodeling, quality assurance, and other topics for the general public as well as industry and government professionals. Before starting her own writing, editing, and publications consulting business, she was vice president of publishing corporation Hanley-Wood, Inc. She was the founding editor of Remodeling, a leading magazine for residential remodelers. Wendy is the author or co-author of 12 books, including Universal Design for the Home: Great-looking, Great-living Design for All Ages, Abilities, and Circumstances; Making Room: Finding Space in Unexpected Places; The Kidspace Idea Book; Great Kitchens: At Home with America’s Top Chefs; and The Paper Trail: Systems and Forms for a Well-Run Remodeling Company. She holds a Master of Arts degree in literature from Boston University and a B.A. in English from Mount Holyoke College.
Christine LaFortune, Lead Judge
Christine LaFortune has more than 30 years of experience in writing, editing, graphics, and marketing communications. Currently a Senior Communications Manager for the MAXIMUS Center for Health Literacy, she manages marcom projects, primarily for government clients. Previously, she was creative director, copy chief, and account manager for two marketing agencies, serving such clients as Adobe, Wells Fargo, Chase, and Federated Department Stores. A former instructor of copy editing and proofreading, she encourages writers and designers to use plain language.
Maria Mindlin, Lead Judge
As CEO of Transcend, Maria has worked in readability, plain language, and translation for almost 30 years. Her proudest accomplishments include: working with the Courts of California to create the first plain language court forms in the United States; conducting a Comparative Readability Study of Plain Language Court Forms (to date, the only quantitative test of plain language court forms in the U.S.); working under the late Professor Emeritus Richard Wydick (author of Plain English for Lawyers) as a Plain English Instructor, and being mum to the world’s three most wonderful children, Gary, Rafael and Gregor.
Melinda G. Kramer has been a communication consultant to businesses and industries including Choice Hotels, Eli Lilly & Co., TRW Inc., Clark Equipment Company, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, General Electric, Bell Telephone Company, as well as leading writing workshops for hundreds of college and university administrative staff throughout the nation. She is the author of journal articles and textbooks, including Business Communication in Context: Principles and Practice (Prentice Hall) and the Prentice Hall Handbook for Writers. Melinda is Emerita Professor of English at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland, serving 11 years as English Department chair. She has taught business and managerial communication for over 30 years to undergraduates and MBA students at Georgetown University and Purdue University. Before joining the Prince George’s faculty, she spent ten years as director of management communications at Purdue’s business school. Professor Kramer received her B.A. from Earlham College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Purdue University.
Katy Magee is Director of Editorial Strategy at Healthwise, a nonprofit organization with a mission to help people make better health decisions. She joined the medical writing staff at Healthwise in 1997 and has been part of the content development team there ever since. She has worked as a writer and editor for health handbooks, online health content, hospital discharge instructions, interactive health tools, and patient decision aids. Today she leads a team in creating award-winning, plain-language content that supports shared decision making and health behavior change. Katy earned a B.A (History) from Trinity University and an M.A. (U.S. History) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Debra May Hart, Lead Judge
Debra Hart May, M.S., has more than twenty years’ experience in business communications consulting, writing and speaking skills coaching, and training design and development. Founder and president of the Center for Effective Communication, Inc. (established 1992), she designs instructional materials and creates cost-effective performance-improvement solutions for dozens of business clients. She also coaches one-on-one and facilitates training workshops in business writing, business presentation skills, and other interpersonal communication skills. Her clients includes Eli Lilly and Company, Roche Diagnostics, Rolls-Royce Corporation, IU Health, WellPoint, Dow Agrosciences, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Deb is past-president of the Indianapolis Chapter of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), past board member for the Association of Professional Communication Consultants, and author of Proofreading Plain & Simple, and Everyday Letters for Busy People published by Career Press.
Anne McCann has been a strong supporter of plain language for more than 20 years when she spearheaded the Department of Veterans Affairs Reader-Focused Writing project, which won Vice President Gore’s Hammer Award. At Kleimann Communication Group, Anne led plain language projects for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and for a multi-agency group redesigning financial privacy notices. Her work on the IRS CP2000 notice was recognized with a Distinguished Technical Communication Award of Excellence by the Society for Technical Communication. She finds it gratifying to see the results when she receives annual financial privacy notices and when she refinanced her home. Anne currently serves as the National Emergency Programs Coordinator for USDA’s Animal Care Program. She has previously served as an all-hazards planner at the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, as Executive Director of the Delaware Humane Association, and as a program analyst for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Krystle Allen Mitchell, Ed.D.
Dr. Krystle Allen Mitchell is the Deputy Director of Educational Policy and Development at the Mine Health and Safety Administration, where she provides technical guidance, service, and assistance regarding education and field training services affecting the mining industry. Dr. Mitchell has a decade plus of federal government experience in training and development and human resources. She specializes in designing policies and programs that incorporate plain language principles and adult learning strategies, and aligning applicable industry trends in learning and development to organizations’ programs. Dr. Mitchell received her Doctorate in Education with an Adult Learning concentration at Argosy University, where she assessed the effects of writing interventions on employees’ writing competence. Her prior speaking engagements along with her spring 2015 publication in The Public Manager addressed the impact of plain language initiatives on employee performance. She is also a member of the Association for Talent Development.
Janice Monarrez is content strategy team leader at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Janice coaches the content team in creating simple and useful digital interactions for customers. She helps guide the company’s digital content analysis, workflows and governance. Janice began her experience with plain language as a journalist. She’s been a writer, editor, designer and creative manager for print and digital media.
Ginny Redish, Lead Judge
Ginny Redish has been a passionate evangelist for plain language for many years. Through her consulting practice, Redish & Associates, Inc., Ginny helps clients plan, organize, design, write, and test all types of communications. Ginny is a charter member and former Board member of the Center for Plain Language. Ginny’s pioneering work in plain language has brought her many awards, including the Center’s first award as Outstanding Plain Language Leader in the Private Sector. She is particularly pleased that the official United States definition of plain language comes from her work. Reviewers rave about Ginny’s most recent book, Letting Go of the Words – Writing Web Content that Works, now in its second edition (2012). She has also written or co-written numerous articles and book chapters, as well as two of the classic books on usability. Ginny is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Harvard University.
Debby Seid, Lead Judge
Debby Seid combines her background in Physical Therapy and Education (including teaching ESL to adults), to focus on health literacy and plain language.
Debby currently works for a large home health agency doing quality, compliance, and education, and takes on additional work, both within her healthcare system and outside it, to assist on health literacy projects, copy editing, and being a champion for plain language in every aspect of healthcare.
Frequently flummoxed by instructions from dentists, veterinarians and others, Debby just wants everyone to put the patient or client in the center of the room.
Debby is a graduate of U.C. Davis, has been a Physical Therapist for over 35 years, and holds an M.A. from San Francisco State University in Language and Literacy Education (emphasis Adults).
Karel Van der Waarde
Karel van der Waarde studied graphic design in the Netherlands (BA, The Design Academy, Eindhoven) and the UK (MA, De Montfort University, Leicester; PhD, University of Reading). In 1995, he started a design – research consultancy in Belgium specializing in the testing of pharmaceutical information design. His company develops patient information leaflets, instructions, forms, protocols, and the information architecture for websites. Karel van der Waarde frequently publishes and lectures about visual information. Avans University of Applied Sciences (Breda, The Netherlands) appointed him as scholar in Visual Rhetoric between 2006 and 2014. From September 2014, he teaches (part time) at the Basel School of Design (Switzerland). Van der Waarde is a Life-Fellow of the Communications Research Institute (Melbourne, Australia), a board member of International Institute for Information Design (IIID, Vienna, Austria) and editorial board member of Information Design Journal, Journal of Communication Design, the Poster, Visible Language, and She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation.
Melua is a writer/editor with 15 years’ experience with New Zealand government agencies and businesses, from start-ups to multinationals. She established one of New Zealand’s first digital content companies back in 2005 and now freelances from Hawke’s Bay. Plain language is central to all Melua’s work, which is motivated by a strong interest in the way design and content work together to make life easier for people. Melua has studied design, political science, journalism and public relations, and worked in public sector communications in New Zealand and Australia.
Alex Miranda, Lead Judge
Alex is owner of Comma, LLC, an organization dedicated to providing consumer-centered interpretation and translation services. He has translated key documents for major federal agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Housing Finance Authority, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. He has also served as a Spanish-language moderator of focus groups and one-on-one interviews. A native of Barcelona, Spain, Alex seeks to not only translate accurately for the target population but to ensure clarity and “plain language” in all consumer-oriented communication.
Andrea grew up in Argentina, in a bilingual Spanish-German home. As a young adult, she lived in California, and has made Boise, Idaho, her home for the last 26 years. She has a passion for languages, international adventure travel, and experiencing diverse cultures. She also has a passion for medicine and health education. She graduated with honors with a degree in Health Science and Health Promotion. For more than 25 years, she has worked at the nonprofit Healthwise in various roles to help people make better health decisions, including Director of Print Services and Translation Services. She is currently a director with the product strategy and experience team, working on the next generation of health education and patient engagement products.
Sonia Sanchez Moreno
Sonia runs Sylaba Translations, a language services provider based in Melbourne, Australia. Over the last 4 years, she has been working closely with non-profit organisations and government bodies to help them be more effective when communicating with diverse communities in Australia. Sonia is very passionate about plain language, accessibility and the role that translators play in the mix.