The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Dr. Jacqui Lowman, Associate Professor of Professional Communication and Journalism, was honored recently by the Association for Business Communication with the 2020 Bernadine P. Branchaw Spirit of ABC Award. This international award recognizes Dr. Lowman’s work in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the realm of business communication.
“Dr. Lowman distinguished herself for this recognition through her long-standing service as Chair of ABC’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Additionally, she has led the Association for Business Communication as a member of the ABC Board of Directors for many years. Our Association has continued to thrive with her visionary participation,” Dr. Geert Jacobs, President of the Association for Business Communication, stated.
The purpose of the Spirit of ABC Award, sponsored by the association, is to acknowledge extraordinary contributions to the friendliness of ABC. The award recognizes, on an extraordinary basis, exceptional members of ABC who exemplify friendliness and openness to both newcomers and current members. This member’s spirit of friendliness shows a genuine appreciation to all individuals who attend ABC activities.
“When the head of the awards committee reached out to say I had been nominated, I was astounded—I knew about the award but never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever win it,” Dr. Lowman said. “The people who have won the award in the past have been true rock stars of ABC. It was humbling to learn that both the nominating committee and the ABC board of directors voted unanimously on this. I think that the vote was influenced by Dusty and Saint—they are definitely ABC’s top dogs.”
Dr. Lowman’s two service dogs accompany her everywhere and play an important role in the work she does to advocate for those of all abilities through her non-profit BEYOND LIMITS: Awaken Your Potential, of which she is founder and president.
She has been active in ABC since 2013 and was the catalyst for expanding the scope of the organization’s Diversity Committee (which focused on international membership) and its name to the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She championed the addition of a Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator position on the board of directors, established an accessibility checklist that ensures all meeting venues are compliant, developed a social justice statement and a diversity, equity, and inclusion section for the organization’s strategic plan, and secured funding to create a Distinction in the Practice of Diversity and Inclusion award. She also established a mentoring program and has helped to expand offerings at annual conferences, including a DEI conference track, an ABC Connect space, an Ambassador program, and a very popular lightning round session called “How Do You Teach Diversity and Inclusion?”
In addition to her work with ABC, Dr. Lowman serves as co-chair of UMPI’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council and was part of the team that delivered a DEI presentation to the University of Maine System Board of Trustees in January. She has also served on systemwide search committees for Equal Opportunity- and ADA-related positions.
“With Dusty and Saint by my side, I am very, very grateful to be able to help smooth the way and make things better for others,” Dr. Lowman said. “We, as a society, need everyone’s gifts. People should not have to fight so hard to share them. No one is disposable.”
Dr. Lowman was recognized at ABC’s annual conference with a plaque.
Since its founding in 1935, ABC has grown into the premier international business communication organization. ABC has five regional divisions in the U.S. and four international divisions. With Sage Publications, ABC publishes two top journals: International Journal of Business Communication and Business and Professional Communication Quarterly. Each journal reaches audiences of over 9,000 international business communication educators, researchers, and practitioners. ABC is the recognized world leader in business communication.