Presenter Biographies

Ashley Adams
Ashley Adams is the Assistant Director of Student Services in the Division of Online and Distance Education, Ball State University. In this role, she manages the recruitment, advising and retention activities of academic advisors, as well as partners with key stakeholders in departments across the university to support engagement and retention of fully online students. She has worked in higher education for over 7 years and has experience in multiple functional areas including admissions, academic advising, retention and student support. Ashley has a passion for advancing student services which is evident in her numerous presentation at regional and national higher education conferences and recent award of the Division of Online and Distance Education’s 2015 Innovation Award. Ashley received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Truman State University, Master of Arts in Sociology from DePaul University and is currently a doctoral candidate in Higher Education Administration at St. Louis University.

Michelle Baker
Michelle Baker is a learning and development manager and owner/consultant at phase(two)learning. As a corporate learning professional she has more than 13 years of experience educating new and veteran support, volunteer, management, and executive level employees. Michelle is experienced with everything from 1:1 coaching sessions to organizing and leading large-scale training events. Michelle's background includes a variety of fields, including education, finance, IT, interactive/social media marketing and retail. Founding the consulting firm phase(two)learning has allowed her to leverage her multi-industry experience to help organizations build or revise their Onboarding and Learning & Development strategies. 

Byron Ballard 
Byron Ballard has been an employee of the Ball State University Career Center since 1996 and currently serves as the Customer Service Assistant. He is responsible for coordinating the referral process for on-campus student employment and supervises the students in the reception area. Byron assists with providing service training for the department including its student employees. He brings over twenty years of customer service experience both on the front lines and training others at the university as well as for various hotels and conference centers.

Emily Sanders Boltz
Emily Sanders Boltz is an Academic Advisor/Recruiter in the Division of Online and Distance Education. She advises online undergraduate students and assists them as they work to complete their degree. She has worked with students in higher education for 12 years. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work and a Master’s degree in College Student Affairs.

Katharine Denker
As the Director of the Basic Course, she is responsible for the instructional design, instructor training, assessment and instructional development for all of the 35 graduate teaching assistants who work with the Comm. 210 program each year. Dr. Denker has presented on issues related to mentoring and training at conferences for both the National Communication Association and the Central States Communication Association. Her work on instructional communication has been published in Communication Research Reports, Communication Teacher, and the Basic Communication Course Annual. Additionally, her work with the Comm. 210 program has lead to both the Ball State’s Lawhead Teaching Award in 2013 as well as the Organization for the Study of Language Communication and Gender’s Feminist Teacher-Mentor Award.

E. Jake Gamble
E. Jake Gamble has risen through the professional ranks to become a high-profile college professor, corporate trainer, executive coach, and entrepreneur. He is the founder and owner of Leadership Support Services, LLC, specializing in leadership training, organizational culture, and strategic change. Jake holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Criminal Justice and a Master's Degree in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. He serves as an adjunct professor for Indiana Tech and Ivy Tech Community College. In addition, Jake works closely with IPFW's Division of Training Outreach and Division of Continuing Studies.

Daniel Griffith
Daniel Griffith is associate faculty within the Organizational Leadership and Supervision program at Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He teaches courses in conflict management, leadership and human resources. He also served as associate faculty for the IU School of Public and Environment Affairs. Daniel is Director of the IUPUI Office for Intergroup Dialogue and Civil Community. An attorney and mediator, he specializes in mediating employment, management and higher education disputes. Daniel is the co-author of The Conflict Survival Kit: Tools for Resolving Conflict at Work (2nd ed.) and the Supervisor Survival Kit (11th ed.), Pearson Education, Inc. Daniel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from DePauw University and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

John Knox
John Knox is the Student Employment Coordinator in the Career Center at Ball State University. He is responsible for insuring that students apply and are hired for student positions within the University and Federal Work Study-Community Service programs in compliance with Federal and State rules and regulations. He serves as the liaison between student employee supervisors and administrative agencies effecting student employment. He is a graduate of Ball State University and comes to the Career Center with experience in management and public sector human resources. He is a member of the Midwest Association of Student Employment Administrators and proud father of a current BSU student.

Robert J. Koester
Robert J. Koester, AIA, LEED, AP, is a Professor of Architecture at Ball State University. Mr. Koester is Founding Director of the Center for Energy Research/Education/Service (CERES) providing interdisciplinary academic support focused on issues related to energy and resource use, alternatives and conservation. He serves as Founding Chair of the university-level Council on the Environment (COTE) a clearinghouse for campus-wide sustainability.

David G. Lewis
David G. Lewis is certified by Purdue University and the University of Oklahoma in diversity facilitation and is a certified trainer for Steven Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Successful People and Emotional Intelligence. David has a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Illinois State University where he also did his graduate work in Political Science. He was the 1996 recipient of the Great Lakes Association of College and University Housing Officers (GLACUHO) Outstanding Presentation Award for his award winning program titled: "Walk Your Talk". David has taught American government and politics at Heartland Community College in Normal, IL, as an adjunct professor, where he has been awarded the outstanding adjunct faculty member multiple times. He hosts a weekly radio show titled “Dollars & Sense” on WXRJ 94.9 David has spoken nationally and is an award winning speaker; however his proudest accomplishment to date is his son CJ, who within his own right has become a most accomplished young scholar/athlete.

Michelle Morrison
Michelle Morrison is an Academic Advisor/Recruiter in the Division of Online and Distance Education. She advises undergraduate online students and works with them to develop a plan to complete their program. She helps guide and connect students with all the valuable resources that serve online students. She also serves as an advisor to the Online Student Ambassador Program. She has over 10 years of experience in working with students. She has a Bachelor’s of Social Work and a Master of Arts in Counseling both from Marshall University.

Kathie Nix
Kathie Nix has worked at Ball State University for the past six years as the Operations Coordinator in the Alumni Center. She will graduate this May with her master’s degree in Adult and Community Education and a minor in Communication Studies. With a background in theatre and Girl Scouting, Kathie loves presenting active training sessions and promises to keep you moving and involved in your workshop. Kathie and her husband Phil, a local optometrist, have lived in Muncie for 33 years and have two daughters who have both graduated from Ball State University.

Mike Polites
Mike Polites teaches public speaking and interpersonal communication classes at the collegiate level. He has helped thousands of people overcome their fear of communicating. His belief that learning to be more comfortable communicating can truly benefit anyone in his or her career is a force that drives him. As a past-president of a local Toastmasters International group, Mike became the Indiana State Champion of Humorous Speaking. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication from Ball State University, he worked in sales and consulting for five years. During this time, he worked as a recruiter in high school classrooms, encouraging thousands of Indiana high school seniors to continue their education by going on to college. Delivering over 500 dynamic and energetic presentations on effective communication, team building, and the power of a positive attitude, teachers frequently asked Mike to return as a guest speaker. In addition to his educational and teaching experiences, he served as a university ambassador while visiting Asia, Australia and Europe. He later went back to Ball State and obtained both a Certified Training Certificate and a Master of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis on training and consulting in organizations.

Paula Presnoples
Paula is a change professional with thirty years in human resource management. With real world experience in the public and private sectors, she has led large and small teams to outstanding results. Frequently in her career she has been tapped to create new organizations and lead them in unchartered waters. Often decorated for her contributions, Paula has proven that conscious leadership is a path to achievement and authenticity. Her hands-on public and private sector experience includes: Indiana State Affirmative Action Coordinator; Human Resources Director, Indiana Department of Revenue and Managing Director, Human Resources, FedEx Express, retired; at FedEx she rose from individual contributor to Managing Director in less than 10 years, proving herself to be a dynamic achiever and gifted leader. Today she assists individual and organizations make change. Her expert guidance has helped clients gain relief from fears and limitations, which impact performance, and to achieve in the ever-changing business climate. Paula graduated with a BA in Psychology and a MPA in Public Affairs both from Indiana University.

Pamela L. Ruster 
As a consultant/trainer, Pam has presented numerous workshops and seminars to workplace groups on numerous topics. With over 275 responses to traumatic events which impact the workplace such as suicides, murders, automobile accidents, fatal industrial accidents and robberies, Pam has assisted numerous corporations and workplaces to address the impact of trauma on employees, managers and the systems on which they normally rely. Her background serves her well, as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), receiving a Master of Science in Social Work degree from the University of Louisville, and BA in Sociology from the University of Evansville. For almost 20 years Pam owned Supportive Systems, LLC, a Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) which provided EAP and Corporate Development services to corporations throughout Indiana. In addition, Pam has a wide range of experience in practice settings including child welfare and health care. In addition she provides Department of Transportation Substance Abuse Professional services for those who have violated the DOT drug and alcohol policy.

J. Michelle Sybesma
J. Michelle Sybesma has been a long-time returning presenter to Ball State’s Learning and Development Programs. Owner of both Professional Skills Consulting and SF Installs, she wears multiple hats of her own highly successfully. Her honest and practical consulting approach to professional improvement keeps attendees engaged and impacted long after her sessions. She has 15+ years of success stories in universal business improvements ranging from healthcare to manufacturing. Join us in one of her sessions to find how you too can become a part of this success network.

Kimberly Wiefling
Kimberly Wiefling is the author of Scrappy Project Management, a global business leadership consultant, and a force of nature – the good kind! She specializes in global team effectiveness – helping teams achieve what seems impossible, but is merely difficult. The founder of Wiefling Consulting, Kimberly has worked with people form over 50 different countries, and she’s determined to transform Planet Earth one inspired and engaged team at a time!

Stephanie Wilson
Stephanie D. (Huffman) Wilson is the Recruiter for the Ball State University Graduate School. She manages social media (2100+ Facebook “likes”), a student-centered website, and orients new graduate school students. Her experience includes being Director of the Ball State University Outreach Services, Project Director of an information technology training project assisting 500 dislocated workers in 25 Indiana counties, and Institute Director for the Indiana League of Municipal clerks for five years. She earned an undergraduate degree in Management and a master’s degree in Adult and Community Education from Ball State University.

Jerry Winans
Jerry Winans is the Associate Director of Human Resources, Learning and Development (L&D). Jerry is a certified Senior Professional in HR (SPHR) and a retired U.S. Air Force officer. He joined Ball State University in July 2010 with 15+ years of experience in human resources and training management at BellSouth, Honda Tier I manufacturers, healthcare staffing, and Taylor University. He earned a Master of Science degree from Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, (Applied Behavioral Sciences, Training and Development/HR), a Master of Arts degree at Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas, (Counseling Psychology), and Bachelor of Science degree from Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, (Journalism and Mass Communications).