Deborah J. Barrett, PhD, is professor of the practice of writing and communication at Rice University, where she teaches graduate courses in academic writing and research and creative writing, and undergraduate courses in leadership communication, negotiations and consulting. She has published articles on literature, communication and leadership topics and serves on the editorial board of several scholarly journals. Her book Leadership Communication, in its fourth edition, is one of the top selling texts in professional communication programs. She has participated in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival since 2007 and has been admitted to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference four times, three for her creative nonfiction and most recently for her fiction. She is currently writing and publishing creative nonfiction essays under the name Deborah Burch-Lavis and has started a novel. Her recently published personal essay “The Last Christmas” is included in the anthology Shifts (MuseWrite Press), which is a 2015 USA Best Book Awards Finalist. Dr. Barrett holds a BA in English and speech and an MA in English from the University of Houston and a PhD in English from Rice.