Lori Klepfer on YSU’s PWE Program

Enjoy this reprint!

This week’s testimonial comes from Lori Klepfer, a 1988 YSU graduate with a concentration (not an official degree at that time) in Public and Professional Writing–then-called Professional Writing and Editing (PWE). Lori shares in her full testimonial below that our professional writing program led her to positions in technical communication, program design and development, consulting, and more. She currently works for Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Lori credits the YSU professional writing program with preparing her for all of these positions. Read more below!

As a member of the first class of the YSU Professional Writing and Editing (PWE) program, graduating in August 1988, I was prepared for a profession that was still relatively new to the business world. At that time, only about three other universities in the US offered degreed undergraduate programs in technical communication. The profession wasn’t widely known, so often people didn’t know that they needed people like us. I graduated a month or two before the Ohio Board of Regents accredited the program, so, unfortunately, I cannot officially claim that degree, but I was prepared, nonetheless.

The professional writing program was a perfect fit for me. It allowed me to combine my love of learning, science, technology, and writing. With my education, I secured a technical communication internship at Rockwell Automation, after which I was hired as a permanent employee.

The PWE [now Public and Professional Writing] program gave me a solid foundation that allowed me to broaden my talents into training program design and development and consulting. My career led me to a small firm, where we produced training programs and technical material and where I learned how to estimate projects and lead a team.

From there I became a Training Practice Manager for the Cleveland, Ohio branch of a US-wide IT Consulting firm. Eventually, I launched my own training and performance management company, LJK Consulting, LLC. Over the years, we had exciting opportunities to lead, design, and deliver a wide variety of programs across many industries. In addition, I had the opportunity to help design a technical communication certificate program for Cuyahoga Community College as well as teach courses for the program. I also have taught programs for an Instructional Design certificate program at Cleveland State University.

After sixteen years as a business owner, my life path led me to join the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, where I currently am part of team that onboards IT Service Desk agents. I design, develop, and deliver training programs and coach agents to improve their performance during our onboarding process.

To this day, I am grateful to Dr. Bege Bowers and Dr. Chuck Nelson, who served as both my mentors and friends during and after college. They exposed our cohort to and got us involved with the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (NEOSTC). That professional association provided continuing education, networking opportunities, and professional recognition for manuals and online help that I created throughout my career. I eventually served on the board of the chapter for many years.

Once my path took me into the instructional design and development realm, I became involved with the Association for Talent Development (ATD), where I also led the Greater Cleveland chapter for many years.

The greatest gift I received from the PWE program was the ability to communicate with any audience and to write clearly and logically. The electives I took gave me foundational skills for marketing and public speaking, which helped me during my years as a consultant.

I’m so fortunate to have been at YSU during the foundation of the PWE course and at the beginning of the modern era of technical communication. The skills I learned allowed me to grow in my profession and pivot into other career avenues.