Varner is a past President of the Association for Business Communication (ABC). She has won the ABC’s Outstanding Teaching Award and was named Fellow of ABC, and Distinguished Member of ABC. She received several departmental research and teaching awards. She is a native of Germany. She earned the Staatsexamen at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universitaet in Freiburg, Germany. She received her Ph.D., an M.A. in German literature and an MBA from Oklahoma University.
Varner’s research interests focus on the interaction between business management, culture, and communication. Varner is co-author of the book, Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace. Varner has done research on expatriation, cultural adjustments for successful expatriation, and criteria determining expatriate success. She has also examined the composition of corporate boards in Asia, Europe and North America, focusing on gender representation and international preparedness. Varner is an adjunct professor at the University of Lugano, Switzerland and a visiting professor at the University of Dresden, Germany. In addition, she has given lectures and seminars in New Zealand, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Belgium, France, Russia, and Poland. She serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Business Communication, and the Business Communication Quarterly.