From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

Welcome! We have a lot going on this month, and I’m here to give you a sneak preview of what’s to come.

This month, our chapter meeting is focusing on one of the hardest topics for technical communicators: job searching. For more information or to RSVP, read on or visit the RSVP page.

Next, I’d like to welcome a new writer to MtM, Celeste Graeff, as she recaps our historic August meeting co-hosted with the North Texas Lone Star Chapter.

Finally, Dan Voss and Mike Murray bring us their second article in the Looking Back, Looking Forward column, this time focusing on our chapter’s student mentoring program. Read on to learn more!

That’s all from me for now. I hope to see you at the meeting!

Catch you on the flip side,

Emily Wells
Communications Chair
Editor, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

Get Hyped for this Month’s Meeting!

Looking for a job can feel like being stranded on an island. You face a tidal wave of decisions and emotions. Join us from the comfort of your home on your phone or computer for our September chapter meeting where Mirhonda Studevant, longtime STC Atlanta member and recent STC Florida transplant, will share her job search techniques to boost your confidence, hone your survival skills and steer you toward your next opportunity. Whether your current job situation is smooth sailing or rough chop, this session will help you consider ways to navigate a better course.

Please RSVP using this link.

 

August Meeting Recap

By: Celeste Graeff
Member
Florida Chapter and North Texas Lone Star Chapter, STC

The collaborative meeting in August between the North Texas Lone Star Chapter (NTLSC) and the STC Florida Chapter was a success with 17 virtual attendees and 13 live attendees. It was the first virtual meeting for the NTLSC and, after some troubleshooting at the beginning, the virtual component was smooth and entertaining.

The three speakers came from very different backgrounds and shared with us how they use their technical communication skills in their current nontraditional roles. We had great questions from the live and virtual audiences and an engaging discussion portion as a result. It was an overall success and an enjoyable experience that provided inspiration for ideas about future collaboration between STC communities.

Maurice Moss, one of the three presenters, online and in-person.

 

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Student Mentoring Program Enters 17th Year

By: Dan Voss and Mike Murray
STC Fellows
Florida Chapter, STC

Welcome to the second installment of Looking Back, Looking Forward, a new column that appears periodically in Memo to Members. This column showcases articles and other documents generated by members of the STC Florida Chapter over our community’s 41-year history that still bear relevance to our community’s operations today and into the future.

In our September 2019 LBLF column, we are looking back at three articles that captured the establishment and growth of the STC Florida Chapter’s benchmark student mentoring program, co-sponsored with the Future Technical Communications (FTC) club at the University of Central Florida (UCF).

The highly successful program, founded in 2003 by the Orlando Chapter with FTC and UCF, is presently looking forward to its 17th year, about to get underway under the guidance of Education Committee manager Misty Arner and FTC president and chapter liaison Amy Truong.

In its first 16 years, the student mentoring program has generated 141 mentor/mentee pairings in which professional practitioners within the chapter have guided technical communication students at UCF as they have embarked on their careers.

It’s a Quadruple Win!

The student mentoring program has proven to be a win-win situation both personally and organizationally. Mentees get valuable practical professional development advice and job placement assistance they are not likely to get in the classroom. Mentors get the satisfaction of helping groom the next generation of technical communicators and they also benefit from seeing what ideas newcomers bring to the industry. The UCF technical communications (tech comm) program and FTC benefit from the professional expertise of many of our chapter members. And our chapter is assured of a steady pipeline of fresh volunteer talent that has played a major role in the extraordinary success of our community over the past 17 years.

You can read about the student mentoring program under the Education tab on our chapter website. Over the years, it has been emulated by several other STC geographic communities. The program guidelines and the various tools used to administer the program are available to all STC communities in the Community-Building Toolkit on our website.

Reaching Out to UCF

The first article about our mentoring program, “Bridging the Gap Between Industry and Academe,” was written by its co-founders, Orlando Chapter Education Committee Manager Dan Voss and FTC President Bonnie Spivey. The article was published in the Proceedings to the 52nd international STC conference (now called the Summit) in Seattle in 2005, in conjunction with a presentation delivered by Bonnie and Dan.

Reaching Across the Atlantic

The second article, «Un Programme de Mentorat International? Mais Oui, C’est Possible! Absolument!», tells an inspiring story of a trans-Atlantic virtual mentoring partnership that led directly to the establishment of a student mentoring program between the STC France Chapter and the University of Paris-Diderot modeled on the “Orlando model.” Coauthored by STC France Secretary Clio Fouque, then a student at the University of Paris, and Dan Voss, who met at the 56th international STC conference in Atlanta in 2009, the article was published in the Proceedings to the 57th international STC conference in Dallas in 2010. Clio and Dan’s mutually enriching and organizationally fruitful mentoring partnership offers a promising paradigm as our student mentoring program seeks to add a virtual dimension as it extends to other universities in Florida over the next several years.

Reaching Across the Society 

The third article, “STC Student Mentoring Programs: Investing in the Future,” was written by Bethany Bowles and Dan Voss for the 15th annual STC-India conference in Varca, Goa, in 2013, and published in the STC-India newsletter Indus in third quarter 2013. The article recaps the history of our chapter’s student mentoring program and chronicles Bethany and Dan’s 3-year tour of duty with the Society’s Committee Affairs Committee (CAC) as task leaders in the student member outreach program. The pair co-presented at Leadership Day at the 59th and 60th international STC conferences in Toronto in 2012 and Atlanta in 2013, respectively—in both cases distributing both printed and soft media copies of a comprehensive reference guide on student mentoring programs that other STC geographic communities have used to establish and sustain student mentoring programs.

Coming Attraction:

Watch for the next installment of Looking Backing, Looking Forward in the November edition of Memo to Members, where we’ll be looking at communication strategy past, present, and future.

 

From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

Welcome to our new chapter year! We have a lot going on this month as we kick off our new year, and I’m here to give you a sneak preview of what’s to come.

To start, this month, we are partnering with the wonderful folks of the North Texas Lone Star Chapter to hold our first joint chapter meeting! For more information or to RSVP, read on or visit the RSVP page.

Next, I’d like to welcome a new writer to MtM, Bernard King, as he provides his takeaways from the 2019 leadership retreat held earlier this month.

And last, but certainly not least, Florida Chapter Treasurer W.C. Wiese shares how you can earn a coveted Florida Chapter active member shirt as well as a contest to win an awesome STC-related prize (I want to win it x1000). Read on to learn more!

That’s all from me for now. I hope to see you at the meeting!

Catch you on the flip side,

Emily Wells
Communications Chair
Editor, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

Get Hyped for this Month’s Meeting!

Lightning Talk: Tech Writing Skills in Nontraditional Fields

Emily Wells

By: Emily Wells
Communications Chair
Florida Chapter, STC

A first for our chapter, this month, we are partnering with the North Texas Lone Star Chapter to join their live meeting Lightning Talk: Tech Writing Skills in Nontraditional Fields virtually. We will have three speakers who are professionals with a background in technical writing that are currently in job roles unrelated to tech writing. This is to encourage tech writers to look at careers and jobs with titles that are not strictly “tech writer” or “technical communicator.”

So what’s a lightning talk, you ask? A lightning talk is a very short presentation lasting only a few minutes. Several lightning talks will usually be delivered by different speakers in a single session.

Our three speakers will share how their tech writing experiences prepared them for their careers, and what advice they have for someone looking to join their career field from a tech writing background. There will be plenty of time for Q&A, so bring your questions and come meet these amazing professionals and learn about new career opportunities.

8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. – Lightning talk, presentations, and Q&A.

Please RSVP using this link.

About the Presenters:

Maurice Moss – Product Manager at Axxess

Laurel Beason – Lecturer and Director of Corporate Relations at Univ. of North TX

Kyle Rollins – Technical Writer/Scrum Master

2019 Leadership Retreat Recap

By: Bernard King
Member
Florida Chapter, STC

The STC Florida Chapter Leadership Retreat, held on August 10, 2019, was my first time attending an STC event in-person. My goals for attending the meeting were to engage with the members of the Florida chapter, as well as gain a better understanding as to what was expected of me as a member and how meeting these expectations could benefit my career as an up-and-coming Technical Communicator.

Alex Garcia opened the meeting by focusing on attendee introductions, expectations for the meeting, and distribution of active member awards and t-shirts. I found this part of the meeting to be the most inspiring. Those attendees who were recognized seemed very proud of their contributions to both the organization and the technical communication industry as a whole.

The subject then shifted to the importance of the 2019-2020 volunteer initiative and how the encouragement of active participation is vital to STC’s overall goal of encouraging professional training and development. Karen Lane explained how tasks are offered to members based on experience. It was revealed that there are various short-term and long-term positions within the organization that are yet to be filled, several of which various members volunteered for. This inspired me to contribute this article to Memo to Members.

The next part of the meeting addressed the mentoring program and the benefits of being an STC student member. Among the subjects discussed were the decline in physical meetings due to increased online student enrollment, the increased cost of student membership, the mentorship program, and various scholarship programs. Also discussed were possible methods of reaching out to high school students interested in careers in the field of technical communication.

The meeting shifted its focus to the importance of preserving the Chapter’s history. I was surprised to find out that only one STC chapter has a detailed archive. Dan Voss put forth an idea to have a chapter history page on the STC Florida website. Dan pointed out that the research being conducted for this chapter history could result in the most detailed history archive of any chapter as well as potential Pacesetter Recognition.

The retreat then wrapped after a brief discussion on future meetings and programs for the 2019-2020 year. Many different topics were discussed and voted on. Among them were programs focusing on document design, project management, help guides, and job hunting.

After the meeting had adjourned, I walked away assured that volunteering for this organization would yield results that will provide a promising start to my career.

Will You Earn a 2020 Active Member Shirt? Here’s How!

By: W.C. Wiese
Treasurer
Florida Chapter, STC

Want to stand out in our profession? Want to show the boss you’re serious about your job? This’ll do it.

Another chapter year, another distinctive Active Member shirt for helping to make the  Florida Chapter successful!

For almost 20 years, the Florida Chapter has recognized and rewarded the members who are essential to our chapter’s success with unique active member shirts. Our distinctive leadership shirts aren’t sold, only earned. They set our membership apart at meetings, STC conferences, and in the workplace. In fact, after years of envy, several other chapters have contacted us and started their own active membership programs.

The shirts let members celebrate chapter pride whenever they wear them at work. It sends a positive message to employers, clients, and co-workers:  I am committed to technical communication and self-development. I am a member of STC!

Now that our chapter meetings are regularly networked statewide, recent changes to the active membership program ensure that virtual attendees aren’t overlooked and that multiple contributions to the chapter’s publicity efforts are credited. As the table shows, members earn points for every monthly meeting attended, whenever they put on a program, attend an Administrative Council (AdCo) meeting, or serve as a judge, mentor, or chairman/officer. Another great way to earn points is by helping Communications Chair Emily Wells with articles, photography, and production of Memo to Members.

Based on past campaigns, the most active 15 percent of our membership ordinarily receive shirts. So we’ll see you at the next meeting!

Jumpstart Your Active Membership by Winning Our New Member Campaign!

By: W.C. Wiese
Treasurer
Florida Chapter, STC

An often-overlooked active membership opportunity is sponsoring a new member! The Florida Chapter is always looking to grow and needs your help. That’s why our active membership program awards two points for each new chapter member you sponsor.

It’s not hard to do. Do you have a co-worker who needs a nudge? Bring them with you to the next meeting or participate together online – just help them act on that frequent desire to see what STC is all about and help them appreciate the professional growth they’ve been missing. When they join STC and become a chapter member, you get points for having been their contact and host.

Talk about feeling good! You’ll feel really good about yourself, you’ll get two Active Member points for each new member, and you’ll maybe win a contest. Sponsor the most new members by the end of 2019, and you’ll be the winner of a great pair of technical communication socks from the 2018 STC Summit.

The well-dressed active member doesn’t stop with a Florida Chapter shirt. Add these limited-edition STC socks if you’re our new member campaign winner!