From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

Welcome to the month of rain showers! This month has been interesting, to say the least. I’ll admit, a lot of my plans this month changed for obvious reasons, but even in the face of adversity, we soldier on and keep connecting (albeit, virtually).

Speaking of connecting, for this month’s meeting, we’re having an open forum on tech comm. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, and for the safety of all our members, this meeting and all future meetings will be 100% virtual until such time as in-person gatherings are once again safe. For more information about this month’s meeting, visit the RSVP page.

As a reminder from last month, in addition to our chapter meetings going virtual for the time being, STC has made the decision to transition the 2020 face-to-face Technical Communication Summit & Expo to a virtual conference format this Spring. For more information, visit the STC Notebook.

This month, I bring you both a new writer, and the new MtM editor. That’s right friends, starting this month, I am transitioning from my role as your newsletter editor and handing over the reins to my very capable successor, Julia Southwick. Never fear though, I’m not fully leaving as I will still remain as the Communications Chair.

To give you a chance to get to know Julia, this month I’m proud to share the culmination of her mentoring program project detailing how to access and use several of Google Suite’s most helpful features (complete with videos). I hope you find them as helpful as I have.

That’s all from me for now. I hope to (virtually) 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!

Open Forum on Tech Comm

Join the Florida Chapter of STC on April 28, 2020 for our virtual chapter meeting. We are planning to use this meeting as a time to discuss technical communication topics of interest to everyone. Please share with us the topics that you think we should consider or questions that you want to ask the group. Based on the submissions, we will be facilitating the discussion and networking.

We will be having this fully online chapter meeting on April 28 from 7:00-8:30 pm. Please join us!

Agenda
6:15 pm – New Member Orientation
6:30 pm – Join early for virtual networking
7:00 pm – Facilitated discussion begins

We will be charging the following rates for this meeting:
-Free for STC Florida Chapter student members
-$6 for STC Florida Chapter Members
-$12 for all other attendees

Visit our Meeting Payments page for details on how to pay ahead for the meeting and receive the call details.

Visit our chapter website to RSVP or to submit questions for discussion.

How to Use Google Suite

By: Julia Southwick
New Professional Member
Florida Chapter, STC

About Me
 Hello, I’m Julia. I come from a family of engineers and engineering types, so technical communication comes as naturally to me as breathing. Last May, I graduated from UCF’s Technical Writing Program and started looking for a job on my own. Spoiler alert: it did not go well. So I reached out to my network and decided to join STC’s mentorship program last fall.

About my Mentorship
I’ve been lucky enough to be paired with Bethany Aguad who has been fun to work with and even helped me find a position at Siemens. As part of our mentorship, I decided to make some how-tos about some of Google’s products because I noticed a gap in the Society’s knowledge continuity. 

About the Project
The STC Florida Chapter uses Google Suite for various functions such as meetings and document management. There are three Google Suite processes I focused on: accessing documents in Google Drive, setting up permissions in Google Docs, and setting up Google Meet calls. All three were written in Google Docs and have an accompanying video showing all of the steps. If you have any feedback about these how-tos or suggestions for other topics, please contact me at JuliaSouthwick96@gmail.com.

Google Drive Instruction Documents

From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

Welcome to the beginning of spring! A lot is happening in our world right now, but we’re not going to let that stop us from connecting (albeit, in a much more virtual manner).

This month, we have our annual employment panel. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, and for the safety of all our members, this meeting and all future meetings will be 100% virtual until such time as in-person gatherings are once again safe. For more information about this month’s meeting, visit the RSVP page.

In addition to our chapter meetings going virtual for the time being, STC has made the decision to transition the 2020 face-to-face Technical Communication Summit & Expo to a virtual conference format this Spring. For more information, visit the STC Notebook.

Finally, just like last month, we have another first-time MtM writer! John Clement recaps and shares some behind-the-scenes takeaways he learned from both helping plan and attending our annual joint meeting with the Future Technical Communicators (FTC) club at the University of Central Florida (UCF).

That’s all from me for now. I hope to (virtually) 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!

Annual Employment Panel

Join the STC Florida Chapter on March 26, 2020 as we welcome a panel of hiring managers, recruiters, and professionals who interact with Technical Communicators on a daily basis.

Agenda
6:15pm – New Member Orientation
6:30pm – Networking and Refreshments
7:00pm – Program begins

Come talk to a panel of experts about working in the Technical Communication field. Everyone is welcome! Ask questions from the experts on:
· Interviewing
· Resumes
· Career Advice
· Mentoring
· Work Samples/Portfolio and more…

Come prepared with your questions and hear stories from the ground floor of the hiring process. This panel will not only benefit early-career technical communicators, but those with experience as well. It’s always a good idea to sharpen your interviewing skills, you never know what the future holds.

Panelists’ views are their own and do not necessarily represent those of their employers.

We will be charging the following rates for this meeting:

-$6 for STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter Members (part of Society for Technical Communication membership, not membership of this meetup group)
-$12 for all other attendees

The same pricing applies for online attendees. Visit our Meeting Payments page for details on how to pay ahead for the meeting and receive the call details.

This year’s panelists include:

Patrick Green

Patrick Green is a Lockheed Martin (LM) Technical Publications Manager who works at the Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS) Training and Logistics Solutions (TLS) facility to provide high quality technical publications for the products developed at this site.  Patrick moved to Orlando in 2014 when he started as the Technical Publications Manager and now oversees a team of 14 writers who develop a variety of publications.  Prior to this he worked at the LM RMS facility in Syracuse, NY as a Logistics Project Manager where he was responsible for all logistics products for various ground-based radar systems. In addition to these two positions, Patrick has been a technical writer and customer trainer while at LM.  Patrick is also a retired Marine with over 21 years of service.  Patrick is a graduate from Columbia College and holds a BS in Business Administration and Human Resource Management.

 

Jack Molisani

Jack Molisani is the president of ProSpring Technical Staffing, an employment agency specializing in technical writers and other content professionals: http://ProspringStaffing.com

He’s the author of Be The Captain of Your Career: A New Approach to Career Planning and Advancement, which hit #5 on Amazon’s Career and Resume Best Seller list.

Jack also produces the LavaCon Conference on Content Strategy and Tech Comm Management which will be in Portland this October: http://lavacon.org

February Meeting Recap

Annual Future Technical Communicators (FTC)/STC Meeting: Recap and Takeaways from the FTC President

By: John Clement
Student Member

Florida Chapter, STC

Hey! My name is John Clement, and I am the current president of the (FTC) club at UCF. After undertaking the role at the beginning of this year, I was thrown straight in to organizing the club’s (rapidly-approaching) largest event of the year. It was a great learning experience I would not replace as it placed me in the position of asking myself what I would want from this meeting so I could help turn that into a reality for others.

On Thursday, February 20th, FTC joined with the Society for Technical Communicators (STC) Florida chapter for its annual joint meeting. This year, we reprised our Career Paths Presentation from the previous year but with new faces. Six professional technical communicators, attending either in-person or online, each gave a presentation on their occupations and answered questions from the audience. The range of disciplines and backgrounds the panelists came from was a boon to have as students were able to hear from both new and experienced technical communicators working within different disciplines. The panelists were:

  • Kelley MacEwen – Sr. Information Developer at Appian
  • Melissa Rios – Integrated Product Support Manager at L3 Harris Technologies
  • Delroy Thompson – User Assistance Designer at SumTotal Systems
  • Gail Hart – Marketing Communications Manager at Comprehensive Health Services
  • Tyler Dick and Madeline Park – Technical Communicators at Universal Studios

Each presenter gave a thorough presentation covering what they do now, how they got there, why they love it, and what helped them along the way. Each presenter also provided their contact information and the best places for students to reach out to them.

After the panelists concluded their career presentations, students asked questions such as how tech comm skills could be applied to other disciplines, thereby extending the discussion and giving everyone in the room additional and insightful information great to keep in mind as prospective technical communicators. On top of all that, students had the opportunity to network directly with the professionals after the event. For example, the panelists from Universal Studios had an internship position open and encouraged the students to talk to them about it to learn more and even apply.

This year’s Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship recipients were also recognized at the meeting: myself and Tamatha Hazen, who was not able to be present. In memory of Melissa, we in the room joined together in a moment of silence after I lit a candle in respect to her.

Speaking personally, it was very satisfying to see how the event turned out. The turnout put the room at full capacity; there were approximately 40 attendees, which was stunning. We had put a lot of work into advertising the event to students, but even then, our expectations were happily exceeded.

The fact that it could directly help others is all that matters. It is safe to say that each of the attendees came out having either learned something new, made a new contact, or became firmer in their understanding about the tech comm field. Organizing this event was an experience I would not change anything about as it developed me in numerous ways from leadership skills to task management to student outreach. I could not have done the least of it without the help of my FTC leadership team and those at STC who gave me the resources and information I needed to get the event off the ground. The positive results that arose from the event were the fruits of our labor. I am very excited for what I can continue to do in and through FTC moving forward.

Side note: As part of a project for my English class, I produced an infographic summarizing a few of the panelist’s presentations from this event. Check it out!

All the best,

John

From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

Welcome to 2020! A new year, a new decade, and a new newsletter! Alright, a little over the top, but I’m excited for the new year and what it may bring. But first, let me bring you this month’s newsletter:

This month, we have our Future Technical Communicators (FTC)/STC annual meeting at the University of Central Florida (UCF). This year’s theme is Tech Comm Career Paths, focusing again on the many different career pathways available for a technical communicator. For more information, visit the RSVP page.

Next, last month, we shared more on the new graduate scholarship at UCF, inspired by our very own Mike Murray. This month, Bernard King shares about how our chapter helped give back to the community in other ways this past holiday season.

Speaking of Mike, this month he’s sharing some words of wisdom and encouragement as part of his Excellence column, helping kick off a new decade, and a new section in our chapter’s history.

Finally, we have not one, but two January meeting recaps (Lessons from New Tech Comm Professionals), both from first-time MtM writers! First James Yunik sets the stage, providing the 411 on the helpful advice and main topics covered by the panelists. Next, Connor Elfrink shares his take on his first chapter meeting (welcome Connor!), as well as some key takeaways.

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

Florida Chapter Gives Back to the Community

By: Bernard King
Student Member
Florida Chapter, STC

During the 2019 holiday season, the Florida Chapter donated more than $100 worth of gift cards and pantry items to the Harbor House of Central Florida. Harbor House is an organization that works to prevent and eliminate domestic abuse in Central Florida by providing critical life-saving services to survivors, as well as educating the community on navigating the justice system and utilizing resources to cope with the effects of domestic abuse. We’d like to take this moment to outline what it means to give back to your community and how your contributions can create a better world, as well as a better you.

It Makes Life Difficult for the Bad Guys

Harbor House is an organization dedicated to protecting domestic abuse survivors. When you contribute to organizations dedicated to protecting, you’re also providing abuse victims the resources to rebuild their lives. An organization with more resources to protect people makes it difficult for those who wish to prey on them. Organizations like Harbor House partner with law enforcement and child protective services for the purpose of preventing homicides and injuries.

Create a Legacy of Giving

When you contribute to a charitable organization, it makes a difference. Donations don’t necessarily have to be monetary. Harbor House accepts contributions in the forms of cleaning products, personal care items, and even pet food. Whether it be brightening someone’s day or saving a life, the effect will be felt throughout the community. More importantly, it may inspire someone else to do the same. The more you give, the more you inspire. And when you inspire, you cement a legacy that you and your loved ones can be proud of.

Misty Arner (right) dropping off the donations on behalf of the Florida Chapter.

It Looks Good on Paper

Doing volunteer work and contributing to non-profit organizations can help make you more marketable, especially when you are contributing in ways that are related to your chosen career or major. For example, contributing articles to volunteer organizations like STC can help to build your skillset and make your resume more appealing to potential employers. Being employed by an organization that wants to make the world a better place can be a great source of pride.

Regardless of your reasons to give back to your community, the overall benefits of doing so will always lead to positive results for both you, and the world around you.

Starting a Fire…

Excellence Column


By: Mike Murray
STC Fellow
Florida Chapter, STC

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original audience for this message was the STC Florida Chapter Administrative Council (AdCo). In it, the author, under whose leadership the chapter became one of STC’s most dynamic communities and accomplished so much over the past 2 decades, delivers some wisdom—and hopefully inspiration!—to the young leaders who are taking on a new and daunting challenge. It is republished here in Memo to Members as part of Mike’s column on Excellence.
******************************************************************

Date: January _, 2020
To: STC Florida Administrative Council
From: Mike Murray
Re: A New Year’s Challenge

Colleagues:
If you have spent any time as a Boy Scout or Girl Scout, you know how difficult it is to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together or by striking flint with a metal object. Like a fire, the hardest part about anything is just getting started. Once the fire gets started, it becomes easier to build and maintain it. That’s fine for a campfire, but what about things you can’t touch, things like a statewide STC chapter?

Foundation is #1!
In my three years as chapter president, I spent the entire first year solidifying the foundation. In the campfire analogy, that would mean finding some dry tinder and borrowing Joe’s cigarette lighter (I sure do miss Joe). In building a strong chapter, I approached people one at a time who I identified as having leadership skills and positioned them on the organization chart in places where I felt they could do the most good. That and some other things (e.g., finding a meeting place, establishing schedules, etc.) took my entire first year.

New World, Same Basics
Time went by and things changed — a lot, and yet, the basics remain. The first thing is always establishing a strong foundation. The current AdCo has done a wonderful job of establishing a strong foundation after identifying the correct foundation.

Here’s where things change. It’s one thing growing a chapter when all of your potential members are in a nearby metropolitan area, quite another when they are scattered out over an entire state. In the former example, all you need is a president with a big mouth and a place for meeting attendees to sit. I don’t have to tell you that that doesn’t work anymore. Things have become technology-driven and require sharp people who are familiar with the rapidly changing technology.

Thankfully, the Florida chapter has the best of the best, but even that is not enough. The other key ingredient to establish a successful virtual chapter is ”time.”

Time Takes Patience
 We would all love it if technical communicators statewide immediately recognized the value of participating in a virtual chapter, but that is going to take some convincing. Becoming comfortable with virtual technology is something that scares many people. In addition, many of the senior technical communicators are simply tired. They are not interested in learning yet another ”groundbreaking” technology. It will take time to convince them of the value they have been missing.

I can’t think of anybody in history who was more patient than Colonel Harlan Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. One thousand times he tried to convince restaurants and others of the value of using his chicken recipe. On his one thousand and first attempt, he was successful. Just imagine if he had gotten so disappointed that he quiet on his one-thousandth attempt. You never know if your next attempt will be the successful one.

Twelve publishers rejected J. K Rowling’s book about a boy wizard before a small London house picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly.                                                     —Robert F. Kennedy

My final advice to you is that you are doing an outstanding job—one that very few people would be brave enough to undertake. Just persevere and always remember Winston Churchill’s advice.

Never, never, never give up.
Winston Churchill, Battle of Britain, 1942

Churchill’s attitude may literally have saved the world at that time. Granted, saving STC may not be on the same level of gravity. But the fact remains, unless we move the Society into 21st-century technology, it is doomed.

You have created a spark. Let’s see what happens next.