From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

The holiday season is officially upon us, and I’m here to bring you good wishes for the new year! To kick those New Year resolutions off, read on to learn more about our January meeting or visit our Meetup page. (Hint: The topic is based off our survey results from you, dear readers!)

And while we look forward to the new year and all the exciting upcoming events for our chapter, Vice President Nick Ducharme takes a minute to recap our first three ground-breaking meetings of the 2018-19 year to celebrate our chapter’s successes while also, for me at least, psyching me up even more for this month’s meeting!

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

Get Hyped for This Month’s Meeting!

Writing a Winning Proposal

Nick Ducharme

By: Nick Ducharme
Vice President
Florida Chapter, STC


I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season! For me, it’s strange to jump back into the thick of things after enjoying some days off. Nonetheless, it seems the time has come to recalibrate. J

To make this transition easier, STC Florida has decided to start 2019 off with a bang. We’ve picked yet another highly-requested topic category from our summer 2018 survey. Better yet, we’ve selected our very own Dan Voss to present about it for our January chapter meeting.

I’ve known Dan for a while now. He’s one of the most lively and motivated people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, and he has decades of experience with writing proposals—which is what his presentation will be all about.

Please click here and RSVP for “Writing a Winning Proposal: ‘Near Misses’ Only Count in Horseshoes and Nuclear War.” by Dan Voss. Official presentation and speaker descriptions are below. (I think these will give you a sense of his aforementioned liveliness!)


Promotion for Presentation, “Writing a Winning Proposal: ‘Near Misses’ Only Count in Horseshoes and Nuclear War.”

In this dynamic and entertaining presentation, 40-year aerospace proposal writer/manager and STC Fellow Dan Voss presents the basic principles of writing a successful proposal, along with a liberal dose of lurid proposal “war stories” from his long career at Lockheed Martin, where he participated on more than a hundred proposal teams that collectively won over $20 billion in contracts for the company.

Worry not, however, that the presentation is relevant only to fiercely competitive aerospace proposals. Originally presented to a graduate class in technical communication at Mercer University in 2014 and since presented at the University of Central Florida, this presentation focuses on basic principles that apply to a much broader range of proposals in which technical communication practitioners may become involved, including commercial proposals, grant proposals, and internal business proposals within corporations. It also applies to job placement and career development … resumes, portfolios, interviews, strategic career advancement … basically anything that involves “selling” a product or service … which may include YOU, as a technical communication student or practitioner.

The marketing principles presented also apply to scholarship applications, awards applications, even radio and internet contests—indeed, all of these are, at the core, “proposals.” The only proposal these principles can’t promote success on are marriage proposals. Dan is still working on that!



About the Speaker

Dan Voss

Dan Voss is a “retired” but still active proposal specialist for Lockheed Martin who also provides industry training workshops in business and technical communication. An STC Fellow, Dan is recognized for his publications and presentations on diverse subjects at STC’s international conference and was the recipient of the STC President’s Award for his efforts on student outreach. With Lori Allen, he coauthored Ethics in Technical Communication: Shades of Gray, published in 1998—for which he became the only non-engineer to receive Lockheed Martin’s coveted Author-of-the-Year recognition. He has coauthored four research articles for STC’s Technical Communication as well as four articles for intercom. Dan and now-chapter-president Bethany Aguad, then a student at UCF, co-managed STC International’s student outreach and mentoring initiative from 2012 through 2014 and presented at Leadership Day at two international STC conferences. They also coauthored Chapter 5, “Teaching the Ethics of Intercultural Communication,” in an acclaimed anthology of research articles Teaching and Training for Global Engineering, edited by Kirk St.Amant and Madelyn Flammia and published in 2017.

August, September, and October Meeting Recaps

Nick Ducharme

By: Nick Ducharme
Vice President
Florida Chapter, STC

“STC Florida Seeking Virtual Panelist!” was the subject line of one of our email blasts complete with a megaphone emoji and all.

Something really cool was about to occur, which was saying something. I mean, this was going to be our third presentation of the year after we’d already had two total knockout presentations to start off the chapter year! In total, we had:

All of these meetings were revolutionary for our chapter, thanks in part to some minor tweaks in our virtual technology and in-person networking spaces—as well as enhanced focus on the experiences of virtual attendees. We began to designate an online moderator for each meeting, which helped us seamlessly incorporate the lively chat box discussion into all audience feedback and Q&A activities. Plus, all meeting topics this past year were selected based on feedback from this summer’s chapter survey, because your voice matters to us!

August 2018

In Kirk’s August presentation, he balanced compelling cognitive science about cognitive load and sequencing with down-to-earth examples about the way we remember tasks in our day-to-day lives. (I will never look at a stop sign quite the same way again.)

Our in-person networking group enjoys a meal at Chuy’s while several online attendees call in for the August meeting.

Bethany Aguad runs the in-person side of the call while we experiment with a portable screen in a restaurant dining room. From online, Emily Wells serves as our first dedicated online moderator while Kirk St.Amant delivers his presentation.

September 2018

In Todd’s September presentation, he took a methodical approach to the topic of virtual teams by first addressing some of the challenges that can arise (such as lower visibility and less clearly defined responsibilities). Then he tackled how we can address these challenges, which resulted in some lively Q&A from the audience. I had the pleasure of serving as online moderator, and I sincerely appreciate the high level of activity we had in the chat box!

Our in-person networking group gathers at Riptide Software to revisit the conference room format for in-person networking.

Todd Deluca presents to our on-site and virtual attendees. Nick Ducharme moderates the online chat from afar.

The August and September presentations were hard acts to follow. To keep our quality standards just as high in October, we decided to continue making chapter history.

 October 2018

A mixed-media panel discussion. It was an ambitious goal that we had never previously attempted. We had our four in-person panelists already locked in, and we technically could have stopped there. Instead, we made the call to reach out for volunteers who would like to serve as a virtual panelist.

The response was overwhelming, and thus overjoying. Every response to our prompt was a wonderful read. We couldn’t pick just one virtual panelist in the end, so we ended up with two.

I led the panel discussion from the on-site location while Bethany Aguad moderated the chat. Topics of discussion included dealing with intimidation, working with subject matter experts who don’t take well to criticism, effective cross-cultural communication with subject matter experts, and more.

Discussion moderator Nick Ducharme (on left) and online chat moderator Bethany Aguad (on screen) address all panelists.
On-site panelists from left to right are Emily Wells, Dan Voss, W.C. Wiese, and Debra Johnson.

Virtual panelist Beth Anne Carr responds to a question.

Virtual panelist Tina Kister responds to a question.

From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

The holiday season is officially upon us, and I’m here to bring you glad tidings along with a mega newsletter! Read on to learn more about our amazing holiday social or visit our Meetup page for more information.

Next, President Bethany Aguad provides our chapter’s 2018 year in review for her final President’s Corner article of the year, as well as providing a recap of last month’s meeting.

In addition, STC Fellows Dan Voss and Mike Murray provide an update on two changes announced earlier this year, the kick-off of the Leadership Development Program (LDP), as well as STC Florida’s new Values, Vision, and Mission Statements.

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

Catch you on the flip side,

Emily Wells
Communications Chair
Editor, Memo To Members

President’s Corner

Bethany Aguad

By: Bethany Aguad
Florida Chapter, STC

Members and Friends of the STC Florida Chapter,

2018 has been a year of exciting opportunities and challenges for the Florida chapter!

From updating our branding to hosting the 2018 Summit, treasured memories abound. Looking back to my first President’s Corner in August, we have accomplished so much since then:

  • Sharing four educational programs in person and online from nationally recognized presenters (Meetups)
  • Conducting five virtual networking meetings connecting with technical communicators across Florida
  • Hosting our first hybrid panel with face-to-face and virtual panelists (How to Make Subject Matter Experts Your Tech Comm Allies)
  • Formalizing our chapter’s commitment to inclusivity (Our Values)

You all worked hard, dedicating your time and energy to the chapter, and I cannot thank you enough! I especially want to thank David Coe and Riptide for graciously providing meeting space this year. We have had several fantastic programs in their conference room while connecting with our online attendees. We are now truly connected statewide, and I have enjoyed the chance to get to know so many of you this year.

Going into next year, I know we have opportunities to build on this year’s achievements. Volunteers are the fuel that powers our chapter’s success! We are seeking members who want to get involved from short-term projects to ongoing committee roles. If you are interested in getting involved, please reach out to me, since I know we all have talents to share.

Happy holidays and have a wonderful new year!

Get Hyped for this Month’s Meeting!

Emily Wells

By: Emily Wells
Newsletter Editor and Communications Committee Chair
Florida Chapter, STC

Happy holidays!

I know you’ve already heard once from me this month, but since I’m super excited about our holiday social, I wanted to invite you once more to join STC Florida at our Holiday Social 2018!

We invite all Technical Communicators, Alumni, and Guests to join us at Bahama Breeze near Waterford Lakes, where we will be gathering to celebrate 2018 and look forward to 2019.

We always have a good time at our holiday social, and it’s a great chance to meet new people and network in a stress-free environment while also sharing some holiday cheer.

For more information or to RSVP, please visit our Meetup page. I hope to see you there!

Values, Vision, and Mission Statements Ratified by Administrative Council

Our Values Provide the Vision to Achieve our Mission

By: Dan Voss and Mike Murray, STC Fellows

Our lighthouse is shining.

Culminating a year-long initiative spearheaded by STC Fellow and chapter historian Mike Murray, the Administrative Council formally approved the chapter’s Values, Vision, and Mission Statements at its December meeting.

The beacon in our community’s lighthouse is fueled by our seven core values:

Our values guide us to safe harbor for all.

  • Caring
  • Education
  • Excellence
  • Inclusivity
  • Teamwork
  • Vision
  • Volunteerism

Collectively, these values guide us safely through the perilous shoals of discord, disunity, and dysfunctionality that can sink any community.

Our summary Values Statement is as follows:

The Florida STC Chapter operates upon seven shared core values: caring for each other and for others, with inclusivity for all, a passion for education, a commitment to excellencethe vision to build for tomorrow, and the teamwork and volunteerism to achieve things today.

A detailed Values Statement with a definition of each core value and an explanation of how it guides our community, along with our Vision and Mission Statements, are provided on our website.

Just like a lighthouse, our Values give us the Vision to safely pursue and achieve our Mission.

Our Vision Statement is:

To develop and enhance the practice of technical communication in Florida by exploring and implementing emerging technologies while still stressing critical core skills—and, in the process, creating and sustaining a cohesive statewide technical communication community.

Our Mission Statement is:

To advance the statewide exchange and application of technical communication expertise through diverse channels, and to demonstrate the business value professional practitioners offer with their core skills and their mastery of emerging communication technologies.

Inclusivity targets diversity in technical communication.

Leadership Development Program Charts Course for the Chapter Year

Kickoff Meeting Builds on Success at Summit 2018

By: Dan Voss and Mike Murray, STC Fellows

The STC Florida Chapter’s innovative Leadership Development Program (LDP), entitled Passing the Torch, kicked off the 2018-2019 chapter year with an organizational meeting at the home of the LDP manager, Mike Murray.

The LDP is a natural extension of our flourishing student mentoring program with tech comm students at the University of Central Florida, co-sponsored by the STC Florida Chapter and the Future Technical Communicators (FTC) student club at UCF.

The Concept

Originally conceived by then chapter president Alex Garcia in 2017, the LDP came to fruition this year under the guidance of STC Fellows Mike Murray and Dan Voss. As detailed in the article “Passing the Torch: Mentorship Program Expands to Include a Creative Leadership Development Program” in the April 2018 MtM, the LDP focused initially on preparation for the 2018 Summit last May, where the four LDP Rising Stars worked with their LDP Coaches to develop and deliver two outstanding presentations and accompanying round-table take-away talks at the Summit.

In fact, chapter Vice President Nick Ducharme made an engaging and informative as one of ten innovative chapter initiatives the Rising Stars presented at Leadership Day at the Summit.

The Basis

The LDP centers on 18 key leadership skills. To pair the Coaches and Rising Stars, Mike and Dan asked the Rising Stars and Coaches to rate themselves on these 18 skills, dividing the skills into three groups of six (areas of strength, areas of satisfactory performance, and areas for growth). They then made the pairings by aligning the Rising Stars’ self-identified leadership growth areas with the Coaches’ strongest leadership skills.

 The Pairings

The LDP pairings for the 2018-2019 pair four of the chapter’s officers with veteran STC community leaders, as follows:

  • President Bethany Aguad is paired with Treasurer and STC Fellow W.C. Wiese
  • Vice President Nick Ducharme is paired with past chapter president and Director-at-Large Debra Johnson.
  • Immediate Past President Alex Garcia is paired with Director-at-Large and STC Fellow Karen Lane.
  • Secretary Crystal Brezina is paired with former Education Committee manager and STC Fellow Dan Voss.

All four Rising Stars are former UCF student members of our chapter and “graduates” of the chapter’s student mentoring program co-sponsored with FTC.

The Kickoff Meeting

At the LDP kickoff meeting for the 2018-19 chapter year, host Mike Murray made the actual “kickoff” with a brief pep talk, including some of the many valuable leadership concepts he set forth in his eye-opening and inspirational Fast-Start Leader’s Guide, published in March and widely disseminated at the 2018 Summit.

“Leaders come in many forms with many styles.” STC Fellow and LDP manager Mike Murray welcomes the LDP Rising Stars and their Coaches to a “kickoff” meeting for the 2018–2019 chapter year.

The Guide is, of course, “required reading” in the LDP—and it has been extremely well received as a resource for STC community leaders nation-wide. If you haven’t read this  valuable work, you will find it both engaging and enlightening. It is posted on our chapter website as part of the extensive community-building electronic resources the Rising Stars made available to all STC communities at their Leadership Day presentation at the Summit.

Following some “light refreshments” that turned into a sumptuous “pot-luck” repast, the four LDP pairs met privately to establish their goals for the Rising Stars’ leadership growth this year in their responsibilities as chapter officers and as young technical communication professionals in the workforce. Over the course of the evening, Mike circulated among the four pairs to offer his guidance and suggestions.

I thought this was going to be ‘light refreshments.” True to form, the LDP Rising Stars and Coaches “over-achieved” as all contributed to a sumptuous pot-luck spread hosted by Mike’s wife Kay.

The Road Ahead

Throughout the year, the Coaches and Rising Stars will communicate regularly via face-to-face meetings, email, texts, telephone, and other media to track the Rising Stars’ progress in achieving the identified leadership growth objectives.

November Meeting Recap

Bethany Aguad

By: Bethany Aguad
Florida Chapter, STC

“Fast, Accessible, Accurate: Choose one!”

Last month, the talented Li-At Rathbun presented “Our Level Best,” where she covered technical editing from levels of edits to how we tackle projects. You have probably seen Li-At’s name before since she teaches the society’s “Technical Editing Foundations” STC online course and is an STC Associate Fellow.

Li-At emphasized how to adapt the levels of edits to meet the needs of your different projects. She also explained the role of technical editors as tech support for writers and advocates for users.

Join us in thanking Li-At for her outstanding presentation!

Our Level Best.

A wonderful turnout, both in person and on-line!