From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

Fall weather is finally starting to hit here in Florida, and along with the chill breezes comes our first in-person monthly meeting (with a virtual attendance option) and the kick-off of the 2018-19 student mentoring program.

Read on as Vice President Nick Ducharme introduces our third meeting of the year, a panel on how to work with subject matter experts (and yours truly is one of the panelists!). For more information and to RSVP, read Nick’s article or visit our Meetup page.

In addition, our trusty treasurer, WC Wiese, presents a breakdown of our active member points program and how you can earn a highly coveted active member shirt. I’m going for my third this year, and I encourage you to join me in earning one of those snazzy polos.

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!

How to Make Subject Matter Experts Your Tech Comm Allies

Nick Ducharme

By: Nick Ducharme
Vice President
Florida Chapter, STC


Last month’s online turnout for Todd DeLuca’s stellar presentation, Collaborating on Virtual Teams, gave me such a warm and fuzzy feeling as your Vice President. This makes two months in a row that we have drawn a strong virtual presence to our meetings! I also got to experience it first-hand as your online moderator, since at the time I felt a bit under the weather and couldn’t swing the in-person networking option. It was such a relief to have an equally viable/valuable option for attendance—and that’s the key right there. We need attendance to be viable for all, regardless of location and other circumstances. This at the core of our mission for the 2018-2019 chapter year.

But enough about that for now. You’re probably reading this to hear what we’ve got planned for this month.

I suspect some of you, like me, heard a few horror stories about Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) when you were new to the profession. The themes of these cautionary tales are usually the same: “SMEs are incredibly smart and intimidating” or “SMEs are unapproachable.” In the worst cases, “SMEs don’t value us or what we have to offer.” Sometimes, these stories are true. But other times, SMEs can be among your greatest allies in the workplace if you can foster the right working relationship (I have wonderful SMEs in my work circle that I would be devastated to lose.) We’re all just people at the end of the day, and I think it’s important to demystify SMEs as a concept.

So, in accordance with your survey feedback on both meeting modes and meeting topics, we’re offering a panel on How to Make Subject Matter Experts Your Tech Comm Allies! I will be your humble moderator for the discussion, alongside your very talented panelists:

Debra Johnson, Chapter Director-at-Large

W.C. Wiese, Chapter Treasurer

Dan Voss, Chapter Education Chair for many years (up through last year)

Emily Wells, Chapter Communications Chair and your Memo to Members Editor

And on top of these four wonderful panelists, we will also be joined by a surprise virtual panelist, to be revealed at the meeting!

Please click here and RSVP to join us for this exciting panel on How to Make Subject Matter Experts Your Tech Comm Allies. You can either join us virtually or in person. Our panels tend toward lively discussion, so feel free to come prepared with some of your burning questions about SMEs if you like. I hope to talk to you soon!

How You Can Earn Your 2019 Florida Chapter Active Member Shirt

By: W.C. Wiese
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!

The 2018 active member shirt recipients.

For over 15 years, we’ve tried to recognize and reward the members who are essential to chapter success. Our distinctive leadership shirts cannot be bought, 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 copied us and started their own active membership programs in the past 5 years.

The shirts let our members celebrate chapter pride in the workplace whenever they choose to wear them. They send a positive message to employers, clients, and co-workers:  I am committed to my profession and committed to self-development. I am a member of STC!

Now that our chapter meetings are more statewide and networked, there are a few changes to make sure virtual attendees aren’t overlooked and multiple contributions to the chapter’s publicity effort are credited. As the table shows, members earn points for every month they attend a meeting, put on a program, attend an Administrative Council meeting, or serve as a judge or mentor. You can also earn points by helping Communications Chair Emily Wells with articles, photography, and production for Memo to Members.

Ways to Earn Member Points

The most significant change to the active member points program is that a yearly points target has been removed. Instead, based on activity, the most active 15 percent of the membership will receive shirts. See you at the next meeting!