From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

As we come upon the end of our 2018-19 chapter year, the Florida chapter has an exciting educational program for you. I won’t spoil the surprise, but suffice to say, I’m very excited for this presentation. Read on to learn more about our May meeting or visit our Meetup page.

In addition to introducing our exciting meeting for this month, Acting President Nick Ducharme also recaps two chapter firsts: a ground-breaking fully virtual meeting and a successful half-day workshop!

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!

An Introvert’s Journey to STC Leadership

Nick Ducharme

By: Nick Ducharme
Acting President
Florida Chapter, STC


The theme of this month’s hype article is “Presidential.” To start with the elephant in the room: Yes, my byline does indeed say “Acting President!” On May 6th, Bethany Aguad was installed onto the STC Board of Directors, and it was my honor to step in as Chapter President for the remainder of the term.

It is also my honor to announce that another member of the STC Board of Directors has graciously agreed to join us for our final educational program of the chapter year. That person is none other than Ben Woelk, President of STC for 2019-20! His topic, which is very near and dear to my heart, is titled An Introvert’s Journey to STC Leadership. Presentation overview and presenter bio are included below.

Please click here to RSVP for Ben’s presentation on Thursday, May 23rd! As always, we welcome both in-person and virtual attendees.

Presentation Overview:

Ben Woelk will be sharing a bit of his journey as an introvert in leadership whilst he begins his year as President of the Society for Technical Communication. Following his story, Ben is happy to answer your questions about introverted leadership and to share his perspective on how introverts can harness their innate abilities to make more of an impact on their life and career.

There are many approaches to leadership, and we often hear about highly extroverted, “take charge” leaders who have very public presences. Those of us who are introverts may not believe or recognize that we have strong leadership skills, and we certainly don’t seem like the extroverted leaders that are the norm. However, introverts also make great contributions as effective leaders. For the purposes of this presentation, Ben characterizes extroverts and introverts as follows:

  • Extroverts focus on the outer world of people and things. They tend to be active and have a wide breadth of interests. They understand things through experience. They may be reward seekers and desire fame. They are energized by contact and activities undertaken with others.
  • Introverts have a rich inward-looking life of ideas. They tend to have a depth of interest, preferring specialization to a breadth of knowledge. They may mull over thoughts and concepts, but not express those thoughts verbally or externally. Introverts recharge themselves by withdrawing from the hubbub to places of quiet and solitude.

Source: Lessons Learned on an Introvert’s Journey to Leadership

Presenter Bio:

Ben Woelk

Ben Woelk is the President of the Society for Technical Communication for 2019-20. Ben is an introverted leader whose passion is mentoring and coaching introverted leaders. He’s had the opportunity to speak across the world about how others can become successful leaders by identifying and actualizing their introvert strengths. Those opportunities led to the creation of Introverted Leadership, a mentoring program that provides coaching services to empower prospective introverted leaders based on the unique abilities their introverted nature provides.

Ben has been a Technical Communicator for more than 20 years. He’s helped manage a technical communications firm, consulted in communications and training to Fortune 500 companies, and is currently full-time staff and adjunct faculty in higher education. Ben has developed software and hardware documentation, documented processes for ISO 9001, developed and delivered instructor-led and web-based training, managed end user communications, designed processes, and written policies and procedures.

Ben has served as the Program Manager in the Information Security Office at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where he’s worked since 2004. He created a Digital Self Defense security awareness program that is respected across higher education and manages policy development and adoption. Ben is an adjunct professor, teaching Computing Security and Technical Communication courses.

A Florida native, Ben began his studies at the University of Florida and did graduate work at Trinity International University, the University of Rochester, and the Rochester Institute of Technology. Ben holds an Advanced Certificate in Technical Information Design. He’s also a Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) (Foundation), an Approved Trainer for the CPTC, and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Resources—Check out some of Ben’s work with introverted leadership!

April Meeting and Workshop Recaps

By: Nick Ducharme
Acting President
Florida Chapter, STC

April was an especially busy month for our chapter calendar. We hosted not one, but two innovative programs that I am incredibly proud of!

Chapter Meeting: STC Florida Chapter Open Forum on Technical Communication

On the evening of Thursday, April 18th, STC Florida hosted its first ever fully virtual chapter program. We have taken note of the success of our monthly virtual networking meetings, and so we decided to turn one into a full program. Attendees from across Florida and beyond filled out a survey to provide us with conversation topics, which gave us the opportunity to lead an extended discussion about technical communication that was tailored to the needs of our community. The conversation ranged from personal career advice for technical communicators to long-term chapter planning. From the chapter’s annual employment meeting to future regional conferences, the lively discussion sparked engaging discussions on where we see the chapter going in the coming years.

Long-time chapter member, veteran, and firebrand Dan Voss marvelled at how the chapter has grown to embrace technology as a way to connect with members across Florida and have the conversations that matter. It was an experimental format, and my hindsight verdict is that we should definitely consider repeating it. Stay tuned!

Chapter Workshop: Visualizing Your Career in Technical Communication

On the morning and afternoon of Saturday, April 27th, we had another chapter first: a half-day workshop that encouraged both in-person and virtual attendees. Bethany Aguad and I hosted the event from the new technical writing lab at the University of Central Florida, which also enabled several students to attend in addition to mid-career and late-career practitioners. Attendees filled out a career interest survey, which enabled us to create personalized reports that matched each person’s interests with key words from real tech comm job opportunities in various career tracks that were open across Florida. We discussed some of these tracks, as well as job search and placement strategies, before splitting off into pairs for a resumè peer review. In-person attendees were invited to continue discussions with us at a restaurant after we departed the lab, which led to some additional lively professional topics.

On their way from the UCF lab to the restaurant for continued workshop discussions, Nick and Bethany stopped for a selfie with some student attendees.