From the Editor’s Desk

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

Hello friends and members of the Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC.

STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter is looking forward to another great gathering to
“Give Thanks”. Let’s meet up to share, to laugh, and to connect. Members, Non-members, & Students… all are welcome…Bring a guest if you want, but definitely bring yourself.

Tuesday Nov. 13, 2012
Networking 6:30pm
Dinner   7:00pm

Where is the dinner?

Houlihans 2600 East Colonial Dr Orlando, FL 32803

How Do I RSVP?
Email vicepresident@stc-orlando.org
(We really need an accurate headcount)

Each individual is responsible for their own expense at this event.
Gratuities will be added to each check.  Thank you.

 

 

 

Don’t forget:

Like us on Facebook!

Follow us on Twitter!

Do YOU have an article you’d like to submit for Memo to Members? Don’t be shy… email me at newsletter@stc-orlando.org. You will get 0.5 an Active Member point for your submission.

Until next time,

Alex Garcia
Editor
Memo to Members
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

President’s Corner

Karen_Lane

Karen Lane

By Karen Lane
President
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
president@stc-orlando.org

As we enter the end-of-year season (since for all practical purposes, Halloween begins “the holidays”) your Administrative Council is concentrating on celebrating our accomplishments, honoring the season, and moving brightly into the new year. For seasonal observances, we have two events that have proved very popular in the past few years. Our Dinner of Thanks will be held on November 13, an early opportunity to enjoy fellowship and camaraderie with your colleagues and their significant others.

Thanksgiving is my favorite secular holiday, and I think it is my favorite exactly because it doesn’t depend on religious belief or ritual to be meaningful. Someone raised the question, “Whom do atheists thank on Thanksgiving?” My answer is that the question is irrelevant. We can be grateful for the good people and things in our lives with or without a specific target to receive our thanks. Thanksgiving as a national observance and the Dinner of Thanks as a chapter observance share the goal of encouraging us to be aware of the advantages we enjoy and the connections to our loved ones near and far. For myself, I am thankful not only for my family’s blessings but very much also for the gift of friendship my STC friends have provided. I wish all our friends and colleagues a meaningful season, and I do hope we will be able to celebrate our accomplishments together on into the future.

For December, we will be reprising our Alumni Holiday Reunion dinner that was so successful last year. We will be giving you more details in the next few weeks, but in the meantime please mark your calendars for December 11. The location will again be the Marriott at Lake Mary. Stay tuned for information on how to reserve your place.

As another heads-up, don’t forget that every January the UCF Future Technical Communicators co-host a special joint FTC–STC event at UCF. As always, the meeting will feature a well-known expert who will talk on a topic of interest. That’s all I can say here, since the announcement and arrangements are in the hands of FTC. This is a free event (except for your parking), by the way, so try to get to the meeting, which will be held on January 15, 2013.

And don’t forget to renew your STC membership. If you renew by December 31, 2012, your regular membership will be discounted by $30. That renewal incentive goes away on January 1, so don’t wait too long to renew. Here is the link:

http://stc.org/membership/join-or-renew-now/membership-dues

I will have more to say next month (of course!). In the meantime, please try to attend our Dinner of Thanks and join your friends and colleagues in celebrating all that we can share that is life sustaining and fulfilling. And don’t forget that I am always eager to hear your complaints (so we can address them) and your compliments (so we know that we are serving your needs). Just e-mail me at president@stc-orlando.org.

If You Missed Last Meeting…

Sarah Baca

By Sarah Baca
Treasurer
Orlando Chapter STC
treasurer@stc-orlando.org

…You missed Paul Mueller of User Aid who presented his research on Estimating Technical Documentation Projects.

Have you been having a difficult time estimating the amount of time it takes you to complete projects? If this is a challenge for you, you are not alone. For October, Paul Mueller of User Aid helped us with this topic, as he spoke about his methods for estimating project times.

He said that estimations vary widely depending on the writer and project, but having a good general metric is essential. It is especially important if you are a contractor who gets paid by the job, as he and the members of his team are.

When determining the estimations for a project you have to consider three topics:

  1. The personality of the team that you are working with.
  2. The knowledge source that is available.
  3. The complexity of the user interface.
  4. The number of required reviews.

All of these metrics can positively or negatively influence the amount of time per page it will take to complete a project.

Depending on the project, and using the above factors, he says his team of experienced writers estimates anywhere from two to eight hours a page. He suggests this as a starting point for team members who are establishing their own estimations.

My team has been able to take the information we learned from Paul’s talk and can’t wait to see how it helps us with our estimations as we start our next Agile Scrum sprint cycle. We are very grateful to Paul for an interesting and informative meeting, and for the kind donation of his time to our chapter.

Meeting of International Minds

.

Karen Lane, Shuoyl Li, Dan Voss, Jean Conner, Dave Coverston, Priya Sharma, and Loretta Lott Met for an International Discussion.

Submitted by Loretta Lott, Employment Manager
employment@stc-orlando.org

Our chapter had the privilege of hosting a dinner meeting with a fellow technical communicator from Shanghai, China. Our President, Karen Lane, was contacted by Shuoyl Li and he requested an opportunity like to meet with local professionals when he visited Orlando in October 2012. Karen coordinated a date, time, and place with Shuoyl and then made an open invitation to our chapter.

On Thursday, October 11, 2012, Karen, Shuoyl, Dan Voss, Jean Conner, Dave Coverston, and Loretta Lott met for a Chat-n-Chew session to discuss the profession of technical communications. Jean Conner brought her colleague, Priya Sharma. Priya resides in New Delhi, India but was working locally on a temporary assignment.

Shuoyl told us that this was his first visit to the United States. He traveled with his wife (who works for PayPal) and young daughter here for a family vacation. They were doing the worlds (Sea World, Walt Disney World, and Universal Studios) and enjoying every minute of it. He decided to mix a little business with pleasure and that is why he asked to meet us.

Shuoyl told us that he had been doing technical communications for about 10 years. He had worked for two companies, completed an MBA, and recently established his own company (infotech: http://www.info-tech.com.cn/index-en.html). He told us that with the global way of the world he felt that we were all very much the same with the work and approaches we used.

Priya shared her view of her experiences from India to the United States. She said that she enjoyed the less dense population here in Central Florida. Priya is working with Jean Conner whom are both employed by Fiserv. She will continue to work virtually when she returns to India next month. She hails from Delhi, is married, and has two kids. She is not presently a member of the STC-India chapter, but Dan Voss shared that she does know Mak Pandit, an STC colleague of his who was active in the AccessAbility SIG when he was manager.

Until recently, there have been no formal degree programs in technical communication in India; she learned strictly on the job. Jean speaks very highly of Priya’s skills and contributions to the company, and they hate to see her go back to India … although she will remain a colleague via virtual collaborative technical communication.

We all are different, but in the end, we all are really the same.

Rhyne Armstrong to Present this January at Annual STC/FTC/UCF Meeting

Bethany Bowles

By Bethany Bowles
Mentoring Co-Chair/FTC Liaison
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

We now have a speaker for the annual joint meeting of the STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter and the Future Technical Communicators at UCF. Rhyne Armstrong who is the Director of Documentation at RouteMatch Software and an exemplary STC member has agreed to be our keynote speaker this January. Rhyne will be teaching us how to use social media to our advantage as technical communicators.

“How can you be an expert in communication of ANY kind by ignoring the biggest trend in communication in the modern era? Don’t.” –Rhyne Armstrong in Don’t Suck at Social Media at STC Summit 2012

Since many STC members are new to the world of social media, he will be giving a presentation similar to his excellent presentation at this year’s STC Summit. Rhyne also recently presented at the LavaCon Conference on “Monitoring Social Media for Documentation Customer Feedback.” He is creating a new presentation for us that will be helpful for technical communicators new to the world of social media while giving students a new perspective on its uses.

Mark your calendars to join us in learning more about this fascinating and relevant topic on Tuesday, January 15, 2012 starting at 6:00 pm in the UCF Cape Florida 316 (inside the Student Union). There will be no cost to attend the meeting, but there is a $5 charge to park on campus.

 

Mentoring Program off to Picture Perfect Start in 10th Year

Bethany Bowles

Dan Voss

Kickoff Meeting at UCF Features Photo Scavenger Hunt

By Bethany Bowles and Dan Voss

Our STC chapter has launched the 10th year of its highly successful and internationally pace-setting STC student mentoring program with a record-high 12 mentors and 12 mentees with a colorful kick-off meeting held in the Tech Writing Lab in Colbourn Hall on the UCF campus on October 21, as well as all over the campus.

After being introduced, the new mentor/mentee pairs—a.k.a., “M&M’s”—had the opportunity to take part in a photo scavenger hunt around campus and partake in refreshments that included home-made sandwiches, snacks, and, of course, cake.

The mentors and mentees learned who their partners would be for this year’s program (see box). Based on the steady “buzz” of conversation in the Tech Writing Lab both during the refreshments and while we tallying the results on the scavenger hunt, the “M&M’s” wasted no time getting started on establishing goals, objectives, and activities for their mentoring relationships, which will run through the end of the school year.

Tyler Beusse and Mary Burns work to fill out their mentor/mentee agreement form.

For this year’s bonding activity at the kickoff, the M&M pairs worked together to score points by finding and taking pictures of items on the photo scavenger hunt list. All the items listed below were things that could be found on campus with determination and a little ingenuity and captured on cell phone photos:

  1. Next to a sign/flyer/plaque which has either “FTC” or “STC” on it (double points for both).
  2. With the UCF Pegasus.
  3. In front of the reflection pond.
  4. Sitting on the benches on the boardwalk.
  5. In front of a building named after a UCF president (triple points for both such buildings).
  6. At Einstein Brothers bagels (triple points for both on-campus locations).

The first prize in the photo scavenger hunt was honor, glory, and a pair of matching FTC t-shirts for the pair that scored the most points. The competition was fierce—a real nail-biter on a par with the national election, coming down to the wire and ultimately decided by a razor-thin 1-point margin after the mandatory Florida recount. Translation: all the M&M pairs did exceptionally well in the hunt. Ultimately, Karen Lane and her mentee Candace Du Lac carried the day. While Mark Wray and RD Sharninghouse were nipping at their heels, Karen and Candace received an extra point for taking their picture on benches(plural) rather than on a single bench.

Mark Wray and RD Sharninghouse intently focus on their plans for the year.

The mentoring program, which pairs professionals in the Orlando Central Florida STC chapter with technical communication students at UCF, has had a highly successful legacy since its inception in 2003. The model for a number of other successful mentoring programs in the Society, including a program partnering the STC-France Chapter with the University of Paris, the Orlando mentoring program—co-sponsored by the STC-Orlando Central Florida chapter and Future Technical Communicators (FTC) at UCF—has been instrumental in sustaining and enriching the dynamic partnership with the university that has been a major factor in making our chapter an acknowledged leader and award-winning chapter in the Society.

Karen Lane and Candace Du Lac discuss their mutual interest in editing and indexing.

In the last ten years, the program has fostered 82 mentor/mentee (“M&M”) relationships, many of which have grown into long-term professional relationships and friendships. Each year mentees have received vital assistance in job placement, skills development, project management, big-company “politics,” and many other areas of endeavor. Mentors have enjoyed the immense satisfaction of assisting new technical communicators on the threshold of our profession.

Dan Voss’s second career as a cake model may be in jeopardy.

Our 2012-2013 “M&M’s” … a Dozen Duos and an All-Time Program High!

Mentee Mentor
Cory Bullinger W.C. Wiese
Megan Wedge Jen Selix
Paige Mulligan Alex Garcia
Candace Du Lac Karen Lane
Richard Ries Debra Johnson
Tyler Beusse Mary Burns
Marjorie Simonetti Sarah/Jerry Baca
RD Sharninghouse Mark Wray
Alicia Kerns Kathy Elbert
Rachael Blankenbecklor Erika Higgins
Rashelle Oberle Diane Heald
Bethany Bowles Dan Voss

 

Get Active, Get Recognized, Show Your Stuff!

W. C. Wiese

by W.C. Wiese
Active Member Motivator
Orlando Chapter STC

Wanna stand out in your profession? Wanna show the boss you’re serious about the job they hired you to do? This’ll help.

They come in pepper, black, and powder blue. They come in forest green and artillery red. And there are maybe 250 in the whole wide world. What are they? Highly sought after Orlando Central Florida Chapter Active Member shirts!

Mentoring Co-Chair Dan Voss Receives his Active Member Shirt at the 2011 End-of-Year Banquet

At our end-of-the-chapter-year awards dinner in June, Membership Chairman David Coverston recognized 17 Orlando Central Florida Active Members at the year-end banquet. Each received the gray-trimmed black polo shirts President Karen Lane still raves about.

Since 2001, the Orlando Central Florida Chapter has recognized members who are consistent in their attendance and help make the chapter a success. These distinctive leadership shirts cannot be bought, only earned. They set our membership apart at STC conferences and in the workplace. (After years of envy, several other chapters have copied us and begun their own active membership programs in the past 5 years.)

As the table shows, members earn points every month they attend a meeting, put on a program, attend an Administrative Council meeting, or serve as a judge or mentor.

 

Activity

Point Value

Attend Chapter Meeting

1

Chairman/Officer

0.5 for office

0.5 for attending AdCo!

Present a Program

2

Visit a Class or Another Chapter

1

Serve as a Mentor/Month

1

Serve as a Judge/Month

1

Sponsor a New Member

2

Write Articles for the Newsletter

0.5

 

In the chapter year ahead, you must earn 14 points to earn a 2013 Active Member shirt. But it will be worth it!

The shirts let our members celebrate chapter pride in the workplace whenever they choose to wear it. It sends 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!

Will you be an active member? Watch in upcoming issues of Memo to Members! And watch for opportunities for mentorship, to share in committee work, or to judge chapter contests.

Jaffe Award Deadline Extended

Erika Higgins

By Erika Higgins
Jaffe Award Chair/Immediate Past President/Director-at-Large
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
jaffeaward@stc-orlando.org

Call it an early holiday gift but due to some technical difficulties experienced on the submission site, we are extending the deadline for nominations. The new deadline is Friday, November 30th at 5pm ET.

Do you know a technical communicator (including yourself) who:

  • Creates innovative documentation?
  • Has made significant contributions to businesses, education, leadership, and/or STC in the Central Florida area?
  • Has implemented good communication practices for his or her company or clients?
  • Is a mentor for newcomers to the industry?
  • Exemplifies what it means to be a technical communicator?
  • Deserves recognition from his or her peers in the Greater Orlando Technical Communication industry?

Well, now is your chance to shine a spotlight on this special Technical Communicator! How? Nominate him or her for the 2013 Orlando Chapter STC Gloria Jaffe Outstanding Technical Communicator Award (Jaffe Award). And, yes, you CAN nominate yourself. Don’t be modest, you deserve it!

The process is easy. Simply complete the online application on Survey Monkey.

Nominations will be accepted until November 30, 2012 at:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PM9R9B8

About the Award:

The Jaffe Award is named for Orlando Chapter founder and retired University of Central Florida Technical Communication professor Gloria Jaffe. Her leadership is reflected in the enduring communication values prized by the Orlando Chapter and in the professionalism of UCF graduates who had the opportunity to study with her.

Benefits:

  • Strengthen your resume
  • Demonstrate value to current employers
  • Celebrate the contributions of an outstanding technical communicator
  • Join such prestigious Orlando Chapter STC Members and Jaffe Award winners as:
    • David Coverston
    • Debra Johnson
    • Molly Townsend
    • Kelli Pharo
    • Dan Voss
    • Alan Gaynor
    • Dr. Gail Lippincott
    • Dr. Dan Jones
    • Lillian Laitman-McAnally
    • W.C. Wiese

Eligibility:

  • No entry fee
  • Society members and non-members are eligible.
  • You CAN nominate yourself–or a well deserving peer.
  • All nominations are anonymous, so there is no reason to be shy!
  • Applications can be found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PM9R9B8
  • Deadline for nominations is 6 PM on November 30, 2012

The award winner will be recognized at our chapter meeting in January 2013 on the campus of UCF. For more information, contact Gloria Jaffe Award Committee Manager Erika Higgins at jaffeaward@stc-orlando.org

Good Luck!