From the Editor’s Desk

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

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

‘Tis the Season for giving and I have a great deal for you:

$5 off $25 at Amazon.com (Expires Sunday December 9, 2012; Facebook Account Required)

Follow the directions, and you will get your voucher via email.

Speaking of Amazon.com, please use our chapter click-through for Amazon.com during your holiday shopping this season. Our chapter will get 20% of the proceeds from your purchase. Bookmark the following address:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect-home/orlandochapte-20

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

Thanks to all who participated in last month’s Dinner of Thanks at Houlihan’s. Everyone had a great time, filled with fellowship and a spirit of camaraderie.

Whether you attended the Dinner of Thanks or not, you won’t want to miss the Holiday Reunion Dinner on December 11.  Last year’s dinner was festive, with a real glow of holiday cheer in the room. No, I don’t really think the glow could be attributed to the presence of the bar just across the lobby, although I don’t rule that out! If you’re planning to attend, you should already have RSVPed to Debra Johnson, our vice president (vicepresident@stc-orlando.org). If for some reason you thought you weren’t going to attend but now think you might be able to, make sure you contact Debra ASAP to find out if there is still room for you.

Our special guest speaker at the Holiday Reunion dinner is Jack Molisani, Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter member, STC Fellow, and president of ProSpring Technical Staffing  (www.ProspringStaffing.com), an employment agency specializing in engineers and technical writers. Jack also produces The LavaCon Conference on Digital Media and Content Strategies (www.lavacon.org). He will be speaking on planning for a fantastic 2013.

As we approach the end of the year, I hope you will be able to pause from your hectic holiday preparations and take time to take advantage of all that the season offers. May you have the blessings of loved ones near or far and the leisure to fully enjoy your year-end celebrations.

As always, if you have any concerns or suggestions about the chapter, please let me know (president@stc-orlando.org).

Happy New Year, everyone!

A View from Number Two

Debra Jonhson

by Debra Johnson
Vice President
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

Happy Holidays All!  What an incredible 2012 it has been.  Since last Jan, our chapter has won its 6th Community of Distinction award, “Most Improved Community” award, and if that wasn’t enough…honored with the top honor of “STC International Community of the Year”.

It was an honor representing STC-Orlando Central FL at the 2012 STC Summit in May in Chicago.  I was able to participate in the Content Strategy and Management Certificate program presented by Karen McGrane and Jeff Eaton, where I learned about a wide range of topics from communication goals to publishing tools; content strategy to content management for digital publishing as well as, some other very good Summit sessions; all at the same time forging new relationships with other Technical Communicators from across the globe. As your VP, I had the incredible opportunity to network with some truly brilliant people both at home and across the country.

This year my responsibilities at work have grown immensely…in addition to the work my team size grew… and because of this, STC Orlando Central Florida gained a new member.

We elected/re-elected our officers, hung our banners at Washlines, established new mentor/mentee relationships, learned about collaborative content authoring and how to use metrics to estimate documentation projects. We met with international Technical Communicators from China and India and  gather for the holidays to break bread and give thanks.

Our next big event is the 2012 Annual Holiday Reunion Dec 11, 2012 at the Marriott Orlando Lake Mary. We are fortunate to have as our special guest… professional recruiter, business owner and STC Fellow, Jack Molisani, who will be honoring us with an uplifting message for the year 2013 on increasing our standard of living — and our emotional sanity! Don’t miss this special event! I know I will be there…

I am excited for what’s coming in 2013. We have our annual UCF/STC/FTC meeting in Jan. and I am looking forward to a wonderful relationship with my UCF mentee, Richard Ries.

So here’s wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season and we’ll see you next year!

STC/FTC/UCF January Meeting Preview

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.

Your Voice Was Heard: 2012 State of the Chapter Survey Results

Candace Du Lac

Candace Du Lac

By Candace Du Lac
Student Member
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

The results for the 2012 State of the Chapter Survey have been collated, analyzed, and displayed. You can find them here.

First, I want to thank Patricia Cruz for creating another excellent survey.  This year, Patricia added a few new questions about software tools and chapter meetings that will serve as a guide for chapter leaders in the upcoming year.

Second, I would like to thank everyone who participated.  Your opinions are highly valued and are already being used to plan future meetings.

Between August 22 and September 25, 2012, the survey gathered information in five key areas:

  •  Respondent demographics
  • Work and education
  • Social media
  • How respondents stay current with their profession
  • Chapter meetings

One of the most important questions concerned program topics, since the results will offer direction for upcoming meetings.  The top three requested topics were

  1.  Content Development and Delivery
  2. Content Strategy and Design
  3. User Experience and Accessibility

The survey also found that 84% of respondents would be interested in attending webinar-style meetings, either remotely or in person. For this reason, Orlando Central Florida chapter leaders are looking into meeting alternatives such as MeetingBurner and other distant-access technologies.

Check out all the results yourself, find out about your colleagues, and learn what they would like the chapter to provide in the coming year. And even though the survey is closed for the year, anyone who still wants to offer opinions about chapter activities should contact Karen Lane (president@stc-orlando.org) with suggestions.

 

An Excellent Year for our Chapter of Distinction

Patricia Cruz

By Patricia Cruz
Chapter Achievement Award Chair
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

2012 was a great year for the Orlando Central Florida Chapter. Just a few highlights:

  • We had a lot of fantastic meetings with knowledgeable speakers in the field of tech comm–Joe Welinske, Tristan Bishop, Paul Mueller, and our very own Debra Johnson.
  • We kept the mentoring program alive and well with a new batch of technical communication students eager to learn from our more experienced professional members.
  • We networked with our colleagues all over central Florida at the regional mixers that were held in Melbourne, Lake Mary/Heathrow, and Kissimmee. We even had the pleasure of welcoming Shuoyi Li, a technical writer visiting from Shanghai.
  • We achieved full endowment of the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship, our scholarship for UCF students in the Technical Communication program.

These and many more are documented in the chapter’s application for STC’s Community Achievement Award (CAA). The award will collectively recognize the members of our community who have devoted their time and efforts into putting together quality programs for the chapter. We hope to earn the “Distinction” award, the highest level of recognition from STC, for the second year in a row. We will keep you posted on the award results, which will be announced early next year.

If you have been impressed or inspired by any of our programs this past year, we encourage you to submit an article about STC to your favorite newspaper or magazine. It will help get the word out about the Orlando Central Florida Chapter. Did you have an article about STC published in the past year? Let us know by emailing our chapter president at president@stc-orlando.org. We’d love to hear your STC story!

Now is the Best Time to Renew Your STC Membership

David Coverston

By David Coverston
Director-At-Large
Membership Chair
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

The best time to renew your STC membership is, well, now.  Here’s why:

You will save $30 for renewing by December 31. That is reason enough right there. Wait until January 1, and you will miss out on the savings.

Even better, the Member Get a Member program is underway. If you recruit a new member by January 15, you can get a $25 credit toward your 2013 Membership! The credit is good for each person you recruit up to the cost of your membership dues. Details are here at http://www.stc.org/membership/join-or-renew-now/mgam and http://www.stc.org/mgam-individuals

If you are a student, have we got a deal for you! The Orlando Central Florida chapter is offering a $10 rebate for new members. If you are already a student member the chapter will give you $10 in meeting coupons for renewing.

Do it now while you are thinking about it.

STC Tidbits

Your membership dues — for new or renewal — are due now. The $30 discount is in effect until December 31. Renew your membership at the following address: http://stc.org/membership/join-or-renew-now/renew-today


Early bird signups have begun for the Technical Communication Summit, held in Atlanta May 5-8, 2013. More info is available at the following address: http://summit.stc.org/


You can designate Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter as the recipient of your United Way contribution. Join other chapter members who have made a difference to our chapter by their generous contributions. Contact treasurer Sarah Baca (treasurer@stc-orlando.org) to find out how.

Consult your tax advisor . . . . Donations to STC benefit you, too! Your donations to Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter (separate from dues) are often tax deductible as charitable contributions, as STC is a 501(c)(3) educational organization. Your dues do not fall into the category of donation, but often professional dues are also a deductible item in their own category. This is not tax advice; consult your tax professional for more definitive information that pertains directly to you.


Some employers have programs to track their employees’ volunteer hours with qualified organizations. If your company has such a program, contact Sarah Baca (treasurer@stc-orlando.org) to get the paperwork going and have your volunteer hours count twice: Once in the service you provide to the chapter and once in a monetary donation your employer makes to the chapter on your behalf.