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.

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