From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

You may have noticed the new MtM banner at the beginning of this month’s newsletter. That’s because, after 4 years of abstaining from  STC’s annual Community Achievement Awards (CAA) evaluation, our chapter decided to jump back in and “Go for Gold.”

However, due to the hard work of numerous chapter members (especially the head of all the madness, Crystal Brezina), we surpassed our Gold goal and earned the highest award, the Platinum Award. Along with the Platinum award, we also received our chapter’s third Pacesetter Award for our innovative Leadership Development Program (LDP).

This monumental achievement is just one of the many achievements we plan to celebrate at this month’s meeting, our annual Spotlight Awards & Elections. Read on to learn more about the meeting, or visit our Meetup page.

Along with celebrating all our year-end achievements, I have another exciting development to share: a new column called Looking Back, Looking Forward by Chapter Historian/STC Fellow Mike Murray and STC Fellow Dan Voss! Read on to learn more about this new column in its inaugural article.

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
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

Get Hyped for this Month’s Meeting!

STC Florida’s Annual Spotlight Awards & Elections

Nick Ducharme

By: Nick Ducharme
Acting President
Florida Chapter, STC

Friends,

This will be my final article for the 2018–2019 chapter year as the Florida Chapter’s Acting President (formerly our Vice President).

On Thursday, June 20th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, STC Florida will host our annual awards ceremony. We will also hold our annual elections and install our new Administrative Council for 2019–2020. (Fun fact: I will literally be passing a gavel and giant hat to the new Chapter President!)

As with many of our initiatives this year—our first full term carrying the mantle of Florida Chapter—this ceremony will mark some notable firsts in STC Florida’s 41-year-long history:

  • This will be our first awards ceremony that supports virtual attendance! We’d love for everyone to be able to join us onsite at the Chuy’s restaurant on Semoran Boulevard in Orlando. However, we’ve also interacted with many great folks from far outside the Central Florida area, and we’re committed to properly recognizing their efforts from this moment on.
  • On that note, we’re rebranding this year’s ceremony to The Spotlight Awards! This namesake is a first. In addition to the many honors we traditionally bestow (such as the President’s Award, Active Member shirts, and congratulatory certificates), we’ll also be unveiling a new award called the Spotlight Award. The purpose of this award is to honor someone’s extraordinary efforts that have not been fully in the public consciousness. I believe this objective will grow in importance with each passing year as we continue to connect with technical communicators throughout Florida and beyond.
  • Another (potential) first: We’ll be raffling off a limited-edition STC Florida cap! Any chapter member in virtual or physical attendance will be eligible to win.

A glimpse of the illustrious hat and gavel passed down from Florida Chapter President to Florida Chapter President…and a sneak peek at the chapter cap being given away.

Naturally, STC Florida’s Annual Spotlight Awards & Elections is free to attend. We only ask that those attending in-person please purchase some food/beverages to support the restaurant that is hosting us. Guests are absolutely welcome; please include them in your RSVP count. I hope you can join us either virtually or in-person for this Thursday’s celebratory event—and perhaps win a chapter cap in the process!

Please RSVP here for the event!

Looking Back, Looking Forward

By: Dan Voss and Mike Murray
STC Fellows
Florida Chapter, STC

History has an uncanny way of repeating itself.

Welcome to Looking Back, Looking Forward, a new column that will appear periodically in Memo to Members. This column will showcase landmark articles and other documents generated by members of the STC Florida Chapter over our community’s storied 41-year history.

Fear not, younger members—this is not going to be an eye-glazingly soporific forced march down Nostalgia Lane by tribal elders pontificating from our creaking rocking chairs.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

As chapter historian, Mike Murray has been sifting through hundreds of documents and organizing them into a coherent archive of the chapter’s history. In the process, he has unearthed a treasure trove of materials that remain remarkably relevant today.

We plan to exhume some of these gems from the chapter crypt, dust off the cobwebs, and take another look at them decades later.

So here we go.

We are launching the new column with an article Mike wrote for Memo to Members back in 2003—the year our community won the first of what would be an unprecedented and never equaled nine Community of Distinction Awards in STC’s annual Community Achievement Awards (CAA) evaluation. The article is entitled “The Road to Distinction.”

What could possibly be more apropos as we celebrate the chapter’s first award in the Society’s new CAA structure, which replaces the historical Merit-Excellence-Distinction progression with a Bronze-Silver-Gold-Platinum sequence?

Having abstained from the CAA process for the past 4 years for reasons beyond our control that we will not go into here, in reentering it we were hoping to come home with a Gold Award—the equivalent of the nine Chapter of Distinction Awards we won in the past.

But no—we went straight to the top, landing the coveted, hard-to-achieve Platinum Award, which was presented to former chapter president, now STC Board of Director member, Bethany Aguad, at STC’s 66th annual International Conference (Summit) in Denver at Leadership Day on May 5.  On top of that, we also brought home our chapter’s third Pacesetter Award for our innovative Leadership Development Program (LDP) that grooms future chapter and Society leaders.

As you read “The Road to Distinction” from 2003, we believe you will be amazed at how easily this could be “The Path to Platinum.”

The key is an unflagging Commitment to Excellence that has characterized our STC community since its inception in 1978. Excellence is, and always has been, one of our chapter’s core values. It’s in our DNA.

So, we tribal elders who paved the Road to Distinction 16 years ago take off our hats to the young leaders who have carried on our community’s Commitment to Excellence on the Path to Platinum.

Without further ado, then, here is Mike Murray’s eerily familiar “The Road to Distinction,” freshly disinterred from the archival crypt.

Déjà vu!

We think you will agree—in this case history has, indeed, repeated itself!

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
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

Get Hyped for this Month’s Meeting!

An Introvert’s Journey to STC Leadership

Nick Ducharme

By: Nick Ducharme
Acting President
Florida Chapter, STC

Friends,

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.

From the (Former) Editor’s Desk

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

Long time, no see! It’s been about a year since the last time I had a hand in the publication process of Memo to Members.

I’m just stopping by today to help out with this month’s edition and drop a little shameless self-promotion while I’m at it. In addition to a fantastic recap of our March Employment Panel by STC Student Writer Shawn Menard and some promo materials from our recent chapter meeting, I’m here to hype up a chapter-sponsored workshop this Saturday!

Said workshop is titled Visualizing your Career in Tech Comm, and is totally free to attend either in-person at the University of Central Florida or online from the comfort of home. Yours truly will be co-running the event alongside our chapter’s president Bethany Aguad (hence the shameless self-promo). I share more details about this workshop in the article below.

Onward and Upward,

Nick Ducharme
Vice President
vicepresident@stc-orlando.org

Chapter Workshop This Saturday

Workshop: Visualizing Your Career in Tech Comm

Nick Ducharme

By: Nick Ducharme
Vice President
Florida Chapter, STC

Friends,

One of my goals as VP this year was to help bring about at least one Saturday workshop with both virtual and in-person attendance options. The results of our summer 2018 survey have driven several of our initiatives this year, and a lot of you demonstrated a particular interest in workshops. Some of you have also stated that a long Saturday workshop can offer a compelling incentive for people from outside the Central Florida area (people we normally do not get to network with in-person) to drive out our way. More bang for your buck in a single visit when compared to an hour-long chapter meeting on a weeknight. And we agree! It makes perfect sense.

So here it is: a workshop titled Visualizing Your Career in Tech Comm! Please join us this Saturday, April 27th from 9 am to 12:30 pm EST.

This workshop session, hosted by the University of Central Florida, is free for both members and nonmembers to attend either in-person or online. It is designed not only for newcomers to the technical communication field, but also established tech comm professionals thinking about that next big career step. We will be covering:

  • Career Paths in Technical Communication
  • Résumé Checklist and Peer Review
  • Job Search and Placement Strategies (including examples of real tech comm job postings in Florida right now)
  • And more!

Those who attend in-person will also have access to water, coffee, and donuts on us. And for those so inclined, we will be having a social after the workshop at Bahama Breeze in nearby Waterford Lakes.

Please click here to RSVP for this workshop.

Please click here fill out the Tech Comm Career Interest Assessment, which will be driving part of the workshop discussion, and also upload your résumé when prompted if you would like to take part in the optional Résumé Peer Review.

Please click here to RVSP for the Bahama Breeze meetup after the workshop if you are interested in further in-person networking. (There will be separate checks for this lunch, but no other cost.)

 

Thank You,
Nick

March Meeting Recap

Shawn Menard

By: Shawn Menard
STC Student Writer
Florida Chapter, STC

To those who were unable to attend the meeting on the 19th of March, our STC chapter hosted its Annual Employment Panel at Perkins Restaurant and Bakery. The atmosphere was lively with attendees engaging in intense mastication and conversation before the scheduled beginning of the meeting.

The meeting followed a question and answer format with online and in-person members contributing technical communication employment questions and concerns to the eager and knowledgeable panelists. The panel consisted of professionals who interact daily with Technical Communicators: Scott Dorsett, Jeff Wayman, Stephanie Young, and Andre Evans. You can read their bios on the chapter website: Meet the Panelists.

The purpose of the Q & A session was to dispense advice regarding how to present yourself through your resume and subsequent interview. There were various responses from each panelist, reflecting their experiences, but my main takeaway from the employment panel was to be yourself during an interview. Never lie about your abilities and accomplishments. However, you must be able to sell yourself. To do so, learn how to have a good conversation. Interviewing is storytelling, and you must be able to tell a good story.

When it comes to your experiences and skills, you must be able to speak clearly with confidence about your role. When asked about your work, you should be able to articulate how you did you do something and why you did it that way. To demonstrate your visionary skills, be prepared to respond to hypothetical situations and describe your solutions. They are looking for applicants who can consume content, form an opinion, and clearly explain it.

Outside of the actual interview, there is more work to be done. Research the company you are applying for, understand the role you are applying for, and become familiar with tools the role requires. You should have familiarity with similar technology required for the role you are applying for, but you can also be adaptable. Do not worry; they will give you time to learn the tools.

When it came to the actual resume, the quickest way to get rejected is to have a single misspelling. I found this bit of advice fully understandable as we are writers and it is our role to clearly and effectively communicate. Errors lead to miscommunication, which is a waste of time, energy, and money.

The last message was one of comfort and reassurance: Your path will be long and winding. Have the courage to step outside your comfort zone and take chances.

Hype Materials from the April Chapter Meeting

FORMER EDITOR’S NOTE: You might notice this promo is being posted after its subject meeting has already occurred. Feel free to skip it! This article is mostly for archival purposes. 🙂

STC Florida Chapter Open Forum on Technical Communication

Nick Ducharme

By: Nick Ducharme
Vice President
Florida Chapter, STC

Friends,

Sometimes in technical communication, as in life, less is more. I will be following that philosophy with this description of the April chapter meeting.

Simply put, this month’s topic…is up to you!

On Thursday, April 18th from 7:00 to 8:30 pm EST, we will host our first fully online chapter meeting. We call it the STC Florida Chapter Open Forum on Technical Communication. The goal is networking. The goal is also to facilitate discussions about whatever tech comm topics and questions are on your mind. Please seize this golden opportunity to shape the discussions we will be having.

We need your input. Please share your topic ideas and questions here!

Also, please RSVP here!