What We Believe Shapes What We Do

Chapter’s Core Values Identified,
Ratified by Administrative Council


Mike Murray

By: Mike Murray, STC Fellow

The STC Florida Chapter’s Administrative Council has identified and officially adopted the six core values that best represent how we perform work and conduct ourselves.

The writer polled AdCo members, who were asked to select from a comprehensive list of values, and winnowed the results down to six core values which the voting AdCo formally accepted at its April meeting.

The Florida STC Chapter’s core values are:

Caring

Education

Excellence

Teamwork

Vision

Volunteering

The core values of an organization are the values we hold that underlie our work, govern how we interact with each other, and determine which strategies we employ to fulfill our mission. We have an entire universe of values, but some of them are so primary, so important to us, that throughout the changes in society, government, politics, and technology they are STILL the core values we will abide by. In an ever-changing world, core values are constant.

Core values are not descriptions of the work we do or the strategies we employ to accomplish our mission. They are the practices we use (or should be using) every day in everything we do. Core values are also known as guiding principles because they form a solid core of who you are, what you believe, and who you are and want to be going forward.

Following is a detailed Values Statement expanding on our community’s six core values. The Values Statement is archived as “Our Values” on the pull-down sub-menu under “About Us” on the chapter website.

Two further additions are proposed before the end of 2018: a Vision Statement and a Mission Statement. These will, in essence, define how we translate our core values into specific goals and then realize those goals with results.

In the write-ups for each core value in the Values Statement, the core values are in initial caps for emphasis. You will also notice some other words in initial caps and quotation marks. These are additional values suggested as possible community core values during the poll of the AdCo that were subsequently determined to be covered in the final six core values selected. The write-ups explain the thinking that went into the down-select as we zeroed in on the final six.

How We Use Our Core Values

Navigating Treacherous Ethical Shoals is a Delicate Balance of Core Values

A Delicate Balance. Core values drive tough ethical decisions, both as an
individual and as an organization.

Analyzing complex professional issues to make ethical decisions is a complex process for an individual, even more so for an organization. Resolving ethical conflicts to find a solution that does the most good (or the least harm) is like navigating perilous shoals. Core values are the lighthouse that guides us to safe harbor.

There will come a time, as there always does, when we are faced with a difficult decision. Don’t go for days or weeks, as we sometimes do, talking and thinking, trying to make the “right” decision. Instead, take the time to refocus on our core values, and the answer quickly becomes apparent. Core values are what support the vision, shape the culture, and reflect what an organization values. They are the essence of our identity.

 

New Benefit for Student Members from STC Florida

Bethany Aguad

By: Bethany Aguad
Treasurer and Co-Manager, Education Committee
Florida Chapter, STC
treasurer@stc-orlando.org

As the STC Florida chapter, we are offering a new benefit for student members of our chapter. In the past, we have provided a rebate by check to new student members who joined the mentoring program. Going forward, we will be offering all student members of the Florida chapter three meeting coupons that can be redeemed for chapter meetings. If you are a student, this allows you to attend gain the educational benefits of attending three of our programs at no cost, and these coupons do not expire. Also, attendance at our chapter meetings will gain you active member points that can earn you a coveted active member shirt.

All student members of our chapter, even those who are already part of the chapter or who do not participate in the mentoring program, will receive three meetings coupons worth a total of $18 in savings on meeting fees. The coupons can be redeemed for any meeting that has a fee, which is currently $6 for student members. These meeting coupons cannot be used to cover meal costs when we have a program at a restaurant, as in those cases, meeting attendance is already free.

While the benefits of student membership are numerous, we wanted to provide this additional perk to all students who join the chapter and attend our monthly meetings. If you are a student who has joined our chapter and didn’t receive a rebate yet, email me to receive your three meeting coupons. Also, students already receive the fantastically discounted membership rate of $58.50 for the year! You can join the society at any time on stc.org.

As a reminder, another amazing benefit of STC membership is the opportunity to volunteer at the STC Summit in exchange for free registration. They have extended the deadline, so please take advantage of this opportunity! To sign up, please complete the Student Volunteer Application Form as soon as possible, and send it to STC’s Education Manager, Deborah Krat, and the Student Volunteer Coordinator, Carolyn Klinger. Need convincing? Check out my article in February’s Memo to Members: Student Volunteering at the STC Summit: Free Registration and Networking.

The View from Campus

What lies ahead for FTC!

Wrapping Up the UCF Spring 2018 Semester

Andy Romero

By: Andy Romero
FTC President
Student Member, Florida Chapter, STC

Hello Technical Communicators,

I have had an amazing year serving as President of FTC and having the opportunity to collaborate so closely with all the professionals of STC. As the Spring semester comes to an end, FTC recognizes the great potential for future growth and involvement within the STC community and the University of Central Florida. FTC aspires to continue to prosper and to prepare students for success in the technical communication industry.

Exciting plans are in the works for FTC starting in Fall 2018. FTC is excited to announce that we are planning to expand our networking capabilities by partnering with The UCF Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) Student Chapter and with the President of IISE, Angela Michelle Vaca. FTC’s goals are to prepare students for collaboration and to emphasize the relationship between technical writers and industrial engineers in the workplace. Some of the events we will participate in together will include company tours, volunteering opportunities, and technical workshops.

We are also eager to welcome the new Trevor Colbourn Hall building that will open in August 2018. With this improved space, we hope to expand our meeting capacity and to reach more students in the technical communication, English, and engineering fields.

FTC Treasurer Nicholas Mina eagerly smiles for his headshot.
Photo by Andy Romero

If you happened to miss out on the previous FTC meeting held on Thursday, April 5th, we successfully took professional headshots for attending FTC members. These headshots are paramount for effective resumes and online portfolios.  They also help provide a face for future employers. In addition, elections for new FTC officers will be held in early August, so if you are interested, please feel free to email me at cr8800@knights.ucf.edu.

Until next time,

Andy Romero

 

From the Editors’ Desk

Nick Ducharme and Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

As you can see in our author photo, this is the first-ever edition of Memo to Members brought to you by not one, but two lead editors!

For this very special edition, we bring you not only a mega-newsletter being overseen by two editors, but also a groundbreaking announcement from our president, Alex Garcia. Keep reading for more!

Also in this edition, Michele L. writes about how (after much hard work and time on her part) our chapter has kicked off in-person meetups in the Tampa Bay area!

Furthermore, after another successful annual joint Future Technical Communicators (FTC)/STC meeting at the University of Central Florida (UCF), six STC student members bring you a play-by-play recap of every progression-style venue topic.

President Alex Garcia recognizes Education Committee Chair Dan Voss for his valuable service.

By the way, we would like to give a special shout-out to Dan Voss for his receipt of a 2017 Chapter Service Award at the February meeting. Way to go, Dan, and thanks for pouring your blood, sweat, and tears into the success of this chapter for the past two decades and then some! After the next twenty years, we shall petition the Orlando mayor to erect a statue in your honor outside of City Hall. 😉

And finally, we would like to remind you of this month’s meeting—another annual tradition. That’s right: it’s time for our Annual Employment Panel meeting! We encourage you to join us this Thursday, March 22nd, for a question and answer session about all things tech comm employment/career development with our three esteemed panelists:

  • Jack Molisani, ProSpring Technical Staffing
  • Scott Dorsett, Riptide Software
  • Mark Wray, University of Central Florida

Please click here to RSVP.


Sincerest thanks for reading,

Nick Ducharme and Emily Wells
Editors, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

The President’s Corner

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

By: Alex Garcia
President
(Orlando Central) Florida Chapter, STC

president@stc-orlando.org

What a momentous past couple of weeks, as I saw not one, but two of my presidential visions come to life. First, your Chapter’s Leadership Development Program (LDP) has softly launched. The LDP, carefully driven by Education Committee Co-Chair Dan Voss and Chapter Historian Mike Murray (both STC Fellows), was an idea I have been toying with for years. The reality of life is that as people retire and leave organizations, certain intangibles leave with them. There is a formidable set of STC Fellows and Senior Members in your Chapter who possess organizational knowledge and leadership skills that need to be passed down. At the same time, our mentoring program has harvested the cream of the crop of less experienced Technical Communicators, who continue to step up into Chapter leadership. The time is now for a knowledge transfer to commence—before that knowledge drives off in a Winnebago. Stay tuned in the months to come for updates about the progress of this monumental program.

Secondly, and most importantly… 

“Members and Friends of the Florida Chapter STC…” That has a pretty nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Well, everyone, it is OFFICIAL! The STC Board of Directors has approved your Orlando Central Florida Chapter’s evolution into the Florida Chapter STC. This endeavor is about 18 months in the making, since your Chapter merged with the Suncoast Chapter (and really since 2012 when we welcomed the Space Tech Chapter into our fold). After our investment in capabilities to share your Chapter’s programs and resources with members throughout Florida, we are very grateful that STC has ratified your Chapter’s name change, and we believe it will allow professional communicators to grow wherever they live in Florida. Please bookmark your Chapter’s new website address: www.stcflorida.org.

Leveraging on his 45 years of Communications experience with Lockheed Martin, I asked W.C. Wiese to pen a press release announcing this momentous occasion. It appears below:

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           Contact:

20 March 2018                                                                     W.C. Wiese (407) 356-4792                                                                                                       gt6pilot@aol.com

STC Announces Expanded Professional Resource
for Technical Communicators in Florida

Recognizing the outreach initiatives of its only professional chapter in Florida, the Board of Directors of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) has renamed the Orlando Central Florida Chapter as the Florida Chapter. The new name recognizes an expanded service area and a dynamic change in the way local chapter operates.

For years, the former Orlando Central Florida Chapter has provided programming and leadership for professionals beyond the Orange/Seminole County area. By implementing local subgroups and offering them access to budget resources, the Chapter now serves professionals in other parts of the state, including Tampa Bay, the Space Coast, and Jacksonville. Outreach continues to ensure that members in South Florida, and outside of Florida in some cases, feel a greater connection to STC and have access to educational resources.

The Chapter has been recognized nine times as a Chapter of Distinction—STC’s highest recognition.

STC is the world’s largest and oldest professional association dedicated to the advancement of the field of technical communication. The Society’s members span the field of the technical communication profession and reach across every industry and continent. Through a growing global community, the Society and its members set global standards and provide professional certification for technical communicators. Information about STC can be found on its website at www.stc.org. Information about the Florida Chapter is available on its website at http://www.stcflorida.org.

Tampa Bay Tech Comm Meetup

By: Michele L.
STC Member
Florida Chapter, STC

With an abundance of free online content and social networking options, people no longer must meet face-to-face to exchange information. This can cause a perceived lack of value in face-to-face meetups, which is causing participation in professional associations around the world to decline. Online communities, however, are thriving.  Therefore, if organizations are to survive, they must adapt to meet the needs of their members.

As STC faces this challenge, the STC Florida Chapter is searching for new ways to retain members and provide outreach for those of us who live too far away to attend a face-to-face chapter meeting. One experiment the chapter is conducting is to use the power of an online networking site, Meetup, to bring people together in person. Meetup is free to join, and anyone can establish a group for like-minded individuals.

The Tampa Bay Tech Comm Meetup group rotates meetings around the central west coast of Florida.  We post a lunch or after work location on the site several weeks in advance and invite anyone to join us. Placing a sign on the table identifies our group to newcomers. There is no agenda or speaker, just an opportunity for attendees to share a meal or beverage with like-minded professionals. This creates a less stressful environment for those who plan the meetings, present at meetings, and clean up afterwards.  By keeping the gatherings short and rotating them around the area, anyone interested in technical communication can join.

At a recent lunch in Tampa, we went around the table, introduced ourselves, and talked about our latest work projects as well as the upcoming STC Summit. One attendee was looking for a graphic designer; another wanted to know more about using DITA. A college student talked about her post-college plans.

If our group is successful, Meetups could be held around the state, giving all technical communicators the chance to network in person and stay connected to the statewide chapter without having to travel to Orlando. This would provide a lifeline to smaller communities who can no longer support an STC chapter but crave a local connection.

Left to Right from back: Michele L., Alex S., Lindsey K., Gillian K., Alexandra C., Gen W. Photo courtesy of Michele L.

February Meeting Recap – Purple Venue

Four Young Rising Stars Will Represent the Florida Chapter
at the 2018 STC Summit in Orlando


Misty Arner

By: Misty Arner
FTC Student Mentoring Program Co-Manager
Florida Chapter, STC

In case you missed us in the University of Central Florida Student Union on February 13, once again, we have successfully held another STC Florida Chapter monthly meeting.

At the “Royal” Purple Venue, four of the Florida Chapter’s young Rising Stars previewed the two presentations they are making at this year’s STC Summit in Orlando. Both presentations support the Summit theme: Communicating the Future. The first, scheduled for Leadership Day on Sunday, May 20, is Forging the Future: Tips and Tools for (Re)Building Your STC Community. The second—an Education Session slated for 2:10-3:00 PM on Monday—is Fueling Your Future: STC Experience Builds Professional Leadership Skills.

Alex Garcia, Crystal Brezina, Nick Ducharme, and Bethany Aguad presented a preview of the topics covered in both presentations to illustrate how taking advantage of leadership opportunities as young professionals within STC translates directly into leadership positions on the job.

Alex and Crystal described the Florida Chapter’s robust Active Membership Program, which informs strategic planning as well as encourages our members to take pride in their profession, which in turn helps us identify potential leaders.  They announced the newly renamed Florida Chapter of STC, a new statewide community model that combines face-to-face and virtual meetings.  They discussed the chapter’s Leadership Retreat, held at UCF, every Summer, where we introduce new leaders and discuss opportunities.  This event is open to all members.  In addition, the Florida Chapter holds Administrative Council (AdCo) meetings where we run our chapter business, monitor the budget, check the quality of program management, and set short-term goals.  Both the Leadership Retreat and AdCo meetings allow for strategic planning and successful tactical execution.  Alex and Crystal summarized how using STC’s Community Achievement Awards (CAA) strengthen the community, not to mention how wonderful it is to gain CAA recognition.

Nick and Bethany examined the Florida Chapter’s student mentoring program with UCF, and the benefits it provides to both students and the society academically and professionally.  They presented a brief overview of the college scholarships and fundraising strategies.  The Florida Chapter offers the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship at UCF and the Suncoast Scholarship at USF that identify talent and offer advancement in the profession.  The Florida Chapter also offers a Leadership Development Program, which diversifies skills and cultivates the next generation of leaders.  Finally, Nick Ducharme and Bethany Aguad shared the success of our Memo to Members newsletter that reaches out to our community to engage members and recruit potential members.

We are excited to be hosting the 65th Anniversary and 2018 Society for Technical Communication Summit at the Hyatt Regency right here in sunny Orlando from May 20-23. To find out more about the Florida Chapter and the programs that will help fuel your future and the future of the Society for Technical Communication, visit our website!

Alex Garcia, Crystal Brezina, Nick Ducharme, and Bethany Aguad preview their Summit presentations to an eager audience.
Photo by W.C. Wiese

February Meeting Recap – Blue Venue

What Policies, Procedures, and SIGs Have to Offer Technical Communicators


Alexandra Engrand

By: Alexandra Engrand
Nominating Chair
Florida Chapter, STC

Dawnell Claessen is a senior policy analyst specializing in risk management and security compliance for the United States Department of Defense. At this year’s annual meeting, Dawnell gave a preview of her May Summit topics, “Policies & Procedures: Communicate the Future” and “STC Special Interest Groups (SIGs)—Discover, Explore, and Get your Foot in the (Virtual) Door,” which she will be presenting with two co-presenters, Emily Kowal and Ann Marie Queeney. Unfortunately, Kowal and Queeney could not attend the meeting.

Dawnell’s Summit presentation will focus on skills that future Policy Analysists, Procedure Writers, and Process Specialists will find most helpful. Attendees of Dawnell’s preview learned that the way policies and procedures have been done has not changed in a very long time, largely due to the legalities surrounding them, but as we move into a more technology-based age, this is slowly starting to change. Dawnell told her listeners a story that demonstrated how policies and procedures are evolving.

Dawnell’s place of work did not, at the time of the story, have a dress code. Instead of setting one themselves, the company asked its employees what they thought the dress code should be. A survey was set up using an internal social media channel for employees to leave their comments on. With a little help from the legal department, a dress code was set that everyone was happy with. This was a first for Dawnell. A policy left up to the employees to decide—especially employees who were not all part of the legal or human resources departments—was not something she had ever witnessed before, but is the perfect example to accompany her presentation, as it shows that policy and procedure-making are changing with the times.

The second half of Dawnell’s preview focused on STC’s many SIGs, each of which is “composed of STC members with common experiences and interests” who have chosen to share their knowledge with fellow STC members. Dawnell presented her listeners with a handout detailing some of the commonalities found amongst the SIGs, some of which include:

  • An online presence, typically including social media
  • Email listservs
  • Educational opportunities, such as webinars and classes
  • Targeted presentations at the Summit

Dawnell also included a list of STC’s SIGs with links to each, some of which include :

For the complete list, see STC’s Communities page.

Dawnell Claessen previews her Summit presentation for a member of FTC.
Photo by W.C. Weise

February Meeting Recap – Burgundy Venue

The Art of Networking


Nicole Garcia

By: Nicole Garcia
FTC Vice President
Florida Chapter, STC

Students looking to enter the job market hear the word over and over again. Some dread it, and some openly embrace it. Yet, what is there to the art of “networking?”

Debra Johnson guided students through the maze of networking in her February 13th presentation, titled How to Network Effectively with Professionals and Put Your Best Foot Forward … at the Summit, at STC Meetings, and in the Workplace. With students gathered around the table, Debra emphasized the importance of professional networking groups while alleviating fears behind the weighty word.

Debra began her presentation by stressing the numerous opportunities students have to network in college. “There’s never going to be a time quite like college, when you’re surrounded by thousands of amazingly smart and interesting people,” she says, “so get to know the people you think will change the world someday.” At the same time, Johnson reassured students that networking isn’t nearly as hard as it looks; most people are very willing to talk about their careers and passions. She offered the idea of a “cold email,” where students can inquire about jobs with curiosity and respect, and discussed meeting with professors for further information. “If there’s a subject area you’re interested in, don’t be afraid to go to professors in that field; they love talking about their work and meeting young people who are just as interested.” Debra also said there is great value in even the seemingly small part-time jobs and internships many students take for granted. “Today’s barista is tomorrow’s high-powered ad executive, so don’t discount anybody along the way. Use your time at work to get to know people and ask questions.”

Debra demystified the networking process for many anxious students by encouraging them to look for networking opportunities in places they may have overlooked. Debra affirmed that as long as students are willing to offer ideas, ask questions, and listen, they will find that the networking process is a lot easier than they had previously thought.

Debra Johnson reveals secrets to networking effectively.

February Meeting Recap – Red Venue

Write to Win: Proposal Writing Strategies


Carolynn M. Torres Colon

By: Carolynn M. Torres Colon
FTC Secretary
Florida Chapter, STC

At the Red Venue, long-time STC member Dan Voss offered tips in a presentation titled “How to Write a Winning Proposal: Close Only Counts in Nuclear War and Horseshoes.” Along with proposal writing tips, Dan also explained things young professionals can do on a day-to-day basis to succeed at their jobs.

Dan demonstrated that writing an effective resume and building an impressive portfolio are a form of proposal writing. Trying to appeal to a future employer is similar to a proposal in that you should be sure your skills and experience align well with the job description.

“Basically, you are proposing yourself to a prospective employer,” Dan said. “In so doing, you must show not only that your qualifications meet the requirements for the job, but also that you will add business value to the organization.”

One of the most important tips I thought Dan provided was to explain the acronym “SWOT,” which means Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. These are some of the components a proposal writer should take into consideration when showing how the proposal meets the demands of the client. Knowing the competition’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as one’s own strengths and weaknesses, provides an outline to effectively develop a persuasive and successful proposal.

Dan explained how knowing when to take the opportunity to learn and understand the entirety of an issue can put the proposal writer at an advantage over the competition. He also addressed the need to be alert for any threats that come from the competition and even possible ethical issues that can come in to play when writing a proposal.

Another tip for a proposal writer is to make sure that claims and substantiating data are consistent throughout the proposal, as “inconsistencies erode your credibility.”

Dan presented a final tip concerning the importance of openly acknowledging any weaknesses along with a plan for correcting them, rather than trying to hide them. He feels that “telling the truth is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do.” As a writer, do not deduce that the competition and the client are not aware of these weaknesses, as in “the proposal business, that is generally not a wise assumption.”

Red Venue host Dan Voss shares war stories from a 40-year career writing competitive aerospace proposals.
Photo by W.C. Wiese

February Meeting Recap – Green Venue

Career Tips from a Veteran


Nick Mina

By: Nicholas Mina
FTC Treasurer
Florida Chapter, STC

“Would you hire this guy?” W.C. Wiese asked the table, referring to a picture of himself as a young man. The table laughed, understanding that the young man in the picture would soon spend a successful 45 years in the Technical Communication field.

W.C. Wiese began his presentation by explaining the origins of his career. He started at Lockheed Martin (Martin Marietta, as it was called at the time) writing technical manuals and proposals. Writing departments were made up of dozens of people, and the publishing process was just as complicated as the writing itself. W.C. explained that he almost left the company a few years into his tenure because of a few self-serving supervisors and a copious amount of overtime hours. For a young professional, being told on Friday afternoon that you’d be working through the weekend was not an optimal situation. Despite these hardships, however, W.C. stuck it out and continued his career at Lockheed Martin.

Over the years, the writing departments became smaller, and the publishing industry became faster and more efficient. W.C. put proposal writing behind him and joined the Lockheed Martin/MEADS communications department, where he spent the rest of his career, rising through the ranks. W.C., who retired as Communications Manager in November 2017, credits the length of his tenure to his ability to stay relevant and useful. For example, W.C. started a daily newsletter for his coworkers and company. Yet, he didn’t stop there. He also made sure to keep it updated and valuable to the office over the years. Moves of initiative (like the newsletter) made sure that W.C. Wiese remained a valued and important member of the team, a point he stressed to his audience at the table. W.C. ended his presentation with questions from his listeners. Based on the reaction from the table, it’s safe to say that W.C. offered everyone valuable career lessons that go far beyond the college classroom.

W.C. Wiese regales technical communication students and veterans alike with stories of his historic career.
Photo by Emily Wells