President’s Corner

President’s Corner

Karen Lane

By Karen Lane
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

This month I am serving as Guest Editor for Memo to Members while your regular editor, Alex Garcia, does a bit of traveling.

It’s been a few months since I wrote to you about the activities of the chapter Administrative Council (AdCo), so perhaps you are unaware that chapter business—the infrastructure of our chapter, in fact—carries forward twelve months a year. The dedicated members of the Council maintain an active online correspondence to plan for upcoming meetings, to budget funds for the year, and to comply with STC guidelines and requirements for programs and recognitions.

Vice President Debra Johnson is one of our busiest Board members. She is responsible for arranging our meetings, both content and location. If you have ever left a meeting feeling that you have learned something useful for your career, you can thank Debra for bringing us the
speakers. There isn’t an aspect of our programs that doesn’t have Debra behind the scenes making it happen.

The last couple of months each year are particularly busy ones for other behind-the-scenes activities, too. Beginning after the summer, chapter treasurer Sarah Baca begins putting together the following year’s budget, with input from the heads of the various committees. She is guided in this process by legacy members of AdCo: three former chapter treasurers (WC Wiese, Mark Wray, and I) regularly attend these meetings. As the budget process develops over a couple of months, Sarah readies the budget to be submitted for approval to the Society treasurer. Our 2013 budget was submitted in a timely fashion, and our Society funding was approved. Congratulations to Sarah on her smooth handling of this very important process.

As the year winds down, we are encouraged by the Society to evaluate the contributions of our active members with a view toward nominating the most worthy for Society recognition. This year we have a dedicated steward for that process in David Coverston, our Recognitions Manager. The results of his committee’s work will be unveiled at our January meeting.

You may also recall that David is our Membership Chair, so he was particularly busy this fall keeping track of new student members, checking in attendees at our chapter meetings, and tracking membership renewals, which were due by December 31. The Society is allowing for a grace period until January 15 (hey—that’s this week!), so I hope you have already sent in your dues for 2013. After January 15 if you haven’t renewed your membership, your name will be removed from the Society’s membership roster and, unfortunately, from the chapter’s roster, too. Please take a moment to renew now. It’s really easy to do so online ( If you join or renew by January 15, you will receive a reduced rate on your regular membership and a renewal bonus (four meeting-admission coupons) for your student membership. Instead of coupons, new student members receive partial financial support from the chapter for joining STC.

Two other members of the AdCo are our directors-at-large, WC Wiese and David Coverston. (Wait—didn’t we just hear about David? Busy man!) You already know about David’s responsibilities. WC is busy with several chapter activities. This year he is serving as our Nominations Chair, and you should already have seen his message to our listserv about the upcoming nomination process. His article about the nominations is also available in this issue of Memo to Members. I urge you to read it and consider how you can act to make this chapter your chapter, the one that provides the services you want and need to develop your professional skills and opportunities by participating in the management of the chapter.

WC holds another important position in the chapter in addition to his role as Director-at-Large and Nominations Chair. WC is the person who tracks member participation in our Active Member program. I won’t go into it in much detail here, but the main point to note is that your participation in chapter activities during the year can earn you points towards a coveted Active Member shirt. Contact WC for more details.

Our Immediate Past President, Erika Higgins, is a Jill of all trades in the Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter. She directs our fundraising activities (“Rising Stars”), manages the Gloria Jaffe Outstanding Technical Communicator Award process, and is our Communications manager. If you have been receiving tweets and texts from the chapter, Erika is probably the one sending them out to keep you informed. And as immediate past president, Erika is a voting member of the AdCo.

They say an army marches on its stomach. Maybe the same can be said for an STC Chapter. If you’ve attended our meetings lately, you will have noticed that the refreshments are getting better and better. We have Mary Burns, hospitality chair, to thank for that. If you like the snacks, please take a moment to express your appreciation with a few words to her or even an offer to help set up or clean up. You help will be much appreciated, and you will feel good, too.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I haven’t mentioned our chapter secretary yet. It’s with great sadness that I have to announce that our excellent secretary, Rachael Blankenbecklor, is leaving us for family reasons, effective immediately. We will miss her contributions to our meetings and look forward to a time in the future when she will be able to come back to us. In the meantime, the secretary position is vacant. We hope to have that slot filled soon. If you are interested in this position or any other, please let WC Wiese know (

One last position of importance I want to draw your attention to: Patricia Cruz is our outgoing Community Achievement Awards chair. Under her able stewardship we have “cruised” to a Chapter of Distinction recognition for 2012 (for our activities in 2011) plus two other awards: Most Improved Community, and the Community of the Year designation for the same period, the only community to be so recognized in the whole Society. Patricia will be moving on to other endeavors, and in her place I am pleased to announce our new Community Achievement Awards chair, Candace Du Lac. You may remember Candace as the student member who so ably put together the results of our 2012 State of the Chapter survey (which had been developed by Patricia Cruz), designed the report to make the results easy to understand, and wrote an article about it for last month’s Memo to Members. The 2012 survey results are posted on the chapter Web site (

We have some exciting plans coming up. We’re negotiating for new meeting space (beginning in February). To that end, I’ve created a survey to gather information about the feasibility of moving our meeting day to the third Thursday of each month. (Meetings are currently scheduled for the third Tuesday.) Please participate in the survey, preferably by Wednesday, January 16. The survey is here:

Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013. Make this your best year ever, and make this the year that you become active in your STC chapter. Ask anyone who is on the Administrative Council—or has ever been on the Council—whether it pays to volunteer. You will get the same answer from everyone: Donating your skill and knowledge to the chapter accrues multiple benefits, not only to the chapter but to you personally as a volunteer.

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