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2006, Q2 (February 19, 2007)
By Cindy Richardson Decker, Carolina Chapter Senior Member

Cindy Richardson Decker
Cindy Richardson Decker

There comes a time to say goodbye, and after serving as a board member on the STC Carolina Chapter Administrative Council for 8 years, I'm opting to step back into the role of general member and occasional volunteer. I have held three positions during my time on the board, had different reasons for running for each position, and got wonderful things out of each of them. I'd like to tell you about my experience, and hopefully inspire others of you to serve our chapter.

My first three years on the board (July 1998 - June 2001) were as the Chapter Secretary. For my first year as Secretary, I was appointed part way into the chapter year when the elected Secretary stepped down due to conflicting demands. I must tell you that Emily Toone, who recruited me for the position, was a charismatic and persuasive recruiter. I hoped to gain a better understanding of the workings of our local STC chapter as well as the larger workings of STC International by taking this position. This position offered an excellent opportunity to do those very things, and to get involved and discover other areas that might be of interest to me.

My second three years on the board (July 2001 - June 2004) were as the Chapter Treasurer. Now there's a position that others truly respect. I discovered the general perception is that the position is so difficult that anyone willing to do it must be dedicated. I'm not sure what all the fuss is about - the position may require attention to detail (are there any members in STC with THAT skill?) but it is nowhere near as difficult as some of the technologies I've had to master in my career. What I hoped to gain from the Treasurer position was a better understanding of the ins and outs of budgeting for a non-profit group. I definitely gained that, and more. The Treasurer is a role that brings name recognition throughout the chapter - especially to those who are waiting for reimbursement! Ultimately, my years as Treasurer helped me to secure my current position, where one of my responsibilities is to manage the budget for a hefty USDA grant.

Photo of lounge chair at sunset.
My final two years on the board (July 2004 - June 2006) were as the Chapter Membership Manager. What I hoped to gain in the Membership Manager position was a deeper connection to the larger membership of our chapter, and to improve my "meeting new people" skills. I discovered that one of the reasons people join a chapter such as ours is for personal connection. Simply greeting all newcomers and letting them know that they could contact me with questions turned out to be a way for members and non-members alike to feel welcome.

In addition to the specific skills I gained from each of my board positions, I have been privileged to come away with other benefits that have little to do with the individual positions. My professional network has expanded significantly, which I have accessed both to get answers to technical communication questions, and to bolster my career. My desire to belong to and work together with a group of dynamic, intelligent and caring individuals has been fulfilled. My wish to help others to reach their potential, whether through fellowship in STC, or through mentoring, has been satisfied. I will truly miss attending board meetings and the resulting camaraderie with my fellow chapter leaders.

I do look forward to continuing my involvement with our local chapter, and hope to see some of you at the fall picnic, the competitions training, or the awards banquet. If you have questions about getting involved with STC, don't hesitate to contact one of the current board members, or if you would like to talk with me about my personal experience, please drop me an email at shinethrough at eartlink dot net. End of article.

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