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Carolina Chapter Member Lisa Pappas Awarded STC Associate Fellow
2007, Q2 (July 29, 2007)
By Karen Mardahl, STC AccessAbility SIG Co-Manager

Lisa Pappas
Lisa Pappas
Of all the STC Summit 2007 pictures I have seen so far, the picture showing a smiling Lisa Pappas receiving her Associate Fellow award at the Honors banquet (see end of article) is my favorite. For me, it completes the Associate Fellow nomination process that began last Fall.

The commitment, dedication, and professionalism that Lisa displays in her work made her nomination an obvious choice, especially coming from the AccessAbility SIG where she is currently co-manager. Lisa focuses on accessibility, not as a mere aspect of technical communication, but as a fundamental element of its architecture. She has raised awareness of accessibility as a matter of social justice and not just legislative compliance, through her writing, presenting, mentoring, and just plain “doing.”

She also demonstrates the true value of a technical communicator in a business. In recent years, many conferences or discussions advise technical communicators to sit at the business table and talk strategy with all the other stakeholders in a project because they add value. Lisa sat down at that table a long time ago.

Although this award is the most prestigious STC award that Lisa has received, it is not the first award that acknowledges her contributions. Over the years, she consistently received awards in her workplace or in STC, especially in the STC Carolina Chapter Online Communication Competitions.

My impression is that Lisa's reaction to receiving is to share.

Lisa shares her knowledge so naturally with students and colleagues. I don't think she knows how not to share! If I were new to the field, I could learn from Lisa about becoming a popular speaker, about writing ~~ and writing well ~~ for publications, and about staying abreast of new information and knowing how to chart those confusing and overwhelming seas of new knowledge. She is a frequent speaker at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she discusses the profession and its value in business and society. Many of the students who listen to Lisa on campus end up on another campus — the SAS Institute in Cary. There, mentored by Lisa, they gain first-hand knowledge about accessibility testing, analysis, and many other valuable lessons in all areas of technical communication.

Students are not the only ones to benefit from Lisa's desire to share her knowledge. Lisa has been a judge in various STC competitions, a presenter at many STC conferences — including back-to-back presentations at the STC Summit 2007, and an active member of the AccessAbility SIG management team where her current role is co-manager of the SIG. And then there is the contagious enthusiasm for her work that you discover in Lisa when you meet her on the discussion lists, in chapter gatherings, or during a phone call. I consider this natural eagerness to share to be a very significant contribution to our Society.

Why did I nominate Lisa for Associate Fellow? In one sense, she doesn't need any title or glory to do a job that is beyond excellent. It is in her nature to do her best every day. I see the award as an acknowledgment of all that hard work. Her colleagues, virtual or otherwise, know that she deserves the kudos. My dream is to see many other technical communicators be inspired by her hard work, but especially by her efforts in the field of accessibility. Businesses are realizing, sometimes painfully, the importance of considering universal accessibility in many aspects of their services, products, and corporate ethics. More role models are needed to be accessibility advocates and leaders. Not only is Lisa one of these role models, but she can also recruit others through her many activities. As mentor and advocate, Lisa consistently proves the value of technical communication to colleagues and students. Her focus on accessibility increases the value of our field and demonstrates its passion.

Lisa Pappas receiving her award
Lisa Pappas receiving her award

Lisa can be reached at lisa dot pappas at sas dot com. Karen can be reached at http://www.mardahl.dk.End of article.

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