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President's Message: Fall 2011 Programs and the Value of STC
2011, Q3 (October 02, 2011)
By Andrea Wenger, Chapter President

Andrea Wenger
Andrea Wenger

During these difficult economic times, many people are questioning the value of maintaining their membership in professional organizations. Is the expense worth it, when so much information is available on the Web?

While the Web is a useful tool for making contacts and keeping up with trends in the profession, it can’t replace face-to-face networking. That’s where geographic chapters like STC Carolina come in. Here are some of the ways we’re providing value in return for your membership dollars:

SpeedCon Unconference

On October 29, the STC Carolina Chapter and NC State’s SIGDOC chapter will hold SpeedCon, a joint one-day unconference on communication. The cost is free, although we hope that attendees who can afford to do so will consider donating to the Diane Feldman Scholarship Fund. Please register in advance so we can plan the food. If you’d like to speak at the unconference, you can submit a presentation for consideration.


Submissions to our annual competitions will be accepted through October 28 (with an early-bird discount through October 7). The competitions are a great way to get feedback on your work from your peers. This feedback can help you prove to your boss that your STC membership provides benefits to your company. And the awards can help you demonstrate to coworkers that you’re a talented professional in your field.

On November 12, we’ll hold our competition judging at SAS. This year, the judge training will be held in the morning, and the actual judging will take place in the afternoon. We hope this change will create a more positive experience for the judges and the competitions volunteers by reducing the time commitment required.

Foothills Program

For members in the Foothills region, we’re offering a program meeting and social on November 5 at Coffee Underground in Greenville, SC. This meeting will also be open to members of the Clemson University technical writing program and will promote our Clemson scholarship. Robert Rhyne Armstrong is scheduled to speak. We’re also planning to webcast the event so that members in the RTP region can participate remotely.

Workshop on User Assistance

On January 21, Joe Welinske will hold a half-day workshop on topics related to user assistance. Joe is the president of Writers UA and organizer of the annual Conference for Software User Assistance. Joe is an inspiring speaker who will leave you wanting more!

Social Events

As an alternative to program meetings, the chapter is also offering social events to give members a chance to network in a relaxed setting. In August, we organized an outing to Sparian’s Bowling Boutique and Bistro, an upscale bowling center in North Raleigh. In November, we’re planning an event at Jellybeans Skate Center on Buck Jones Road in Cary. If you can suggest a venue for a chapter social, please contact our social coordinator, Sheila Loring, at contact dot loring at yahoo dot com.

Volunteer Opportunities

To better serve our members, we’re seeking a number of volunteers:
  • Site editor: Helps keep the website up to date and removes outdated material. The site runs on TikiWiki groupware, which is very easy to use. This is a flexible position that would allow you to devote as many or as few hours as you’re able.
  • Membership committee: Support the membership drive by tracking renewals and contacting non-renewing members. Estimated time commitment: 4-6 hours per month from January through March.
  • Donor coordinator: Will support the donor program that the chapter is launching. Nonmembers who donate $75 per year will be able to participate in many chapter events for free or at a reduced rate. The donor coordinator will help publicize the program, track the donors, and contact them at renewal time. Estimated time commitment: 2-4 hours per month.

We also have two leadership positions open: vice president and membership manager. Service on the board of a nonprofit organization is a great addition to your resume, and it will help you develop your leadership skills. If you’ve reached a level of competence in your job and you’re looking for a new challenge to help you grow professionally, serving on the chapter board is a positive step in your career development. And if you’re looking for work or starting a new business, board membership will help you make contacts in the local technical communication community.

If you’re interested in any of the volunteer positions, please contact me at president at stc-carolina dot org.

STC's mission is to promote the profession. It doesn’t just provide direct benefits to members. STC does many things that indirectly benefit all technical communicators, such as changing how the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies technical writers. Technical communicators who aren’t STC members are getting that benefit for free. But the fewer members STC has, the less STC will be able to do for the profession. Your continued membership keeps our programs going at the local and international level. We’re here to serve you, and we welcome your feedback.

Andrea can be reached at president at stc-carolina dot org. End of article.

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