Newsletter of the Society for Technical Communication, San Francisco Chapter
President's Notes and News
By Susan Becker
President's Challenge: Why are you a member of STC?
Why are you a member of the San Francisco Chapter of the STC? Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that you are. I'm just wondering why.
I'm a member of the STC for the networking (I get many of my contracts through STC contacts), the professional development (the little bits -- and the big ones, too -- that I learn from our chapter presentations and conferences keep me abreast of new developments), and recurring bouts of temporary insanity (How did I end up president of this chapter again?).
I'm a member of the SF chapter because I live in The City and when I have contracts that I work on at home, I work here, too. And possibly most important, I enjoy spending time with my friends and colleagues in the STC.
But what about you? I'd like to hear an answer from 20 of you by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) sometime in the next month. That's the President's Challenge. Twenty responses would represent 10% of our membership of 201; if I'm the 1, that is.
Knowing why you are a member will help those of us who set directions for the chapter make better choices.
Chapter Accomplishments too Numerous to Note
With the new chapter year starting on July 1, I'd like to point out some of our accomplishments in 2003-2004.
- Web site redesign. In February, we launched our new web site, designed by the web team: Janet Bran, Julia Cope, Gilbert Gonzalez, Carol Fager-Higgins, and Emily Wilska.
- ActiveVOICE online. ActiveVOICE went totally online in April and sported a new design with the June edition thanks to editor Marc Smircich.
- Distinguished Chapter Service Awards. Ancilla Allsman and Janet Bran received DCS Awards to acknowledge their exemplary service to the Society through their dedication to the chapter.
- Associate Fellow. Dana Chisnell was confirmed as our chapter's first STC Associate Fellow, an honor that recognizes senior STC members who have attained distinction in the field of technical communication.
- Monthly chapter meetings. Over 300 people attended our monthly chapter meetings this year including 45 at our Holiday Party in December and 40 for Andrea Ames' talk in February on "Moving from Commodity to Strategic Contributor." Other highlights included our first progression on job skills and presentations on white papers, error messages, and training simulations.
- Membership. We started the year with 231 members, peaked in January with 255, and bottomed out in April (usually the lowest month) with 189. We're back up to 201 to start this year, with 95 senior members (those in the STC for 5 or more years), 93 regular members, 12 student members, and one associate fellow. (You know who.)
- Chapter scholarship. Each year our chapter sponsors a scholarship competition for students in the Technical and Professional Writing Program (TPW) at San Francisco State University. This year we awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Nancy Weir.
- Gordon Memorial Scholarship. Our chapter also participates in the Gordon Memorial Scholarship, which is sponsored by the Northern California STC chapters to support local students preparing for careers in technical communication. Last year's winners, announced in September, were Laura Miller, Hillary Russak, Yolande Salyer, and Nancy Weir, all of whom are students in the TPW Program at San Francisco State.
- SIGDOC Annual Conference. Our chapter co-sponsored with the Silicon Valley chapter the opening night reception for the SIGDOC conference held in San Francisco in October. SIGDOC is the Special Interest Group for Documentation of the Association for Computing Machines. We participated to promote the STC and to encourage interaction with people with similar interests.
I compiled this list to show you how active our chapter has been, but actually, it's cheered me up considerably. I'm sure you have all had the experience as a volunteer in some organization wondering if all your efforts are worth it. Looking at this list and thinking of the hard work of all our volunteers this year, I think maybe mine are.
As you might expect, when the leadership group met this summer, we discussed our hopes and plans for 2004-2005. We plan to continue our current activities including developing the ActiveVOICE, supporting our web site, and providing interesting chapter meetings and a holiday party. We are also working to find a meeting space that is wheelchair accessible, and we hope to improve our employment resources.
Susan Becker is a technical communicator and online help developer. She has 16 years of experience working primarily as a contractor in software development for the financial services and human resources industries.
Copyright © 2004 by the Society for Technical Communication, San Francisco Chapter (www.stc-sf.org). This article may be reprinted in another STC publication, provided that the publication give credit to the author and to the ActiveVOICE as the source of the article.