Newsletter of the Society for Technical Communication, San Francisco Chapter
On March 12, about thirty STC members met to discuss the future of STC and to develop the leadership skills needed to meet today's challenges and deliver value to the STC membership. The all-day convocation was held on the Mills College campus in Oakland, and included members from five of the six Northern California STC geographical communities.
Organized under the title "Leadership for the Emerging Future," the one-day conference was the third in a series of NorCal leadership days that have been held over the past several years. The first leadership day was held in December 2002, the second in April 2003.
The first two meetings found the profession coping with a deep recession, and explored such topics as "reducing volunteer burnout" and "alternative jobs for technical communicators." With the economy showing signs of recovery, and the Society in the midst of a transformation, the current meeting focused primarily on building for the future.
STC NorCal Director, Viki Maki, welcomed everyone and got the day off to a rousing start by leading the group in singing "Happy Birthday" to Region 8 Director Beau Cain, who acted as Master of Ceremonies. Marie Highby set the tone for the day with a keynote talk on "New Definitions of Effective Leadership."
The day consisted of a series of breakout sessions. Session subjects varied from the theoretical -- what are the qualities of great leaders? -- to such practical matters as developing impromptu speaking skills. Other sessions dealt with such topics as the Touchstone Competition, the Gordon Scholarship, development of an inter-chapter speaker database, and the ongoing Society Transformation.
Over the course of the three leadership days, those who have participated have come to develop a genuine sense of community. During the present meeting, this sense of community manifested itself in a decision to explore the possibility that NorCal might become a chartered STC community that could serve the STC in ways that are not really possible at the chapter level. In addition to its role as a leadership incubator, with some development NorCal might also help with Touchstone, the Gordon Scholarship, conferences, and other regional activities.
Several factors entered into the decision:
Whether STC NorCal can, or should, pursue certification as a recognized community, and if so, what form that community should take, are questions that will require long and thoughtful discussion. A meeting has been tentatively scheduled for June 12 to explore the issues.
Patrick Lufkin is a Senior STC member of both the East Bay and San Francisco chapters. He is currently co-chair of the Kenneth M. Gordon Scholarship. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2005 by the Society for Technical Communication, San Francisco Chapter (www.stc-sf.org). This article may be reprinted in another STC publication under the provisions of the chapter's copyright policy.