Q: As President, you will be very much in the spotlight as the “face of STC.” You must sometimes set aside your personal opinion and represent the Society; you might also be the target of member frustration or anger (and praise). Describe a time when you were in a similar situation and how you handled it.
I am the face of my company (UserAid) today and I represent my company to all customers, potential customers, and business partners.
While at NetIQ, I represented Usability, Information Development, and Graphic Design across the entire company. I served at the Director level and worked regularly with people at all levels of the company. I often received both credit and blame for actions of the team. I represented the team to the company leadership, and I represented the company leadership to the members of the team.
While working on the STC Summit and the Strategic Program Assessment efforts, I often listen to differing opinions and build consensus through discussion. People often do not agree and I am able to look for common ground and represent what is best for the overall direction of the project. At times, I have had to make unpopular decisions. I will always strive to communicate why a decision was made and to listen to opposing opinions.
Very little targeted me, but I have been involved in areas where it aimed at STC. I've had praise as well, but in most cases I pass that to the people who do the work and are more deserving.
Many issues focus on funding. When zero-based was new there was a lot of frustration. I reacted by presenting at leadership day and sharing one communities success with attendees. I arranged to meet leaders and let them vent without an audience of hundreds. This allowed people to express their thoughts, see that others shared the frustration, and to talk to like-minded leaders.
For praise: Some STC partners who participated in the Advisory Council in Atlanta thanked me for starting the initiative and giving them a chance to talk directly to the core executive. I thanked THEM for their work. I helped facilitate the introductions, but it was the work of the staff and the BoD executive that deserved the praise. This team took a set of ideas and implemented them so high level communications could happen. I look forward to continuing this in the years to come.