January 3, 2017 at 7:51 PM #39802
Director (two positions to be elected)
Ramesh Aiyyangar | Jessie Mallory | Robert Perry
January 31, 2017 at 3:24 AM #40651
The STC seems to be losing some steam in the past several years. A LinkedIn commenter recently remarked, “I believe every tech writer I know dropped out due to the fees going way up while the services that made the formerly modest dues worth paying are available for free from LinkedIn, Craig’s List, salary.com, etc… Some companies pay for their writers’ memberships and the expensive fees to enter the no-longer-prestigious annual awards.”
While I don’t agree with the sentiments, I would like to know how STC retains its value amongst competition from places like Write the Docs, whether you’ve done any formal assessments on membership satisfaction levels overall, whether the Chapter officers feel that National is supporting their goals, and how you would work to strengthen relations with individual chapters.
February 2, 2017 at 11:51 AM #40725
The Society for Technical Communication is the world’s largest and oldest professional association dedicated to the advancement of the field of technical communication. In the recent past, STC did face some challenges. But, STC is evolving and is on a momentous and exciting journey. It is a global association and has made inroads in Europe, India and China. It will continue to increase its presence globally. The objective is to encourage STC activity globally in a proactive manner. This will bring into STC renewed growth, energy and creativity. As Director, I will help in this effort.
One of STC’s greatest strengths is its diverse communities. Communities unite members of a geographic region and provide opportunities for education, networking, and employment most relevant to them. Today, some of our communities are facing challenges, including: declining membership, declining leadership, or both. As Director, I will work to find a healthy, sustainable solution for our communities. Our profession has grown. But, STC has only a quarter or lesser of this number as members. We need a growth strategy and our value proposition has to be presented in a compelling way. STC has the infrastructure and the expertise to achieve this goal. As Director, I will contribute to this effort.
STC needs to broaden its reach beyond an association for technical communicators. STC has to reach out to other communication-related professional societies to make them aware of what STC has to offer. As Director, I will work with your support to make this happen. STC is unique in terms of its infrastructure and the expertise.
Talking about the value STC provides to its members – Based on my individual experience, I can share that I owe my career to STC. For practitioners like me from India where we do not have formal education in technical communication, STC is the savior for us. As a STC member, each member saves around $1,358 in terms of tangible benefits like eSubscriptions to Intercom magazine and Technical Communication Journal, CPTC Certification exam, webinars, online courses, job postings, salary database, discounted rates for annual conferences. This is a huge saving for us and adds a lot of value.
Additionally, we receive continuing education units (CEUs), personalized Education Report Card, complete access to the best Body of Knowledge in technical communication, access to Job/salary database, continued support from mentors for professional development. Thus, for members like me the value and available savings more than cover the cost of membership. I have also spoken to various members from different chapters and they echo similar sentiments.
STC does need a growth strategy and the value proposition has to be presented in a compelling way, We have the infrastructure and experience to achieve this goal. I will contribute to this effort.
I would work towards strengthening the finances, growing our membership, refining our strategic goals, expanding our value proposition with an emphasis on certification, strategic education, and so on.
Finally, this election is not only about me or any candidate. It is about all of us. It is about you. It is about your career, your dreams, your struggles and your life. The moment has come when we can come together and solve the problems.
If you elect me Director, I will put in my best efforts to serve STC, its communities, and members.
I would work towards enhancing the experiences for members/communities and exceeding their expectations.
I will be grateful for your vote. Thank you for your support.
February 7, 2017 at 3:46 AM #40764
Thank you so much for your question!
As you know, STC brings together people and communities from across the globe. We provide education, networking, abundant content, scholarships, mentor opportunities, certifications, salary databases, and opportunities to grow your skill set through volunteering and leadership. Competition will always be strong, but STC can be stronger by building on our great foundation with our members.
To stay viable, STC needs to focus on building its student base and supporting the changing needs of this group. While President of the Philadelphia Metro Chapter, we developed a program to give free membership to 10 students per year. We also instituted a $500 scholarship for one student each year to encourage collegiate participation. Our student members engage in the chapter and even hold Student Representative roles. The in-person networking opportunities offered by STC can’t be replicated by free, online services. We have an obligation to reach out to the next generation of technical writers so they can learn from our more senior members.
Membership satisfaction is one of the highest goals I’ve pursued in my work as President and it’s one of my biggest goals as a Director for STC. As each chapter has its own needs and goals, it is important for the Director to communicate with each community to find the best way to engage that chapter. Different geographical locations and job markets by nature will provide different demands for each chapter. It is important for the national board to keep this in mind and promote regular communication with the local chapters.
Formally assessing membership satisfaction should also be a part of what we do. As President of the Philadelphia Metro Chapter, we offered membership surveys following each event and each program year. These surveys gave insights to the admin council about our programming and what members felt was important for the chapter. These same standards should be applied to the national board to help us find what works in STC and what needs to change. Ultimately, membership retention depends on keeping STC useful and engaging to its members.
STC also needs to find and foster business partnerships that can bring value to our members via new sources. Partnering with other organizations for events will allow new opportunities not previously available to our members without inflating the costs of the organization. Additionally, technical communication is a broad field that allows many of our members to inhabit a variety of career trajectories. Embracing the diversity of our members will allow us to provide new opportunities and possibly open new paths for our members.
Finally, the focus of STC is and has always been communication. This is not only about communicating content to the world, but opening a dialogue amongst the organization. If elected, I will work tirelessly to reach out to each chapter and find the most effective ways for the national board to serve you.
I want to hear everyone’s ideas. Together, we will find the way forward. Thank you, and I look forward to working with you.
February 9, 2017 at 5:20 PM #40811
Rebecca – Hello and thank you for your question. I agree with both Ramesh and Jessie’s comments and would like to add that although STC does seem to be facing some challenges, the drive and mission of the Society has not wavered, and we need to continue to build on our history and determine a path for future growth and prosperity.
While President of the Carolina Chapter, one of my goals was to increase membership and interest in our slowly dwindling chapter. Although still an active and vibrant chapter, our membership was slowly starting to decrease and fewer people were willing to volunteer. We surveyed the membership to discover what topics interested them, and the various ways we could meet and provide information to them. We also have an annual Visual Day where we have a social and then brainstorm about the events and programs we should provide that year.
We decided to add more social and informal events (unconference, lightning talks, wine/beer tastings, etc.) in addition to our monthly program meetings that focused on more training and instructional material. We also increased joint meetings and socials with other like-minded groups, and ensured that most of our offerings were available online.
As Education Liaison for the Carolina Chapter I found myself speaking regularly with various education and other groups about the benefits of STC membership. As an Instructor in the Technical Communications program at Duke University, I had the advantage of being able to speak directly with students to discover what they needed and desired in a professional organization that could help guide them into the industry. Under my leadership, the Chapter revamped our mentoring program and had a kickoff social where the students and mentors could meet and form beneficial partnerships. I feel that one of the biggest advantages of our Society is the camaraderie that develops among the members, and the friendships and collaborations that blossom along the way.
As a Director, I hope to take this same philosophy to identify and meet the needs of current members, as well as connect with new members and grow both the profession and the Society. I believe that it is only through the profound respect for the diversity of our collective ideas, experience and passion paired with strong leadership that we will be able to meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities ahead of us.
I consider my experience with STC to be an important and pivotal asset of my career and I would like to be a part of its continued growth. The Society has played a large role in my success over the years and I would like to return a little of what I have received by continuing to play a role in its success. I definitely have the leadership and communication skills to serve as a communication link between the Board of Directors and the members, communities, committees, and programs to which I am assigned.
Thank you for posting the question. Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to discuss these items further. I would appreciate your vote for Director so I can continue working on behalf of the Society to strengthen relations with individual chapters, and ensure that STC retains its value and continued growth.
February 9, 2017 at 8:25 PM #40814
Hi all, thanks for the responses! I had lost the link to this page for a while (it’s hard to find from the Home page). I will pose this question to the candidates for other positions, since I think it’s important for all roles to think about.
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