Larry Kunz is a Lead Technical Writer at Extreme Networks in Raleigh, NC. An active STC member since 1983, Larry has filled a variety of workplace roles: content producer, team lead, project manager, consultant, and marketing specialist. He has led numerous writing teams, some of which he’s built from scratch, to the successful completion of their projects.
As head of STC’s strategic planning effort from 2007 to 2010, Larry guided Society leaders in developing a set of core values, a mission statement, a set of strategic goals, and both short- and long-range plans for achieving those goals. For his work Larry was honored with the STC President’s Award in 2010.
Larry has also served STC as a member of the board of directors, as manager of both the Fellows and Associate Fellows Nominating committees, as a member of the Executive Director Search committee in 2006, and several times as a lead judge in the international Summit competition. He has served in several leadership capacities in the Carolina chapter, including 3 years as president.
Larry was elected an STC Fellow in 2001.
Larry helped create the successful Technical Communication certificate program at Duke University, where he teaches a section on project management. He has taught and led workshops in DITA and structured authoring, both in his primary job and as an independent contractor. He has presented at several STC Summits as well as in chapter- and regional-level conferences.
For the past 8 years Larry has published regular blog posts about technical communication and leadership at https://larrykunz.wordpress.com/. He stays connected to the international technical communication community through the blog, through other social media, and by participating in STC events.
In his STC activities, especially in his work on the board and with strategic planning, Larry has worked with people from all sorts of backgrounds, of all ages, working in all sorts of industries. In STC and in the workplace, he has worked with teams in the U.S., Europe, India, and China.
A few months ago a colleague asked me, “Why is it so important that STC survive?” He was responding to a blog post I wrote about STC’s efforts to retain members and remain relevant at a time where all professional societies are scrambling to redefine their roles.
My answer, which I also posted on my blog, went like this:
First, STC has been good to me. My experience with STC has been extremely rewarding. I don’t keep up with friends from high school or college, but some of my STC friendships are going strong after 20 or 30 years. In STC, I feel an incredibly strong sense of belonging. This is my tribe.
I understand, however, that sentiments like these aren’t enough reason for most people to affiliate with a professional society. Networking and information exchange, two of the traditional roles for a society, are now easy to find in many other places.
Yet STC is uniquely positioned to fill other roles that are just as vital, for example:
• Defining and compiling a body of knowledge — a collection of resources that, by consensus, is understood to contain the things every practitioner should know.
• Connecting academics with practitioners — serving both groups and especially engaging both groups in dialog. Our profession needs as much of that dialog as it can get.
• Bringing new people into the profession through chapters, SIGs, and the Summit conference — places where newcomers rub elbows with each other as well as with their more experienced colleagues.
With effective leadership and with the support of its members, STC can remain successful and relevant. That’s where the Nominating Committee comes in.
I’m running for the Nominating Committee, in part, so that I can give back to STC for all the things it’s given me. As a Nominating Committee member I can work to identify and nurture the people who’ll lead STC through the challenges of the late 2010s and early 2020s.
I’ve worked with people from all over STC as a member of the board of directors, the Fellows Nominating committee, and the Associate Fellows Nominating committee; as the Strategic Planning manager; and as a judge in the international competition. I keep in touch with many of those people by attending STC events and through social media.
Through those contacts, I meet up-and-coming leaders throughout the technical communication community — people I also get to know by attending events with them and by reading the articles they publish. I try never to say no when, for example, a chapter or SIG approaches me and asks me to give a talk. One of those invitations led me to give a talk and a workshop at an STC India conference — which added a lot of new people to my network.
As an active blogger, I’m connected with many of the major technical communication bloggers, interacting with them both on their blogs and on mine.
Finally, as a chapter leader — including 3 years as president — I’ve learned how to identify volunteer leaders, recruit them, and help them grow. Several of those leaders have far surpassed what I envisioned for them, going on to major leadership roles inside and outside STC. I’ve learned to not make assumptions about what somebody can do but look for people with the right mix of talents and characteristics, and give them room to soar.
As a Nominating Committee member I’ll put forth my ideas and attempt to forge a consensus within the group. I’m not flashy, but I have the courage of my convictions. Whether I end up getting my way or not, however, I’ll “own” whatever decisions the committee makes.
As a Nominating Committee member I’ll do my homework. I’m especially proud of a client project where I built a project team and a process from scratch. Before I did any of that, I talked with every stakeholder I could think of: tech support, engineering, regulatory, you name it. Every one of them gave me something valuable that proved to be useful on the project. As a Nominating Committee member I’ll be just as thorough and just as careful to consider all options and all viewpoints.
As a Nominating Committee member I know that people across STC will see me as a leader. Some people might find that scary; I find it empowering. I look forward to taking on the challenge, to serving you, and to helping build a strong future for STC. I appreciate having your vote in the STC election.