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August 2012 President’s Message

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Published: August 2012 in Message from the President

Welcome back – summer is drawing to a close and it’s time to greet September with gusto!

Planning Day report

On July 21, your chapter executive met with several team leads and new volunteers to plan and strategize for the coming year. You will hear many new names mentioned often in the coming year; simply raise your hand (to volunteer) to stand among them.

By using the application for a Chapter Achievement Award as a structure, we settled on a three-part theme whose focus is sharpening as we roll up our sleeves and get down to work.  I started out the year thinking that the theme would be along the lines of “volunteering/membership is rewarding” but it’s turning into communicate, connect, convert! That is, we are going to concentrate on outreach to employers, students and faculty, and new members.

Website Update

Our first order of business is to revamp our most public face, the STC-CWC website. Who among us hasn’t struggled to find a specific item on the site and clicked around in vain? Not to disparage anyone’s efforts that brought our current site to fruition, as I know that many people worked hard and did the best they could with what they knew. But websites and technology evolve… and in 4 or 5 years, I’m sure some other CWC president will be heard saying “we have to get rid of that old website and make an awesome new website”!  Our web team, headed up by Tony Chung and Ulrike Rodrigues, has met once already as a group; is meeting for coffee and discussions and ad hoc get-togethers; and will have a new site in short order (for which we will require beta testers). Another meeting is planned for August 31. Make sure you zap a quick note off to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you are willing to participate in this effort of developing and delivering content that is utterly audience-driven and/or testing when it is ready.

As a part of the website work, several ‘@stcwestcoast.ca’ email addresses have not been working properly. If you recently sent a note to anyone in the executive and did not receive a response, we apologize for any inconvenience you experienced. Please re-send your message to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and we will respond as fast as possible.

Sponsorships actively being sought

News from the Society was announced on August 15:
After reviewing the results of a knowledge-based governance survey sent to all Society members, the STC Board of Directors voted Tuesday to approve a new community-funding model described as a “Partial Pass-Through.” Under this model, STC communities will receive funding based strictly on the number of members in a chapter or SIG. During the budgeting process, all communities will receive a fixed amount of funding per member ($15 per chapter member and $4 per SIG member) regardless of projected expenses and income, or estimated reserves at year end. All funding under the newly adopted model will be contingent upon a budget submission by the 31 October deadline and will take effect for the 2013 membership year.

Due to the budget model that has been in place since 2009, our chapter was not eligible for any Society funding in 2012.  As you might expect, our bank account balance is reflecting this… and we are being encouraged to broaden our base of funding sources beyond that of the Society itself. What does that mean?  We need to generate income from other sources, and two of those sources are sponsorships and advertising.

The new website will make room for advertising. However, if you are employed as a technical communicator, please check with your company’s Finance or Human Resources departments to see if your company would like to support our chapter through sponsorship. We warmly welcome the following types of contributions for chapter events and activities:
•      Cash donations
•      Services beneficial to the chapter and its activities, such as free meeting space, sharing a webinar license, photocopying of program materials, etc.
•      Sponsorship of chapter meetings and conference refreshment breaks.
•      Specialty items from your company (company logo-printed bags, mugs, pens, etc.)
•      Products, books, peripherals (such as memory sticks, headphones, mikes) etc.
•      Gift certificates (for books, accessories, products, services, lunches, or ?)
There is more information on our website at http://archive.stcwestcoast.ca/index.php/site/about_archives/sponsorship_and_advertising/. Thank you.

Programs still need presenters for Spring 2013

September’s “What’s Next in Tech Comm” kickoff meeting happens on the 18th – a scant three weeks away.  If you haven’t already, please register at http://www.gifttool.com/registrar/ShowEventDetails?ID=47&EID=12914. Neil Perlin is presenting “What’s up, eDoc?” via webinar from Massachusetts and you can attend in person or from the comfort of your home, office, or home office. This is a test run to see if CWC wants to offer more webinars or perhaps offer all our Program nights as webinars as well (format permitting). Whether you pay to attend in person or virtually, you will be eligible to receive a recording of the webinar for future reference.

October’s program is a case study of how to redesign a website from the user’s point of view: What’s In It For Me? led by Tony Chung and Ulrike Rodrigues.

We need your ideas and input for topics and speakers for the November session and those that begin in January. Send your suggestions to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Feel free to work out the kinks in your Summit presentation before next May in Atlanta by presenting a preview to CWC!

Professional development opportunities

The Content Strategy Workshop series (http://www.contentstrategyworkshops.com) with Rahel Bailie and Scott Abel is being held in Portland on October 9-10, 2012.

CWC is planning to hold a professional development seminar in February or March (or maybe both!).  This is another opportunity to bank a small profit from a successful seminar, but your involvement is needed. Can you think of a great presenter with a fascinating topic you (and another 15 - 25 people) would pay to attend? If so, let me know at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). With this much lead time and a couple of dedicated event planners, we can easily make it a seminar to remember. I’ve heard several people wondering where to get Flare or DITA training; if we build it, will they come?

Volunteer appreciation

One of the best perks of being a president is helping new people see the value in becoming involved as a volunteer, to make a difference in how our chapter is perceived and its impact on others.  Several people are stepping up to take on the challenges we have set for ourselves. Mike Martinescu, who started the Vancouver Technical Writers Meetup Group and regularly welcomes CWC members to lead discussions there, is one such person. Mike has recently graduated from BCIT and is committed to promoting his profession both through the Meetup and also as a CWC volunteer (and if it nets him a job, even better!). Another new volunteer is Autumn Jonssen, recently moved into Vancouver from Ottawa, who found her way to us through Mike’s Meetup group. Autumn is capably strategizing how to update the Employers’ Database that we will use in our efforts to let employers know who we are and how technical communicators can help them capitalize on their information assets. Again, if a side benefit appears in the form of a paying job, her networking and volunteering efforts will have paid off! As Autumn currently volunteers as a techwriter for the Red Cross, her experiences with our organization will benefit her career sooner.

I can’t leave this topic without a nod to Heather Sommerville, our Director-at-Large, who gently informs my enthusiasm with mature wisdom. Thanks, Heather.

2012/13 Executives

Your chapter leadership team always welcomes contact from chapter members.
President - Mellissa Ruryk (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Vice President – open
Secretary - Rob Hughes (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Treasurer - Mary Metzger (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Past President - Pam Drucker (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Volunteer Coordinator/Director at Large - Heather Sommerville (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Independent Contractors SIG – Linda Farnworth (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Managers
Membership – Dawn Stewart (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Programs – Sera Kirk (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Public Relations – Moise Potié – (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Job Bank – Mary Metzger – (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))

Are you making yourself heard?

(Eagranie Yuh, Chapter President 2009/10, posted this eloquent piece on our current website and I couldn’t say it better:)
STC CWC is an entirely volunteer-run organization, and the leaders’ mandate is to bring value to your membership. We organize program meetings for education and networking purposes, and contractors’ meetings to provide support for the self-employed. This year, we plan to organize professional development sessions to provide skills that benefit you and your employer. We have new listings in the job bank.

We do our best to provide thoughtful programming and membership benefits, but we’re not mind readers. What can we do to bring more value to your membership? Is there a particular topic that you’d like us to focus on? An area of professional development that we should highlight?

On the flip side—do you have a skill that you’d like to share in a program meeting or professional development session? We have a wealth of talent in our membership and we are always eager to put a spotlight on it.

Send a message to me at president (at) stcwestcoast (dot) ca… and make yourself heard.

Previous: President’s Message July 2012

Next: Neil Perlin session was a “howling” success


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