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President’s Message July 2012

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Published: August 2012 in Message from the President, Society News, Welcome

Incoming President’s message
July 21 Planning Day
Web site migration underway
Contractors and Independent Consultants meetings
Location, location, location
Presenters needed
Volunteer appreciation
Hello from your new president
I would like to start this year thanking the outgoing president, Pam Drucker, for her excellent work in managing the chapter. Some of you may know that Pam ‘parachuted’ in at the last moment when the previous president had to stand down. Luckily, Pam has lots of experience and wisdom; she kept things moving right along for all of us. I came on board in November as VP, moving into this role at the Volunteer Appreciation event held in late June. Already by inbox has swollen to epic proportions!

It’s a privilege and an honour to be tasked with leading the chapter forward in the next year, entrusted with the chapter finances and reputation. I truly believe all of us are smarter than any one of us: I plan to be a very collaborative leader with lots of opportunity for teamwork!

I would like to show both new and returning volunteers that membership is rewarding!
2012/13 Execs
In case you need to contact us, here is the necessary information:
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))
Contractors & Independent Consultants SIG – Linda Farnworth (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))

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))

July 21 Planning Day
I hope you will join us on Saturday, July 21 from 9 a.m. until noon at the Bonsor Rec Centre as we brainstorm events, fundraising ideas, ways to reach and retain new members, revamp our website for our target audience and chart a course for our chapter to sail along for the next year or two.
There are many areas in which we need help, and there’s lots of opportunities to learn a new skill, network with more experienced writers and chip in your two cents. We’re using a tool from the STC called the Chapter Achievement Award application form as a framework on which to plan our year, track our activities and measure our progress. We may even end up winning an award! I was in Chicago last May attending the Summit (STC’s premier conference for technical communicators) and it was a great honour to walk up on the stage in front of 800 other technical communicators to accept our Chapter’s Pacesetter award. (For those who do not know, our chapter won an award for implementing Karen Rempel’s Information Interview service – an innovation that other chapters can also benefit from.)
Web site migration underway
Tony Chung has been working days (at his regular job) and nights (for us) migrating the website to a new host, to save money for the chapter.

Ulrike Rodrigues, our latest scholarship winner, is helping Tony. She has researched (with Heather Sommerville) and developed 7 personas to represent the typical users who visit our website, Our new website promises to be easy to use and easy to update and will feature several technical upgrades to tie our communications – internally with other volunteers and externally with our audiences – much closer together.
Contractors and Independent Consultants meetings
A big thank you for those who attended the July Consultants and Independent Contractors (CIC) meeting. We’re back again on August 7 and throughout the summer. Linda Farnworth and Bonnie Willimott lead the coffee meetings. Whether you need advice on developing a portfolio or a little nudge/encouragement to do your own thing, just drop in.
Don’t forget that every month, we have a casual gathering of tech writers that is currently sporting the moniker of the “CIC” meeting, since it was once aligned with the SIG of the same name.  Over the years, it has evolved into a wider grouping of tech writers who meet over coffee to compare notes and news about technical communications, jobs leads, tips and techniques.  So a name change is being contemplated… and/or exploring the possibility of joining forces with the Vancouver Tech Writers Meetup group. Have an opinion? Curious? Come out and join us at the next meeting, which will be held on the first Tuesday of August, right after the refreshing August long weekend.
We meet at the Blenz coffee bar just outside Urban Behavior in Metrotown, starting at 7 pm.  The Blenz location is very close to the transit loop, and there is lots of free parking as well. There is no RSVP. Just show up.
For more information, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
The chapter will own Go To Webinar by September, and Neil Perlin will be presenting remotely on “What’s Next in Tech Comm?” – a popular topic choice in our receiving survey. Neil is a great choice for delivering this session – he’s in charge of finding speakers for the ‘Beyond the Bleeding Edge’ stream at the Summit each year!  Announcements about the September program should begin shortly, as soon as we have confirmed a few more details.
There’s also a good chance that Neil will be presenting at a day long seminar in September (mark the date: September 13) for us, with an sweet door prize:  a MadPak licence for the full Madcap line of products, generously donated by Madcap Software.
Location, location, location
Great news! We’re staying at the downtown Y!  Weeks of research into better/cheaper/alternate meeting spaces was necessitated by a large increase in our room rental rates from the Y downtown. Kennedy Kierans, I and our Treasurer, Mary Metzger looked at an even dozen places; each of which had something to commend them but also having a showstopper, such as equally expensive, too far away, no internet access, etc., etc.  Then Mary had a brainwave and dropped by the Y to talk to the rental coordinator. Together, they worked out a reduced rate for one or another smaller, alternate rooms.  We may try a number of different rooms in the Y until we find a situation that works (and that can meet our needs until our budget also recuperates).
Presenters needed
Everyone in the chapter has ‘the responsibility of membership’:  we each need to continuously:
•      Invite associates to join the chapter and become new members
•      Look for new and innovative ways to fund our programs (ask your employer to sponsor us!)
•      Suggest topics and presenters for 2012/2013 program nights
•      Encourage employers to keep using technical communicators
•      Find and promote volunteers for the chapter, even among non-members.
What about you?
Do you know someone who is a good presenter, or do you want to present?  – Practice on us before you take your show down to the Summit! Please send Sera a note at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
Volunteer appreciation
I want you to find that ‘membership is rewarding’ (thank, Amex!). To that end, I hope you will enjoy the spontaneous ‘rewards’ that will be sprinkled throughout our program nights and chapter events. These will be small tokens of appreciation for all that you do for your chapter. You’ll have to attend to find out what they are and who gets one!

This month I do have to recognize Mary Metzger and Kennedy Kierans for their hard word, creative thinking and persistence in trying to locate an alternate meeting venue that better fits our budget, is centrally located and offers the amenities and technologies we need to offer great programming. Kudos especially to Mary for thinking inside the box and approaching our current site for a better deal, saving us the trouble of relocating and having to move unnecessarily.

STC vision & mission
Technical communication is recognized as an essential part of every organization’s competitive strategy. Society for Technical Communication: STC advances the theory and practice of technical communication across all user abilities and media so that both businesses and customers benefit from safe, appropriate, and effective use of products, information, and services.

About Canada West Coast
We are a geographic community of the Society for Technical Communication, a worldwide association dedicated to the advancement of the theory and practice of technical communication. Our community represents technical communicators throughout British Columbia. Canada West Coast chapter:
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Enjoy the heat!!
Mellissa Ruryk, President 2012/13

The archive of President messages can be found here:
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