Six Takeaways from the 2020 STC Summit

STC 2020 Summit banner

The STC 2020 Technical Communication Summit Conference & Expo was held the week of May 18th. Previously scheduled as an in-person conference in Bellevue, Washington (Seattle's Eastside), the event quickly transformed into a virtual meeting thanks to strong STC leadership and a dedicated group of volunteers in response to travel restrictions and a ban on meeting in large groups to avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Logo for the 2020 Virtual Conference

Under this year's theme "Career Vision 20/20", the Summit's content was focused on information to help attendees stay in control of their career and their professional goals. STC is committed to offering a robust conference experience including preconference workshops and STC Certification training, education sessions, practical and inspiring keynotes, and vendor showcases by invited industry leaders. Over three full workdays, the Virtual Summit was packed with 100+ education sessions on Content Design and Delivery; Tools and Technologies; Training Development and Delivery; Project Management; Leadership, and Career Development.

The Virtual Exhibit Hall provided opportunities to learn about tools and services to improve your systems and processes, and opportunities to meet the vendors of the ones you currently use.

STC Washington DC-Baltimore Chapter Council leaders Allison Gisinger, Kate Goggin, Carolyn Klinger, Viqui Dill, and Tavia Record attended the Virtual Summit, along with many chapter members. The chapter sponsored Allison and Kate's attendance. Allison, Carolyn, Viqui, and Tavia had attended previous STC Summits, while this was Kate's first STC Summit. Below, Council leaders and chapter members Liz Herman and Adam Bradley, share their impressions of the event.

  1. "I just wanted to send a big, heartfelt thanks to the entire Administrative Council team for sending me to the STC Summit. I had a blast and learned so much. It would not have been possible without you!"

    Allison Gisinger, Council member, Chapter Secretary, and Information Developer.

  2. "I echo Allison's sentiment! It was a wonderful experience. I am always grateful to be a chapter team member. It has been a great help to me over the past year. I really appreciate the work stories from other Council members and your camaraderie has supported me. The Summit felt like an important (virtual) field trip for me. I was in awe of the big tent full of experts and I enjoyed connecting to the greater tribe. STC is a warm, welcoming group and I have always valued that vibe. The Summit was exactly the refreshing perspective I needed to re-inspire my tech comm interest and to spark some brave career planning."

    Kate Goggin, Council member, Chapter First Vice President, and Public Affairs Specialist.

  3. "It was so much fun meeting new people and seeing old friends at STC's first completely virtual Summit. While the over 100 educational sessions allowed for simultaneous learning and conversation, the networking sessions, particularly the breakouts, really allowed us to immerse ourselves in the experience. This was by far my favorite Summit and I started attending them in 1995, the previous time it was in DC! I prefer the virtual format. I know a lot of people were missing the in-person contact but my love of my own bed won over that benefit. It was the best of all worlds."

    Carolyn Klinger, STC Fellow, Certified Professional Technical Communicator, STC WDCB Chapter Past-President, STC Alliance Competition Program Chair, student volunteer coordinator and production team member for the Summit, and Technical Writer IV for Leidos Biomedical Research.

  4. "Dill Pickers are so happy to have been a part of the #STC20 Summit Honors celebration and after party. Congratulations to all the honorees of the well-deserved awards. Many thanks to all my STC and exchange friends who attended."

    Viqui Dill, Council member, Chapter Director-at-Large, Chapter Social Media Manager, and presenter ("Running with the Bulls: PM the PMs and Live to Tell About It" in the foundation level, project management, leadership, career development categories) and Technical Writer / Editor.

  5. "Are you inspired by #STC20? Would you like to contribute on a larger scale? Consider serving on the #STCorg Board. As part of the Nominating Committee, I'm looking for YOU! #leadership #volunteer #careerdevelopment"

    Liz Herman, Ph.D, Chapter member, PMP and CPTC certified, Summit presenter ("Feedback Finesse: The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback", under the project management, leadership, career development categories), recent author of an article in #CX in Intercom, and Knowledge Manager at Senture LLC.

  6. "The virtual STC Summit was a unique experience, and it showed how fast the STC can adapt to uncertainty and changing environments. Although I do not believe the virtual experience was able to provide the same level of social interactions and communal events as a traditional STC Summit, it did offer certain advantages that had been unable to be achieved through the previous STC Summits. I believe a hybrid approach would be optimal going forward. This would allow individuals that are unable to travel to attend the summit at a reduced rate. It also allows attendees to view every lecture and not be limited to choosing based on the given time slots. Since the virtual STC Summit concluded, I have attended several wonderful lectures that I would have been unable to attend during a traditional STC Summit due to scheduling conflicts."

    Adam Bradley, Summit presenter ("Foundations of Technical Illustrating"), Senior Technical Writer / Graphic Artist at ManTech.

Thanks to the 2020 Summit being virtual, you may view all the recorded sessions on demand at any convenient place and time. OnDemand recorded sessions of the virtual Summit will be available through 31 August. With just over 90 sessions, you could invest one to two hours a day and view all the sessions presented. Registering for the OnDemand Summit provides 8 CEUs for CPTC currency. The OnDemand Summit website has registration information and the descriptions of the recorded sessions on the Full Schedule page. The recorded sessions are on a separate website. The next business day after you have registered for the OnDemand Summit, you’ll receive the logon information for the OnDemand Summit site.

Look for ongoing opportunities to engage with STC locally and internationally and consider attending the STC Summit next year to further advance your technical communication career!

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Kate Goggin is an employee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, providing strategic communications planning and technical documentation services to the Office of Protected Resources. Kate previously served as a chapter awards judge and she has presented at chapter webinars. She has been a chapter member since 2015. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in communication, as well as a Technical Writing Certificate, both from George Mason University. Kate served the chapter as Second Vice President in 2019-2020 and is the current First Vice President for 2020-2021.