I am a candidate for STC 2nd vice-president in the upcoming election (voting starts March 9, 2009). Here is why I am running.
As an active participant in STC at the local and international level for 21 years, and currently as Director-at-large, I can see that STC has made some great strides in the past couple of years:
extending its global reach and mission through a stronger presence in several international standards groups such as OASIS, W3C, and ISO
providing more services to member communities, including the Leadership Community Resource to help communities train new community leaders
advancing the profession by sponsoring the industry-academic partnership that is defining a body of knowledge for technical communication
developing a new section of stc.org with concrete examples of the value of technical communication
STC is now a more transparent organization that has learned to evaluate its programs and goals through strategic planning and processes such as the Strategic Program Analysis.
On the other hand, STC must continue to evolve … and do so rapidly. The Society must adjust services and processes quickly to keep pace with international economic and technological developments while at the same time maintaining a long-range vision of the value of technical communication. And STC is still not as relevant to all technical communicators, particularly younger ones, as it should be.
I would work to enact these specific improvements to STC’s benefit to members and the profession:
Continue to provide services to members who cannot rejoin because they are unemployed.
Increase the number of free or low-fee webinars geared to professional development.
Target even more resources to the Body of Knowledge Portal project to give members the knowledge they need to retune or refit their skills for changing economic and business conditions.
Plan a Summit to be held outside the United States.
Target more services and information to technical communicators under forty. They are the future of the profession.
As an educational association, STC can best serve its membership by providing access to knowledge and by educating the public and employers about what technical communicators really do. As an educator, I know something about reaching out to diverse audiences on a daily basis. And as co-chair of the STC Body of Knowledge (BOK) task force, I am working with a terrific team of academic and industry professionals to build a web-based portal that will make accessible the body of technical-communication knowledge.
Knowledge is power. With job layoffs, cutbacks in institutional budgets, and disappearance of companies, the one constant that cannot be reduced is our individual and collective knowledge.
Help me empower our membership. Thanks so very much for your support.
At a recent committee meeting for a non-profit organization I volunteer for, our discussion centered around how to capitalize on the social networking phenomena to expand our volunteer and fundraising base. That same afternoon, I read a case study in the February 2009 issue of the Harvard Business Review about the challenges between workers of different generations that play out daily in many organizations.
The theme between the meeting and the case study were the same: how to manage expectations for a changing volunteer and workforce. And this same theme also applies to STC: we also need to find ways to manage expectations for a changing volunteer base and workforce while remaining relevant to our members.
I’m a candidate for a two- year term on the Nominating Committee. If I am elected, my main job function will be to identify qualified candidates based on the standards, criteria, and requirements established by STC’s Bylaws. And I have a feeling it will be harder than it sounds, because as our membership declines (by non-renewals, failure to attract new members, or the economy) so do the contributors to our professional knowledge through STC channels (such as Tech Comm and Intercom) and the pool of willing volunteers. These two factors also make STC less relevant in the workplace.
How, then, do we begin to think about keeping STC relevant and managing expectations for volunteers and members? We continue working toward the five strategic goals adopted in May 2008.
Managing the Need
The five strategic goals adopted by the Board of Directors in 2008 are
Define the profession of technical communication.
Communicate the value of technical communication and STC.
Establish and expand strategic partnerships.
Globally improve the practice of technical communication.
Ensure the long-term viability of the organization.
Continuing to work toward these goals will help us specifically define our profession so that we can better manage the expectations of our employers. By consistent efforts to communicate the value of STC, we can help manage the expectations of volunteers about the benefits of active participation in a professional organization. By working to globally improve the practice of technical communication, we manage workplace expectations by demonstrating consistent qualifications and abilities to do our jobs as well as the tools we need to do our jobs effectively. By educating our members about the value of participating in STC, we ensure the long-term viability of the organization.
The Nominating Committee is critical to achieving these strategic goals, and I believe that my experience on the Strategic Planning Committee, the Leadership Community Resource, and as a SIG and chapter leader can help ensure that we meet them. I’m asking for your vote so that I can work with the Nominating Committee to identify, recruit, and mentor STC members for the responsibilities of leadership to keep STC moving forward to meet member expectations and needs.
* Assistant Manager, CIC-SIG (2007-2009)
* Strategic Planning Committee (current)
* Strategic Assessment Committee (current)
* Leadership Community Resource (current)
* Past President, STC Central Iowa Community
* Master of Arts, Iowa State University
* Bachelor of Science in Education, Drake University
* Owner/President, 210 Communications
by Aiessa Moyna
Associate Fellow, STC firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Phone: 212-640-2020
Home Phone: 201-963-7970
STC 2009 Election
Statement from Aiessa Moyna, Candidate for STC Treasurer
When I was asked to consider running for STC treasurer several months ago, the outlook for our global economy was uncertain. Today, it seems downright bleak. Then, layoffs were rare and shocking. Today, they seem to be commonplace. Then, the stock market was down. Today, the market is at the lowest point in a decade. Then, employers might pay annual STC dues as a professional development expense. Today, some members have had to choose between paying their own dues and paying a utility or grocery bill.
The environment around us has changed, and the next two years will be a challenging time to serve as treasurer of a nonprofit professional association. Still, my commitment and my reasons for running have not changed.
I want to serve STC as treasurer to help ensure the continuing success of the Society, which has contributed so much to my professional and personal development. I want to give back, and I want to help ensure that others who follow me will be able to benefit from STC in the same way.
I joined STC as a college freshman 25 years ago. (Go ahead; do the math. I’m running for treasurer, after all.) As a student member, STC offered me opportunities to grow as a technical communicator through exposure to educators and professional mentors, plus the chance to assume chapter leadership roles. As a new professional, STC offered me employment opportunities, ongoing education and volunteer roles in which to broaden my technical skills and gain leadership experience. As a seasoned communicator, STC today offers me a network of other professionals with whom to share experiences and lessons, as well as volunteer roles in which to sharpen my project management and leadership skills.
Serving as treasurer would give me a chance to return the favor, helping to ensure the ongoing financial viability of the Society. In this way, I hope to help ensure that STC continues to serve other technical communication students, professionals, educators and leaders for years to come.
My experience in STC and the field of technical communication has prepared me for this role. I’ve served STC in a variety of roles at the community, regional and Society level. As treasurer for two STC communities, I learned the Society’s required processes for budgeting, managing expenses and reporting within the rules for nonprofit tax-exempt organizations set by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. I also learned the importance of following these practices to ensure the financial security of the local community and avoid jeopardizing the tax-exempt status of the entire Society.
I currently work as a communications director at American Express Company, supporting the Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Security Officer. In this and previous roles, I’ve managed and tracked spending for projects with multiple work streams. I’ve also gained experience in public affairs, compliance and technology development for a financial services corporation, which has made me comfortable with providing fiscal transparency under scrutiny by business, industry and regulatory entities.
To learn more about me, my involvement with STC and my career as a technical communicator, read my biography on the STC Candidates’ page. When you vote in the coming weeks, I hope you’ll consider me for treasurer.
STC’s 2009 election begins on 10 March 2009 and runs until 9 April 2009.
The following message was submitted by a candidate for office. You may review the candidates’ biographies, ask them questions, and view their responses to questions posed by other members on the Candidates’ Page of the STC website. Information on casting your ballot will be sent to you prior to the opening of the election.
By W.C. Weise
Candidate for Second Vice President, STC
For the past 4 years, I’ve had the privilege of serving as STC treasurer. During this dynamic time of transition, we’ve invested in skilled professional management but now face the harsh realities of a poor economy.
Meeting 5 challenges will determine whether STC will accomplish its strategic goals for the profession. STC must succeed at Relevance, Replenishment, Recognition, Resources, and Relationships and Combinations.
Ask yourself: can you afford not to be a member of STC?
The test of a professional society is how often you rely on it. An essential professional resource has a website you visit everyday, archives that provide rich on-demand information, publications that compel you to read something in every issue, networks that expand your thinking and respond with answers, and resources for future growth. It increases your value in the marketplace. And it is always steering you toward knowledge and opportunities. It becomes an Every Day Professional Resource. I want an STC that does these things.
Since 2006, the Board and Office have made great strides to increase STC’s professional value. A skilled staff has improved our education programs, publications, and society operations. We still need to improve how our members interact, mentor, and support each other. We need to continue improvements in the Annual Summit and bring you into regular contact with new standards, our role in guiding them, and the outcomes we’d like to see.
We need to elevate our members in the employment marketplace by identifying the trends, technologies, and education that will increase your value. We need to prove our case, and that means spending STC’s research dollars with respected economists who can measure the value we add to products. We need metrics that prove that we make a difference in the products people select and depend on.
The resources are coming into place that should allow STC to develop and expand a validated program library from which chapters and individuals can purchase downloadable programming suitable for meetings or podcasts so you can increase skills on demand. STC should be extraordinary at this – we’re a global educational nonprofit organization of communicators! And the ability to access this kind of career enrichment is one test of STC’s value.
We also need to improve STC’s value where you measure it most – in your pay. By helping the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics adopt a contemporary definition of what we do, STC can drive fair compensation for the expanded range of skills we represent in the U.S. and internationally.
We can no longer defer expanding our presence in schools or encouraging promising students who are considering a career in technical communication. I will encourage an active and growing partnership with universities to develop and communicate the Body of Knowledge and our understanding of the marketplace. We need to encourage curricula that are congruent with our view of the profession and the needs of future employers.
STC’s future growth and energy depend on meeting the needs of young communicators and the schools that motivate and educate them. Academic partnerships and student memberships must be priorities.
We struggle to concisely tell our employers about the difference we make for them because the range of our contributions is so vast.
By celebrating the achievements of STC members publicly, we do two things. We rejoice in the success of our colleagues and learn from them. We also demonstrate to business leaders and other professions what we do and what it looks like when it’s done well. A million dollars saved or won in any business represents our potential to perform at this level in all of them.
I fully believe that we make products and ideas more competitive in the marketplace. Through our hands, ideas become more persuasive, explanations clearer, help more usable, customers more satisfied, and products better.
The STC website doesn’t need job definitions. It needs testimonials, demonstrations, and celebrations that show what we did and continue to do everyday. I will celebrate your successes and publish them to the world.
As treasurer, I’ve helped manage STC as a business. The Board and the STC office have measurably improved their capacity to support society members and their communities. New investments are improving STC’s membership experience. Despite economic challenges, we will continue to increase the value of membership, particularly through development of targeted education products while we examine the potential of certification.
I will continue to work with our Executive Director to decrease the cost of governing the society. Face-to-face board meetings have been reduced from 3 to 2 per year, and the office has been relocated to achieve savings. In fairness, the hard work of finding new facilities has been done by the office staff, who continue to suggest best practices and to seek economies without impacting the services you need. We need to continue the benefits of this teamwork.
5. Relationships and Combinations
It helps to know that STC is not alone. Other organizations are feeling the pinch of tough economic times. We’re each rowing harder, yet we continue to stay in our lanes. Why?
Among groups that share our professional interests, we may find that we are a stronger organization and have the ability to enrich others through relationships yet to be discussed. We could combine a competition, perhaps, or share a conference elsewhere. We should be bold enough to consider merging a weaker association into STC if a mutual benefit can result. Perhaps one that already has experience with certification?
We have not done enough in this area, and it’s important for us to start.
And in Conclusion
I hope that my vision and concerns for STC are yours as well. I ask for your vote in this election, but let me encourage you to vote for any candidate who shares your views. STC needs your full participation if it is to best serve your needs.