Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A new STC Atlanta year

Well, it is official. The officers for this year have taken their place. It is interesting the transitions that take place when a new STC Atlanta year begins. Each manager or officer is responsible for turning over the information they have to their replacement. Holly is responsible for turning pertinent information to me and I to Howard. This process is not defined anywhere that I have found. It just needs to be accomplished. Some people deliver CDs or DVDs. Some people do a verbal turnover. I hope at the first council meeting on Tuesday, June 5, these transitions take place and are successful.

Speaking of social media: there is a meeting of the Social Media Club that sounds very interesting. If you are interested, go to this link: There will be an interesting group of speakers, including EarthLink's own Dave Coustan. Social media is an interesting phenomena. It is the reason I am writing this blog. We want our members involved and informed.

There is so much I would like to discuss from the conference. I would like all of you to attend the chapter meeting in June where a panel of your peers that attended the conference presents their views on the conference. This year's conference was much different than year's past because topics and speakers were picked that would provide a more diverse learning experience. I believe it worked although there were some problems with some of the sessions. There were some session that were standing room only. I don't know how the STC could foresee the popularity of a particular speaker and/or topic to allow for more room or multiple sessions, but there needs to be a way. I was a little late getting to the session on Web 2.0 101 by Scott Abel and could not get in the room. I ended up attending my secondary session.

(If you have never attended the conference, I was given the advice to have a primary and, at least, a secondary session chosen so if the first one is full (or lame) you can move on to the secondary session. That was probably the best advice I received before my first conference.)

I had only one really lame session. This was billed as a panel session on "Making Your Career Happen." It really did not live up to expectations. The panel consisted of come excellent presenters that I have seen and heard in the past, so I'm not sure what happened in this session. The advice of the panelists were that tools should not be listed under skills in your resume. Anyone can be taught to use tools. If you can write well, that is what is important, not the tools you use to do the writing. The panel, for the most part, slammed the tool vendors at the conference for trying to sell their product. They said that the emphasis on tools in technical communications is misplaced.

See you all soon. In the meantime, if you want to talk to me, please call, email, write, comment, or just approach me with anything concerning STC Atlanta. I am looking forward to this year!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tonight's meeting

Tonight's the night. At the meeting of the Atlanta Chapter STC tonight at Mirant a new group of officers will be introduced to members. You have probably heard, but here is the list:

  • Al Hood, Chapter President
  • Howard Speck, 1st Vice President
  • Robert Armstrong, 2nd Vice President
  • Leigh Richardson, Secretary
  • Jeff Albers, Treasurer
  • Holly Harkness, Immediate Past President

These are the officers elected to serve you from now until May 2008. I can only hope we are as successful as the previous officers.

Looking forward, there are some things I am thinking about for the coming year:

  • In case you haven't heard, the Annual STC conference will be held in Atlanta in 2009. That means we will have to have a booth at the 2008 conference in Philadelphia.
  • This past year, under Holly's tutelage, our chapter won a Chapter of Excellence award at the conference. I want to shoot for a Chapter of Distinction award.
  • For our Currents conference, we will be moving to Southern Polytechnic State University for this next year. In previous years it has been held at Mercer University's Atlanta campus. This change will be a significant challenge this year.
  • During this year there will be a significant change to the way we receive funding for our chapter operations from the Society office. This change will impact our budgeting process and we will need to adapt to this change.
  • We will need many volunteers to help this year. If you have ever thought of volunteering, there is no time like the present. We have volunteer opportunities of all shapes and sizes. I am sure there is one to fit your time budget. Please ask!
  • I am honored to take over as president from Holly. I will strive to be as good a president as she was.

I will be writing in this blog as often as my job and duties as STC Atlanta president allow. If you have an idea about a topic, please let me know.

Monday, May 21, 2007

STC Conference pictures

A quick post to let you know that I have posted a few pictures from the conference on Flickr ( Hope you enjoy them. Please comment on the pictures and anything else.

Will post more later.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Leadership Day

Leadership Day is the day that leaders or those who want to be leaders are provided with the opportunity to learn how to be a Society leader. There were many interesting and informative sessions on many different topics. I will blog more about the sessions in another post.

What I want to say is that our chapter is a Chapter of Excellence!! Thanks to the leadership of Holly and the council, we have been recognized by the Society as an example for other chapters to strive for. Everyone in the chapter, especially our wonderful volunteers, that put enormous time and effort into our programs and events are to be congratulated! Without our volunteers, there would be no chapter and definitely no award!

Congratulations Atlanta!

Touch and Go on the way to Minneapolis

I have flown many, many times over the years, but I experienced a first on my way to Minneapolis! The flight was, for the most part, uneventful until we were about to land.

The pilot came on and said we were clear for landing at Minneapolis and we were starting our approach. Looking out of the window, I could see the airport ahead. All of a sudden we banked sharply and started going down at a sharper degree. I thought to myself that we sure were in a hurry to get down. When we got over the runway, we seemed to be coming in very fast and at a very steep angle. Just before we were about to touch down, the engine revved and we started climbing again!

We went around the city and the pilot eventually came on and said nothing was wrong, that we were coming in a little too steep so he aborted the landing and went around to try again. I guess I should be grateful because I got a better view of downtown Minneapolis the second time around. On the second attempt, the landing was routine. So I have arrived at the conference a little shaky, but I'm here. More from the conference later.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Thanks to all of our Volunteers

In my position as 1st VP this past year, I have seen firsthand the myriad things our many volunteers do for STC Atlanta. I knew we had some enthusiastic volunteers, but I really didn't know how great they were until I was in this position. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of them for their hard work and wonderful attitudes. It makes serving as a chapter officer very fulfilling.

I would especially like to thank Holly Harkness for all she did this year to prepare me for my role as chapter president. I'm not sure how other presidents treated their 1st VP, but Holly was great about sharing and showing me what was expected of her and the decisions she had to make regarding the chapter so I would be ready to make those decisions and have a very small "breaking in" period! so thanks Holly!

Bernice Hunter is another one that has been wonderful over the years, but especially this year. Bernice runs the publications competitions. (She makes great sausage balls, too!) With Bernice as the publications competition manager, there were no worries. I hope, for Howard's sake she does it at least one more year!

Leigh Richardson is another tireless volunteer. I wonder if there is any job in the chapter that she hasn't done? Probably not. And this year is no exception. We needed someone to step up and run for Secretary and, of course, she stepped right up! And all with getting a promotion at work and having to manage quite a few people all over the world! I don't know how she does it!

Some newcomer volunteers that have stepped up this year are Paul Phillips as the CommLink Managing Editor. Our chapter newsletter had been MIA for many months. Paul made the decision to jump in and get it re-started! I know how really difficult it is to run the newsletter! I was Assistant Editor and then Managing Editor for a few years. I know that it is not as easy as it sounds. We are so very lucky to have Paul take over the newsletter. And he is going to do it again next year!

Michelle Schoen is another one that stepped right up after joining STC Atlanta. She was Hospitality Co-chair and now is doing that by herself. And she was elected to the nominating committee.

There are many, many more, but I have to leave for the conference. I will blog more about the wonderful STC Atlanta volunteers later.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Preparations for the Technical Communication Summit

It is the Monday before I am to leave to go to the conference in Minneapolis, MN on Saturday. I am really looking forward to the conference this year as it will be the first time I have attended as the incoming chapter president.

I have my airline tickets, I have registered for the conference, I have my reservations at the Hilton, and I have my rental car reserved. I leave Atlanta at 11:30 AM on Saturday. Saturday begins 5 intensive days of meetings, events, learning sessions, banquets, networking sessions, meeting new and previous acquaintances, and being very, very busy.

Holly Harkness (the outgoing STC Atlanta president) and I are holding a reception of STC Atlanta members on Sunday night between 8:30 and 10:30 PM in Holly's hotel room. We have about 30 or so members registered for the conference.

This is my first blog entry in this format. I hope to blog all through the conference. I wanted to wait until we could get the blog hosted on the STC Atlanta website, but there are a few issues with that and I don't want to wait. I hope you will come back and read this blog often. I will try to make it topical and pertinent to you as a member of STC.