By Cindy Pao, President

Each year, STC encourages its communities to develop a few initiatives that should help the community plan its activities and offerings.

Here are the initiatives for the Houston chapter for 2013:

  • Outreach to Houston technical communication community, all of us
  • Merge chapter web resources and simplify maintenance
  • Member retention; welcome new members to increase retention
  • Increase membership; outreach to companies that hire technical communicators
  • Streamline operations by reviewing and updating documentation and writing processes

I know that initiative #2 has been completed by our hardworking webmaster, Paul Mueller. And I believe that initiative #3 is accomplished on a monthly basis by our membership manager, Stephanie Donovan. Plus, our membership has increased to 124 members (as of 31 August), up from 104 at the same time last year. And we did this without reaching out directly to companies that hire technical communicators. Imagine how well we could do with that kind of outreach!

With 2014 arriving in just a little over two months, I have two goals with this article:

  • Get you thinking and suggesting how we can complete our 2013 initiatives
  • Get you thinking and suggesting about initiatives for 2014


We need to know where technical communicators work in Houston. We need to know under what job titles technical communicators work in Houston. Please take a look at the list of companies that hire technical communicators located on the STC Houston website: If you know about companies that hire but are not in our list, please tell someone. You can post a comment to this article, or you can send anyone on the admin council an email. Better yet, if you have the name of a contact person at any of these companies, tell someone. If you can name names, send an email to someone on the admin council.

Streamline Operations

We have job description documents for just about every volunteer position – or at least committee manager position – in the chapter. However, they are quite long and out of date. I’d like to see a few volunteers update these documents and get them out on our website. Then, I’d like to have some other people document some of our processes. Processes like the best way to post and categorize newsletter articles, update the website, and post information on our employment page need to be documented.

This exercise should help streamline operations by identifying duplication and inefficiency (like, say, the length of the job descriptions). I have resources from several other chapters that should help with the project.

2014 Initiatives

That brings me to the strategic-thinking portion of my article, although thinking ahead to 2014 is a rather narrow strategic view, it’s what we need to do right now.

  • What do you think the chapter should do next year?
  • What do you think the chapter should be?
  • Do you think education in the form of monthly meetings, workshops, and webinars should be our focus?
  • Should we be bringing the message of STC to not-yet members?
  • Is all you really want from STC Houston a better networking event?

I want to hear from YOU, so post a comment here, send me an email (, and corner me at the next meeting on November 12th!

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