Serving as President
by Linda King, STC Houston President
It has been my great pleasure serving as STC Houston president this year. For those who have any doubts, serving in any leadership position in STC is a great learning and growth opportunity. As I near the end of my tenure as president, I want to acknowledge some personal benefits gained thus far through my volunteer roles in STC:
- First and foremost, volunteering has been the avenue for getting to know so many talented people and developing friendships that otherwise probably would not have developed. I have a much broader network of people, locally and internationally, whom I respect and can call on for advice, resources, or help. I have learned that many fellow STC members will respond instantly when asked―even at the last possible moment―to take on a task or provide assistance.
- Volunteering has also been the means for becoming acquainted with a pool of skilled technical communicators to consider and recommend when staffing opportunities arise.
- Active involvement in STC activities has significantly increased my awareness of the changing nature of the workplace, of new tools and technology, and of our evolving profession.
- STC activities have provided opportunities for practicing and demonstrating skills that are underused in my full-time, professional role and for building new skills.
- Serving on committees, and especially on the Administrative Council, has significantly increased my comfort level in delegating important responsibilities and trusting that the jobs will be done well by others.
- Chairing meetings in a “safe” environment has increased my ease in speaking before a professional audience.
- Sharing decision making with a diverse group of talented, intelligent people has highlighted the many different reactions that can occur to any situation or issue and has broadened my perspective for making sound decisions.
- Serving as chapter president this year has brought me requests and invitations to participate in many unexpected, interesting, and rewarding activities.
- Serving as an Administrative Council member and chapter president has enabled me to become “plugged in” to chapter- and Society-level developments and issues. As a result, I now understand many things about Society operation for which I previously had no insight. I understand that many tough decisions must be made to ensure the health and growth of our Society. I have gained insight into dealing effectively and fairly with belligerence, and I have had opportunities to help shape STC policy and practice at a critical time for the organization.
- Finally, taking an active role has made me an integral part of the primary organization for our profession and brings the satisfaction of helping to strengthen that profession―for current technical communicators and for newcomers as they enter the workforce.
In truth, serving as chapter president has also been a humbling experience. I began with great enthusiasm and a long laundry list of goals and improvements that I thought this year’s Administrative Council and committees could make to better meet the diverse needs of our members. I am very proud of our many accomplishments, such as
- developing and maintaining a conservative budget
- reactivating the Dateline Houston newsletter
- sponsoring a very successful competition and a lovely, well attended awards banquet
- completing and publishing a salary survey
- providing regular program meetings and providing an STK at the University of Houston-Downtown
- conducting multiple community service projects
- participating in the STC Academic-Industry Summit held in Houston in September 2007
- maintaining an active Lone Writer SIG
- developing a formal scholarship program
- providing judges and awards for the 2008 Science and Engineering Fair of Houston writing competition
- recruiting new members
- publishing a chapter calendar
- maintaining an active employment service
The humbling part is that despite the dedication and major contributions of Council members, our webmaster, and committees, we simply lacked enough volunteers and time to implement many of our plans. I hope that in the coming year more of you will offer whatever time you can as a chapter volunteer and gain many of the same benefits that I have. As immediate past president for the coming year, I will work with our incoming president and newly elected Council members to continue improving our chapter and increasing the value of STC for all our members.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve our chapter and to gain so many valuable experiences.