Keeping STC Relevant to Members, Volunteers and the Workplace
by Suzanne Guess
Candidate for Nominating Committee, 2009-2011
• 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
Managing the Expectations
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:
1. Define the profession of technical communication.
2. Communicate the value of technical communication and STC.
3. Establish and expand strategic partnerships.
4. Globally improve the practice of technical communication.
5. 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.