The following are exerts from our Achievement Award Application for 2012:

SECTION 1: Geographic Community Information

Community name: Houston Chapter
Community president’s name: Cynthia Pao

I submit this application for the community achievement award on behalf of my geographic community. To the best of my knowledge, this information is accurate.
Submitter name: Lindsey White and Cynthia Pao
Submitter position: Vice President and President

SECTION 2: Initiatives

Describe any initiatives you took during the year that support your community’s strategic goals. For example, if you conducted a community publications competition, or if you found a new way to recognize distinguished members, note it here.

Initiative 1: Reenergize STC Houston

  • Reach out to current STC Houston members, former members, and not-yet-members to renew, re-join, or join STC
  • Send letters to all STC Houston members and e-mail to former members to talk up STC Houston and our 50th anniversary
  • Send letters to STC members in the Houston area to talk up STC Houston and our 50th anniversary
  • Host a 50th anniversary party for STC Houston to celebrate us

Initiative 2: Re-establish Dateline Houston Newsletter and Blog

  • Bring in a new editor for the newsletter
  • Change the format for the newsletter to an interactive blog
  • Advertise the newsletter via social media
  • Encourage readers to comment on the posts

Initiative 3: Engage New Members

  • Document the process for welcoming new members
  • Identify new members at the program meetings

Initiative 4: Increase Educational Offerings with Share-the-Knowledge Workshops

  • Host at least three STKs during the program year (2012-2013)
  • Solicit ideas for improving STKs from other communities

Initiative 5: Increase Publicity

  • Identify a chapter member to manage chapter publicity
  • Identify media outlets in the Houston area where we can publicize chapter events
  • Document media contacts and processes for event publicity
  • Update chapter Web site often with new events
  • Use social media to advertise chapter events

SECTION 3: Fundamental Activities

  •  YES F1. Maintain an active Web site for your community.
    STC Houston has a strong web presence through our Web site, www.stc-houston.org.
  • YES F2. Prominently display the STC logo and “Society for Technical Communication” on all appropriate communication media (for example, Web site, stationery, and newsletter).
    The STC logo and full name appears on our Web site, http://www.stc-houston.org, and on the chapter letterhead.
  • YES F3. Publish an annual calendar listing the community’s activities for the year.
    STC Houston has an online calendar that appears on the left column of our Web site: http://www.stc-houston.org. From the calendar, you can also look ahead to future months to see what is new. A larger version is available here: http://www.stc-houston.org/events.
  • YES F4. Recruit new members.
    STC Houston actively recruits new members by reaching out to area writers through members who have ties to local colleges and to businesses that hire technical communicators.
    We sent out a recruitment letter to unaffiliated members.
    We reached out by offering and promoting multiple networking events such as lunches, dinners, and after-hours networking. The networking events are listed on the chapter calendar.
    YES F5. To retain members, distribute renewal notices.
    Examples, place renewal notices in the community newsletter and Web site (if they exist), and distribute them (if possible) by an e-mail list or other means.
    STC Houston sent out a letter to current members to, in part, encourage renewal.
  • YES F6. Develop a plan for the year and monitor your community’s progress throughout the year, and make adjustments if necessary.
    The Admin Council and other volunteers have planned the chapter’s program schedule and a 50th anniversary party as part of the Admin Council meetings. Attached are the action items recorded at each meeting during the second half of 2012, our planning notes from the leadership transition meeting, and the written plan for the chapter’s 50th anniversary party.
  • YES F7. Publish a community fact sheet or brochure for recruitment. Distribute it at meetings and on your community Website. Encourage members to distribute it at their work sites if appropriate.
    STC Houston has a fact sheet brochure displayed and distributed at meetings.
    STC Houston Membership Brochure.pdf
  • YES F8. Submit an annual budget to the STC Community Finance Committee (STC’s Treasurer and CFO) and have it approved.
    Houston 2013 Budget for STC National-Final
  • YES F9. Prepare and submit the STC Financial Report Form to the STC Community Finance Committee.
    2011 Chapter Financial Report Houston
  • YES F10. Prepare and submit any filings required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (see the Treasurers Manual; Note: Chapters have lost their tax-exempt status because of filing issues).
    Form 990-N E-Filing Receipt

SECTION 4: Community of Merit Award Activities

  • YES M1. Maintain an additional medium for regular communication with your community (such as a newsletter, postal mailings, e-mail mailings, operating a discussion list/group/chat, SMS such as Twitter, RSS, Wiki, blog, or social networking such as a Facebook or LinkedIn site; this must be an active communication medium, so please document it).
    STC Houston maintains a robust email list serve here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/STCHouston-L/
  • YES M2. Provide an active employment information service (job bank).
    STC Houston provides an active job database here: http://www.stc-houston.org/now-hiring.
  • YESM3. Provide regular programs of value to the membership.
    For example, informational presentations at face-to-face meetings or via electronic means, discussion lists, and publications.
    STC Houston provided regular program meetings in 2012. Information about our program meetings is available here: http://www.stc-houston.org/programs. Meeting topics are announced on the website.
  • YES M4. Make it easier to join STC, renew, or reinstate membership by prominently linking your community Web site to the STC membership page (http://www.stc.org/membership).
    The STC Houston Web site links to the STC membership page here: http://www.stc-houston.org/join.
  • YES M5. Have membership material available at all appropriate STC events, for example, chapter meetings, seminars, and conferences. Membership materials include at least membership applications and could include such things as Society and chapter or SIG brochures or fact sheets. The Admin Council ensures that laptops are available at meetings and other events, for the purpose of joining and renewing membership.
  • YES M6. Regularly communicate among the administrative council to handle your community’s business. The STC Houston Admin Council meets monthly (with a few exceptions) and regularly communicates via email and web conferencing tools. Attached are the agendas and meeting minutes from the meetings in the second half of 2012.
  • YES M7. Conduct annual elections.
    STC Houston held elections in June 2012.

SECTION 5: Community of Excellence Award Activities

  • YES E1. Publish information about demographics and issues of local interest, based on a membership survey or other research done within the last two years. If the information was published in 2011, a link to the report should be displayed throughout 2012 on the community Web site.
    STC Houston published a Pinterest infographic (created by Yvonne Wade Sanchez) describing technical writing employment trends in Texas based on information in the Society’s 2010-2011 salary survey.
  • YES E2. Conduct a community communication activity other than for what you already took credit, for example, Merit section number M1 (such as a newsletter, postal mailings, e-mail mailings, operating a discussion list/group/chat, SMS such as Twitter, RSS, Wiki, blog, or social networking such as a Facebook or LinkedIn site; this must be an active communication medium, so please document it). [Coordinate this item with previous items. Do not take credit for something you have already taken credit for.]
    STC Houston actively corresponds with Houston’s technical communication community via our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/STCHouston.
  • YES E3. Encourage members to bring coworkers, managers, colleagues, and friends interested in technical communication to STC events.
    STC Houston regularly encourages members to bring guests interested in technical communication to STC events.
    A few examples:
  • YES E4. Conduct a seminar or workshop, at least one-half day in length. Regular community meetings do not meet this criterion.
    STC Houston conducted a half-day workshop, titled “Planning Computer Simulations for Delivering Information Through Video,” with Matt Sullivan in October 2012.
  • YES E5. Get corporate sponsorship to cover some community expense (for example, facilities, equipment, door prizes, printing, postage, Web site sponsorship, event sponsorship, etc.).
    UserAid sponsors the STC Houston Web site.
  • YES E7. Be represented by one or more community members at Leadership Day at the STC Summit.
    Jowell Lydon, Cindy Pao, and Alyssa Fox represented STC Houston at Leadership Day during the STC Summit.
  • YES E8. Make it easier for other STC members to join your community by linking your community Web site to the STC Membership Change/Upgrade Form (http://archive.stc.org//PDF_Files/membershipChangeForm.pdf).
    The STC Houston Web site links to the STC Membership Change/Upgrade Form here: http://www.stc-houston.org/join.
  • YES E9. Encourage members to let colleagues in the workplace know how STC has contributed to their professional growth through knowledge sharing and networking opportunities.
    Alert Logic hosted Leadership workshop, therefore notifying communicators at Alert Logic know about our programs. http://www.stc-houston.org/leadershipworkshop
  • YES E10. Nominate at least one distinguished community service award or conduct a local member recognition program (such as “Member of the Year”).
    DCSA nominee (and winner) is Erika Guerra-Ramon.

SECTION 6: Community of Distinction Award Activities

  • YES D1. Publish a newsletter or blog for your community.
    Dateline Houston at http://www.stc-houston.org/dateline-houston
  • YES D2. Publish a directory that advertises members’ technical communication services available in your area.
    The STC Houston website provides a number of resources for employers and potential employees. The Employment page lists Houston companies that provide technical communication services (Services column).
    Additionally, the Links to Online Resources page contains links to other professional organizations, educational offerings in the Houston area, and tools.
  • YES D3. Provide at least 5 programs of value to the membership.
    For example, informational presentations at face-to-face meetings or via electronic means, discussion lists, and publications.
    January 10, 2012; Help 2.0: Welcome to the New World of Socially-Enabled Help; Scott Abel
    March 20, 2012; Targeted Documentation; Alyssa Fox
    April 10, 2012; The Economics of Information; Sarah O’Keefe
    June 12, 2012; Career Paths for Those with Technical Writing Skills; multiple speakers
    September 11, 2012; Helpful User Experiences: Building Mobile Apps that Reduce the Need for Help; Kelsey Ruger
    November 13, 2012; Editing Workshop; Linda Oestreich
  • YES D4. As an STC group, coordinate a group effort by STC members (plural) and contribute technical communication expertise to nonprofit projects that directly promote and increase the visibility and value of the technical communication profession.
    Note: STC communities shall not directly collect funds or resources, nor contribute STC funds, for charities or individuals outside of STC. Individuals may do this, but it does not count here. See STC’s Charitable Contributions Policy.

Optional Distinction Activities:

  • YES PM4. If door prizes are given at meetings, seminars, or conferences, give away STC promotional items.
    We gave away business card holders from STC Chicago at our chapter meeting in September.
  • YES PM6. Determine which companies in your area employ technical communicators and contact them for job leads, ask them for job leads, and encourage them to support their employees’ participation in STC. If permission is granted, add them to your mailing list.
    Erika Guerra-Ramon, publicity manager, invites local recruiters to the after-hours networking events and asks if she can add them to the distribution list (cc line) email blast so they will know when the next networking events are taking place.
    Erika Guerra-Ramon, publicity manager, also forwards the recruiters’ email addresses (with permission) to the hosts of the networking lunches so they can do the same.
  • YES PM8. Have community members participate in a technical communication-related event at a local college, university, or high school (such as staffing a booth or speaking at a conference, career day, or science fair). The members should promote themselves as STC members and have membership information with them. Cindy Pao worked with an engineering class at Milby High School. Students wrote documentation to accompany a new invention they made in class. Class time included discussion technical communication profession and how to write clear user instructions.
  •  YES PM9. Sponsor and coordinate a technical communication-related event at a local college, university, or high school (such as a conference, career day, or science fair). Do not take credit for this and for similar items in the Competitions section below unless they are separate events.
  • YES SC2. Provide financial support for students and/or academics, for example, a scholarship, a research grant, or in-kind donations.
    Meeting registration fee is reduced for students.
    Holly Jahangiri donated her meeting package prize to a student.
  • YES SC3. Publish a directory that lists businesses and organizations in your area that hire technical communicators.
    STC Houston published a partial directory of companies in the Houston area that hire technical communicators. This information can be found on the Employment page, Houston Companies with Technical Communication Connections table, Employ column. The directory is updated as new companies are identified through new members to the chapter.
    Completed? Distinction Activity (Section 6 for Geographic Communities)
  • YES C2. Provide judges or committee members for a competition mentioned above, or one sponsored by another community. Do not take credit for this item if you took credit for C1.
    Members from STC Houston participated in the STC New York Metro competitions as judges. Cindy Pao and Evalyn Shea judged from Houston.
    Call for judges
    Judging letter
    YES AV1. Provide a job bank in automated format, such as a Web page, or voice mail system. You may take credit for this item even if you have already claimed credit for M2.
    Job listing at http://www.stc-houston.org/now-hiring
  • YES AV3. Conduct a program activity other than those listed above. (For example, a joint meeting with another organization).
    STC Houston 50th Anniversary party
    YES AV4. Publish four or more issues of a newsletter (hardcopy, PDF, HTML, or other electronic form is acceptable).
    Dateline Houston at http://www.stc-houston.org/dateline-houston
  • YES CH1. Obtain a list of your community’s senior members and research the list to find qualified candidates for associate fellow.
    The Admin Council reviewed the list, but did not find an eligible nominee.
  • YES CH2. Obtain a list of your community’s members and research the list to find qualified candidates for Society-level awards, such as the Jay R. Gould, Ken Rainey, Frank R. Smith, and Sigma Tau Chi and Alpha Sigma Awards. The Admin Council reviewed the list, but did not find an eligible nominee.
    YES CH3. Conduct a recognition activity other than those listed above.
    Volunteer recognition at the June, 2012, meeting.
    Meeting Announcement

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