STC-SM’s First Networking Event of the 2014/2015 year

Four of us met at Paesano’s on Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor Tuesday, September 16, for dinner and conversation. The group consisted of the program committee chair and three of the council executives, so the conversation quite naturally turned to chapter business.

We discussed the programs for the coming year, the new fee structure, and the need for more volunteers to fill the vacancies. But we also talked about our jobs and our recent vacations. The company and the food was excellent.

Please see the “Upcoming Events” calendar to see what we have planned. The details have not all been fleshed out yet, but check back often to find out more about what’s happening in the chapter. We will also be publicizing the events on the listserv, on Facebook, here on the blog, and by email, so keep an eye out for that too. We will be using Eventbrite again this year to register people for the events.

Please join us at one or more of the events. We’d love to see and talk with you.

Rounding Out the Networking Year in Troy

On Tuesday, April 29, three of us met at Champps Americana Restaurant and Grill in Troy for the final planned STC/SM networking event of the 2013-2014 program year. Feeling very thirsty and looking forward to a chance to unwind after another day of technical communication challenges and (we hoped) successes, this happy-hour get-together proved to be another excellent opportunity to get to know one another better and exchange ideas and observations about the profession of technical communication and our chapter. The topics included our personal experiences living in foreign countries while completing assignments; the subtle distinctions between translation and localization of technical content; the joys and challenges of grant application writing for non-profits; a brief discussion of ethical issues faced by technical communicators when completing assignments and projects; and even a little introductory discussion of our next program meeting topic, working as a freelance writer. Pretty heavy stuff for an after-work celebration, but it was all very enjoyable. Continue reading “Rounding Out the Networking Year in Troy”

Networking Lunch in the D

On Thursday, April 17, 2014, four of us met in the D for lunch at Niki’s in Greektown to chat about STC/SM, technical communication, working downtown, and some of the knotty problems we encounter in our daily work.

Kathleen Howell and I both work for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and took time at lunch to become acquainted, as we were meeting each other for the first time. Sheri Kash is a long-time Compuware employee, and we had the opportunity to catch up after meeting there years ago. BCBSM and Compuware are both within walking distance of Niki’s, and what better way to enjoy a lovely spring day than to spend it with fellow writers. Mary Jo David travelled from Plymouth, and we were very happy that she joined us in Detroit.

Sheri mentioned that she will be attending the STC Summit in Phoenix next month and is very excited about that; she is also looking forward to the “Grant Writing 101” program coming up on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Kathleen is relatively new to the tech comm field but has extensive experience in IT and Web design and development. She filled us in on her latest experiences creating Wikis and InfoPath forms.

The conversation was lively and entertaining, and everyone was happy to get out and share with each other. Our next “casual networking event” is a happy hour to be held at Champps in Troy on April 29, 2014. Check the Upcoming Events calendar for all the details on this happy hour event and the “Grant Writing 101” program, as well as other events that may be of interest to you.

April 29 After-Work Networking Opportunity

One of the most important benefits we derive from our local chapter membership is the opportunity to network with fellow technical communicators in our area. To help provide these opportunities, the STC/SM leadership team has promoted a program of local networking lunches, breakfasts, and after-work happy hours in various locations throughout southeast Michigan since last autumn. The reaction from the membership has been very positive, and I’m happy to announce that another such event is now planned for late April in one of the northern Detroit suburbs.

On Tuesday, April 29, I will be hosting a casual after-work/happy hour STC/SM networking event at Champps Americana Restaurant and Bar, 301 W. Big Beaver Road (also known as Quarton Road, 16 Mile, or Metro Parkway in these parts), Troy, 48084 (248-526-0333). I plan to arrive a little before 5:00 PM, and we have a table reserved until 6:30 PM under my name and “STC.” I’ll also have a small sign with our STC/SM logo on the table to help you find me. If you can join us for any part of that time, we’d love to have you.

We’ll use the time to get to know one another, talk about our role as technical communicators, and discuss STC-SM membership and ideas for increasing its value to technical communicators. Each attendee is responsible for purchasing his/her lunch or beverages, but the conversation is FREE!

This will be a “casual” networking event, so any and all STC/SM members, not-yet-STC/SM members, attendees at past STC/SM events and their colleagues are all welcome. However, I’d appreciate you letting me know if you think you can make it so I can be sure to have enough seating.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Tom Glennan, SCT/SM President
tglennan@twsinfo.com
Cell phone: (248) 515-2318

Expanding Our Networks—One Event at a Time

Five of us commiserated during Happy Hour at Doc’s Sports Retreat in Livonia—the site of our latest casual networking event, which was held on March 19, 2014. Some ate, some drank, and each of us shared what it’s like to be a technical communicator for different companies around the metropolitan Detroit area. The make-up at these gatherings always varies, with some people employed, some self-employed, and some looking for work. At this particular happy hour, four of the attendees are currently employed by other companies and one is self-employed.

All sorts of topics worked their way into our conversation: Robohelp…Madcap Flare…Doc-to-Help…Framemaker…Word…WordPerfect (yes, you read that right!)…single sourcing and reuse…PDF collaboration…Pass the chips(!)…STC…The Summit…writing for insurance agents…ICD-10…training…hidden sources of gluten…company portals…best companies to work for…mergers… XML…Epic Editor…Arbortext (the company and the old building in Ann Arbor)…contracting… procedures and job aids…the Internet’s birthday…blogs vs. newsletters…STC SIGS…lone writers…the evolution of page layout and font cartridges…Paris…French…German…being a courteous traveler…and the list goes on!

Most importantly, those who attended have expanded their professional networks, which, over the course of years, can prove to be very beneficial. Welcome to my network, Cheri, and it was great seeing you again, Sharon, Marty, and George!

Tales from an STC-SM Networking Lunch

Networking lunch at Palm Palace, Ann Arbor

On Friday, March 7, STC-SM held a networking lunch at Palm Palace in Ann Arbor that I was fortunate to be able to attend.  I was able to catch up with some blasts from the past such as Lisa Veasey, my personal technical writing guru after David Pogue, and Maryann Bowen who was the Vice President of the chapter in 2009 when I was selected as the recipient of their scholarship to attend the STC Summit in Atlanta that year.  That was an amazing opportunity and experience.  I still even use the “leather” portfolio that all attendees received (along with my Anderson Cooper bookmark thanks to a side trip to tour CNN studios).  This lunch also enabled me to meet a few new faces:  Mary Jo David, Nancy Hoffman, and Chris Juillet. Continue reading “Tales from an STC-SM Networking Lunch”

STC/SM Casual Networking events…a great way to network on a small scale

Six of us gathered at Mr.   Joe’s in Southfield this past Tuesday (February 25, 2014) for an STC/SM happy hour casual networking event. I met three technical communicators I didn’t know and caught up with two others whom I’ve met before. Enjoyed some good conversation   on many topics.The one that stands out was the discussion about content management systems—what they are, who uses them, and how effective they are. Future casual networking lunches and happy hours are scheduled in March and April. Hoping to see some old friends and meet some new ones! See the schedule below. RSVP if you’’ll be attending. That way we can make sure to   have enough seating available, and we can notify you if something changes due to inclement weather, etc. At these events, attendees are responsible for purchasing their own food/beverages, but the camaraderie and conversation are free!

  • Friday, March 7, 2014: Networking lunch, 11:30-1:00, at Palm Palace, 2370 Carpenter Rd., Ann Arbor. RSVP by noon on Thursday, March 6 to membership@stc-sm.org
  • Wednesday, March 19, 2014: Networking happy hour, 4-6 p.m. at Doc’s Sports Retreat on   Victor Parkway in Livonia (near I-275 and 7 Mile Rd.) RSVP by noon on Tuesday, March 18, to membership@stc-sm.org
  • Thursday, April 17, 2014: Networking lunch, 11:30-1:00, at Niki’s, 735 Beaubien (Greektown) in Downtown Detroit. RSVP by Wednesday, April 16, to membership@stc-sm.org
  • TBD: Another networking event for Detroit’s northern suburbs…stay tuned for date and place!

Letter from the Membership Manager

Announcing a New Batch of Local Casual Networking Events

Your local Southeastern Michigan chapter of STC is unveiling some new dates for upcoming casual networking events around the metropolitan Detroit and Ann Arbor areas. Some are lunches and some are happy hour events this time. Please RSVP in advance if you’ll be attending so we make sure to have enough seating available and so we can notify you if something changes. At these events, attendees are responsible for purchasing their own food/beverages, but the camaraderie and conversation are free!

  • Tuesday, February 25, 2014: Networking happy hour, 4–6 p.m., at Mr. Joe’s, 26077 West 12 Mile Road, Southfield. RSVP by noon on Monday, February24 to membership@stc-sm.org.
  • Friday, March 7, 2014: Networking lunch, 11:30–1:00, at Palm Palace, Carpenter Rd., Ann Arbor area. RSVP by noon on Thursday, 3/6 to membership@stc-sm.org.
  • Wednesday, March 19, 2014: Networking happy hour, 4–6 p.m., at Doc’s Sports Retreat on Victor Parkway in Livonia (off I-275 and 7 Mile). RSVP by noon on Tuesday 3/18 to membership@stc-sm.org.
  • Thursday, April 17, 2014: Networking lunch, 11:30 -1:00, at Niki’s, 735 Beaubien (Greektown) in Downtown Detroit. RSVP by Wednesday, April 16 to membership@stc-sm.org.
  • TBD: Another networking event for Detroit’s northern suburbs…stay tuned for date and place.

Free STC Webinar: Using STC Resources to Find Employment

  • Presenter: Dr. Jackie Damrau
  • When: Tuesday, February 18, 2014
  • Time: 12:30-1:30 p.m., EST

To register, send an email to cindy@paofamily.com

Description

STC members will learn how to use STC website resources to help them in finding their ideal job. We start off by covering the Ten Tips to Your Ideal Dream Job with the associated STC website resources used to supplement each tip. We then conclude by quickly walking through Four Career Search Tips for What Not To Do, and the 80/20 Rule During Interviews.

About Dr. Damrau

Dr. Jackie Damrau is a Sr. Business Systems Analyst at CBRE. In her current role, Jackie models business processes and other department workgroup processes using BPMN modeling notation for determining workflow automation of existing paper-based processes or improving existing business processes. Jackie has more than 25 years of technical communication experience. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication (STC), member of the STC North Texas Lone Star chapter and the Instructional Design and Learning SIG, and the Book Review Editor for Technical Communication. Jackie’s past international positions have been as a SIG manager for the Instructional Design and Learning SIG; assistant SIG manager for the Management SIG; elected member of the Nominations Committee; and general manager of the STC International Summit Awards (2010-2012). Jackie enjoys reading literature, sociology, linguistics, and philosophy. Find her on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/jackiedamrau) or on Twitter (@damrauja).

—Mary Jo David, STC-SM Membership Manager