by Debbie Kerr, President
Usually I am writing my first article at the end of the summer, so it is only appropriate that I started this article just after Thanksgiving Day's temperature broke all kinds of records. It felt like summer, but really, no one needed to arrange it just for me-I'm glad you all got to enjoy it too! For those of you who don't know me, I am your chapter president, and prone to sarcasm , in a playful sort of way. Ironically, I took a break from this article and it got really cold, so all arrangements for nice weather seem to be gone. The cold weather was a reality check for me, especially as I stood there watching my son play football. Apparently I am not acclimatized yet, because it sure felt cold. On the bright side, my son's team also recently played before the Argo game in the Rogers Centre, where it was a little warmer. There is a silver lining to everything.
Why I Give Thanks
As president of this chapter, there are many silver linings. In fact, I have a lot of reasons to give thanks.
Before the summer break, we sent an email survey out to both our members, and people who were no longer members of our chapter. Fei Min Lorente, Volunteer Manager, took on the task of following up with many of our inactive members, who did not respond to the survey. She made many phone calls, because we wanted to know why people were not only no longer members of our chapter, but no longer members of the STC. I am grateful to the people who took the time to answer her questions, and I am grateful that Fei Min took on this task.
We still plan to make more calls to those of you who did not answer our survey and are active members. We want your feedback and ideas. We want you to feel part of this chapter, and we want to provide you with value for membership. Since we have limited resources, we need to know what items you could do without. We also need to know what items are most important to you. We also want to know if items are important enough to you that you might get involved.
I am grateful to have a mixture of council members who agreed to stay on from last year, and a few new council members. There is still a lot to do with the people that we have, so we always welcome more hands. Thanks goes out to those people who stayed on council again this year: Carol Lawless (Recorder), Margie Yundt (Webmaster), Laura Zinn (Quill Editor), Ursula McCloy (Employment Manager, and Hospitality Manager), Lori Jankowski (Treasurer), Paul Kostiuk (Email List Manager), and Fei Min Lorente (Volunteer Manager). New to the council this year is Holly Curtis (Management SIG Co-ordinator), Ted Edwins (Public Relations Manager), and Ryan Lehmann (Education Manager). Roger Graves is still the Faculty Liaison at the University of Western Ontario.
There is constantly an air of change, especially when the STC Head Office is making changes. This keeps me on my toes, and keeps me from becoming complacent. I can't take anything for granted. I am always learning, because there are always opportunities (for example the webcast software described later in this article) and new areas to research (for example, a lot of administrative details that you, luckily, don't have to worry about). Fortunately, I have a team with me, who can help. Did I mention how grateful I am for the team that we have?
Plans For This Year
What is our team going to do for you this year? Well, as a result of our survey and phone calls, we received some interesting feedback. We want to give you value for your chapter membership.
Those who responded to our survey indicated you wanted more general meetings than we had last year. You also indicated that you were interested in topics that are directed at an intermediate and senior level. We also received a list of these topics for our general meetings:
If you know of anyone you would like to hear speak on any of these topics, or if you know of someone who might be willing to speak, please send me their name and contact information. We do not have a Program Manager, so any help that we can get in organizing these meetings is a step closer to making your dream a reality.
Webinars were another topic of interest that came up consistently in our survey. We are late in offering them; Head Office has informed us that they hope to have some available in November. We hope to make some available to you, when we know the topics and costs. If you did not receive a notice about this newsletter, then you are not on our mailing list. If you want to receive a notice when a webinar is being offered, send an email to email@example.com, and ask to be added to our mailing list. You can also regularly check our Calendar page on our website at www.stc-soc.org.
STC Head Office is making software available to chapters that will enable them to do webcasts which are very interactive. I participated in one that Head Office offered so I could see its functionality. We could chat, when the presenter/moderator permitted, so that we were not chatting while the moderator was speaking. We could also raise our hands with the stroke of a key. We also answered online polls including one about what position we occupied on our local council. This provided the instructor with instant feedback. For people hosting a webcast, this would enable them to customize a presentation if they could get to know their audience.
Those attending the seminar could also see the name of each person who had logged in, and how many people were logged in. There was also a way to enable everyone logged in to talk, and the symbol next to the person's name changed when that particular person was speaking so that you could tell who was talking. This would be great for those of you who cannot make it to a general meeting.
Look at the list of topics that I provided earlier in this article and let me know what you think would be great as a webcast. I may be calling you if you are outside the Waterloo area to get your feedback. Along with the interest in the topics, we need speakers, and people who are willing to learn the new technology so that we can present something polished to you. If we go to the effort to put this together, we also want to know that you would use it. Send me an email and give me some feedback.
We are looking at having several half-day sessions this year, but we are in the early planning stages. If you have any ideas or interests, send them to our new Education Manager, Ryan Lehmann, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there any other items that you would like to see covered this year,
please let us know. Remember, we can only do so much; we have limited people.
If you want more activities, you can always get involved. It's never too late.
About Debbie Kerr
In the 20 years that Debbie has been writing documentation, she has worked in a variety of industries: government, retail, software, and insurance. She is currently employed at The Economical Insurance Group in Waterloo, where she has stepped out of her traditional role of writing user guides and help files, and now writes a variety of specifications.
Debbie has been a member of the STC since 1994 and has been a council member for many years. For the third year in a row, Debbie has bravely taken on the role of Chapter President.
In this issue: