November 2011

12 11 2011

Inside this issue:


From the Editor’s Desk

12 11 2011
Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

Hello friends and members of the Orlando Chapter STC!

There’s a chill in the Orlando air, it got into the lower 50s this week! As Floridians get out their snow gear, the Orlando chapter is gearing up for its end-of-year festivities. This month, we take a chance to gather and give thanks. Next month is our Holiday celebration. We hope to see you at both meetings!

So, without further ado, enjoy this edition of Memo to Members!

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Do YOU have an article you’d like to submit for Memo to Members? Don’t be shy… email me at You will get an Active Member point for your submission.

Happy Holidays!

Alex Garcia
Orlando Chapter STC Memo to Members

President’s Corner

12 11 2011

Karen Lane

By Karen Lane
Orlando Chapter STC

This time of year, we theme our chapter activities around giving thanks. And it’s a natural consequence of the holiday of Thanksgiving and the evidence of abundant harvest that we are moved to reflect on the many advantages we enjoy and the bounties we share. If you are of a religious bent, you will direct your thankfulness to the deity; if not, you can be thankful to circumstance, luck, perseverance, or whatever other forces for good you see in your life.

Unfortunately, we are not all equally blessed with good health and fortune. Many people, including some of our chapter members, are struggling with health and other personal issues that are making their lives challenging and bringing their spirits low. Others, or in some cases the same people, have financial issues because of the faltering economy. And it looks as if the economic downturn will continue for some time; the light at the end of the tunnel hasn’t quite appeared yet.

I bring all this up to ask you to think about those of your colleagues, friends, neighbors, relatives, and even strangers who are struggling and could use a little help. Sometimes the help can be as simple as a kind word or a pat on the shoulder. Just knowing that others care can be uplifting. In other cases more tangible and specific help is in order. People are hungry; we can help feed them. People are out of work; we can help them find work. People are sick or homeless or both; we can support organizations that take them in and make them well.

STC is an educational organization, and it cannot directly send support to charitable organizations. But its members can, and I urge you to be generous with your help. We of the Orlando Chapter can make it possible by serving as a conduit for members’ and friends’ contributions of food to Second Harvest during this season. As in past years, we are asking that if you are able to donate food items for those who need it, please consider doing so. We will make it easy for you. Bring your contributions to our Give Thanks meeting on November 15. If you’re not planning to attend but would still like to donate food or money, please contact me ( and I will arrange to have someone meet you and pass along your donation.

Second Harvest has asked for the following:

  •  Meals in a Can
  • Canned Tuna
  • Nonfat Dry Milk
  • Peanut Butter
  • Oatmeal
  • Nutritional Drinks
  • Canned Meats/Poultry
  • Dry Beans
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Canned Veggies
  • Canned Soup
  • Pasta/Macaroni
  • Canned Fruit
  • Rice
  • Beef Stew
  • Baby Food

Be as generous as you can. My grandmother used to say, “If you look up, you see people; if you look down, you see people.” There are always some who are worse off than we are, and if we can help them we will have done something good for them and good for ourselves, too.

My wish for everyone this season is this: May you always be able to help others.

A View From Number Two

12 11 2011


Debra Johnson

by Debra Johnson
Vice President
Orlando Chapter STC

Debra is currently the Lead Documentation Specialist at Wyndham Vacation Ownership in Orlando, FL where she is responsible for setting up and leading the Technical Communications discipline within Wyndham’s Information Technology department.

Hi Everyone!

Geesh…last month just flew by… We weren’t even done with Halloween and the Christmas decorations were already being hung with care….We hosted an STC-provided webinar, Starting and Building a Freelance Business, presented by Katherine Nagel and Ruth Thaler-Carter. The webinar was very enlightening and the ladies were pretty funny. It was a great learning experience.

So now it November… It’s that time again to meet up, share, laugh, and connect with each other.
It’s time for our annual November “Give Thanks” Meeting.

**We will be collecting for a food drive at this event, so if you would like to, please bring some canned or boxed food.

Tuesday Nov. 15, 2011
Networking 6:30pm
Dinner   7:00pm
No Meeting fee for this event

Please keep in mind each individual is responsible for their own expense at this event.
Gratuities will be added to each check.  Thank you.

Please CLICK HERE to RSVP: so we know you are coming and bring someone with you!!!

Houlihans East Colonial
Meeting Room
2600 East Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32803

Open to members, non-members, students, & faculty… Everyone is welcome… Bring a guest if you want, but definitely bring yourself. Tell other Technical Communicators!

So we’ll see you there….Don’t forget to RSVP

P.S. Look for the announcement soon about our Holiday Reunion coming in December….

**This Food drive is an individual initiative and not a chapter-sponsored activity

If You Missed Last Meeting…

12 11 2011
Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

By Alex Garcia
Memo to Members Newsletter
Orlando Chapter STC

…You missed the Orlando Chapter STC flexing its technological muscles by streaming a webinar from the international Society’s vast archives.

Starting and Building a Freelance Business, a presentation by Katherine Nagel and Ruth Thaler-Carter, was recorded live at the 2009 STC Summit in Atlanta, GA. This webinar talked about what it takes to freelance part- or full-time. Building a freelance business, like nurturing a garden, is hard work. We learned about marketing and customer relationship strategies and more. In the end, it was a successful experiment and we hope to continue to bring these type of exciting programs to our memebers in the future.

More About STC’s Free Archived Seminars

STC offers a collection of archived seminars free to members as part of your annual membership package! This member benefit debuted in 2011 with 38 free archived seminars, with more to be added each year.

STC members said they wanted more educational offerings, and these archived seminars provide that! The seminars are on a wide variety of topics from some of the top presenters in technical communication. Review the full listing available below.

These archived seminars are available to members only, and members, you must log in to access them. Click on the Site Access button at the top right or click on My STC on the header. (Remember, when you log into My STC, please use your regular STC username and password. You do not need to set up a new account.)

If you are not an STC member, join now to access these seminars and all the other benefits of membership! See the Join or Renew Now page for full details on the benefits of the various STC membership packages. You can also view a demo of the free archived seminars, Climbing the Levels of Collaboration, presented by Anne Gentle.

View the free archived seminars now!

List of Free Archived Seminars is available after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Student Member Outreach Gains Momentum at CPTSC Conference

12 11 2011
Dan Voss

By Dan Voss
Mentoring Program (M&M’s)
Orlando Chapter STC

Early this month, I had the honor and privilege to serve as industry keynote speaker at a workshop sponsored by STC’s Academic SIG preceding the 39th annual conference of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC) October 5-8 at the Indian Summer sun-soaked campus of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, in the lovely Shenandoah Valley.

I also made two panel presentations, one for a panel on virtual internship and mentoring during the pre-conference workshop—a panel in which Sarah Baca made a virtual presentation via Skype—and the other for the plenary panel which kicked off the conference proper on the theme, “Academy-Industry Relationships and Partnerships.”

Rounding out my conference activities was a presentation/workshop on the ethics of intercultural communication for technical communication students at JMU.

The presentations were well received, and my CPTSC/JMU hosts were most gracious. Other than tripping over the same slab of elevated sidewalk that felled STC president Hillary Hart (despite her warning to watch out for it), the conference was an altogether fulfilling and enriching experience.

Lockheed Martin sent me to the conference and was acknowledged as an industry sponsor of the event, which was co-sponsored by STC, JMU, Texas Tech, and Appalachian State.

Industry, academe, and STC co-sponsored the workshop preceding the 39th CPTSC conference.

A significant offshoot of the conference was a big step forward for STC’s student member outreach, an initiative that Sarah Baca and I started last year in our role as co-leads for student outreach on STC’s Community Affairs Committee, or CAC, and which Sarah gave a big boost in her Leadership Day presentation at the annual STC conference in Sacramento last May.

The initiative has gained traction this year with the establishment of an STC Board-mandated special task force that I have been asked to lead and on which Bethany Bowles (this year’s student rep on the CAC) and I will be quite active in the coming months.

Working to an overarching goal of sustaining, strengthening, and expanding STC’s student constituency, the task force is forming as we speak. Most of the people I have invited to serve on it have accepted, and, assuming the Board approves the slate (which seems likely), we will have a very strong team.

In addition to Bethany and me, the team includes STC’s deputy executive director; its director and assistant manager for community relations, its chief financial officer, its treasurer, the Academic SIG’s liaison for student affairs, and the faculty advisor and vice president of the JMU student chapter.

And the task force clearly enjoys the strong support of STC’s chief executive officer, Kathryn Burton, and its president, Hillary Hart, as well as the Board.

Indeed, the Board has already taken a momentous step by establishing the “new technical communicator” membership rate of $160, open to students who have graduated in the past 3 years. And the STC director for community relations reports significant progress in resolving the gnarly IRS tax-exempt situation that recently struck the Society like a venomous viper slithering out of the tall grass.

Here are the titles of the presentations Sarah and I made in Harrisonburg. If you’re interested in viewing any of these materials, they should be posted soon at the CPTSC and Academic SIG web sites ( and, respectively). Or “hit me up”* at, and I’ll be glad to send them to you.

The CPTSC site still has the programs both for the pre-conference workshop and the conference itself, if you’re interested in seeing how the industry/academy partnership theme was developed.

  • Industry keynote at pre-conference workshop.  Title:  “Industry and Academe: The Grass Can Be Greener if We Work Together”
  • Panel presentations on “Virtual Internships and Mentoring” at pre-conference workshop.  Titles: “Project-Based Learning: Mentorship that Matters” (Sara, via Skype) and “There’s Virtue in Virtual … or … An Old Dinosaur Can Learn New Tricks!” (Dan)
  • Plenary panel presentation at the opening session of the CPTSC conference.  Title: “Building a Bridge from Industry to Academe: It’s a Two-Way Street”
  • Presentation and workshop for technical communication students at JMU.  Subject:  “Ethical and Intercultural Challenges for Technical Communicators and Managers in a Shrinking Global Marketplace”
  • Planning meeting of STC president, STC vice president, and faculty advisor and officers of JMU STC student chapter.  Subject:  Task force commissioned by STC Board of Directors to revitalize and expand the Society’s student membership base.

The industry keynote focused on partnerships between industry and the academy.

Sarah “patched in” via Skype to deliver a presentation on project-based mentoring.

Dan described his just-in-time epiphany on the efficacy of social media.