Steve Jong—The Prez Says 

Formal headshot of Steven Jong

May 2019

The Chapter year is drawing to a close, and we've accomplished a lot: successful programs and workshops, the InterChange conference, a regional publications competition, and our first Community of Achievement award in several years. These things don't just happen by themselves. Behind the scenes, volunteers are working to update our website (saving us money in the process), maintain the job bank, manage the membership list, keep us visible on social media, and more. The Administrative Council is coordinating these activities and sharing the workload as well. I'm grateful for everything they've done.

As part of the cycle, it's time to look ahead to next year and the challenge of keeping up the positive momentum. The Chapter will be in the capable hands of Jen Bergus-Sesay, and we will have a strong core of Council members and volunteers. But we also have openings, and opportunities for you to contribute to the Chapter's ongoing success and acquire valuable leadership skills in return.

We will shortly announce a nomination period for the Council election. There are several open positions, notably vice president, treasurer, and councilor at large. 

  • The role of vice president is for someone who wants to step up to a meaningful leadership role that demonstrates your professional commitment and makes your résumé stand out prominently. You'll be within a supportive structure: not only are you part of a leadership chain, but the Society offers support to communities and presidents. It's a multi-year commitment (you will serve as VP, President, and then Immediate Past President), but it brings significant visibility and future leadership opportunities at the Society level. The Chapter offers a subsidy for the VP to attend Leadership Day at next year's Summit.
  • The treasurer, along with the president, prepares the budget (from a template and past models) and then keeps watch over income and expenses. If you've held the role in a club or group, or even if you've managed a household budget, this is a job you can do. Mentoring (and a handbook!) is available.
  • Councilor at large is a voting position that customarily oversees a volunteer area as well. It's a good role for someone with an interest in a particular Chapter activity or someone interested in a future Chapter leadership role who wants to get a close look at what's involved first.

Anyone can volunteer, but you must be an STC member to assume a Council role.

When you receive the call for nominations, please consider whether you, or someone you know, might be up to the challenge of leading the Chapter forward. Don't hesitate to reach out to me or any other Council member for more information.

I hope you will come to the end-of-year event next month to thank the Council and other volunteers for their service this year—and, perhaps, to take your place among them for next year!

March 2019

Silver CAA award badgeI have exciting news to share with you this month. STC has recognized the New England Chapter with a Community of Achievement Silver award! This is the first time in four years that the Chapter has received an award. The citation reads: “For engaging with an external organization to recruit social media members, and for membership outreach to former chapter members to entice them to rejoin.” I am pleased that the Society has acknowledged the hard work by the Administrative Council and volunteers over the past year to provide value to our members.

STC New England will be recognized during the Leadership Program (on Sunday, May 5, from 8 am–12 noon) at the 2019 Summit in Denver, CO. If you’re attending the Summit please let me know, because we can designate a community member to accept the certificate on behalf of the Chapter. In addition, we encourage all STC New England members to attend the Honors Event (on Tuesday, May 7, from 5:00–6:30 pm), as the Community of the Year and Most Improved Community will be announced during that time.

Competitions wrap up: The region publications competition co-hosted by the New York Metro, Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia Metro, Rochester, and New England Chapters has come to a successful conclusion. Thanks to Mike Nelson for serving as our coordinator, and to all of you who entered or judged.

Workshops: On Saturday, April 27, in Chelmsford, MA, we are running two interrelated workshops. Karen Giventer is running a morning workshop on “Job Seeking/Job Landing Strategies That Really Work,” and I am running an afternoon workshop on “Working Across the Generations.” I can personally attest that Karen’s workshop is great. If you need a job, or about to start your career, you should attend. If you want a new job, you should attend. And even if you already have a job and aren’t at risk of losing it—are you sure? You should still attend. My own workshop is of value to anyone working with, or for, people of different generations. Anyone who’s ever said, “I don’t understand my coworkers any more,” or is about to enter the workforce, will get useful information. These workshops are of value not just to technical communicators. If you know someone who wants to enter the workforce, find a job, or understand younger (or older) coworkers, pass this announcement along.

We’ve priced the workshops so you can attend both of them, morning and afternoon, for one reduced price. You can register for both workshops from the Eventbrite listing for either Karen’s workshop or my workshop. I hope to see you there!

STC Roundtable: STC has begun a new service, the Roundtable, offering curated monthly content. From now until the end of April, STC is providing registrants with a free monthly content. I encourage you to check it out


February 2019

It doesn't look like it now, but spring is coming. And we're planning for it.

Inter"Changes": A few years ago we shifted the date of the InterChange conference from the spring to the fall. We've had several years of results to look at, and we're thinking of making further changes to ensure the conference's viability. We're still recruiting the conference committee, most notably a conference manager. If you want to help—and have a say in how to make InterChange even better!—now is the time. If you want to advance your career by demonstrating your ability to manage a project, this can be a significant opportunity for you. Please contact us.

Registration is open for the Summit in beautiful Denver, CO (5–8 May 2019). But first I want to call your attention to an upcoming free STC webinar: "Is Content Delivery Possible Without Breaching New Data-privacy regulations?" (21 February, 2 pm Eastern). You can register here.

Our friends in the Philadelphia Metro Chapter [www.stcpmc.org] are once again hosting CONDUIT, the mid-Atlantic regional conference, at the Franklin Institute on Friday and Saturday, April 5–6. Our own Neil Perlin is the keynote speaker, and there's a good lineup of workshops and presentations. (Disclaimer: one is mine.) Please check them out.

Finally, I'm pleased to announce that we will be holding two more half-day workshops this spring, both on Saturday, April 27 in Chelmsford, MA. The theme is universal: job success. Karen Giventer will lead a workshop on job-hunting. Her tips and insights have helped me, and I know they can help you. In turn, I will be leading a workshop on writing for and working with people of different generations, expanding on my presentation at both InterChange and CONDUIT. These workshops will be open to the public but optimized for technical communicators. Two-for-one pricing will be available. Watch the website for details.


January 2019

If you missed it, this month’s program was a virtual session on videos, walkthroughs, and in-app content. Vice President Jen Bergus-Sesay is lining up additional programs for the rest of the Chapter year, and we plan to announce some workshops as well. Stay tuned for details.

STC elections: The Society elections are coming up in March. There’s an excellent slate of candidates to choose from, and members in good standing as of February 28 are eligible to vote. If you haven’t renewed yet (and joined the New England chapter), please go to STC.org.

Volunteers needed: The Chapter’s success in 2018 was due to the work of volunteers. Our planning for the new year is in full swing, and we will need new volunteers to succeed. The biggest items on the calendar are Council elections and InterChange 2019, plus continuing activities. Many hands make light work! If you’d like to learn more about contributing in either area, let’s talk.

Changes coming to stcnewengland.org: One of our goals this year is to migrate our website to STC.org, which will reduce our costs and simplify our workload. Watch for announcements in the months ahead.

Calling all historians: As part of moving our website to STC.org, we closed our News website. Unfortunately, we don’t have an archive of past articles, including the hardcopy Boston Broadside newsletter. However, cloud storage is cheap, and the Internet never forgets. We would like to collect and archive as many of our past printed articles and web pages as we can. If you’d like to help with this effort, either by mining the Web or your own attic, please drop me a line.


December 2018

Now that the holiday season has started, events are filling up our calendars, and things can feel festive but hectic. I want to tell you about a couple of things STC New England has in store.

The deadline for entering the STC Regional Techcomm Competition is Friday, 7 December. Volunteers from six chapters including New England have set up the infrastructure and the judging, and now await your entries. For details, go to our Competition page.

Don't forget to register for our December 12 holiday networking party in the Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company in Framingham. For Chapter members who haven't been able to get to events closer to Boston, this is a chance to socialize with area colleagues from both STC and our cohosts, the New England chapter of the American Medical Writers Association. Your first drink's on us. I look forward to meeting you there!

Finally, it's time to renew your STC membership. When you choose your communities, please sign up for the New England Chapter.

Have a wonderful holiday and a happy New Year!


November 2018

We wrapped up another successful InterChange regional conference at UMass Lowell on Saturday, October 27. The theme was "Engineering Experiences," and attendees chose from among 25 sessions, including remaining in DITA, combining UX and technical communication, how Disney engineers our experiences, getting more women onto presentations and panels, making the Agile methodology work for you. To me it was an excellent value and well worth my investment of time and money. I want to extend thanks to Adobe and our other sponsors, to our keynote speaker Danielle Villegas and the presenters, and to Immediate Past President Paul Duarte and the other InterChange volunteers who put the conference together.

At the closing session of InterChange Paul was announced as the recipient of this year's Landers/Carbrey Spirit of Volunteerism Award for managing the conference, for twice serving as President, and for energetically supporting the chapter for the last few years.

(Namesake Ed Carbrey passed away earlier this year at age 94. He was a World War II veteran who later became an STC Fellow and served as Treasurer, and who lectured on technical communication at MIT for many years.)

We have several upcoming events that I'm excited to tell you about. On Wednesday evening, November 7, our monthly program features Karen Giventer speaking on the ever-important topic of job searching. The program host is Oracle on Crosby Drive in Bedford. This is an on-site event only and space is limited, so register now.

On Saturday morning, December 1, Neil Perlin leads a half-day workshop, hosted by OfficeLink in Chelmsford, on using MadCap Flare to create responsive layouts. This is a must if you expect to use Flare for mobile-first or mixed display platforms. Registration(which supports the chapter) includes breakfast, and chapter members and STC members enjoy discounted rates. Bring your laptop with Flare installed.

The STC Regional TechComm Competition, organized by the New England, Atlanta, Houston, New York, Philadelphia Metro, and Rochester chapters, is now accepting entries. Once again, our chapter members enjoy a discounted rate. If you need feedback on your work, this is a great way to get it. The deadline for submissions is Friday, December 7. The competition also needs judges. This is a chance to refocus your assessment eye, so please sign up by November 5.

On Wednesday, December 12, we are holding a holiday networking party, co-hosted by the Boston chapter of the American Medical Writers Association, at the Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company in Framingham. Guests are welcome as a special discounted rate. This is a chance to sample local beers on tap, meet colleagues who know what our daily grind is like, and enjoy the conviviality of the season. The first drink's on us! The early registration rate ends November 9, so sign up now.


October 2018

September was the start of the Chapter year, and we've kicked off a lot of activities that I want to tell you about.

Immediate Past President Paul Duarte and his team are making final preparations for the InterChange regional conference Friday and Saturday, October 26–27, at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center. There are excellent presenters coming (disclaimer: I'm one of them), and for a very reasonable price you can attend talks that have been or will be presented at the Summit, as well as content unique to InterChange. If you're planning to attend, don't wait any longer, because 19 October is the last day to register.

September's program in Boston was excellent and very well attended, thanks to our host, Sonos; our presenters, Deb Sauer and Sam Park; and Vice President Jen Bergus-Sesay, who pulled everything together. On November 7Karen Giventer will present on job searching strategies. This is an evergreen topic whether you need a job or already have one. (Hey, you never know.) We are also planning additional programs, social events, and workshops for later in the year.

We have completed a cleanup of our contacts list, partly to comply with privacy laws and partly to reduce our vendor costs. If you're a current Chapter member nothing has changed. If you're visiting our site and would like to be included on our mailing list for Chapter announcements and events, please use our opt-in form.

We have been paying an annual fee to have the News website, but our recent member survey said that relatively few of you visited it. We've decided we can use the money better elsewhere, so we've taken the site offline in preparation for the general website move to STC.org. For now, articles like this one will appear on our main website. After the transfer, we will set up a new site dedicated to Chapter news.

As I mentioned last time, STC's annual membership drive is in full swing. From now until the end of the year, you can renew your Professional and Academic membership for $199, a significant savings over the regular rate. Go to STC.org to renew. Don't forget to add STC New England to your community package; contact erin.gallalee@stc.org if you need help.


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