Members, Remember to Vote!

by Tom Glennan,
Immediate Past President
2016-2017 Nominations Committee Chairperson

This is a friendly reminder to all STC/SM members that the election of the 2016/2017 program year Executive Council officers and Nominating Committee members is now underway. If you have not done so already, please be sure to vote by no later than Tuesday, May 31, at 11:00 p.m. If you are currently an STC/SM member but have not received an email from Election Buddy with a link to an election ballot, please send me an email so that we can address any problems and secure a ballot for you before the election closes.

STC Summit 2016: Reactions From a First-Time Attendee

by Alison Phillips

It was a pleasure and privilege for me to attend the STC Summit in Anaheim, California this year. As a first-time Summit attendee, I had no idea what to expect and wasn’t even sure if the conference would be worth the time and expense involved. An introvert by nature, I was also unsure whether I could feel at ease in such a large group setting.

I am pleased to say, however, that I came away with more inspiration and information than I can summarize in this short article. I left the Summit overflowing with ideas and could fill pages just trying to recap some of the things I learned and the topics I discussed with the many people I met. Instead, I want to take a few moments to encourage those of you who have not attended the STC Summit or other STC conference that participating in such events is well worth it!


Each day at the Summit offered numerous educational sessions on a wide variety of techcomm-related subjects. The sessions focused on spreading knowledge and promoting excellence in technical communication. The subjects spanned a wide range of themes, including leadership and career, strategies and trends, technology and development, and writing and communication, among others.

STC Summit 2016 lightning talk
The educational sessions at the STC Summit ended with several “lightning talks.” Speakers had five minutes to give quick, often humorous talks that examined techcomm topics from creative angles.

Vendors and corporate sponsors filled an expo hall at the Summit, which provided a relaxed forum to walk up and learn about products and services I already used, wanted to know more about, or didn’t even know existed. Throughout the Summit, there were product demonstrations and presentations, and experts from each company were onsite to answer questions and connect with the attendees.


Arguably the most important aspect of attending a professional conference is the wealth of networking opportunities. I made connections with people from the moment I walked through the door, and many of those relationships developed over the course of the Summit. I met people from all parts of the country (and from around the world), working in a multitude of roles, in industries ranging from large corporations and governmental organizations to academia to tech startups.

It was delightful to follow the chatter on Twitter (#STC16) throughout the conference, where people reacted to the sessions they attended, shared photos, or contributed to general discussions. But even more valuable for me was meeting the people behind the tweets.

If you’re already active on social media, the conference provides an opportunity to meet some of your contacts in person, and of course, expand your network. Ben Woelk’s blog post, “Why Professional Conferences Matter,” mentions the quality and value of the in-depth, in-person conversations we are able to have at conferences that would not be possible via the quick snippets we exchange via most social media outlets.

How do I find the right conference to attend?

There are conferences related to technical communication happening all over the country and the world, all year long. Research online, reach out to your professional network, or talk to your employer to select conferences that will have the most value for you. Here is a short (and by no means all-inclusive) list of a few upcoming techcomm conferences:

What about costs?

The admission fees (and travel) vary from conference to conference and can seem daunting at times, but here are a few tips to help keep the expenses down:

  • Register early: Many conferences offer discounted, “early-bird” rates for signing up well in advance.
  • Speak or volunteer at the conference: There may be discounted (or free) admission for volunteers, organizers, and speakers, depending on the conference.
  • Convince your boss: STC provides some ideas you can use to help convince your boss if you think your company could send you to a conference to promote your professional development. Even if your company won’t pay for the full ride, they may be willing to sponsor a portion of your trip. Mike Doyle’s post, “How to Justify Conference Attendance,” also has some helpful tips.
  • Search for other ways to get there: There may be scholarships or contests sponsored by STC chapters, drawings for free admission, etc. If you don’t enter, you can’t win!

Take the next step!

Conferences like the STC Summit can help expand your knowledge in the field, cultivate your professional network, and generate ideas that can be influential in your professional development. If you can, use conferences as a springboard to step out of your comfort zone. Discuss your ideas and solicit feedback from the company of like-minded attendees. For you, the next step may be introducing yourself to more people, promoting your company or services, presenting at a conference, or taking part as a volunteer or conference organizer. You may be amazed by how much you gain from your experience!

Alison Phillips began her career in technical communication in 2005. She currently works as a technical writer for arvato Bertelsmann. Alison has served two terms as the STC/SM chapter Secretary and is currently running for chapter Vice President.

STC/SM Chapter Elections Are Open

If you are a member of our chapter, you should have received the ElectionBuddy online ballot for the 2016–2017 STC/SM officer elections. The election is open now through Tuesday, May 31, at 11:00 p.m.

You should have also received an email notice of balloting from our Immediate Past President, Tom Glennan, even if you have asked not to receive regular email from STC/SM. STC requires us to notify every dues-paying chapter member of elections. If you are aware of anyone who should have received an election notice email but did not, please notify pastpresident@stc-sm.org.

STC Summit 2016: Leadership Program Recap

by Alison Philips

Photo of Emily Alfson and Alison Phillips at the 2016 STC Summit
Emily Alfson (l.) and Alison Phillips (r.) at the 2016 STC Summit

Greetings from Anaheim, California! I’m here at the STC Summit and just attended the annual Leadership Program that kicks off the Summit each year. Some of the highlights were:

  • The basics of running a community — Emily Alfson (also an STC/SM member!) delivered an informative talk about some of the many tools available to STC members looking to gain information about running successful STC communities. These resources include the Community Handbook, the Treasurer’s Handbook, the STC website, the CAC website, social media, and more!

Continue reading “STC Summit 2016: Leadership Program Recap”

Local AMWA Chapter Conference on May 14

The American Medical Writers Association Michigan Chapter Conference will convene at Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor on Saturday, May 14, 2016. Registration will be at the door.

We got a note from Mitchell Seymour, Chapter President, asking that you please let him know if you will be coming by the end of business on Wednesday, May 12, so they will have an accurate head count for food.

STC/SM Officer Nominations Update: May 6

by Tom Glennan, Immediate Past President, Nominations Committee Chairperson

The election of STC/SM chapter officers for the 2016/2017 program year will be underway soon, but we still have no nominations for the office of chapter secretary. We are also seeking candidates to fill the two elected (but non-officer) nominating committee member positions which are up for election each year. It is urgent that we find candidates to fill these positions to ensure the ongoing leadership for moving our chapter forward.

Continue reading “STC/SM Officer Nominations Update: May 6”

STC/SM Officer Nominations Update

by Tom Glennan Immediate STC/SM Past President

Nominations are still open for the upcoming election of STC/SM officers for the July 2016 – June 2017 program year. Since my last posting, our current treasurer, Maryann Bowen, has agreed to run again for that position, and our current secretary, Alison Phillips, has agreed to run for the position of vice president. With current vice-president Sharon McDonnell set to assume the post of president, the position of secretary is the only council seat remaining without a nomination. So one or more candidates for this council position are still being sought, and additional candidates for the other council seats are still welcome as well (the more, the merrier, as they say).

The chapter officer elections will be opened in the next few weeks, so please watch for the announcement and be sure to vote for the candidate of your choice. And if you have a chapter member in mind that you think would make a great officer (and that can include yourself!), we encourage you to send your ideas or any questions to nominations@stc-sm.org. Please note that candidates must be chapter members.



April 21 Program Meeting: Using Brainshark to boost provider communications and training

Join us for our April 21 program at 6:30 p.m-8:30 p.m.

Location: Omni Building – 26899 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield, MI. Emerald Conference Room, first floor; enter the north entrance, check in with Security and they will direct you to the conference room next door.

The program “Using Brainshark to boost provider communications and training” will share the presenter’s expertise and sample works on how to use the web-based presentation tool Brainshark for various communications and training purpose, in order to maximize target stakeholder – provider experience.

Join us to learn:

  • Why Brainshark?
  • The history of Brainshark in BCBSM
  • What do we use it for? And samples
  • A quick process: how does it work?
  • Guestbook, survey and assessment
  • Tracking and Reporting

Register Now

For questions, contact programs@stc-sm.org


Bei Hua,
Senior Instructional Designer,Bei
Project Lead

Bei is a Project Consultant at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. She specializes in eLearning design, development and project management. Prior to joining BCBSM in 2005, she was a learning consultant for General Motors University for five years. She has delivered over 50 online training courses herself. In addition, she has been involved in more projects with her design and project management roles.

Bei believes in selecting communications and training tools, designing and developing products centered around the user. She is familiar with various development tools used for creating online communications and training. She emphasizes the importance of good planning, research and overall program design.

Bei earned her Bachelor’s Education degree in China, Master’s in Educational Administration from Eastern Illinois University and her Educational Specialist Certificate from Wayne State University in Instructional Technology.

STC/SM Earns Pacesetter Award for 2015

We received a very nice note Thursday, March 31, from MaryKay Grueneberg, who is the Pacesetter Award Evaluation Committee Chair:

As a member of the Pacesetter Award Evaluation Committee, it is my honor and pleasure to inform you that the Southeastern Michigan Chapter has earned the Pacesetter Award for the 2015 activity year. The citation on your certificate will read:

“For successfully promoting STC webinars and sharing their benefits with your community through your creative ‘Choose Your Own Learning Adventure’ program”

Congratulations to all members of the Southeastern Michigan Chapter on a job well done and for being an example for all STC communities.

Call for STC/SM Officer Nominations

Nominations are now open for the July 2016–June 2017 program year elections, with voting planned for mid-May. If you have a chapter member in mind that you think would make a great officer (and that can include yourself!), we encourage you to send your ideas or any questions to nominations@stc-sm.org. Please note that candidates must be chapter members. Continue reading “Call for STC/SM Officer Nominations”