It’s interesting how the STC/SM casual networking events have evolved. The locations for our formal programs don’t vary a lot in order to keep them centrally located for a majority of our members. As a complement to the formal programs, our casual networking events were devised as a way for technical communicators to meet up closer to where they live.
And yet, at our most recent networking event, which was held in Royal Oak on Thursday, April 26, 2015, technical communicators traveled from Toledo, Canton, Novi, Auburn Hills, and Royal Oak to attend! I take this as a strong indicator of the perceived value of networking. In fact, when the topic came up about how best to land new jobs or new contracts, the #1 answer was—you guessed it—NETWORKING. Continue reading “Members Came from Far and Wide to Attend Royal Oak Networking Event”
Six of us braved the elements last week to gather for an informal evening of food, drinks, and conversation at Traffic Jam and Snug in midtown Detroit. We welcomed a couple of new faces, talked about current techcomm opportunities in the greater Detroit area, and returning members took the opportunity to catch up after the holidays.
Our goal for the evening was to discuss one (or more) of the free STC webinars suggested in January. Although some of us had technical difficulties accessing the webinars, Mary Jo David provided a very thorough write-up on Essential User Experience Skills for Technical Communicators, and Mark Lockwood led a discussion of one of the webinars he viewed, Sketching User Experiences with the Design Studio Method. Mark described several themes of the webinar, including the idea of sketching multiple solutions to business problems, and how this specific methodology can help work groups create innovative document design solutions. The idea of “saturating your design space” with many possible solutions and coming together to mash-up the possibilities was a thread we discussed as a group. Continue reading “Networking evening at Traffic Jam and Snug”
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.
Written by Tom Glennan
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”
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.
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 America 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
Cell phone: (248) 515-2318
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!
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”