Category Archives: STC Rochester

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Why Professional Conferences Matter

Category:Higher Education,Information Security,Infosec Communicator,Leadchange,Social Networking,STC Rochester Tags : 

I’ve heard a lot of discussion recently that professional conferences aren’t needed anymore because of the inter-connectivity afforded by the Internet. Why is it reasonable to spend hundreds or even a couple of thousand dollars to attend a face-to-face conference?

Over the last week, I’ve been part of the leadership teams for and attended two conferences, the STC Rochester Spectrum regional technical communications conference and the EDUCAUSE Security Professionals Conference in San Antonio. It’s been an incredible experience.

Here’s what I’ve found:

  • Spectrum provided an opportunity for me to meet face-to-face with people I’ve been talking to via social networking for almost a year. This is important because I was able to have indepth conversations with key leaders about critical issues affecting our profession. These conversations wouldn’t have been viable in social media. They may have been doable through Skype or phone, but the ability to read the nuances of a conversation when you’re not together is really difficult.
  • Spectrum also provided STC Rochester an opportunity to showcase our abilities (and to have those abilities affirmed by other community and society leaders.) It was important for our chapter to understand our connections and I think our membership was “blown away” that international leadership would attend. We were truly honored.
  • Spectrum provided state of the art content in technical communications. In the sessions I facilitated, Kristi Leach was able to test a usability session with peers and gain invaluable feedback and Hannah Morgan provided a fresh look at the importance of social networking in your branding and in your career.  Other speakers presented key information about current tools and the future of our profession.

The Security Professionals conference allowed me to see (way too briefly) colleagues that I speak with on conference calls and work with, but from a distance of thousands of miles. We’ve become friends and it’s great to be able to unwind with a team that’s worked hard together all year.

  • The Security Professionals conference gave me the opportunity to present with a panel of fellow practitioners that are remediating private information at our respective universities. It gave our audience an opportunity to hear how four schools are tackling similar problems and the “unvarnished” truth of the stuggles we’ve faced and inroads we’ve made. This was invaluable to our attendees, because they could ask questions and establish the networking contacts that will save them time and dollars as they tackle similar problems. We become resources for each other.
  • The Security Professionals conference also allowed me to work in tandem with Cherry Delaney of Purdue University, my former co-chair of the Awareness and Training Working group. We were able to share with a group of ISOs, information security practitioners (and even a CIO) the steps needed to create a holistic strategic Security Awareness plan and share examples of how we’ve approached the task of educating end users. We were also able to work with them in small groups to develop specific steps and put together the beginnings of an action plan.

The interaction at a professional conference is one of the key enablers to moving forward in your profession, becoming “unstuck” when you’re out of ideas, and establishing a network of contacts to help each other.

This interaction was helped by the fact that the conferences were of a size (120 and 350) where you could actually see the same people in several venues. Large conferences don’t always allow for that.

For me, professional conferences matter.

What do you get out of them?

 

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Call for Proposals, Spectrum 2011 (April 1, 2011)

Category:Infosec Communicator,STC,STC Rochester Tags : 

Spectrum 2011 – Building Better Solutions: A Skills Symposium
Rochester Chapter, Society for Technical Communication (STC)

Submittal deadline: December 17, 2010

You and your colleagues are invited to submit proposals for Spectrum 2011. Spectrum is the annual educational conference of the Rochester Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC).

STC is an international professional organization that seeks to promote education, communication, and shared resources among communications professionals such as instructional designers, writers, web designers, graphic artists, social media developers, and others who deal with technical information.

Who attends and speaks at Spectrum?

Spectrum is a regional professional conference and generally draws attendees from New York, Eastern Canada, and surrounding areas. Attendance in past years has normally ranged from 100-180 attendees. This year will be the chapter’s 52nd consecutive Spectrum conference, making it the longest running STC chapter conference. Speakers are selected from local presenters and speakers from around the country who have expertise in subject matter relevant to technical communications professionals, and pertinent to the conference theme.

When and where is Spectrum 2011?

This year’s conference will be held on April 1st at the Rochester Institute of Technology, in the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) located at 111 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623-5608.

For more information, visit the STC-Rochester website.

I’ve participated in this conference for a number of years and helped organize it last year. We consistently receive high marks from participants and have been told that the conference is every bit as valuable as the larger international conferences.

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Writing the Next Chapter

Category:Infosec Communicator,Leadchange,STC,STC Rochester,Uncategorized Tags : 

Change is necessary but change is uncomfortable.

We should ignore the past. We should value the past. We should just do it. We should learn from past efforts. Do we dash forward, make our mistakes and sort things out as we go? Do we assess the path forward and move carefully down it? How strong should our sense of urgency be? How fast can and should we move forward? How do we mold individual desires into a shared vision?

We need to attract new members. We want to retain existing members. We have many senior members who have contributed faithfully to STC Rochester. We have new members who may not know our past but who are willing to pour themselves into redefining our organization and positioning ourselves for the future.

These are some of the issues we face as the council charged with stewarding the Rochester Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication. We are a chapter with a long history of excellence. It’s time to write the next chapter.

I’m trying to find a path that allows us to retain the  distinctiveness of what has made us STC Rochester while moving to a model that is sustainable and will foster growth. Part of this path forward includes implementing a marketing strategy. We’ve received our marketing plan from Neil Hair’s RIT Marketing Concepts class. The plan identifies key opportunities and strategies for growth. We’ve set up a subgroup to study the plan and bring forward recommendations to our October council meeting.

Our kickoff meeting is September 21st. We’re inviting prospective members and want to be sure we can articulate why they should join STC. There is a good bit of angst surrounding this.

We need to remember to have fun.

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