My fourteen years of STC membership have undoubtedly provided excellent professional development value, from a local perspective.
Initially, I relied on STC for contacts in my neighborhood to help me become established in the profession. As I grew in confidence and experience, I joined my chapter executive and tried to pay it forward by helping to provide a platform for new tech writers, as others had done for me.
The work is rewarding, and my colleagues on our chapter executive are first-class. So I guess you could say, I love the STC.
But at the international level, I have certainly felt some frustration. A particular sore spot for me is the way this international organization seems to remain firmly focused on what happens within the United States.
In 2010, I joined first the Community Funding and Support Task Force, and then the Community Affairs Committee, to help define the kinds and quantities of support that would most benefit our chapters and SIGs. My particular interest was the full inclusion of international members.
I participated out of concern that STC membership fees purported to provide a number of benefits that weren’t practical (US-centric job bank and salary data) or weren’t available (insurance) to international members. During our sessions, I learned that even within the US, rules vary so much from state to state that things are not substantially better for Americans!
At the Dallas conference in 2010, the Community Funding and Support Task Force summarized a number of recommendations. Many of these ideas are now being put into practice, and I hope they will benefit all STC members.
I believe that the STC executive genuinely desire to improve the value of STC memberships for all members, but change is always hard. Even characterizing myself as an “international” member suggests that “American” is the default position – exactly the perception I am struggling against.
But my experience on these committees has helped me see that the STC needs leadership from its international members, before it can become the organization it is striving to be.
In the upcoming STC election, we have a chance to vote for two international candidates. Bernard Aschwanden (Canada) and Ray Gallon (France) are both running for election as Directors of our Society.
I believe that the fresh perspectives these experienced members bring can help the STC transform itself into a truly international organization.
So when you vote for your new Society Officers between March 9 and March 30 this year, ask yourself whether the STC could use a helping hand from some international candidates.
And if you agree, then remember: Bernard and Ray are willing to step up and help us all.