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Publications > Dateline Houston > February 2003 > Chapter News

Volume 42, Issue 6

February 2003

Chapter News

March Program Meeting

Melanie G. Flanders and Carol Hidinger will present to our chapter on their recent trip to China, sharing their experiences and perspectives about technical communication opportunities there.

Join us for what is sure to be a fascinating and informative evening about internationalization opportunities for technical

Send your questions to Cindy Pao at


Hilton Houston Westchase and Towers
9999 Westheimer Road


Tuesday, March 11


5:30 p.m. networking (hors d’oeuvres)
6:20 p.m. announcements
6:30 p.m. program


$10 (members)
$13 (nonmembers)
$3 (student and unemployed members)
$6 (student non-members)


A drawing for various prizes is held at the end of each general meeting. Proceeds benefit the Marx Isaacs Student Scholarship Fund.

STC Houston Launches Past Presidents Club

by Deborah Long, President, Long Communications

At the December 2002 meeting, the STC Houston Administrative Council approved a proposal for initiating a new group within the chapter—a "past presidents club."

This concept of a special activity for former chapter presidents was first raised a few years ago. At issue: how do you keep former presidents involved in STC Houston activities when they've "been there, done that?"

Often, a sense of burnout occurs after what for many members has been a three-year commitment (vice president, president, and immediate past president). While former presidents might not want to maintain an active role in running the affairs of the chapter, going to club events can help "keep the juices flowing."

Organizing the Club

The rules of the club are simple:

  • STC Houston members who have served as chapter president (in Houston or any other chapter) are automatically members of the club. The only exception is that former presidents serving on the Administrative Council cannot participate until after their council commitment ends.
  • The primary purpose of the club is social, providing occasional get-together opportunities for "like minds" to share memories and ideas and to stay in touch.
  • The immediate past president will act as chapter liaison, carrying suggestions and information, as needed, between the former presidents and the current president.

Former presidents have much combined wisdom to offer current administrations and can draw from their historical perspective when the chapter is faced with difficult situations. Their experiences, observations, and advice can be an invaluable resource for the chapter. Having "been there, done that" carries a lot of credibility.

Obviously, confidentiality must be a key aspect of the club. Serving as chapter president can be a lonely and demanding role, with various competing interests to satisfy. In the midst of turmoil, the current president can rest assured that any expressed concerns will remain in strict confidence with members of the club.

An anticipated major benefit of forming the past presidents club is its motivational factor for other members. The club may help inspire more STC Houston members into running for office and gaining the experience required to become chapter president in the future. It is nice to know that assuming a role of such importance continues to be valued for many years after service.

Launching the Club

As immediate past president, Deborah Long championed the idea among chapter leaders and will lead efforts to make the past presidents club a reality.

The STC Houston past presidents club held its first get-together on Tuesday, February 18, at Empire Cafe, 1732 Westheimer. Deborah was in touch with former presidents to personally invite them to this special event. For more information, contact Deborah at

Employment STK Session Report

by Steve Shriver, Contract Writer, Kelly Engineering Resources

Judging from the rave reviews, the Employment Share-the-Knowledge session was another big hit on Saturday, January 10. More than 40 participants came out between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to partake of the presentations.

Terry Devlin of Bernard-Haldane converted a new legion of fans to his soft networking techniques. As expected, his counsel hit the current market right on the head.

Our immediate past president Deborah Long had a popular (and practical) presentation on the shotgun approach to networking for a job, delivered with her usual dose of infectious enthusiasm.

Maria Fee and Cindy Pao teamed up to deliver a knockout with their portfolio show. Their presentation was practical, down-to-earth, and well-received by all in attendance.

In the fourth corner was a wealth of knowledge and expertise on resumés—how to put your best foot forward. Several resumé reviewers were on hand throughout the four hours to round out the show.

Many reviewers came from beyond the technical communications industry to offer their unique views from the perspective of human resources or a staffing agency. For example, Lori Schaub and Mary Crowe were on hand from the Integrity Group. Other staffing professionals who donated their time and considerable expertise included Rahilla Shatto of Aquent, Mike Novosad of DKL Technical, and Larisa Tidwell of Spherion.

Also supplying reviews were Bobby Dempsey of the Communicators' Network, Linda Branam of Aesbus, and Debra Marinelli of the University of Houston IT support staff. Several STC members volunteered their time and energy to the resumé committee, including Jo Carol Gau and Jim Hunt of BMC Software, Deborah Crockett of HP, Mac Katzin, and Ron Kirk.

We are also indebted to Employment Committee Manager Gary Foster, who invested countless hours in organizing and recruiting the talent to produce a successful STK for the second year in a row. Thanks, too, to President George Slaughter for delivering his usual dose of enthusiasm and energy to keep things running smoothly.

Most of all, we are grateful for all the participants who took time out of their Saturday to invest in themselves and their careers. It was a great program—one that promises to be repeated.

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P.O. Box 42051, Houston, TX 77242-2051 | 713-706-3434