Vol 44, Issue 2

November/December 2004


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Letter from Linda

Ascending the Summit

By Linda Oestreich, Region 5 Director-Sponsor, and STC Fellow

The Region 5 2004 conference was held October 21–24, 2004, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Although the group wasn't huge (we had about 95 folks there), it was perfect! The program had a great mix of high-tech, low-tech, management, and skill-based presentations; the facilities were superb; and the city, despite a day of rain, rewarded us with fair skies and crisp, fall weather that invigorated our minds and hearts.

My three years as your Director Sponsor will be complete in May, so this regional conference was the last one that I can call “mine.” The little Intermountain STC community did an incredible amount of work, but in true Region 5 spirit, they had some help. Folks from Southern Arizona, Lone Star, Utah State, and BYU STC communities all lent a hand in making the conference a success. When all was said and done, however, the person who made sure that it all worked smoothly was Marj Hermansen-Eldard. Marj is quite a force in the Utah STC arena and works miracles more often than most. I also want to thank Melissa Jessop, the president of Intermountain STC, for agreeing to take on this challenge and for helping it come to fruition.

Salt Lake City is a beautiful place, and the Prime Hotel is comfortable, elegant, and on the free tram line. Folks could jump on a tram and travel all over downtown Salt Lake City for free! The Delta Center (where the Utah Jazz basketball team plays) was only a 5-minute walk from the hotel, and several folks at the conference got tickets to see them play on Friday night. Rather than attend the game, I went to Z-Tejas for dinner with a small group. From the picture of our Friday night crew, you can tell that we were definitely having fun!

Folks from seven chapters, four regions, and the STC office! From left to right, starting on the back row: Louellen Coker (Lone Star); Bob Johnson (Kachina), Brenda Huettner (Southern Arizona), Jackie Damrau (Lone Star), and Maurice Martin (STC Editor of Intercom); front row: John Stikar (Kachina), Suzanna Laurent (1 st VP, Oklahoma); Jon Baker (Boston, Director, Region 1), me (San Diego; Director, Region 5), and Rahel Bailie (Canada West Coast, Director, Region 7).

Regional conferences give me a chance to relax, experience great networking, and attend sessions! At this conference, I attended presentations about instructional design, writing corporate style guides, developing metrics, and preparing online portfolios. I also presented a session about moving from commodity writer to strategic thinker and delivered a closing session about the STC transformation.

If you were to ask me what my favorite part of the conference was, I would have two answers. The first is the people. Members like you who go to these events feed my soul. I love being part of the dynamic, intelligent, and caring folks who make up this Society. The second answer is the keynote speaker, Rob Ziegler. He shared his unique message that applies the rigors and rewards of mountain climbing to leadership. Here's a quote from him: “Getting a team of people to the top of a remote 23,000-foot peak involves many of the same core concepts as leading a successful business. I simply cross the two stories together, sharing concepts metaphorically, while taking people on a visual journey to the places I have been.” The journey he shared was truly wonder-filled.

Ascending the summit. It's what we do. It's what this conference was about, and it's what STC helps us do. Notice that the conference theme wasn't “Reaching the Summit,” but “Ascending the Summit.” It's all about the trip up. And what a trip it is.

Blessings to you all,
Linda

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