Vol 44, Issue 3

January/February 2005

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November Program Meeting

Building Our Pillars of Professionalism

by Deborah Long, Courseware Editor, BMC Software Business School

What a treat to have the charismatic John Sweney of Brookwoods Group in our midst at STC Houston's November program meeting! As more of our members are finding employment (yes, in the domestic Technical Communication field), it is time to shift focus to building and practicing “professionalism” on the job.

John gave us a mini-version of his seminar entitled “Pillars of Professionalism,” with highlights that emphasized the five things (pillars) that we each bring to the table: talent, skills, knowledge, experience, and reputation. His background information touched on biology and genetics as determinants of what he calls our hard-wired talents. As it turns out, however, reputation is actually the most valuable (yet the most fragile and most easily damaged) asset that we have.

The main advice John gave was to leverage our various talents, or strengths, to build a firm foundation upon which we can then add skills, knowledge, and experience. He suggested that a good place to start is to take a talent inventory. He also recommended being responsible, reliable, credible, and trustworthy. These and other attributes help hiring managers to predict the fit of potential new employees into a work group. As an example, John pointed to a particular HR test that measures personality by percentages of dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance (otherwise known as DISC).

The websites www.hiresuccess.com and www.strengthsfinder.com were mentioned as useful links for personality typing and strength assessment purposes. And some interesting books were recommended for further reading (such as, First, Break All the Rules, by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman; and Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, PhD).

To learn more about John Sweney and the Brookwoods Group, go to www.brookwoods.com .

Next time, come to our program meeting and find out for yourself what's happening!

Yearly Awards Banquet

by Lisa Alvarado

Wow! The STC Houston competitions for the 2004–2005 year are coming to an end soon, and what an exciting year it has been. Significant changes in the judging of books, specifically those delivered in PDF, presented challenges. In addition, judges in Houston experienced a slightly different format. All of these changes were designed to give the most rewarding experience to everyone involved, from submitters to judges, and it is safe to say that this year's competition has been a success. All of the judging by our trading partner, the Atlanta chapter, is complete, and we expect to hear the details about the winners soon.

So where is the best place to see all of the winning entries and congratulate their contributors? The STC Houston Awards Banquet, of course! This year, we will celebrate our competition winners and all of our wonderful volunteers at our annual awards banquet on Friday, February 4, 2004. New for this year is the venue. This year's banquet will be held at The Houston Club, 811 Rusk, in the heart of the newly revitalized Downtown Houston. This location is a great place to meet new folks, communicate with old friends, and enjoy some delicious food—all while viewing winning entries. Look for your invitation to arrive soon!

New Members

by Lisetta Lavy

Elaine Wiggins

Originally from Mississippi, Elaine is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a degree in Computer Science/Business Administration.

She worked in the IT industry for about 15 years (mostly in systems and software support). Her most recent corporate job was with BMC Software, Inc., as a Software Support Analyst. However, she is currently trying to make the transition to freelance writer/independent technical writer while continuing to use her technical experience as well as her love for writing and working with people.

Elaine now works as the Program Coordinator for a nonprofit organization for children, Keep Kicking It, Inc. She coordinates fund-raising events, creates informational brochures, writes press releases, and provides Web content and updates for the organization's Web site.

She is enjoying her new work and hopes that, through her affiliation with STC , she can find a way to continue to make a living doing what she loves to do.

Copyright © 2006 Houston Chapter, Society for Technical Communication
P.O. Box 42051, Houston, TX 77242-2051 | 713-706-3434