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Last Letter from Linda
by Linda Oestreich
Easter Sunday. Quiet and cool; sunny and mild. A great day to catch up with STC! It's difficult for me to believe, but my three years as director sponsor for Region 5 are almost over! So much has happened to us all in the last three years!
My life here in San Diego has begun to feel routine, and I am so grateful for that! I have a job that I enjoy and a home that's comfortable. My car runs and so does my computer. My animals and family are healthy and happy. STC, a large part of my life, is going through growing pains, but I believe they are needed, and the results promise to be rewarding.
I'm on the ballot for second VP, and by the time you read this, we may all know whether I have won or whether one of my very capable opponents has. As much as I want to lead this august body of communicators, I know that no matter the outcome, STC will continue to be a large part of my life.
So, where are we? Transformation of the Society has taken center stage. We have a new membership structure, and members have a new, more robust connection with the Society board. SIGs are in the spotlight and are coming into parity with chapters both in what they offer their members and in what the Society offers them! Many communities have rechartered. Rechartering means that they have looked at themselves, determined what they do well, and decided whether they are serving their members with programs and support that make membership valuable and desirable. Society research grants are more practical, and the Society has tightened its belt in places we never thought possible!
I am one of 14 folks who were elected by you to run the Society over the past 3 years. I have been proud to be part of this board of directors. We may not have gotten everything right all the time, but we sure have made everyone sit up to watch, listen, and offer their ideas.
I have been delighted to support the folks of Region 5. I have visited, at least once, all chapters except one, and I apologize to you, Arkansas! My advice to my successor will be to make sure they visit you first!
Since May 2002, when I became director sponsor, Region 5 has held three phenomenal conferences, and I'd like to congratulate the three host chapters: Oklahoma, Austin, and Intermountain (Salt Lake City). As we look to the future, Phoenix is planning something wonderful for fall 2005 (cohosting the conference with the Instructional Design and Learning SIG), and Lone Star has already begun planning the conference for 2006. Three Region 5 chapters—Austin, Southern Arizona, and Houston—have hosted STC Board meetings, and Houston has held at least two international judging competitions. Several folks throughout the region have been honored as associate fellows and fellows, and many more have received the Distinguished Chapter Service Award.
Many chapters (even some student chapters!) in the region have been recognized as Chapter of Merit, Excellence, and Distinction by the Society. Still other Region 5 chapters have received awards in newsletter competitions and publicity competitions.
Two extremely capable candidates are vying for the wonderment of becoming the next director-sponsor of the region. And Society members are voting on a referendum that might remove regionalization from the governance of the Society. No matter what the outcome, the connection and cooperation among the folks in STC, whether by geography, tools, industry, or flavor of the month, are here to stay. They are the parts of STC that remain constant.
Big events. Big changes. Big happenings. Yet, STC is mainly about the people. It always has been. No matter who or how we run the Society, its heart is its members and the connections we have with each other.
I have been an STC member since 1979. My life would not be the same without my STC experience and friendships. I have traveled all over this country—sometimes in my duties as director sponsor, sometimes as a Society board member, sometimes as an individual contributor. And, as I look toward traveling to Seattle this May, I remember that my first STC conference was also in Seattle. It was the International Technical Communications Conference (ITCC) in 1984. By the time the Society returned to Seattle in 1996 for its annual conference (we ditched the name ITCC by then), I was being honored as an STC Fellow. Now it's 2005, and I'll soon be opening a new door of STC opportunity. It might be marked second VP, or it might be marked something as yet unknown. Whatever it is, I know that STC friends will be on the other side to welcome me. I like that.