STC Houston - Dateline Houston - March/April 2006

Vol 45, Issue 4

March/April 2006

STC Houston - Dateline Houston - March/April 2006

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STC Houston - Dateline Houston - January/February 2006

Society News

Future Perfect…

by Mark Clifford–candidate for Second Vice President 2006–7

There's an old Chinese curse that you may have heard: May you live in interesting times. Well, for STC, the last year has been one of its most interesting times! Over the last year, we have achieved much towards the strategic advancement of technical communication. The focus now is to push the society to become the leading professional body globally.

But how will this be achieved? In a society as diverse professionally and culturally as ours, it can be difficult meeting the needs of members all the time. We can start with a few fundamental areas that can achieve real value and show real gains for all members. STC has always played a role in educational program development. But with our diverse membership, just what education and skills are needed? Our own perception is coloured by our own needs and desires. To focus our educational developments we must understand the market need. This means involving businesses on two fronts.

Firstly, I want to raise awareness within the business community of the value of both good technical communication and its practitioners. Secondly, we need them to provide us with input on what they perceive as the skills and attributes they'll be hiring in the future. Armed with this information, we can really give added value to members, and their employers, by designing programs to suit all professional levels, meet industry's needs, and move a long way towards providing a skilled, employable, workforce.

The debate continues on whether it's better to be a certified communicator or not. Certification itself is not a guarantee of quality work, though it can help. It seems to be time to reopen the discussion on professional certification. Regardless, STC needs to maintain links with academe and continue to work to develop programs that address the needs of TC professionals from trainee to senior member and beyond.

Over the last few months, two issues have become more prominent than others- communication and availability and transparency of information. STC leadership has made great strides this year, and the leadership is continuing to improve both. I want as much openness and transparency as possible. One of my objectives will be to reduce information restrictions to near zero. If there is no legal reason not to publish information then I will do so. However, when it comes to rolling out new initiatives, there's no point in promoting half-baked plans and ideas.

To ensure we can maintain our strategic direction and move forward with initiatives and programs that are sanctioned positively by our members, I believe we need to:

  1. Deliver clear and consistent messages on initiatives and programs.
  2. Solicit member feedback on proposed initiatives and programs.
  3. Integrate member feedback into initiative and program development.
  4. Develop and deliver comprehensive rollout plans for all initiatives and programs to members prior to implementation.

To meet these goals, I will introduce a system where new initiatives will be tested through focus groups. The focus group comments and feedback will then be used to help shape the further development of the initiative, ensuring member input and involvement throughout development and implementation. Change, like death and taxes, is one of life's certainties. The major benefit of starting as 2VP is continuity. Things begun can be seen through to fruition. This opportunity to accomplish truly beneficial change is one of the main attractions for me.

I want to lead STC in the right strategic direction while ensuring that members are aware of strategies and feel that their participation and feedback on the tactical implementations is valued. I have a strong passion for our profession and a deep desire to see STC meet its global objectives as the profession’s leading body. Let's make that vision a reality together.

If you have any questions for any of this year's candidates please go to

You can contact Mark Clifford directly:
' +44 1234 355522
È+44 7866 694083

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