Not the Post You Are Expecting

This may seem like it is another predictable Presidential recap of a successful year with STC.

You may expect a detailed listing of a year filled with fun networking events, memorable speakers and discussions at program meetings, and outstanding workshops with top presenters. Yes, I could discuss all of those things, because it truly HAS been that great of a year!

But, instead, I am going to share with you something much more private.

You see, I have always happily embraced roles as a behind-the-scenes worker bee for STC. I have held many different smaller roles throughout the years in three different Texas STC chapters. I was even approached previously to run for STC Houston President. However, I turned that down quickly, as it would not have been possible with my schedule and life at that time.

Plus, if I am being brutally honest, when Cindy Pao approached ME last year to take on the role she’d successfully held four times, I just thought, “Um, yeah…noooooo.”  I mean, how could I follow her and all of the outstanding presidents who preceded her? It is much easier to follow someone who has done a lousy job, right?

I really debated on whether I could handle this position. I am a single parent and a full-time communications professional. I volunteer my time when I can at kids events, I try to commit to working out and attending church regularly, and I work at a small software company that requires a lot of my time and energy. Yes, I could easily reason out a “no,” when asked to run for STC Houston President.

But, for some reason, I did not.

I went for it.

And the rest is history.

So, what is the ONE thing that I learned this year after taking the reins of one of the finest STC chapters in the country? Truthfully?

It really wasn’t that big of a deal.

That’s right. I said it. The job itself was not the insurmountable hurdle that I expected.

Yes, I had my share of learning lessons along the way, but it was actually FUN.

Maybe it helped having a very supportive and amazing Administrative Council in place. Perhaps following someone as organized as Cindy Pao made it easier than I thought it would be.

Most definitely, I found it more rewarding than I ever envisioned to plan great programs, participate in networking nights, conceive a new mentoring program, and meet some up-and-coming new technical communicators and technical communications educators.

Along the way, I learned unexpected and invaluable skills that I will take with me too. My public speaking has improved greatly this year. I have learned that sometimes you just go with what you think when others seem indifferent. I’ve realized why it is important to step outside of your somewhat introverted self and make great contacts and engage. The rewards you gain are well worth the awkward introductions. Also, I learned to stand up for my own leadership style, even when it may differ with others. Finally, listening to others and letting them run with their ideas is equally important.

I guess that was the biggest surprise for me–I truly enjoyed the experience and didn’t feel burdened by it. Things just kind of flowed and worked out along the way.

Why am I sharing all of this, you may ask?

The STC Houston slate is coming together nicely, but we are still looking for a few key roles.

If you have been on the fence about taking a leadership role with STC, I really encourage you to dive in and see for yourself! Do not be scared to take a lead roles with our chapter—even the Presidency! You have a wealth of support around you and lots of resources in place from the STC office too.

This amazing chapter has been blessed with many different kinds of leaders over the years, each bringing his or her own strengths and ideas to the positions in which they’ve held. And, we are all the better for it. We could not have achieved three consecutive years of being awarded a Community of Distinction without our members choosing to help out in various roles along the way. You made us great! And, you it is up to you to continue to do so!

Remember, you will never reap the wonderful rewards unless you take a chance! Contact me today if you’re interesting in taking the leap!

Stephanie Donovan
STC Houston President